A Birth Story
At midnight on Sunday my water broke – pop – a little sound. My heart began to race. I rang the hospital and they told me to come in. I picked up my chosen birth partner on the way. In the car I called my boyfriend, my baby’s father
‘Where are you? Are you ok? Are you going to hospital? Good, call me when you know more.’
They told me I couldn’t stay at the hospital. Since I wasn’t in established labour, there was no space for me. I called my partner again.
‘Stay where you are!’ He said, ‘Even if you have to sit in the café, just stay at the hospital. It’s not safe otherwise.’
I stayed and the hospital kindly gave me a bed in the antenatal ward. Thank God I stayed. In the middle of the night on Monday I had an almighty contraction that had me howling uncontrollably. I was whisked to delivery. If I’d been at home there’d be no way I would have made it back to the hospital; I was like a wild animal!
At 11am on Tuesday morning, my precious baby boy was born – healthy and perfect. I called his dad.
‘He’s here,’ I told him. ‘He’s 3.2 kilos and looks like you.’
I emailed him a photo of our beautiful boy.
Four months later, father and son met for the first time. We both travelled to Venice and stayed there with my boyfriend’s family for two weeks. It was a happy and loving time. Father and son were very taken with each other. I made a promise to myself to fulfil my duty to my son, enabling him to have his father in his life.
We said goodbye at the end of the two weeks.
Daddy left on a ship back to Greece and we left on a flight back to the UK. I was at university, sitting my final year exams. Because my income as a student was not enough to satisfy an application for a visa, he was not able to come with us.
I graduated with an excellent degree in modern languages. My baby boy joined me in my graduation photos, me in my academic gown. It was the proudest day of my life. A few weeks later we were on a flight again, this time to Albania to visit my son’s father’s family on their farm. We stayed for two months. There was a lot of love and a lot of tears.
I’m thankful for so many things: my child, my health, my abilities. But, I’m sorry that my son can’t have his father in his life. Who knows what pain my son is storing up for the future. Will he ever understand the truth of it? I don’t know.
For now we see daddy on Skype every day. I read to my son in Albanian with the hope that he will feel connected to his father. As a single parent, I still don’t have an income to satisfy the requirements of a visa application. Maybe when my son starts nursery, things will begin to change.
I’m glad that my partner ordered me to stay at the hospital that Sunday night. He knew it was the right thing for me even from 1,500 miles away. He’s done his bit in supporting me in the best way he can. We try to be kind to each other and remember that neither of us has chosen this situation. By focusing on our son we are able to get through each day knowing – hoping – that things will get better in time.