My big baby Bella Mai.

In a few hours from now (I’m writing this the night before her B’day, I may finish it tomorrow.) Anyway a few hours from now 10.40pm to be exact; 10 years ago, I jumped in the tub to rest my weary back. I was so big and pregnant! As I lay back with my eyes closed breathing in the steam I had an ‘oh, hmm…’ moment.

Is that a contraction? I didn’t know! I was a kid for goodness sakes. I lay back and tried to relax and pretend it didn’t happen. But it happened again.

I knew from attending two separate pregnancy and birthing classes that 4 contractions within an hour is considered the beginning of labour and I had defiantly had more than four so I started timing them.

7 minutes apart.

They were getting stronger and stronger and I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to do anything. I called the hospital at mid-night; they told me to stay home for as long as I felt comfortable.

Fair enough.

Um….Hello?! 16 and pregnant?! I don’t know what the heck I am doing!

I got off the phone thinking ‘Am I comfortable?’ I don’t know…What do I do?

I think I panicked and worked myself up enough to bring them on stronger and now they were 5 minutes apart. Do I call them again? They’ll just get annoyed at me. No I’ll wait.

I wondered around my nan’s beach house in the dark. I don’t think I even thought about what was going to happen. The reality of this little girl was just a fat belly to me. I knew I was pregnant. I knew I was going to have to be responsible for this little person. But I just wasn’t able to comprehend the reality of it.

I watched tv, nothing particular a bit of wrestling for some reason….

2 am came around and my dad came down stairs and asked what I was doing. ‘I think I’m in labour, but I’ve called the hospital and they’ve told me to stay home as long as I feel comfortable. I think I am comfortable.’

Dad wasn’t. He piled me into the car and drove me to the hospital. I felt pretty stupid sitting in a big chair waiting for the nurse. She asked me if I was having contractions and I said ‘Yes I’m having one now.’ I said as I twiddle my thumbs. Her eyebrows nearly shot off her head. ‘Really?’ “Um…yeah.” Der…god!

She hooked me up and checked me out. The machine confirmed I wasn’t a lying teen, yes I was having contractions 5 mins apart and yes I had dilated to 4-5 cms. She asked if I’d like to be admitted or go home, I chose home.

I quickly regretted it as I had some really good painful contractions on the way home. I watched Dad from the corner of my eye to make sure he couldn’t tell. I didn’t tell him.

By the time we got home it was almost 5 am and my contractions were getting better and better, dad left for work and I called my mum who lived an hour away. She drove to my home to spend the day with me, she herself was 7 months pregnant with my baby brother.

We walked, chatted, and waited. Finally they began to come nice and strong and I decided I’d like to go to hospital it was now nearly 3 pm. My sister and brother were at school and needed to be picked up, I said I’d be ok until we picked them up from school.

I wish I never said that.

My mum had said that you could tell when you’re getting close because you have an uncontrolable urge to swear. I listened to her advice but didn’t think it would happen to me as I just don’t swear. But as we were waiting for my sister to waltz down the hill toward our car, a car drove by as a contraction was hitting its peak strength ‘You stupid s.h.i.t white car’ I thought.

Oooo.Kay. Mum was right. I had an irrational thought that included a swear word directed at an object? hmm…Let’s go now!’ we drove by my brother’s school and he wasn’t there he’d already begun walking home. My sister screamed out the window as we pulled up beside him ‘Cristie’s in labour! Get in!’

Oh.My.God.

Still a teenager here! I was tomato red AND in labour!

At the hospital while we waited I got so annoyed at Matt. He was only 8 and running up and down the hall! I got mad at the poor little guy and mum decided to take him and Nicole home.

I was too agitated to handle it.

I hated every minute of being in hospital, they kept giving me weird embarrassing things. They’d given me a gown to put on and all I could think about was the fact that people would see my butt. They gave me disposable undies. I WASN’T going there! They put me in the shower and gave me a yoga ball. Who did they think I was?! Who has a shower with a yoga ball?

I probably at that age would have responded better to the living end blaring from a nail polish painted stereo, alone, in a dark room.

Finally in the shower the pain got to its worst and I managed to tell them I wanted something. I’d planned to have gas if anything, so they gave me gas. They told me to inhale…keep inhaling until you hear the rattle. There was no rattle and I was inhaling! They hadn’t turned it on. I hyperventilated, my entire body curled up into a tense ball, my eyes were twitching my fingers wouldn’t uncurl, my lips quivered. It was horrible. In the end they gave me pethadine to settle my muscles and ease the pain.

I felt like I was passing out for 20 minutes between each contraction while on the pethadine, the moment a contraction began, my eyes would fly open and I’d be looking around wondering ‘where am I? and what’s this pain?!’

My mum had come back and was sitting by my side the whole time. My dad had been in the waiting room but later told me that when he heard me scream he couldn’t take it and left.

The screaming.

I have never screamed like that in my life.

I felt bad for my mum who was 3 months away from going through it herself and she was holding my hand.

Her rings were all crushed and her hand was bruised for weeks.

The pain was something I’d never wish upon my worst enemy, I felt like I was in some tasteless, raw and dramatic movie. I’d open my eyes all I’d see was white burning my eyes, the lights so bright, the burning pain and the screams that tore the insides of my head a part. My screams. I thought my eyes would explode in their sockets.

I thought I was dying.

Finally my baby was born. She wasn’t breathing and immediately my mind went back to my classes. I’d had pethadine and I’d had my baby within the hour of it being administered, which can interfere with the babies breathing. As dopey as I was; I worried so much. They stuck tubes down her throat and suctioned goop out of her lungs. They finally said she was ok. And I held her.

It hit me.

Wow. A baby. This is MY baby. Wow. Oh my goodness. What now?!

When they took her to bathe her and weigh her and wrap her; I had a shower. No one had told me I was going to bleed so much, actually no one told I would at all. I was totally unprepared for that. I had to get someone to help me out of the shower as every time I turned it off; there it was. Everywhere.

Since that experience I have learnt so much. It was the one time in my life that I was totally clueless. From then on, I have never wanted to be as helpless as I was that day.

I sat in my dark room alone waiting for my baby to arrive from the nursery. I heard a baby crying. I instantly knew it was Bella. I stood up and walked into the hall, the nurse congratulated me and gave me my little girl.

Bella was born at 7.55 pm Friday the 7th of September, just one day early. She weighed 8 pound 14 ounce and measured 50cms.

I sat looking at her little round face wrapped up in the hospital flannels. Her smooth skin her ruby-red lips pouting and sucking away at air. Her hair, my god! So much hair it was pitch black and shoulder length.

I remember it all so clearly. I don’t have any photos of Bella before she was 15 days old so I am thankful I have a perfectly clear image of her so new.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bella and I have been through so much together. For such a long time it was just Mummy and Bella against the world. We were so close. We did everything together, we even shared a room for 5 years!

I can’t believe she is 10 now.

I was such a naive child and I realised it the day I gave birth to her. That experience changed my entire life.

Bella and I grew up together.

Bella is the biggest pain in my butt!

She talks so much you just have to ask her to be quiet for just a minute. She can be plain annoying.

But I love her. I wouldn’t change her or how I came to have her for the world. She was and always will be my first baby. Without her I wouldn’t be who I am.

Each and everyday I learn something new from her, everyday is a new parenting day. I still have no idea what to do with her half the time but we guide each other and find an appropriate path.

Today is Bella Mai’s tenth birthday.

I am actually so shocked that I can’t think what to write.

I think she’s had a good day so far, I asked her if she’d like to stay home, but she wanted to take cupcakes to school for everyone to celebrate with her. She opened a couple of pressies this morning and was happy with what she got. We have one more special present for her tonight. We’ll have our traditional birthday baked chicken dinner and a cake.

Check out our cake! I was so proud to say that every single one of Bella’s birthday cakes have been made from scratch by me and each year they have gotten better and better but the more kids you have the less time you have so now I’m cutting corners. Still technically ‘home made’ kind of. But so much quicker!

Dear Bella,

I love you, you little weirdo. I know sometimes I tell you to grow up and act your age, but really just enjoy your time, the past 10 years have gone by so quickly. I can imagine myself sitting here writing a letter to you as a 20-year-old. There is no rush to get older/taller/less freckly just be who you are, stay happy and know that you are loved.

Your crazy and odd, but that’s you and that’s what people love most. You’re an individual and such an excitable soul. Your persistent and stand up for yourself, you are very independent and have a great sense of humour, your caring and can be helpful. These are all wonderful traits for an adult to have, I know one day you’ll be a wonderful beautiful woman.

Your on the right path, no need to run along it dear, make sure to smell the Bello Rose` along the way, and know that whatever turns, or forks you come to on your way, Mum will be right there with you.

Have a great day shorty!

creepy keepsakes. (I even have all her teeth!)

xoxoxox

Love Mumma!

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