I would dare to say that I never wanted children. Although I was good with other people's kids, and I loved my then only niece to death, I wasn't overly maternal. I'm not an emotional person, and I definitely am not a sappy person. And kids need maternal, emotion and sap.
Neil, though, he was a different case. He wanted kids. He'd say he wasn't bothered either way, but he'd mention it enough that I knew. He was bothered. And so the hypothetical questions start - boy or girl? What name do you like? If we had a kid, would you take them here or there? Let them do this or that? But the thing with hypothetical questions is: they make you think more literally, whether you like it or not, and soon enough you're making a booking appointment with the community midwife.
My pregnancy was easy as pie. Only gained a stone, blood pressure stayed normal, no proteins in urine, no headaches, the expected swelling of the ankles, able to work in a practical job until 37 weeks (only stopped because of Summer holidays), no extra scans, growth was normal, heart beat strong, movements consistent. Nothing was even remotely red flag.
And then came labour. Induced at 41 weeks - no change. Induced again at 41 + 4 - no change. Admitted. I was told that the next time I left the hospital, we'd have our baby. That was 5 days later. Luca was born at 42 weeks, and he protested right until the very end. My contractions started themselves, but also stopped themselves at various points. I was eventually put on a drip to regulate them and increase their strength. The midwife had to intensify the hormone I was given quicker than she liked because my body was almost rejecting it. Then came the time to say whether I wanted an epidural - of course I bloody did!
"I'm sorry, Amy - the risks are too high. The outcome could be catastrophic if we were to go ahead." Exactly what you want to hear when your nearly on day 3 of labour and no baby. I can honestly say I still considered it. I was in so much pain, I was so tired, delirious, even. I remember looking at my mum and I could tell she was upset. She told me no and left the room. I later found out it was to compose herself. I didn't have a choice but to continue with my gas and air and try and get this baby here before my next internal exam!
In the end, Luca was ventouse. His heart rate dropped fairly dramatically - to the point they had the emergency cart in and oxygen at the ready for him, and my steady blood pressure went scary high. They didn't have time to take me for a C-section. I don't remember much during the final 40 minutes. One thing stands out - at one point in the room there was me, Neil, my mum, midwife and consultant. In about 15 seconds, the room was filled with so many people, you could hardly see floor space.
I don't remember if Luca cried right away. I don't remember if they had to administer oxygen or not, I don't remember if I lost a lot of blood. I remember feeling relief. I remember my mum, the consultant and midwife guessing what weight he'd be. I remember Neil telling them that his name would be Luca - I later checked to see if they spelled it how I wanted (they did).
I remember not feeling love, but feeling "I don't know if I can do this."
Too late. The game's already started. We were doing it.