I woke up early with back ache and stomach ache. It wasn’t how I imagined labour to be so I assumed the winter bugs had got me again. It was January 29th 1998.
I got up and made a drink and lay on the sofa waiting for Will to wake up. He came through a few hours after I’d woken and I still felt awful. Neither of us even dreamt that I might be in labour so we just assumed I was poorly. Will put the playstation on and yet again, got lost in the world of Lara Croft.
As time passed, the pains got worse. I knew that this was it. I knew I was in labour. I didn’t say anything because I thought it might go away if I sat really still and tried to relax. I hadn’t spoken to the midwife about labour. I hadn’t read any books. I was very naive. I thought it would happen when I was ready. I was still hoping that somebody would come and wave a magic wand and tell me that everything was going to be alright, and I’d be able to keep my baby.
I hadn’t told my family that I was pregnant. I was very close to my Mum and I knew how disappointed she’d be. A lot of my friends were pregnant at the same time as me, and she’d voiced her feelings on teen pregnancies very clearly. I knew I couldn’t tell her so I had spoken to a social worker and expressed my wishes to have my baby adopted. I felt it was the only option I had, that wouldn’t tear everybody’s lives apart. I couldn’t bare the thought of losing everybody I loved to have a baby. I wasn’t even capable of looking after myself, let alone being responsible for a tiny human being. I didn’t want to give her away. I just wanted everybody to be happy. I wanted my Mum to be proud of me….. I knew that by suddenly appearing with a baby would bring so much shame on my family. I wanted better than that for my baby. She didn’t deserve any of this. She deserved the absolute best that she could ever have. But I wanted to be the one that could give her that. With all of the opposition I was going to face for having a baby I knew that she would be better off without me. I hated having to admit to that because at this moment in time she was all I wanted.
Wills family knew by this time. We had their support, but at the same time I knew he was only standing by me because he felt he had to. They knew our plans and knew that they couldn’t change our minds.
I spoke to Will and told him that I thought I was in labour. Immediately, he wanted to go to the hospital but I didn’t want to go. I knew that the longer I held off, the longer my baby would be mine. I was in complete denial that I was going to have this baby. Nobody could take her away while she was still inside me so I fought to keep her there as long as I possibly could.
When I was admitted to the delivery suite I was frightened and confused. I knew I couldn’t hold this off any longer but I knew that there was still time to make it work, but that was going to mean that somebody was going to have to call my Mum.
Will returned solemnly. He looked sad… But also angry. I felt guilty that he’d had to make the call that I’d spent months dreading but I was desperate to know what had been said.
“Your Mum has known all along, Kelly!”…. The words seemed to repeat over and over in my head. I couldn’t process it. How could she have known and not said anything? She must have known I was trying so hard to tell her and she had chosen to ignore it. We’d even talked about adoption…. I was trying to raise the subject with her when I was about seven months pregnant because I wanted to judge how she may feel about it. She told me that if I fell pregnant at my age she’d rather me give my baby up for adoption than keep it because I wasn’t capable of raising a child. So with hindsight, I guess that she had her say that way because she wasn’t brave enough to face it with me. Ignorance is bliss, so they say.
I was hurt. I was angry. That last hope of a miracle was gone. Mum had her final say. I knew now, that if I were to keep my baby I’d be on my own.
I don’t blame my Mum. I suppose that she thought that my child deserved a better life than I could give. Harsh, but sadly it was true. Or so I thought. I know now that I could have made things work. I wish I’d have been brave. I wish I’d have realised then that I was capable of so much more than people gave me credit for. I could have made her life a happy, fulfilled life, full of love and laughter.
On the morning of January 30th 1998 I fell in love for the first time in my life. I hadn’t planned to see my baby but I couldn’t help myself. She was beautiful. She was everything I imagined in more. Looking into her eyes made my heart ache. My head was spinning with despair. I hadn’t even thought about names, but when I saw her I knew she was Abigail. As I held her, she stared into my soul. I’m sure she knew I was her Mummy. And I knew that letting her go wasn’t going to be easy.
We fed her. We changed her. We did all the things the other parents were doing. The difference was that everybody else was beginning their fantastic journeys. Ours was about to end.
My miracle wasn’t going to happen. Nobody was going to wave that magical wand. Nobody was coming to meet my baby and tell me what I wanted to hear. I was waiting for something that was never going to happen. My beautiful, gorgeous, perfect Abigail was destined to be somebody else’s daughter.
I walked out of that hospital ward numb. Empty. Hollow. Dead.