New Release! “Tabitha’s Solution” in Having My Baby!

When Tabitha’s baby is a week overdue, she’s willing to do just about anything to get the labour started! Funny, sweet, and poignant…

Click on the link to order your copy, and enjoy the excerpt below! 

http://www.melange-books.com/authors/anthologies/havingmybaby.html

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He was nearly a week overdue.

Tabitha traced the red circle she had drawn on the calendar to mark her due date six and a half months earlier.  

“Time to come out, little one,” she murmured, patting her full, round belly.  The burden inside shifted lazily under her touch.  “Just try not to hurt mama too much on the way, all right?”

In twenty-four hours, if things didn’t get moving on their own, her labour would have to be induced.  Tabitha was more than ready to get going, but the prospect of that particular medical procedure somehow bothered her more than the idea of giving birth itself.  Her body would know what to do when the time came.  Having extra poking and prodding to make it happen seemed a little like — overkill.

But her midwife had been adamant:  if she was not in labour by the 7th, away to the hospital they would go.  No home birth.  Possibly a c-section.  

It seemed like her pregnancy could be summed up in numbers.

Six and a half days overdue.  

Two years of trying — less than some parents experienced, but longer than others would tolerate before heading to the fertility doctor.  

Eight pregnancy tests before her husband, Rick, was assured that they were really and truly going to have a baby.  He’d been thrilled after the two little blue lines appeared in the first test, but he’d suggested that she pee on the stick again, and again, and again, just in case.  After all, the second test had shown negative results.  Later, at the midwives’ office, they’d learned that a false negative was a common phenomenon in the early stages.  

There was no doubt about it at this point, Tabitha reflected. The negative had definitely been false. 

Forty pounds of extra weight…please let it come off quickly, she prayed.

Tabitha wrenched her gaze away from the calendar as the kettle shrieked on the stove.  She padded heavily over to turn off the element, not quite waddling but not in an easy gait.  Since her pelvis had loosened a few weeks ago, walking was a bit of an adventure in balance.  Her great, round belly made her feel like a cow at times, unwieldy and awkward.  In other moments, when she caught a glimpse of her silhouette with her full breasts and plump bottom, and her hair grown out longer than it had ever been, she felt deliciously womanly and sexy.

An opinion that Alex was happy to share.

“Hey, gorgeous,” he called out from the top of the stairs to their basement 

apartment, “I rented you a movie for tonight!”  

The sound of the door shutting echoed down the stairs.  Tabitha smiled tiredly.  No matter how fat and exhausted she became, her husband never failed to make her feel better.  She listened to him coming in, tromping down the plastic liner on the carpet.  

“Shoes!” she reminded him, without turning.  

“Shoes,” Alex grudgingly agreed, grumbling cheerfully as he turned back to the bottom steps.  

Every speck of dirt showed in their tiny wall-to-wall cream carpet one-bedroom flat.  Organization seemed to be the one goal that consistently escaped Tabitha’s grasp — there were copious piles of textbooks, binders, bills, used tea mugs, and discarded notes on every flat surface, marking her as a university student in her final year.  The bright, open-concept main room had enough space for their two second-hand couches, the coffee table, a cheap wooden shelf for the cable-less TV and VCR, an overcrowded plywood computer desk, and their kitchen table.  The boundary between the living space and eating space was marked by a large fruitless orange tree, the only plant that Tabitha had managed to avoid killing with love.  

She called the plant “George”.  

Tabitha’s inability to keep green things alive didn’t bother her as much as the clutter in their home.  Alex never complained that they couldn’t actually eat at the table.  The worn-in sofa cushions were fine, he reassured her; the baby certainly wouldn’t care.  She plunked a decaffinated tea bag in her mug, eying the piles of clean laundry in the middle of the room that still needed folding.  Her husband’s clean aprons and chef’s coats lay precariously on top of the largest pile, taunting her.  She couldn’t procrastinate on the housework anymore, having finished her last essay for the term that morning.  At least, with the baby so overdue, she had been able to complete her final assignments and would be awarded her degree.  That was one worry she could finally put aside. 

But the mess… If their home was going to be ready for the little stranger, she had to get busy after he changed and went to his second shift of the day.  Alex did what he could to contribute, washing dishes, making meals ahead, and doing all the grocery shopping in the knowledge that Tabitha loathed those chores, but he had been working extra shifts for months to put extra money aside.

Who knew?  Maybe a round of energetic cleaning would get things in the uterine department moving!

 __________

Download your copy today — http://www.melange-books.com/authors/anthologies/havingmybaby.html

 

 

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Ah, the joys and pains of starting a family… excerpt from “Tabitha’s Solution”

Eight days earlier, Tabitha had been absolutely positive that the baby was on her way. Her entire pregnancy had been incident-free: no morning sickness, no swollen ankles, no varicose veins. A few stretch marks now crossed her abdomen, but otherwise it had been text-book perfect.
“I’m so excited, I just know it’s going to go smoothly, Mom.” Tabitha grinned as she cradled the phone between her chin and shoulder. The soft pastel green receiving blanket she was folding crackled with static electricity in her hands as she shook out the fold. “Plus, if we do have the baby tomorrow — no, when we have the baby tomorrow, I’m going to think positively — I’ll win that brand-new nursery at the mall!”
“But you already have a crib, and a stroller.”
“I couldn’t resist entering that contest, I just had a really good feeling about it.” Tabitha added the tidy square of fabric to the linen shelf beside the crib, and picked up a cotton one printed with yellow duckies. “It includes a bassinet with a lacy lining, so Victorian and adorable, plus a changing table. I don’t have a changing table.”
“Do you really have room for all of that?” Her mother cautioned. “We talked about that. Until you move, you’re pretty crowded as it is. That’s why I got you that rail-riding changing thingy.”
Tabitha suppressed a sigh. “I’d make it work, Mom. I’m creative. I play Tetris, I like rearranging things.” She refused to look around again at the small bedroom holding the old double-bed, one long dresser, a side table with a lamp, and for the baby, the linen shelf she had converted from an old plant stand, and the crib squeezed into the only space left, nearly blocking the bedroom door.
“I wish I could be down there with you, dear,” her mother sighed.
“I know. I do too.” Tabitha hoped she sounded sincere. On the one hand, having her mother present during her labour would be a comfort. On the other, she wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea. It was going to be hard enough being exposed to the midwives again! Tabitha never even let women in a change room see her naked, always putting on her swimsuit in the bathroom.
Still, she had imagined her mom waiting just outside the delivery room, and being one of the first to hold her new grandchild. That would have been wonderful.
“Did your washer and dryer ever come?” Her mom was asking.
“Yes, just yesterday.” With great relish, Tabitha described her new appliances as though they were toys. “They’re really shiny, Mom. So much better than going to the laundromat. I can’t believe we lucked out on an apartment with a laundry room, let alone that we were able to buy the set on sale. It’s going to make using cloth diapers much easier.”
Tabitha didn’t care that her mother was probably was rolling her eyes; this was a debate she had often gotten into with her. No, she did care. “I know you think it’s silly, but it’s really better for the environment.”
“All you’re doing is using more electricity,” her mother argued. “Why else did they invent disposables? God knows, if they had had disposables when you and your brother were babies…”
“There are mothers in India who never put their babies in diapers,” Tabitha pointed out. “Babies have survived being put in cloth diapers for thousands of years. It’ll help him to toilet train faster, if he feels the wet.”
“Tabitha. This is a baby. You’re looking at a year before that is even close to happening.”
“Yeah, well… I want to try it, anyway.” A lump pushed at her hand, to the left of her navel. It was most likely a foot. She prodded it back, and the foot abruptly struck her lower rib. “Ow. Besides, it’s a lot easier than it used to be, with the velcro Kushies instead of pins.”
She’d never be able to convince her mom, Tabitha knew.
“When will Dad be back from his business trip?”
“Oh, in about a week.” The tone of her mother’s voice changed from wistful to bemused. “He’s been trying to get me to fly out and join him in Vancouver, but I’d rather be closer to you. Maybe I should take the train down, what do you think about that?”
“Mom, you’d have to sleep on our couch. It’s just not practical.” Not to mention the single bathroom they’d have to share! “I’ll be fine. I can take care of a baby.”
“Mm-hmm.”
“Really, it’s going to be great!”
“Okay.”
“I mean, Alex is going to take a few days off, and the midwives will be doing two home visits, so I won’t be completely alone. I can take care of the baby.”
“What about the rabbit?”
Tabitha glanced down at the black-and-white German bunny sniffing around her feet. “I can take care of Beatrice too; she can run around while I’m feeding the baby. She won’t be a problem. We finally got her litter-trained, so cleaning the cage is easier, too.”
“Well, if you need me to take her, let me know.”
“It’s fine, Mom.” Tabitha cringed; she didn’t want to sound like a whiny teenager. “Listen, I have to go to the bathroom. I just got kicked in the bladder again. I’ll call you first thing tomorrow, and as soon as my labour starts, all right?”
“I love you, Tabby-cat.”
“Love you, too.”
Tabitha rubbed her belly as she set the phone back in its cradle. “Your grandmama is going to love you soooo much, little one,” she reflected aloud. “We just have to be patient a little while longer. It would be nice for her to be here, but we just don’t have the space! And I read all the books, I know how to take care of you. How hard can it be? You’re just one little baby!”
Her bump shifted abruptly, as though in response.
“Yes, yes, I get it. My poor bladder is crowding you. Well, let’s take care of that.” Quickly folding the last three blankets and setting them on the shelf, Tabitha grabbed her battered copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and headed to the bathroom.
And emerged, a short time later, feeling slightly disgruntled.
Where were all the signs of imminent labour? Her muscles had been scrunching and relaxing inconsistently for a week, a strange but not unpleasant sensation, but there had been no pain to suggest that it was time. Sherry, her primary caregiver, had said that she was experiencing pre-labour, and that it was a good thing. But nothing else had happened.
No bloody show. She wasn’t quite sure what that would be like, in spite of the book’s description.
No sudden gushes of fluid, or flare-ups of back pain, not that she really wanted to experience these things. Tabitha just wanted to have her baby, as quickly as possible. And if it was at all possible, it would be ideal if needles were not involved. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but unless medical intervention was absolutely necessary, no needles would come anywhere near her skin.
Admittedly, all the battle stories she’d heard from her prenatal classes, and read in her books, about the potential side effects of drugs on a baby’s brain — or on the mother, so she couldn’t remember giving birth — had strengthened her prejudice against modern medicine. Plus, the fact that even watching someone getting a needle made her nauseous made getting an epidermal completely out of the question. Absolutely nobody was getting near her spine with a sharp object unless she was knocked out, first.
Punctured spinal column. Tabitha shuddered at the thought.
Alex was completely on her side. He attended as many appointments with her as he could, and understood her fears. “I won’t let anyone touch you, unless there’s a problem,” he promised her, over and over.
She was relying on that.
Her mother had reminisced often enough about Tabitha’s own introduction to the world. In the late 1970s, she had had to shave, and have an enema at the start of the labour. Ick. Thank goodness hospitals no longer did any of that — Tabitha did not relish the picture her mother had painted of a woman who had just given birth running to the toilet. Sherry had laid those fears to rest in one of her early appointments.
“Enemas? No, no, that’s not done anymore,” she shook her head, smiling. “And you’ll only need a catheter if you go in for a c-section. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. If there is a problem, we’ll refer you right away to the obstetrician-gynocologist.”
“How quickly could the OB-GYN get there, if the baby’s in distress?” Alex knew all the terminology, from his years as a volunteer with the St. John Ambulance. He smiled at Tabitha, squeezing her hand as tightly as she held his own.
“He’ll be either in the hospital, or on-call, depending on how you are at the beginning of your labour.” Sherry consulted a schedule hanging on the wall. Her light brown curly hair reminded Tabitha of her mother. “In fact, the doctor has a couple of scheduled inductions and a caesarean booked around your due date. I don’t think you’ll need to worry, unless the baby is breech or something else is going on.”
So many things could go wrong, but Tabitha tried not to think about that. For over eight months, ever since she had confirmed that she was pregnant, she was only ever optimistic that her first birth would be perfect. Traditional, in the modern sense. She would breathe through the pains, using her meditation and yoga training. She would visualize, to help her body relax. She would have her favourite soft-rock or new age music playing, and a scented candle. They would be in the hospital, just in case, but Alex would be by her side through the whole experience and make sure that it was just like she wanted.
Perfect.
Twenty-four more hours, and she would be a mother. Alex would be a dad. All of this discomfort and concern would be behind them.

Thirty-six hours later, Tabitha had to stop herself from grinding her teeth with impatience.
“Honey, what are you doing with that shovel?”
Tabitha huffed and puffed, her breath coming in little clouds of condensation. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m shoveling.”
Alex approached her with the caution of a bomb defuser approaching an unknown container. “I can see that. But sweetheart, you’re nine months pregnant. Why don’t you let me do that?”
She glared at him over her muffler, without breaking her rhythm. “I’m fine. It’s just a couple of inches of snow.”