Monday, February 8, 2010

The first time my life changed

Bet you were a beautiful baby...
As you can see, Samuel was a cute baby. In fact, in the hospital they picked him to show to childcare students as an example of a perfect baby.
This is because he had a normal shaped head. Most babies that are squeezed out of a woman's nether regions are a bit squished around the skull when they come out, but because Samuel was delivered by cesarean (how on earth do you spell that word??) section, his head was perfect.

All the people that read this (so far) are likely to know this stuff, but I wanted to start at the beginning. Knowing me, things aren't likely to follow sequentially, but it's always good to start at the beginning don't you think?
Anthony and I met through a mutual friend (in fact I think it might have been my ex-boyfriend). We hung out for a while and then one day in late November 1994 we 'hooked up'.
At first I was a little resistant, but he wore me down, and by my 21st birthday in December, we were 'an item'. Being the talented woodworker that he is, made me a beautiful clock for my birthday, which would still be hanging on the wall if the hands hadn't fallen off. Ah, we'll get around to fixing it sometime...
Anyway, one of the very first things Anthony said was that he was not going to have any more kids. He'd just come out of a difficult breakup involving a child (one that we do get to see now and then, which is nice), and was hurting. I was happy with that, I was 21 and still a party animal. I had plans to travel and make lots of money before I even began to consider children.
Early in 1995 I had my wisdom teeth out. One thing I didn't pay much attention to was the warning that anesthetic and anti-biotics could interfere with the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill. So before you could say "what's a good test of a relationship in its early stages?", I was pregnant.
I remember the day I found out for sure. I went to the local clinic because I didn't want to face my GP. They confirmed I was 11 weeks pregnant while Anthony sat in the car waiting for me. Needless to say I was nervous about his reaction.
"Oh well, we'll just have to give it a go then," he said. No freaking out, no screaming, just wonderful, supportive Anthony.
Thankfully my parents had a similar reaction. A little freaked I guess, but they hid it well.

But you weren't going to make it easy
(warning, gross descriptions of birth and labour to follow)
The pregnancy went pretty well, considering we were young and dumb and, well, broke. We moved in together and started putting together a home. We got along well, and it all seemed cool. I was a little worried that Sam was due on the 29th of February (how do people deal with having a birthday only every 4 years?), but I needn't have been.
I started my labour in the evening of the 4th of March. I rang the hospital but they said I didn't have to worry. I went to bed and endured my contractions. Not text book contractions that start 30 minutes apart and get closer together, but strong pain every 5 minutes.
Early the next morning I got up to go to the loo, then my waters broke. That was when we went to the hospital. Sally arrived not long afterwards.
I knew it wasn't going to go well when they gave me some nitrous oxide and I barfed. It wasn't long after that they decided I needed a c-section. There was some fetal distress and I wasn't dilating, so they decided to put me under. I gave Anthony strict instructions not to tell anyone about the baby until I knew, then went to the operating theatre.
When I woke up a couple of hours later, Anthony handed me a baby wrapped in a pink blanket. I assumed that it was a girl (how conditioned are we??), but soon found out it wasn't. That was the day I fell in love.

Parenthood and making a life together
I wasn't a soft, fluffy earth mother. Not by any means. I had a bit of PND and was generally not nice to be around, but Anthony stuck around anyway, giving up his job to stay at home with Sam. I went back to work at the cinema, and he started his business (making and restoring furniture) between nappy changes and bottle feeding.
We eventually got fed up with the rental thing, and went to live in the granny flat behind my parent's house. It wasn't too bad (if not a little squishy), and it did give us a chance to save for our first house. Two days after Sam's 2nd birthday, we moved into our current home. We've been there ever since.

On reflection?
I think it's safe to say that we weren't ready for parenthood, but instead of turning tail, we had a good go at it, and made a life for ourselves. I often wonder (frequently out loud to anyone who'll listen) where I would be now if I hadn't had Sam. There are two possibilities:

  • I would have pursued my ambitions to make movies and become a rich, famous movie star/director (or perhaps bit-part actor in a series of terrible Aussie TV shows);or
  • Failed to make anything of myself and ended up a burnt out, dope smoking, hard drinking party animal, working as a roadie for some obscure band (or perhaps still in the cinema industry).
Either way, I probably wouldn't have been nearly as happy and fulfilled as I was being a parent. It's hard, it's draining, it's expensive, dirty and heartbreaking (especially at the moment), but it's wonderful.

So thanks to Samuel I grew up a bit quicker than I might have, changed my wicked ways and bought a house (luckily when house prices were much lower).
There are other great things I did because of Sam. But that's a story for another day...

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