Studying my new baby's features as she slumbered peacefully next to me in her crib, I was choked with amazement. Out of the ashes of what had once been a beautiful marriage, Nathan and I had somehow managed to create this tiny bundle of perfection. As I watched her chest rise and fall and laughed at the little bubbles she blew in her sleep, my heart ached with love and pride for her. She had rose-bud lips, a cute button nose so like her daddy's, the sweetest navy blue eyes and a mop of dark curls.
I didn’t remember anything about the birth; I presumed it must have been an emergency caesarian. I felt slight disappointment as I had planned a water birth with soothing music already chosen. My thoughts were hazy, I had not been awake for long and I was feeling totally exhausted. This was the first glimpse I’d had of my daughter. I thought back to the evening when my heart was ripped in half.
‘Nathan!’ I'd screamed as he'd arrived home from work. ‘I found a letter in your jeans pocket.’
‘What letter, Sally?’ Nathan had muttered, his face paling.
‘You damn well know Nathan, a letter from some woman called Rosie, some woman you have slept with behind my back!’ I'd screeched, tears burning my eyes, tears I had not wanted Nathan to see.
‘Sally, you’ve got it all wrong. Rosie is a work colleague, that's all,’ he'd implored, his eyes taking on a haunted look.
Laughing bitterly I'd replied, ‘So your work colleague loves you, right?’
‘That's just the way she speaks, she's grateful that I've helped her through a tricky patch at work, that's all,’ Nathan had said, running his hand through his tousled black hair.
‘I don't believe you, you have been distant for weeks now,’ I'd retorted, stroking my pregnant belly. ‘You’ve been out almost every evening after work when I needed you here, and when you have been at home you have been glued to your mobile phone, texting I don’t know who.’
I'd been stunned as Nathan had stepped forward, slapping me sharply across my cheek. He'd never laid one finger on me before; where had that come from?
‘Oh Sally, I'm sorry,’ he'd gasped, ‘I didn't mean to hit you. I'd never hurt you. Believe me, nothing happened with Rosie.’
‘It's over, I'm going, I don't want to hear anymore,’ I'd sobbed. I hadn't waited around. Grabbing my car keys and a bag I'd hastily packed a short time ago, I'd taken one last fleeting glimpse of Nathan. He had been my 'Mr Perfect', my tall, dark and handsome. I'd always likened his dreamy brown eyes to my favourite chocolate buttons, which had made him chuckle. We'd laughed and loved so much. I couldn't remember when our dream had begun to go so wrong. Plans for the future had shattered around us, and now it had seemed it really was the end.
Jumping in my car, Nathan's voice had echoed after me, plaintively, down the path.
‘Sally what about us, our baby? Don't go, nothing happened, I love you ...’
Tyres screeching, radio blaring, drowning out Nathan's words, I'd hurtled down the road, my cheek still stinging. I'd driven faster and faster in a blaze of hurt, not sure where I was heading.
Now as I looked again at my baby's soft peachy skin, I wished I hadn't been so hasty. Our marriage had become stale, but maybe Nathan had been telling the truth. My hormones had been running riot, I had barely thought straight for weeks. The letter I’d found contained nothing incriminating other than the words I love you. I realised now that I had neglected Nathan; I’d been preoccupied with the IVF treatment I’d been receiving, and when I’d finally fallen pregnant after three failed attempts I’d been completely occupied with the pregnancy. The joy we should have felt for the baby we’d yearned for had dissolved amongst the stony silences and daily arguments. I hadn't given him a chance. I'd blindly jumped to conclusion's, racing off into the night.
We could have made an effort to save our marriage. A marriage that at first had sparkled so brightly, full of hope and promise. I fondly remembered how we had been inseparable ever since meeting on the first day of high school. Two frightened eleven year olds, we'd found a rare instant connection, became childhood sweethearts.
But what is the point in regrets, I thought now. I had my sweet little angel, so innocent in all of this. She was all I needed. I made a vow to myself, that it would be the two of us against the world from now on.