Ditched as my waters broke!

Ceri, 27, from Buck­ley, was in labour with her longed­for baby. But her fella was nowhere to be seen...

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The lit­tle nig­gling doubt I had was get­ting harder to ig­nore

Lift­ing a box from the back of my car, I turned to carry it into my house.

Only my boyfriend Sa­muel stopped me, took the box from my hands.

‘I don’t think so!’ he scolded. ‘No heavy lift­ing for you.’

‘I’ll pop the ket­tle on then,’ I said. ‘For your first cuppa in your new home.’

It was July 2016, and af­ter al­most a year to­gether, we’d just found out that

I was preg­nant.

Now, Sam was mov­ing in with me.

Suf­fer­ing with poly­cys­tic ovaries, I’d been told it might not be pos­si­ble for me to con­ceive.

But here I was, ex­pect­ing a baby with the man of my dreams.

I’d never been hap­pier. Apart from one thing… Sam was thought­ful, kind, a real fam­ily man.

But there was some­thing he couldn’t open up about.

He’d been in the Army, served in Afghanistan.

‘I don’t like to talk about it,’ he’d told me while we were fall­ing in love.

In­stead, he’d crack jokes, have a drink.

Or two, or three... Some­times I sensed that he was try­ing to drown out hor­ri­ble mem­o­ries from his ser­vice, hid­ing from his feel­ings in­stead of shar­ing them. And I hoped that now, as we set up home and started a fam­ily, he could leave that dark­ness in the past.

Only, in those first few weeks, Sam was of­ten out with his mates, go­ing to the pub af­ter work in his job as an over­head lines­man.

He’d moved in but I hardly ever saw him. Spent evenings alone in front of the telly.

When he even­tu­ally came home, he’d call me names and put me down.

He ground away at my self-es­teem.

At our first scan, I hoped he’d show me – and the mid­wife – his en­thu­si­asm.

But he sat there glued to his phone, barely look­ing up at the screen.

What could be more im­por­tant than our baby?

At the next scan, at 20 weeks, we de­cided to find out the sex of our baby.

Usu­ally an ex­cit­ing day. ‘Oh! I wanted a boy,’ Sam groaned when the scan re­vealed I was car­ry­ing a girl. He went back to his phone. The lit­tle nig­gling doubt that I had about Sam was get­ting harder to ig­nore.

And as my due date fast ap­proached, I won­dered what sort of home I was bring­ing my lit­tle girl into.

Stroking my belly, I al­ready knew she was my pri­or­ity now.

In March 2017, alone again at home, my waters broke.

Ring­ing Sam, I stam­mered down the phone that I was go­ing into labour.

‘It’s one of my work­mates’ leav­ing dos, so we’re go­ing out in Ch­ester,’ he replied.

I paused, waited for him to add that it didn’t mat­ter, that he’d be home soon to get me to the hospi­tal.

But those words never fell out of Sam’s mouth.

I waited a few hours be­fore call­ing again.

Luck­ily, Sam was in a taxi head­ing back to our house.

But when he got home, it was clear he’d had a few drinks.

‘I’ll have to drive us to the hospi­tal then,’ I said, frus­trated. This felt like the last straw. Poppy was born days later, a beau­ti­ful bun­dle of joy.

Ex­hausted and in pain,

I was re­liant on Sam, friends and fam­ily.

As we left the hospi­tal the next day, I was pleased to have Sam by my side.

Now, with a new­born baby, I needed him more than ever.

This could be the mak­ing of him, I thought.

And for the first cou­ple of weeks, dur­ing his pa­ter­nity leave, Sam was bril­liant. Chang­ing nap­pies, feed­ing the baby, look­ing af­ter her when I needed to rest, his sweeter side re-emerged.

Only, when he re­turned to work, ev­ery­thing changed again.

If he wasn’t out with his friends, he was slumped out on the sofa, not pay­ing me or Poppy any at­ten­tion.

And his con­stant fix­a­tion with his phone was grind­ing on me.

What’s so in­ter­est­ing on there?

He’d even take it to the bath­room with him!

One night in April 2017, six weeks af­ter

He was on his feet now, anger in his eyes, scream­ing vile abuse

Poppy was born, my sus­pi­cions got the bet­ter of me.

As soon as Sam started snor­ing drunk­enly on the sofa, I seized the op­por­tu­nity.

Pick­ing up his phone, I flicked through and gasped.

He had what ap­peared to be the num­ber for an es­cort agency saved in his con­tacts.

‘How could you?’ I cried, shak­ing him awake.

When I said what I’d found on his phone, he said it was a joke be­tween him and the work lads.

But I’d had enough. Pick­ing up Poppy, I started walk­ing to­wards the stairs.

But Sam was on his feet now, anger in his eyes.

Scream­ing vile abuse, his fist shot to­wards me but missed and flew through the door.

Scared, I quickly car­ried Poppy up­stairs.

‘I want to hold her,’ he said, slur­ring his words, as he fol­lowed me into the bed­room. ‘No, you’re drunk,’ I barked. Sud­denly, his one hand gripped around my neck and, eyes blaz­ing, he pulled back his fist as if to punch me.

Afraid he’d hurt Poppy, I begged him to stop. He hes­i­tated, then let go. Poppy still in my arms, I lunged for my phone, but Sam was too quick.

Sud­denly his hands were round my throat again and he was pin­ning me down on the bed.

Ter­ri­fied, I tried to cover Poppy’s head, didn’t want her see­ing what he was do­ing.

‘Mind the baby,’ Sam kept say­ing, though he was the one stran­gling me!

When he fi­nally re­leased me, I gasped for air.

But I didn’t care about me. Stroking her tiny head, I prayed that Poppy would never re­mem­ber this chaos, or the dan­ger that her dad had put her in.

‘I’m sorry,’ he mut­tered, be­fore run­ning down­stairs and out of the front door.

Van­ished again, leav­ing me to pick up the pieces.

As I tried to com­fort Poppy, I was in bits my­self.

The po­lice ar­rived soon af­ter he left, called to the house by a neigh­bour.

I told them ev­ery­thing. I stayed at my mum’s that night, too ter­ri­fied Sam would re­turn to the house. He was ar­rested soon af­ter and charged with as­sault. In June 2017, Sa­muel Foulkes, 25, ad­mit­ted as­sault at Flintshire Mag­is­trates Court. Mag­is­trates said that it was a ‘cow­ardly as­sault of a woman with a baby in her arms’.

The court heard that, when in­ter­viewed, Sam ad­mit­ted the ar­gu­ment had been sparked over the num­ber of an es­cort agency be­ing found on his phone.

His de­fence ar­gued that he’d suf­fered post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der from his time in the Army.

Maybe he was suf­fer­ing. But that didn’t make what he did to me OK.

Sam was placed on a 12month com­mu­nity order with re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and 200 hours un­paid work, and fined £85 costs and an £85 sur­charge. Af­ter, Sam begged me to for­give him. Fool­ishly, I did – hop­ing he would change and be a real fa­ther for Poppy. Of course he didn’t. Within days of mov­ing back in, he was back to his par­ty­ing ways. So I ended it for good. The Sam I fell in love with had van­ished long ago, and I’d had enough.

Any man who at­tacks a woman isn’t worth it. I’ll never put up with that again.

Me and Sa­muel in late 2016

Sa­muel – what hap­pened to the man of my dreams?

With my lit­tle girl to­day

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