I feel so weird walking around with this big belly. Every time I catch my reflection I laugh a little. I look like I just stuffed a small watermelon under my t-shirt. Everyone else agrees as well. Even my boobs got bigger. Cyrus, of course, was the first person to notice that. It’s so weird the kinds of things that have been happening to my body. I mean, I’m a scientist so I was always well aware of the physical changes that would take place but it’s still remarkable to see them happen day by day.
I can’t believe I’m already into my second trimester. It seems like so much time has passed. Just the other day Cyrus and I were married and now we’re expecting our first child. Yeah, we did kinda have a head start on that but still, it’s so surreal to me to finally be married to the love of my life and be expecting his child all at the same time. All the stuff like waking up next to him in the morning, going to bed together, having him rub my tummy to feel the baby kick…it’s everything I had imagined it would be!
Of course, it hasn’t been smooth sailing the whole time. There were moments where we had to adjust to each other’s ways of living. I’ve always been a bit of a neat-freak. Everyone knows that I just can’t stand to see puddles of water on the floors, dirty dishes on the table or messy countertops so they all make an extra effort to clean up after themselves so I don’t lose it. Cyrus on the other hand has never really had to clean up after himself so he just leaves his mess right where it is and then I have to clean up after him. Being pregnant and a working woman, it’s really exhausting having to do extra, unnecessary cleaning.
He’s not a slob really. He just always had his mother around to spoil him. I didn’t have that luxury when I was growing up. Even though we lived in a big house, we never had a maid because Dad always wanted us to do chores so we could learn responsibility. When Mum got out, she was just as much of a neat-freak as me and she didn’t believe that a maid could keep her house as spotless as she wanted. Chores in my house were an everyday, everyone do their part task and Cyrus had to get on board.
“I can’t believe you did it again! We talked about this Cyrus! I’m pregnant! I can’t keep picking up after you all the time, it’s not fair!”
“Woman, it’s just crumbs! Stop freaking out over nothing!”
“Just crumbs? Just crumbs?!” There were so many bread crumbs on the counter I could collect them all and make a bread pudding!
“Will you calm down please?”
“No! I will not calm down! You’re not listening to me, Cy. This is not your house where you can just do what you want whenever you want!”
“Oh, I see. Not my house huh? So much for this is your house too honey and make yourself as comfortable as you want because this is your place now.”
“You know that’s not what I mean! Of course this is your house too. What I meant was that this is not your mother’s house! You know how crazy I get about messes!”
“Yeah, you’re acting pretty crazy right now. I get it.” He snarked.
“What is wrong with you? Are you trying to drive me up a wall? I’m just asking you to be a little more considerate and pick up after yourself. That’s all I want!”
He sighed. “Okay, fine. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“Yeah, look baby, I don’t want to upset you because upsetting you upsets the baby and if the crumbs get on your nerves that much then I’ll try to be more aware of my surroundings and clean up after myself. We good now?”
I couldn’t believe it was so easy. “Yes, we’re good. I’m sorry too if I seemed a little overbearing. I just like a clean house, that’s all.”
He chuckled. “Let’s hope none of our kids turn out to be as OCD as you are!”
We both laughed and then it was all over. I didn’t have to worry about him leaving messes anymore. But then other issues came up to replace this one.
Every other week, Cyrus and I would go down to Willow Creek to his mother’s house for a family dinner. I was surprised that she wanted me to come as well. After the things she said to me at the wedding I didn’t think she’d even want to see me at all but I guess since I am pregnant with her first grandchild she probably felt obligated.
It made me wonder if I’d still get an invitation after the baby was born because as much as I’d try to make conversation with her, she’d find some way to ignore me by swiftly changing the topic or finding something to do so she wouldn’t have to respond to me. It’s almost like she tries to pretend I’m not even there and I don’t even think Cyrus notices at all. I didn’t tell him what she said to me at the wedding because I didn’t want to create problems between him and his mother but if I’m honest with myself I think telling him might create more problems for us than it would between those two. He is a total Momma’s boy!
I can’t believe I’m saying this but I honestly feel like if it came down to a choice, he would choose her over me. I wish I didn’t feel that way but I do. I should feel some security in knowing that I’m his wife and therefore he’s supposed to put me first but after the things Abbie said I’m beginning to wonder if the real reason why he married me was because she told him to. How can I feel secure about that?
After dinner, Blair would usually leave before dessert so she could go meet up with her boyfriend and that’s around the time when his mother would start rattling off about her plans for the weekend or sharing gossip about the members from her gardening club. I would usually sit back and keep quiet until it was time for us to go back home. I knew I wasn’t wanted there so I tried not to intrude on their conversation.
But then I opened my big mouth.
“I could look at the TV for you if you want.”
“No thank you.” She said flatly.
“You should let her Mom. She’s really handy.”
“I’d rather hire a repairman. I wouldn’t want her to sabotage the TV. It seems to be the only kind of thing those Sloane women can do.”
“It’s okay,” I jumped. “I’m not offended.”
“Well, I am.” He said firmly. He actually looked irritated, almost angry. “Mom, that was uncalled for.”
“Yes, she was trying to be nice to you. There was no need for that.”
“Please. I don’t need her to be nice to me. What I need is for her to deliver a healthy grandchild. That should be the only thing she should worry about.”
“She’s not an incubator for your grandchild. Ivy is my wife.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me.” She groaned in disgust. “If she didn’t get herself knocked up she wouldn’t even be sitting here right now!”
“That’s enough!” He yelled. I’d never seen him so pissed off. “She didn’t woohoo with herself you know. I was there too so stop all this crap about how she trapped me! I love her! I have and I will always love her and nothing and no one will change how I feel so you need to accept that and respect it!”
It was a little scary seeing him like that. Even Abbie jumped in shock so I knew she had never seen that side of him either.
He took a deep breath, lowering his tone before he continued. “Can’t you at least be civil with her? You’re both important to me Mom but if you force me to choose then you know I’m gonna have to choose her because she’s my wife and the mother of my child. My duty is to her and our family now and I would very much like you to be a part of it but if you’re gonna behave this way then…”
He didn’t finish. He just got up and walked away while I called after him. Abbie was stunned into silence.
The drive home was unusually quiet. When we got up to our room that was when I finally spoke. “Are you okay?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…I didn’t mean to be the reason for the fight. I don’t want you and Abbie to be on the outs because of me.”
“Now stop right there. Don’t blame yourself. It’s her fault. If she wanted me to be some kind of deadbeat who breaks his promises then she shouldn’t have raised me right.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“When Isabel told me you were pregnant, I was excited. You know how much I wanted to be a father but when I told Mom she was disappointed in me. She went on a rant about how I broke the family tradition by sleeping with you before marriage. She talked about how you tricked me, how you seduced me and all that which isn’t true. I mean yeah, you prodded but I did what I wanted to. I wanted to make love to you and our baby was conceived out of love, not trickery. Mom wanted me to cut all ties with you. She said I could take custody of the baby when it was born and then forget about you. What kind of man would I be if I did some nonsense like that? I love you Ivy, you and this child are everything I ever wanted and I won’t give either of you up for anyone.”
In that moment I didn’t think I could love him any more than I already did. A flood of relief swept over me when I started to think back on everything that happened that night.
He stood up for me against her.
He told her he would choose me over her.
He practically made that choice already!
All this time I just kept saying to myself how he was such a momma’s boy when I was mistaken all along. I don’t have momma’s boy, I have a husband!
But my husband was of no use to me that evening when I went into labour prematurely. In fact, no one was because everyone went out. Cyrus had a gig and Isabel was out on a date with Wolf. Even Gabe was hanging out at Jo’s house. It wasn’t their fault. The baby was coming early!
The baby was coming fast, so fast that I had no time to call brother and sister even though they were right next door. After I texted Cyrus a 911, I rushed all the way to the nursery as I felt my body ready itself to push. It was scary and I wanted to cry and scream and laugh as well at my predicament. After all the preparations and the birthing plans I made for a hospital birth, here I stood in the nursery pushing my baby out the old-fashioned way!
After a few more pushes he finally came…
My little Kaleb!
In that moment I think I understood Abbie a little bit and why she was so overprotective of Cyrus. Holding my own son in my arms for the first time, I felt like I never wanted to let him go. My sweet little baby boy, so cute, so precious – he practically stole my heart.
I thought Cyrus was the love of my life. Now I’m beginning to reconsider!