First few pages about the path of a young girls life.
| It was midnight, and Sarah finally made it home from the hospital, and with her newborn soundly asleep in her car seat. She set the little baby, whom she had decided to name Ada, down in the bedroom so she could inspect the state of her one bedroom apartment.
Sarah had been in the hospital for the last 8 days waiting for the doctor to decide it was safe to discharge Ada. After Ada had been born, she spent the first day in the hospital room with Sarah, almost never leaving her side except for when the nurses came in chiding her for co-sleeping and making her put Ada into the nursery bed. It felt so unnatural, separating herself from this warm little bundle that overwhelmed her heart and made her feel like nothing else in the world mattered anymore. Not her mother whome refused to actually act like a mother, not her father who attempted to force her to give the baby up, not her newborn child's father, whom refused to believe that it was his child at all. The emptiness and loneliness that she had felt the last 9 months suddenly became completely insignificant, because now she had Ada, and Ada was her world.
And her world was taken into the hospitals NICU after only one day of being in her arms, and she spent the next 7 days lying alone in that cold monitored room being prodded and tested. Not warm and comforted in the arms of her mother. But that was over now. Now she was home. And now she realized just how little help she had.
Looking around Sarah saw that the first thing she needed to do was put her apartment back in order. 8 days and the only help she had was her ride to the hospital, and her neighbor popping in to feed her two cats. But now she had 8 days of dirty litter to clean, 8 days of cat hair, 8 days of dirty dishes that were on the counter and had now begun to mold. Not the environment she wanted to be in, let alone her baby. So methodically, she began in the kitchen, her pride and joy kitchen that always made her feel cheerful.
It was one of the first things she had done when she had moved into the apartment when she was 5 months pregnant. Her landlady was very relaxed and let her do as she pleased. So Sarah had gone to their local Lowes, and chose that perfect shade of sunshine yellow and citrus orange paint to cover up the bright white walls that were so common amongst rentals. Sarah painted the top section yellow and under the chair rail the gorgeous orange, so the entire room just evoked Florida sunshine. And to further it, added beautiful sheer green curtains, bamboo dor, and wonderful selection of those hard to kill angel plants.
But now she had dehydrated plants, shed cat hair everywhere, and dishes that severely needed to be soaked. It took about 40 minutes to get the kitchen back into its original state. Next was the living room that left much to be desired. There was her mothers 70's record cabinet that served as her extra blanket storage, her fathers green military issued foot locker which she had transformed into her coffee table by topping with a thick glass table top, the nearly pointless entertainment center that pretty much had no purpose in this decade. One of those with the big hole in the middle for the box TV that no one makes anymore, and built in shelving for CD's that no one buys anymore. Currently, the TV hole was filled with her white Dell laptop, once used for writing college research papers and unpopular debates about the stupidity of societal norms. Now it's main purpose was job applications and late night movies. And then there was the ridiculous trash picked couch which screamed just how poor she really was.
It was one of the longer couches she had ever seen, decorated in cream and floral, and missing all of its bottom and top cushions. In place she had packed the bottom with as many extra-large throw pillows (yard sale bought), and wrapped the entire monstrosity as tightly as she could with a tan slip cover. But, it was okay for the time being, just a temporary situation she told herself.
Thankfully the couch was blessedly free of cat hair, just the litter box by the front door needed to be cleaned and refilled. Once done, Sarah moved back into the bedroom, oddly huge considering the low rent. She had actually considered trying to split the room in half, blocking off the back side of the L-shaped bedroom so that the front would be her bedroom and the back would be Ada's "room". But that was something that she had not yet actually gotten to. Fortunately Ada was still soundly asleep. So that gave her time enough to make her bed and change into some comfortable clothing.
She hated this part. The part of the day when she took off her clothes and looked at her stomach and how empty it felt now that Ada was out in the real world. How oddly soft it felt, and wondering how long it was till she got back to her 110 lbs. Now exhausted but finished with the house, Sarah pulled Ada out of her car seat and laid down on the bed, letting Ada nuzzle at her breasts searching for her nipple. It came so naturally, it was a wonder to her how people could not seem to figure it out.
Shortly Ada was done, and happily back asleep on her chest. And blissfully, Sarah fell asleep too, in content with the decision she had made, despite the irreversible changes she had made to her life, and for her future.
A week later, once the little bit of money she had left had run out, she decided it was time to jump back into work. The neighbors, a lesbian couple the same age as her, had agreed to take turns watching Ada during her shifts. The glorious Olive Garden, consistently filled to the brim with snow-birds during the day and everybody and anybody during dinner shifts. The restaurant brought in good money though, and guests always seemed to like her and they tipped well. The money was definitely better than the Olive Garden she had transferred over from in Maryland. And they were not uptight about following company policies to a T. The managers let you take on as many tables as you wanted as long as they knew you were competent, as opposed to the three table section policy.
There were days when she worked a double shift, from 9:30am - 12pm, working the entire east side of the restaurant herself, but as exhausting as it all was, it took only one of those shifts to pay rent, electricity, and car insurance combined. Of course it eventually began to wear on her, the constant moving, the stress, the anxiety. Finally caused an intestinal infection brought on by a Crohn's flare.
It began with a couple days of fever, but what was there to do but just ignore it and work? Then there were three days of calling out of work because of the crippling pain. But it was the first example of just how strong a mother can be. It didn't matter what was wrong with me, Ada was fed, burped, changed, snuggled, loved, as much as she would ever need to be.
Until the day she could not stop shaking. Hours and hours of shaking. Finally she got a friend to come over and help with Ada, only for her friend to call an ambulance when Sarah attempted to call her father only to stare at the phone and say "I don't know how to use this". Her temperature when she reached the hospital was recorded at 105.5. She had reached a high enough temperature to start becoming confused.