First Chapter Friday -- Breathe Ave by Della Leshae

Friday, February 17, 2017


About the Author:

Born and raised in Western Australia, Della Leshae is a self-confessed book addict who loves to write as much as she does read. By day Della is a Mum, Wife and a Beauty Therapist. With her own struggles with infertility to conceive her son, Della believed a story needed to be written to convey her inner thoughts, feelings and struggles on the journey of assisted fertility and so Breathe Ava was written in her spare time.

Summary:

Her body can't naturally do what it was designed to do
Create Life

Ava's dream since she was a young girl, was to be a mother. When she learns in her early twenties that it may never happen, at least not without the help of assisted fertility, everything she dreamed of for her future is shattered to pieces.

After her first marriage fails because she cannot conceive naturally, Ava fears she may never have another chance. 

Until she meets James Parsons, a new work colleague. He is handsome, strong and irresistible. Ava soon believes James is her soul mate and together they will defy all odds to conceive her much wanted child naturally.

After months of trying to no avail, their only option is to enter the world of assisted fertility. Ava's desire to become a mother means she is prepared to do whatever and however many IVF cycles it takes.

But will there be a cost for her dream to become her reality?

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PROLOGUE

I need to push; my baby is coming. Looking around there is no one in the birthing suite with me. Light grey walls, white trim, and a chaise lounge are to the left of me under the window overlooking the river. There is a bright pink exercise ball and a bath big enough for at least four people. It is more like a hotel room. How did I manage to afford such a prestigious room to bring a baby into the world in?
I rest my head back down on the softest pillow I have ever had the pleasure to lie on. I feel like royalty except there are no midwives or doctors in the room with me. Only me and my tummy, that looks as if it will explode very shortly, stretched to its limit. I look around to see if there is a nurse call button I can press to get their attention.
The urge to push is overwhelming and the pressure in my neither region is becoming too much to bear. It seems true what other woman say 'it's like trying to push a watermelon out'. That is exactly what feels like is inside me trying to break free, wanting to enter this world. But it's not a watermelon, it is my precious baby. A baby I have wanted for so long, so much time spent trying so hard for. Is finally here, it is time to become a mother.
This is not how I imagined it, all the months of failed attempts to fall pregnant, it is not meant to be me in this room alone, where is my husband? What if something goes wrong, what if the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck or it comes out the wrong way and I need an episiotomy. The thought of being cut down there sends shivers up my spine.  I just want a straight forward delivery and a healthy baby. It has taken me so long to get here, to be mere minutes away from holding my miracle, I should deserve for it to go smoothly.
Sitting myself up to look down between my bare legs, I see that there is blood, crimson red and so much of it. Why am I bleeding? My screams break the silence of the room, tears start to fall, my breaths become quick and short. Reaching down to my opening I can feel the baby's head, I am touching a life I created.
Where are the midwives?
"Someone please, there is something wrong. The baby, it's coming!" I shout out hoping someone, anyone can hear my cry for help. I had my birth plan all organised and being left here not knowing what is happening or what to do next was not a part of it. I need to push.
Breathe, Ava.
An elderly nurse comes casually walking into the room, she looks like my grandmother in the autumn of her life, aged with lines, silver hair tide back tightly into a bun. There is a siren going off in the background, not the sound of an emergency siren more of an alarm clock.
"I think my baby is coming." I tell her.
The nurse looks at me, her eyes clouded, she is older than I initially thought. Her steps are shaky, off balance as she walks up to the bed placing her wrinkled hand on my arm. "Dear, there is no baby, you’re not pregnant."
***
I wake covered in sweat, throwing the sheets off me I look down. There is no expanding pregnant belly or blood. It was a dream, a nightmare. I always knew it wouldn't be easy for me to conceive a child or even have one. Call it intuition, that little niggle deep down that you get when something isn't quite right. I was certain it was never meant to be for me.
As a school age child I often spent my time day dreaming of being a mother, at that age I didn't even know how you got pregnant but the maternal instinct was there. I would perfect swaddling my Sophie, my Baby Born doll. Sophie had a soft body, her arms, legs and head were hard but her body made her seem more real, able to move her easily. I would pretend to feed her and burp her just as I had seen real mothers do. No one ever told me as a young girl that it is not a given. That the one thing our bodies as females are meant to do, create life with the help of a male of course, could possibly not come as natural as it should.
That one day you are told your chances of falling pregnant naturally are extremely slim and you will probably need fertility assistance in order to become pregnant. To hear those words from a general practitioner who didn't seem too bothered by how the information being told to you would have such a devastating effect. Bluntly explaining that ‘it is what it is’ and that you have polycystic ovary syndrome. To go home and Google information about the syndrome. Then to go on and read, change your diet, lose some weight and you never know, it might just happen naturally for you, but just in case the doctor provides you with a referral to a fertility specialist should you need one.
My heart shattered to a million pieces that day. In the prime of my life, the most fertile years, to find out the feeling I always had was real, not just a dream but now my reality.

PAST

"Another nightmare?" Eddie asks as I sit upright in bed. realising I must have screamed when I woke.
"Yes," I reply.
I turn back to look at him. He is a handsome man, deep black hair, his piercing blue eyes are what captured me the first time I met him, five years ago. There is something going wrong between us, I can feel it all around us, the house is consumed by an unspoken aura. Initially I assumed it was because we were such good friends before we became a couple.
The friendship part dwindled as time went on and everything became more serious with each natural step you take when you are with someone. The marriage, buy a house, start a family. Isn't that the way it's meant to go? After we started trying for a baby, each month ending in another negative, I came to believe what was missing was that we couldn't make a family, add to our clan of two, making it three.
We had tried countless times to fall pregnant, all ending with one line on the pregnancy test. I had failed each month to provide him with a child we both so desperately wanted. I should have known better but I wanted to become a mother so much that staying and making the marriage work was the only option, who would want to take on someone who was baron anyway, at least I knew Eddie loved me.
Now, even though he loves me, I don't think it is because our relationship has changed or I can't fall pregnant, now I think I may not love him the way I should to be married to him, to start a family.
I don't want to hurt him, he is a good person. Though he can be controlling and does not like me doing anything without him. Even down to the simplest acts, like buying furniture, he insists on being there to help make the decision. Unable to let me make  my own choice on which table lamp to buy infuriates me, it makes me feel like a child who needs their hand held to cross the road.
I have accommodated his need to control all decisions made and his possessiveness. Why? because it made my life easier to do so.

***

We have been trying for a baby now for ten months. Eddie will not go to a fertility specialist with me, not even consider it. 'Real men don't need a test, there is nothing wrong with me and when a baby is meant to come into this world it will'. Those were his words.
Sex had become a chore and not enjoyable at all, it was done to make a baby and that is it. Eddie didn't mind that part, he was getting some and had no complaints.
I already knew I was part of the reason we were not falling pregnant, having been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome a couple of years ago. A syndrome that makes it harder to fall pregnant naturally because it causes anovulation. If no precious egg is released then no sperm can get to it to fertilise and no baby can be made.
To know that I am the reason, partly, if not wholly, to why we still have no baby. It makes my heart break, it doesn't seem fair that for as long as I can remember I assumed falling pregnant was the easy and the fun part. No so for me, I was going to have to fight for this. Though I didn't think I would have to fight my husband as well.
"What time do you get off work today?" Eddie asks as he follows me into the kitchen.
"Four," I lie, I have an appointment with a psychologist. I have been going for three months now. To see a professional person about my feelings is weak to him.
After the results to why I was not getting a period when I came off the pill to try for a baby came back that I may never be able to fall naturally,  I knew I needed to see someone, and  have found it to be a godsend helping me deal with the emotions of not falling pregnant and all the cracks in our marriage.
I had discussed with Eddie on many occasions, pleading with him for us to get professional help, both with a fertility specialist and a psychologist. He never agreed, always swatting it off like a pesky fly annoying him, that was me the one annoying him. There have been days when I have literally been on my hands and knees begging him to let me see a fertility specialist, only to be left sitting on the floor with him staring down at me like a dog needing to be put out of its misery. I almost felt that way, I knew I would not be able to conceive a baby naturally my whole body could feel it, and with Eddie saying no I would never become a mum.
Not only did I have my body telling me, showing me you can't have this, I had a husband who wouldn't allow it.

***

"I found the invoice, Ava," Eddie barks at me.
"What are you talking about?"
"A psychologist. Why are you seeing one of those mind wreckers?"
Why? he asks. If I told him all the reasons he would either divorce me or never want to have children with me anyway.    
"Eddie, I am struggling, I can't fall pregnant and I need to speak with someone other than you and my friends," I plead him.
"Ava, I'm serious. This is ridiculous you don't need one of these people to tell you anything that I already can," Eddie demands.
I know he hates the thought that I could be talking about him to the psychologist and his controlling mind doesn't like if he does not know what is being said about him. When we have an argument and Mum phones smack bang in the middle of it, he makes me stay in the room with him, listening in so I cannot tell her anything about it.
"Well that is your problem, Eddie, not mine. I need this. It helps me, and I don't care if you don't like it, you’re not the one going, I am!" I screech, I can feel my face burning from the anger.
"Ava, that is it!" Throwing his phone at me from across the room, I duck so it misses my head turning to watch it smash into pieces on impact of the kitchen wall. I stay staring at the dent the phone has created.
"I didn't want it to have to get to this point," he yells.
Turning back around, I see his fists clenched, nostrils flared. Not once in our relationship have I ever been frightened of Eddie, until now.
"What point is that, Eddie?" I ask, scared of his answer or what he may do but the urge to fight him on this outweighs my fear. I have had enough, the love is gone. No support in my request to see a fertility specialist, the controlling behaviour, all of this because I am seeing someone to help me.
"Tell me, Eddie?" I scream at him.
"If you cannot fall pregnant naturally, the way God intended it to be, then you should have a heart and leave me so I can find someone who can," Eddie says, head held high.
I stand in the kitchen stunned, all air in my lungs expelled, unable to breathe. I have nothing to say back to that, no words could correct it, no sorry from him would take away the pain that he just inflicted with one short sentence... the feeling like a  knife has been thrusted into my heart. I knew he could be heartless and I know how I feel about him. But this, this is beyond any hurt I have ever felt before.
I watch as Eddie grabs his keys not looking at me and slams the front door on his way out.
I don't think, I start packing his things into suitcases and bags, I don't shed a tear because I know this is what needs to happen. It's the best thing to do. Our marriage is over. No coming back from this, there is no resolution.
Neatly placing all his belongings at the front door I walk back to our room, stopping at the foot of the bed looking at our king size bed, staring at it I am so exhausted I want to fall into a heap on the big comfy mattress and curl up under the duvet, but I can't bring myself to lay where he has been, where we have made love, where we have tried for a baby.
Anger building inside me, I turn around and go to the spare room, at least it doesn't smell like the bastard he is. He doesn't want me anymore because I am baron, unable to conceive a child without help. I hate him, I hate that he gets to walk away from this like he has now asked me to do, and I am left still unable to have a baby.
Even though I know our marriage has been over for a while, the thought that Eddie, who I once loved with all my heart, can throw me away like a piece of rubbish because I cannot do what my body was designed to do; create life, makes me feel more of a failure as a woman and now I have failed at being married.

PRESENT

I hear laughing and talking coming up the corridor. I’d assumed that being this early into work I would be the only one in the office for awhile, I need to get on top of my enormous pile of paperwork. Since the separation, even though I am happy for it, I’ve been taking time off work to sort things out. Leaving me way behind on my administration duties to the Sales Manager, Greg. Luckily I have an understanding boss or I think I would not only be looking for a new home, but a new job too.
Our eyes meet, I've never seen him before, is he new, just starting today? Maybe he has been here awhile, but with so much going on in my personal life, I had seen him but not really seen him. Well not like this, my heart racing and my palms all sweaty. Who is he?
"Hi Ava, Happy New Year," Darren says, still half laughing from whatever he and this intriguing, good looking man were talking about.
"Hi Darren, same to you." He catches on to my staring.
"Ava, meet James. James, meet Ava," Darren says, passing by. Darren thankfully does not see me checking out  his work colleague, although I am not the only one with wide eyes. James smiles at me. Unable to contain my attraction for him, I give him my full over the top nice-to-meet-you-handsome-man smile. I'm trying too hard, it has been a long time since I found anyone remotely attractive, and this guy is the definition of a man god.
He laughs a little, "Hi, Happy New Year, Ava."
I'm done for, he has a voice that could say sweet nothings to you. He has the kind of face that stops you in your tracks, broad shoulders, tall with tousled dark brown hair. Brown eyes you cannot pull your own eyes away from, lips so full you know as soon as you lower your eyes to them you can't think of anything else than placing your lips to his.
"Same to you, James," my voice is high pitched with nerves. I watch as he walks to the back of the office building to Darren's desk. Turning my attention back to my paperwork, calming my heart beat to a normal rhythm. It has been too long since someone has made me feel like this, even from a few simple words. Eddie didn't have that effect on me. We met at a bar, hit it off more as mates to start and then the natural progression of a relationship took shape and then came buying the house, getting married and trying to start a family. It wasn't romantic or passionate, it was great friends believing we were meant to be together because we got along so well. If I could have seen the signs, then nothing would have progressed and we could have stayed that way, just friends instead of here, going through a divorce at twenty-five years old.

***

The week passes quite quickly and I manage to complete all the backlog of my work load. My ex-husband has ceased harassing me about when I am going to put the house on the market and my boss seems rather pleased that my phone has stopped buzzing on my desk every five minutes. On Wednesday I thought he was going to pick my phone up and throw it. As soon as I saw the annoyed look he gave me on the tenth time it dinged when a message came, I quickly put it on silent placing it in my top draw, I had to do something to appease him. Greg had been understanding of my situation.
To be honest I should have done it Monday, ignored the stupid messages he was sending. We’ve been split for five months now but he still presses my buttons and insists on constant contact about the littlest of issues. He had lost belongings that were apparently still at the house, needed to come over because he forgot to fix the leaking tap in the bathroom I asked him to do ten months ago, anything to get back into the house, especially while I was there.
It took him eight weeks to choose a real estate agent to sell the house with and now he is harassing me to sign up with the one he chose. I loved my house, it was my home. I spent more time there by myself than with him as he worked fly-in-fly-out for most of our relationship which I now realise was a blessing. Although I would have seen the signs earlier in our relationship, the controlling he had when he got home would have been there 24/7 if he was not working away. The expectations of a woman's work in the house, even though I worked five days a week, nine hours a day, he still never lifted a finger to help me and when he was home it was all about his mates and I was expected to just go along. I don't hate him; I do wish him happiness. I just know I don't love him the way I should have loved him to want to spend the rest of my life with him.
There was one thing missing from my week… James. I have not seen him since Monday. I’ve had to stop myself countless times all week from asking Darren who he is. What is his story, girlfriend? I do hope he is not married.
It is on that thought that I turn around to speak to Jessica, my fiery redhead co worker, about our drinks this afternoon when he walks past.
His eyes are on me as he slowly walks to the back of the office building, I can feel myself blush, my heart picking up a beat. Unable to move or do anything but stare.
"Ava?" Jessica is looking at me following my vision to James.
"Yes," I say.
"You were going to ask me something, but you seem a bit distracted. Who is he?" Jessica noticed as well how unbelievable hot James is. "What's going on, do you know him? God damn, he is fine," Jessica remarks. She isn't one to hold back on anything and I know our drinks are going to become an interrogation session even though there is nothing to be told.
Turning back to my computer, Jessica scoots over in her office chair, bumping the back of mine, causing me to push forward and hit the desk with a loud thump, "Jessica, jeez!" I squealed.
"Sorry! Ava, but you must tell all," Jessica implores.
"There is nothing to tell," I snap back.
"The look in his eyes and yours shows me there seems plenty to tell." Jessica giggles with a hint of annoyance that I didn't give up the gossip straight up but there really isn't any. All I have said to him is ‘Hi’. With her black lashes, vibrant red long wavy hair, she looks like she should be a model, not sitting here in this office as an administrative assistant.
"We will speak later, the boss is watching," I whisper. I don't know if Greg is watching us, but as we both turn to check, his eyes fly up from his glass windowed office spotting us. Giving us a disapproving look before returning to his computer. "See," I retort. "Drinks in one hour, but there really is nothing to tell, Jessica."
"Okay, Okay," she says, sliding back to her desk on a push from mine. "Maybe we should ask hot stuff to come." I turn, glaring at Jessica, hoping she will notice my look of disapproval. The problem is she’ll still ask him even if I do make it known for her not to.
All week’s end reports are completed and neatly placed on Greg's desk. He seems to have escaped for the weekend without letting us know. Packing up my pens and papers, turning off my aging computer, I swear the thing was made in the early 2000's, I swing around to see Darren and James standing in our cubicle.
"Hey ladies, are you going for drinks this afternoon? I have a free pass from the missus and James here needs to meet some of the office staff," Darren asks. Oh shit, he is staring at me, eyes so dreamy you could get lost in them.
Darren and Jessica eye us both suspiciously. No one answers Darren. It feels like minutes before a word is spoken, and all I manage to do is gaze into his big brown eyes. Being closer to him I notice he has the most stunning eyelashes. Why in the heck is it always the men that get the full, thick longest lashes, besides Jessica of course -- I already know she is beyond beautiful -- his are truly amazing. I go to tell him his lashes make me jealous, but before I say something outlandish and embarrassing I pull myself up quickly, dropping my gaze to the grip on my handbag. He follows my gaze to my hands and for a minute I swear he leans in closer. "Of course you guys can come, Darren," Jessica replies. "More the merrier, right, Ava?" Why is she asking me, damn woman I don't want to talk right now, my mouth is dry and I can't bring myself to look up to stare at his exquisite features. I’m mentally scolding myself for acting like a twelve year old who has never spoken to a boy before.
"Yes, sounds great, shall we go?" I suggest not taking my eyes away from my bag.
"Meet you there, ladies," Darren says quick to end the awkward silence.
Jessica and I watch as they walk off, James giving me a smile as he passes me. "Ava, you two were so eyeballing each other, what's going on?" Jessica demands coming up close behind me as I push my chair in.
"All I know is his name is James, have you not seen him before either?" I ask.
"I think I'd remember seeing him, Ava, who wouldn't?" Jessica admits.
Well that makes sense now, he obviously has only just started here.
"This is going to be fun, and so good for you it's been months since you left what's his face and it's time to get back into the dating game." Her enthusiasm for my lack of love life gives me a headache.
This is bad, I don't even know him but I know how he makes me feel and that can't be good or safe. I need safe right now. We walk to our cars.
"Ava, this could be real love," Jessica laughs putting her arm through mine.
"Jessica, stop, I don't know him from a bar of soap, he might not even be interested," I snap at her.
"Oh, he is interested, if there is anything I know about men it's when they are interested. No one stares at someone like that, Ava," Jessica informs me as she leaves me to get into her bright red mini. I love her car, I wish I had not listened to my ex husband when buying mine, it was more for him, he insisted I would love the black V8 Holden. I do like it but it's not my kind of girl car and because he already had the four wheel drive I was left with this one, at least it is paid off and I don't have to worry about the astronomical repayments on the thing, seeing of course he had to buy brand new.
The pub is packed with people in suits and ladies in their tight A-line dresses all drinking and laughing, glad it is a Friday. Looking around to see if I can spot Darren or James but measuring only just over five feet tall, it makes it hard to see through the thick mass of white collars. "Jessica, what are you drinking?" I ask.
"Jack and coke," she replies. I push my way through the crowd to get to the bar. Calling out my order to the bartender I sense someone has moved rather close behind me. I hope to god it's not the creep from last Friday night, he basically dry humped me while Jessica laughed, finding it highly amusing watching an intoxicated Irish fella with the same vibrant red hair as hers singing I'll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men, while grinding himself against my side. Luckily for him I had a few under my belt by that stage and was in tears of laughter. I couldn't believe the state of him. His mates egging him on. It didn't end well for him, though, he went home alone.
Half turning on defence, ready to tell him it is still a no go zone, I notice the height of the guy. He is much taller than red, that was the nickname Jessica had given the Irish guy from last week. It’s James, my legs go wobbly and I have to hold onto the bar for support.
"Hi," he says, leaning into me.
"Hi," I reply.
"Have you had too much to drink already?" James jokes.
"No, I...I just ordered, I think I lost my balance on my heels."
Chuckling, he leans in even closer. More people have crammed their way into the bar and we have been pushed closer together, my heart begins racing and all I can smell is his cologne. I recognise it immediately, Jean Paul Gaultier. It's my favourite, my ex would never wear it, always said it smelt girly. The distinct smell always makes my head dizzy.
I breathe in deeply.
"Is it me that makes you uneasy on your feet, Ava?" he whispers into my ear.
I don't know where to look, he makes me nervous. Jessica was right, there seems to be sparks flying and all I can seem to muster up is… "Can I buy you a drink?"
"Would love one, thank you, Ava,"
That voice. This is going to be a long night of continually holding myself up. Unbothered by my lack of communication he has probably already come to the conclusion that he is right, it is him that makes me uneasy, though in an exhilarant way.
Passing him his drink, our hands brush each other's as he removes the glass from mine. No ring. It really doesn't mean that he isn't married but I haven't got to the point of asking him yet.

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Thank you Della for sharing your first chapter with us! Readers, if you're interested in checking out more from the author, head over to Facebook and Instagram!

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