Labour ward love triangle
Me and his other woman... giving birth together!
Gently lifting one frail, wrinkly thigh, I gave the underside a good sponging.
I told its owner, a sweet old gent. I was a carer and I loved my job. It helped people, made me feel useful, and paid the bills, too.
But, as I pinged off my latex gloves, I was thinking about the next day, my night off, when I’d be getting my mitts on a very different fella…
I’d met him on a dating site a month earlier. Jack2468, he called himself. No profile pic but he’d described himself as ‘Single, 22’.
And the message he sent got my juices flowing… I’m looking for something serious and you’re gorgeous,
I asked for a pic… Jack Benson was very handsome. I don’t want anything complicated, he messaged. He’d come to the right woman, then.
We chatted for two weeks, Jack telling me about his job at the water board and life living with his mum.
One night, when I was off work, he came over to my flat. ‘Hey…’ he smiled.
There was no bouquet of carnations or garage choccies.
The only thing he’d brought was a cocky smirk and eyes that were already unhooking my bra.
Soon, his hands were full of little old me.
Then afterwards, he grabbed his coat and left.
It was two weeks before he
got in touch again.
What you up to? I need to see you, he texted.
I’m off Wednesday, I replied. Cue another night of passion. After that, me and Jack followed a pattern.
He’d get in touch every few weeks, asking to see me on a night off.
‘Let’s just stay in, yeah?’ he would say.
I never met his mates or his family, but I was falling in love.
Every morning at 6am, he’d text, Morning sexy – along with a picture of his very own morning glory.
Then he’d turn up three or four nights a week and show me how glorious it really was.
Sometimes we’d just sit around, watching his favourite police chase shows and eating chicken pizzas from Domino’s.
In May 2015, when we’d been together a year, I was scrolling through Facebook.
Suddenly, I saw a familiar face suggested under, ‘People you may know.’
It was Jack, Jack. But in the photo he wasn’t alone.
His arms were around a pretty brunette. Two children smiled happily at their feet!
I began to shake. He had another woman? My Jack was cheating on me?!
I threw my phone on the sofa as the pieces all thunked into place.
Like remembering the night he’d taken me to his mum’s and snuck me up the stairs to his bedroom.
Who had he been hiding me from? The other woman?
I shoved the profile under Jack’s nose and his face fell.
‘Ayeisha and me have just got back together,’ he admitted, eyes on the floor. ‘I didn’t know how to tell you.’
I stared at him.
‘You mean… ’ I stammered. She wasn’t his bit on the side. That was me!
For a whole year, he’d kept this hidden, while making me fall in love with him.
She’d even given him TWO kids he’d never thought to mention! It was over!
I opened my mouth to say it. But Jack looked devastated.
‘I don’t want things to end with us, Abs,’ he whispered. ‘Me and Ayeisha are only together for the kids.’
I wobbled. That had to be true, didn’t it? How could he be spending half the week with me if they had a proper relationship?
He spent nearly every night at my place and sometimes weeks, for crying out loud!
So somehow I let him kiss me... then the inevitable. As usual, he got up in the middle of the night and left. This time I knew where he was going. But I told myself not to think about that.
I mean, didn’t she wonder where he was?
He made me fall in love with him
Maybe she didn’t care. Nothing changed until, a few months on, I woke up feeling iffy and walked to the chemist to buy a pregnancy test.
Me and Jack had never used protection.
Two big thick lines sprung up. I’m pregnant. If you want to do a runner I understand,
I hoped he’d want the opposite. When he came over a few days later, he rubbed my belly and kissed it.
But I went to every single antenatal appointment alone.
I texted Jack scan photos and updates. I reckoned he just needed to meet our baby then he’d move in with us properly.
‘It’s you two I want, babe,’ he promised. ‘I love you.’
But doing it all on my own got very lonely.
When I was 19 weeks pregnant, I spotted a friend’s scan picture on Facebook.
Excitedly going to write a comment on her baby scan, a different comment quickly popped up before my eyes. Me too! I can’t wait to do my baby’s room again, I’m 13 weeks pregnant. It was her! Jack’s ex.
I flopped back, reeling. He’d got her pregnant just weeks after me?
I paced the house, our baby doing somersaults inside me.
When I saw Jack, I demanded an explanation.
‘It was an accident,’ he said. How do you accidentally sleep with someone?
Jack shrugged, helplessly. But I still couldn’t give him up. Yet at every pregnancy milestone, I felt a pang of heartbreak. It was awful knowing I wasn’t the only one carrying his baby.
We weren’t special any more. In April, Jack texted to tell me his baby son had arrived early.
Congratulations, I sent back. Six weeks on, it was my turn. I was at Dorset County Hospital to be induced. Jack wasn’t there.
My two best mates were supporting me. I told myself I didn’t mind.
I texted updates to Jack… how many centimetres I’d dilated, how fast the contractions…
… until I pushed our 7lb 7oz baby Ella into the world.
She was rushed away. When I was well enough to walk, I wobbled on unsteady legs to the special care baby unit to see her.
As I scanned the board in the SCBU to see which bed she was in, I spotted another name.
She was here, her premature baby was still in hospital…
Was that why Jack had stayed away?
I pulled out my phone and texted him, Jack please come and see us. This is really awkward.
Sorry, babe. Can’t, he replied. I was crushed, I needed him. But I batted back tears and found our baby. She was covered in wires. She’d caught an infection. ‘Mummy’s here,’ I cooed. But I kept seeing Ayeisha… yakking on her phone and chatting to other mums.
One day, she smiled and nodded to me.
I fled to my room, mortified, pulled the curtains around me…
‘Just get well, baby,’ I willed Ella. ‘Then we can see Daddy.’
I had faith in Jack – we belonged together. But was I hiding from Ayeisha or reality?
After 10 days, Ella was finally well enough to come home.
As soon as I got back, Jack was at the flat.
‘Hey, princess,’ he cooed, cradling her.
He started staying over all night. No more skulking away in the early hours.
I didn’t ask about Ayeisha or his new son. It must be over. He’d chosen me.
One day, when Ella was 13 months, I spotted Ayeisha in the shops. Both pushing our buggies, I tried to whizz right past her, but she stopped me. ‘She’s looking better,’ she said, giving me a warm smile and leaning over Ella’s buggy.
I nodded and walked away. I knew all about Ayeisha, but she clearly didn’t know anything about me.
I was just a fellow mum she’d recognised from the maternity ward… Suddenly, I didn’t feel like the victor. I felt like the mistress all over again.
Days later, as I climbed into bed beside Jack, my phone vibrated on the bedside table.
I read the number to Jack – he recognised it as Ayeisha’s. ‘Why is she calling me?’ I asked him.
He sighed and made to get out of bed.
I stopped him.
‘Look, she’s found out that we’re together, and about Ella,’ he said. ‘Let me go sort out the kids and I’ll be back.’
He kissed me and Ella, and swooped out of the door before I could even get a word out. That was four months ago. We haven’t seen Jack since. I’ve heard he and Ayeisha are planning to marry. Final proof I was the other woman all along.
Jack must have felt like Jack-the-lad with two women holding his babies a few feet apart.
But now he’s lost our beautiful girl. I might have been second best. But our Ella? Never.
I went to every antenatal appointment alone
Jack never did come to see us in hospital
The moment we were home, Jack was there to meet his daughter
Me and Ella are doing just fine
Jack was a loving dad to Ella
Ella had to spend 10 days in the special care baby unit