My Baby Love Part 2
My Baby Love Part 2
***author’s note, Martina and Amarre have POVs, links at the end of this chapter. These will be the last POVs posted in the Expanded Universe relating to Reagan’s story
“Congratulations, Reagan and Jaylen, you’re going to be the parents of a beautiful baby girl,” Dr. Davis, warmly informed us. My stomach jumped into my chest and my mouth dropped. Jaylen’s eyes grew big and we simultaneously gasped. Lordt, a possible mini me. I began to laugh and cry at the same time. “A girl? Baby, can you believe this?” I said to Jaylen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a larger smile on his face. “Yo, that’s crazy, Ma. I’m going to have a daughter, for real, Dr. Davis?” Jaylen asked in disbelief. Dr. Davis started to laugh. “Yes, you both will. Sugar and spice,” she said.
Jaylen and I looked over at each other. “Oh, baby, we’re having a little girl,” I sniffled. Jaylen nodded. “I know,” he said. Jaylen helped me up from my chair, wrapping his arms around me. “Thank you so much, boo. You’re giving me a daughter. I love you, Reagan,” he whispered. “Thank you. This is our daughter, our baby girl. I love you too,” I replied. I’ve had the last few months to the let the thought of parenthood sink in and it has, but it’s even more real in a different kind of way, now that I know the sex. I mean, a girl!
When I first found out I was pregnant, the thought of having a girl frightened me a little. Whether I had a boy or girl, I knew I would love my child just the same, that was never a question. Now, I don’t feel any kind of fear of having a little feisty diva mama. I don’t know what her little personality will be like. I know I wasn’t a bad child growing up. I got into things like all kids do. I was a little miniature diva. Now I’m starting to think, damn, my baby’s going to be a boss. Jay is her daddy and she’s a Leeds too? Stop the presses.
Being a woman in this world is a very powerful thing. My daughter will grow up knowing that. All the bull I dealt with, low self esteem, measuring my worth based on my looks, and thinking I had to have a man to feel loved, my daughter will never know that for herself. You know why she won’t know that? Because I’m going to keep it one hundred with her. She’ll know how Mommy struggled and what I went through and why. I’m going to teach her that yes, she can count on her parents, but she’s the only one who is truly capable of letting herself down and pulling herself up. I think that’s something my father always tried to instill in us. He let my sister and I know, that he was always there for us, but we shouldn’t take for granted that he would always be around. We began to understand that after his heart attack. That’s probably the greatest lesson I think my father ever taught me. Everything I am, I want my baby girl to aspire to be greater than.
Daddy decided to throw a little barbeque on his back patio to celebrate the announcement of his new granddaughter. He was floored when I told him and he advised Jay to buckle up, because raising daughters was no joke. “Can you give me any pointers, Ray?” laughed Jaylen. “Oh, we’ll have to talk for a few hours over a case of beer, son. This isn’t something I can tell you in a couple of sentences,” replied Dad, laughing.
Kennedey claimed she knew it was a girl all along and started going off about all the feminist ideals she was obligated to teach her niece. Kennedey also made the suggestion for us to consider something non-traditional or unisex like our names to call our daughter. “I think the whole presidential name thing ended with you, sis,” I said. Daddy rolled his eyes. “We weren’t trying to be “presidential” when we name y’all. Reagan, your name sounds like mine and I thought it was cool if we had the same initials, so we went with that. Kennedey, we didn’t expect to see you just over a year later, we both liked your name, so we rolled with it. Your mom wasn’t from this country and she didn’t even know at first you shared a name with one of our presidents. She spelled your name differently and people always misspelled it when you were growing up because that’s what they were used to. Just a coincidence why you girls have those names. On top of everything, your mom was against giving you what she called stupid girly girl or so-called hood names,” he said.
Kennedey and I glanced at each other. I don’t think either one of us thought too much about why our parents named us what they did. I guess most people thought they were trying to be cute. But anyone who knew my mother, knew that she didn’t “do” cute. Mom was usually closed off, but the last thing she wanted was to be outdone by any of her siblings by giving her kids less than stellar names.
“Hey, munchkin, you actually went to sleep with Mommy last night. Thank you, pooh pooh, cause you know you like staying up late to party, little girl,” I held my stomach as I spoke to the baby. She and I had different sleeping schedules most of the time. When I wanted to sleep, she was usually awake, jumping and kicking. The nights I had insomnia wasn’t a big deal and I often found myself up having two hour long conversations with her while I satisfied my cravings with cupcakes, and watching ‘Scandal’ reruns.
Jaylen was at the club four to five days a week right now. He was able to do some of his work at home and he only worked late weekends a couple of times a month. Even on the nights Jay worked really late, it wasn’t until four and five as usual, but he was getting home before one or two. Amarre was being very flexible to my surprise. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that Jaylen finally got on board to sell Avenue. He was unsure in the beginning, but once we found out about the baby coming, Jay didn’t want to go out of town on business as much. This made his brother very happy and freed him to concentrate on his expansion in my hometown.
Speaking of work, I’m obviously not at the moment. I can’t exactly walk the runway at fashion week in my condition. Many projects and campaigns I had in the works had to be put on hold indefinitely. I was still a spokes model for different brands and would continue to be. To be honest with you, I’m not sure if and when I will go back to modeling. I love it, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also very hard work. Now that I’m going to be a mother, my priorities are so different . I can’t even imagine leaving my baby alone for five minutes let alone going on a ten hour shoot. My team knows the last thing on my mind is work. This hasn’t stopped Lana and Jazz from floating ideas about someday doing a line of clothing for infants and toddlers.
I made the mistake of mentioning to Jazz about all the ugly maternity clothes I see out there and how I thought about designing a line possibly far off into the future. Now, Jazz is jumping down my throat to come up with some ideas because women want to “look” like me, especially other knocked up women. I told Jazz and Lana they could stop making plans for me. Just like with the shoes, I chose to put that off because of other professional obligations and I didn’t want to stretch myself too thin being a newlywed. Being a mom was the biggest job I’ll ever have and I needed all my attention to be focused on my family. I may want to do all of that stuff one of these days, but not anytime soon. I was enjoying my life too much right now. My man got on that stove and cooked and pampered me like a queen
I was watching the minutes slowing go by on the clock as I waited for Jay to get home. I hated the nights he had to work late. I found myself not being able to sleep unless he was lying next to me. I’ve heard about all these different ways your body and moods change when you’re pregnant, but I never expected to be the over-emotional mess I was some days. Daddy or Kennedey often came over to keep me company when Jay was at Tomo. They knew how lonely I got in the house by myself. I’ve never lived alone, my sister was always home. It wasn’t a big deal when we were first married and Jay was at Tomo late, but now that I’m pregnant and hormonal, I couldn’t stand being alone for too long, especially at night.
It wasn’t always enough to be able to call Jay several times. I needed him here. I wanted to taste him, I needed to smell him. Now, Jay’s smell has always turned me on, but ever since I got pregnant, I began to crave it. I often sat on his lap with my face buried in his chest or nuzzled his neck and just inhaled his natural aroma. Right now, Jay was the best smell in the world. I often wore his t-shirts, even when he told me they needed to be washed. I didn’t care, I loved the way the smelled and sometimes I wore his shirts all day long.
I don’t think anyone was more happy about the baby being a girl than Yuri. She only had boys and always wanted a little girl to dress up. Yuri was filling me in on her ideas for the nursery. One of her ideas was to have a princess themed nursery. I knew how excited she was to become a grandmother so I didn’t immediately shoot down her ideas. I didn’t want to place some antiquated fairy tale on my newborn daughter. Look at me sounding like Kennedey. I loved the princess stuff when I was little, but I stopped believing in those kind of fairytales long ago. Prince Charming doesn’t exist. I had Jay, my man is a king and you know a king trumps a prince any day.
I’m not saying my daughter won’t be allowed to play like she’s a princess or anything, I just want to teach her the right balanced view of all that stuff before she starts believing it’s real. I digress, pregnancy brain has me in la la land a lot more these days. As far as a circus theme…I mean check it, the circus is cool and all, but Kennedey had me over at her house watching something about how cruelly those animals get treated when they grow up and perform in the circus. Kennedey thinks she’s slick, she knows I’m up in my feelings these days because of my hormones. I never thought about that kind of thing before. I was over there, balling my eyes out. I couldn’t stop crying for two days after I saw that documentary. In any case, back to reality. A circus theme was out the door.
I mentioned to Yuri once, I liked Winnie when I was a kid too. Our room never had a real theme when we were little. Pooh was always a lovable gentle character and he’s universal. A Winnie theme has been in the back of my mind for months now. When Yuri told me Pooh was the theme of Jay’s nursery, I started to lean even more that way for our baby’s theme.
“I like your ideas too, Yuri, but I’ve always liked the Pooh theme. Even before I knew that’s what you had for your sons’. Once you told me that, I began to think how cute it would be if she had the same theme as her daddy. It won’t be blue, of course. I told Jay and he loved the idea too. He tried to downplay how much he used to love Pooh, though,” I laughed. Yuri looked thoughtful. “Pooh is very nice. It’s sweet if the baby has the same theme as her daddy. That would be lovely for a little girl. We can definitely do Pooh in pink or any assortment of colors. It doesn’t have to be traditional,” she said
Whatever disappointment Yuri felt for me shooting down her ideas didn’t last very long. Yuri ended up being very pleased I was “choosing” the same theme as her. I decided to let her have that and not burst her bubble by letting her know, Pooh was always in the back of my mind. “Actually, Yuri, I don’t mind pink. I saw a nursery online that was done in an assortment of colors. It wasn’t Winnie, but I loved how everything complimented each other,” I said. Yuri ran her fingers through her short waves. “Okay, well that’s what I’m here for. We can design whatever you like. Alright, it sounds good. We can do as much customization as we want. Why don’t you tell me some more things you like and I can start on some sketches. I’ll add any ideas I have and we’ll go over everything again in a day or two,” she suggested.
Jaylen and I went back and forth with names before we knew we had a little girl on the way. We narrowed our choices down to a few for a boy or girl, but we never really decided on just one. I told Jaylen, of the names we liked best for girls, we can make the final decision once the baby is born. I felt like, once we saw her, we’ll know what name fits her best. I wasn’t even telling everyone the sex just yet. Some folks knew, but I didn’t go announcing it. Some of my cousins and friends were asking what the name was going to be and I just told them, we were undecided. This was true, because we didn’t know for sure. Also, people are scandalous. You tell them a name you came up with for your baby, then they go get knocked up or they’re due before you and steal your name. Uh-huh, we ain’t playing that game. I got some trifling cousins on both sides that are that chick. Matter of fact, two of my cousins on my mom’s side (of course) got into an actual boxing match over a name one of them stole. It happened after they both gave birth. Nope, that’s not the game Reagan ’bout to play.
Jaylen and I were spending a lazy evening at home talking about future plans and what it was going to be like once the baby came. “Boo, I know we’ve talked about how everything will change, but we’ve never discussed what type of parents we wanted to be,” I said. “To be perfectly honest with you, Ma, I’m nervous about having a daughter. I never had any sisters, so I’m not used to girls in that sense. I know girls are soft and gentle, but I don’t want her growing up, think she needs a man to protect her, unless it’s her Daddy. Like I said, we didn’t have a sister. My mom was the epitome of womanhood and class. I only knew what she was like growing up. She was strong and self-sufficient and I want our daughter to be the same way,” replied Jaylen. “Well, you know she’s going to have you wrapped around her little finger,” I teased. Jay nodded his head in agreement.
“One thing I never had with my mom, was an open relationship. I want our daughter to feel as if she can always come to be about anything. I want to teach her from an early age how important her worth and value are. When I was little, I used to hope that my mom would get down on the floor and play Barbies with me. To me, that would’ve been such an honor. She never did though. That’s something I look forward to doing,” I said, quietly.
“Now that we’ve sold Avenue, I don’t have to go out of town as much. I couldn’t imagine being thousands of miles away from y’all,” said Jaylen. “You know, this is something I’ve thought about for a long time now, I don’t want to go back to work anytime soon. I’m not saying I’ll never model again, I’m still very young and I do have contracts I’m obligated to fulfill. I just mean like all the travel, runway, prints, that sort of thing. It’s very important to me that I spend as much time at home with the baby. At least up to a year. What do you think about that?” I asked. “I think it’s fine, Ma. I don’t see you getting bored, like you say, you still have your contracts. Look, boo, we’ll be fine. We have a good steady amount of income coming in. We’re saving for the future and we have good investments. Everything will be okay. I don’t want to sound sexist or anything, but I’m glad you want to stay home for awhile with baby. Whenever you’re ready to work again, I got you,” assured Jaylen. As the head of our household, I was relieved to have my husband’s support. Oh, trust me, Jay may be the head, but I’m the neck, and the neck can twist and turn the head anyway it wants.
When Kennedey told me she wanted to help plan the baby shower, I was almost shocked. That wasn’t typically her thing I think she wanted to be involved because she’s been gushing about becoming an auntie for months now. Briah and Kennedey came over to go over some of the ideas for the party. Yuri has also put in her two cents in about the food more than one occasion, but she wasn’t in town for the planning. To be honest, I was relieved. I had enough people feeding me their ideas about my shower nearly everyday.
Briah was going on about the food and different activities she thought we should have. Much like bridal showers, I found baby showers to be incredibly boring. It’s nice that your family and friends want to celebrate your baby, but I can’t get with any of those corny games they always make you play. I think the party should just be about celebrating, eating, mingling, opening presents, and having a good time.
“I’m really thinking we should have a theme for the shower. You’re all high end and shit, Rea. Maybe we can do like a diamonds and pearls meet princess kind of theme. We can have some dope ass party favors for everybody, none of that corny mess, but I mean some stuff that you done dropped some coins on. Like they got these people that make some fly ass invitations, using real gold engraved on silk, glass, or whatever. You know you like all that shit, Rea Rea. We can get it catered by them people that do all the celebrity parties out here. Don’t worry, girl, cause I got you. We can serve that Perrier Jouet champagne, it’s gon’ cost you a coint or two, but you and Jay got it, so don’t trip. I know you be liking all that bougie food these days, the caterers can serve that with like a mix of stuff you know everyone will like. Basically, the same kind of food you had at the reception,” said Briah, with excitement dancing in her eyes.
“Girl, please with that. I just like good food and my ass still eat all the food I grew up on, don’t even trip. Yeah, that champagne sounds coo’ and all, but I got to find an equivalent non-alcoholic version or some bomb apple cider. Y’all can’t be sippin’ on stuff enjoying your drink more than me,” I laughed. “Reagan, maybe you should consider serving organic baby sized hors d’oeuvres. You want to push for healthy eating, which is the organic part and the baby size kind of goes along with the theme of being a baby shower,” said Kennedey. I barely heard the last part of Kennedey’s sentence before Briah jumped back in with more ideas.
“Girl, yes, everybody gon’ be dressed like bosses, cause this ain’t no regular shower. Mama’s a boss, so that’s what we gon’ represent. I was looking online at all these games we could play. I know a lot of those baby shower games be corny, but I think we should do a few and people will have a good time, cause they want to win them party favors. You registered at some good stores, Rea Rea, so you don’t have to worry about getting no raggedy baby clothes!” shouted Briah with excitement.
“Reagan, I personally think, you should plan a “green” shower. Consider non-toxic baby toys and other items that can be reused. That way, less waste goes out into the world. Rea, it’s not like you and Jay need a lot, you have money already. I would say request that your guests get you essential items like wipes and plenty of organic cloth diapers. Babies don’t even need half the stuff people want to shower them with. You and Jay should want to enrich her mind. It’s never too early to start reading to her. Studies have shown, kids who get read to at an early age do better in school. How about if everyone brings a classic childrens book for you to read? That’s something she’ll take with her for years to come,” suggested Kennedey.
“I’m not really sure if I only want cloth diapers, but…” I was cut off by Briah. “Girl, cloth diapers? Who got time to be washing out some diapers after them babies filled it up with all that boo boo? This ain’t the 1800’s, girl. They make disposable diapers for a reason,” said Briah. I distinctly saw Kennedey roll her eyes, but she remained silent as Briah went on with more ideas for the shower. Ever since Bri planned many of my activities as my maid of honor, she has prided herself on gaining knowledge of what she perceives as being “high end” and “high class.” I appreciated her efforts, but Bri usually read about what stars had at their parties and showers and based her party planning on that. After going back and forth on ideas, I finally got it into Bri’s head, that yes, I may have some coins now, but that doesn’t mean I need an extravagant party.
Yuri wanted some over the top tea party at the Ritz and Bri wanted this to be some half rapper album party slash slumber party. I wasn’t feeling most of what anyone was saying and I was standing my ground to have something laid back. Eat, drink, open presents, and chill. That’s all I wanted to do. When it was their baby shower, they could do whatever they wanted.
Shortly after Bri left, Kennedey came into the kitchen to help me start dinner. I sensed something was bothering her because she was being quiet and she had an upset expression on her face. I didn’t really feel like playing guessing games with Kennedey so I asked her straight up, what was bothering her. “I just feel like you’re bonding over the baby with Briah more than me. It’s like, I’m going to be the kid’s auntie, but she’s bogarting her way through everything. That’s my niece, not hers,” said Kennedey.
I could sense Kennedey was irritated earlier when Bri was here, but I had no idea she was in her feelings over something like this. I never expected this kind of baby planning thing would affect Kennedey like this. “Of course, this is your niece, no one is disputing that. No one has even said that, okay? How am I bonding with Bri more than you?” I asked, throwing my hands up. “Cause, it’s like when I tried to give you my opinion about what kind of food you could serve at the shower or suggested that the guests bring eco-friendly gifts, Bri totally dismissed my ideas and acted like I was crazy, and you didn’t even say anything!” complained Kennedey. “Ken, Bri did not straight up dismiss what you were saying. You know how loud she is. Sometimes Bri gets so excited about something, she doesn’t hear anything else going around her. Bri probably didn’t even realize what you were saying,” I replied.
“Oh please, yes she did, with that little comment about it not being the 1800’s. “You heard what I was saying and acted dismissive too, Reagan!” said Kennedey, on the defense. I let out a loud sigh. “Sis, you’re the last person I would ever expect to be in their feelings over a baby shower. So, first it was Bri dismissing you, now it’s me too? Kennedey? Do you know all the things I have to keep up with these days? I have a million different people talking to be about a million different things all the time. I just want to have a fun little soireé with my girls and close family to celebrate my baby coming,” I said, feeling completely exhausted.
Kennedey looked down at the floor for a moment. When she lifted her head again, I saw a sad look in her eyes, I hadn’t seen in years. “I just thought the baby was something we could really bond over as sisters. This is the biggest thing that’ll ever happen to you,” she quietly. This was really coming out of left field. “Kennedey, do you think we haven’t bonded over anything before? You were there for all the wedding stuff. You didn’t want to be my maid of honor, but you were my first bridesmaid. You came along with Briah and I for almost everything. Who came with us to Miami to pick a wedding venue? You, not Bri.”
“Yes, I know that, but it’s different,” argued Kennedey. “How? Look, I believe we’ve bonded and have grown closer than ever. You’re my sister, we share the same history and makeup. You stayed with Jaylen and I all the time when we went out of town. I wanted you there with us in the Miami house, because I was able to spend a few days with my sister before I got married. I’ll never share as much with Briah as I do with you. Of course you’re the baby’s auntie. She’ll go to constantly over the years, sometimes more than me.” Kennedey stayed quiet, as if she were taking in everything I was saying.
” After I got engaged, you were the first person I told after Daddy. After I got pregnant, you were the first person I told after Daddy, again. Kennedey, you caught my bouquet. You act like that thing is corney, but I saw how you fought the other girls for your position. And I wanted you to catch it,” I said. Kennedey shrugged. “Well, I wanted to catch my sister’s bouquet. For the record, I still think that sort of thing is corny. It’s not I’m hoping to get married or anything soon,” she sheepishly replied. “Ken, I resent that you act like I think you’re not important or Bri or anyone else will be closer to my child than her auntie, next to her parents. What you don’t know lil’ sis, it that Jay and I discussed if something should ever happen to us, we would want you to raise our daughter,” I said. Kennedey was rendered speechless and in complete shock. Neither one of us said anything for a moment, then Kennedey’s eyes began to tear up.
“Are you serious? You and Jay would want me to raise your daughter?” asked Kennedey. I nodded my head. “Yes. You’re smart, capable, and mature. Most importantly, you love the baby and she’s not even here yet. We were going to wait to tell you after she was born, but I thought, you’d might like to know now,” I said. Kennedey’s bottom lip quivered. She suddenly thrusts her arms around me and began sobbing into my shoulder. “It makes me feel so good to know you and Jay trust me. Not that I want anything to happen to you,” muffled Kennedey. I gently pulled myself away to look at her.”This baby signifies a new beginning for the family. Next to us, you’re the perfect person for her to learn from. There’s no one else I want to raise my daughter more than you. Do you understand that?” I asked. “I understand.”
Ever since Amarre decided to expand to Miami, I haven’t seen too much of him. He’s come over to hang with Jaylen and for Sunday dinner a few different times. Jaylen would like it if he got to spend more time with his brother, but apparently whenever Amarre was in town, his girlfriend made it difficult for him to hang with his family and friends. Amarre is not the type to let himself be ran by a woman, but it was no secret he and Martina were having problems. I made a conscious choice to stay out of it, but I couldn’t avoid seeing tweets about Martina going off on Amarre at his club because she hated all the different women that were around him all the time. Even Bri and Apollo witnessed one of their fights one night at Tomo. Knowing how private and professional Amarre was, I knew the last thing he wanted was to have his relationship problems on blast for everyone to see.
Several people I knew were trying to serve me the tea, but I refused to sip it. After the fiasco prior to the wedding, I didn’t want to get into anything regarding my brother-in-law’s relationship. Jaylen was surprised when Amarre called him out the blue saying he was back in town and wanted to come by and watch the game in the man cave with him. Amarre was always working, but he usually tried to see his girlfriend when he got back from Miami, and that wasn’t very often.
Amarre looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world, which was odd because Amarre always looked like he was contemplating and thinking about his next move, it’s who he is. Once Jay and Amarre finished watching football, he went back to his house. I found out the reason Amarre seemed so nonchalant. Jay told me his brother broke up with Martina. That, I was not expecting to hear. Everyone outside our circle knew they had issues, because Martina put it out there. I could tell Jay felt bad for his brother, but Amarre claimed he was relieved, he had ninety-nine problems and Martina wasn’t one.
Low and behold, just weeks after their break-up, I saw my name wrapped up in some Amarre/Martina mess on Instagram. Let me tell you, I had a ‘clutch my pearls’ moment when I read that Amarre moved on from Martina and was messing with Jade’s home girl, Taija. Now that was something that came all the way from left field. But what made me mad, was people saying I hooked Taija up with Amarre as a favor to my cousin. That shit made me laugh out loud when I first read it. For one, I don’t even know Taija all like that. I only knew her as one of Jade’s friends. She’s merely an acquaintance. I certainly didn’t know Amarre was hooking up with her.
Jayson is one of Amarre’s best friends and he’s in Miami a lot. Jade and Jayson were together, so its fitting that’s how Amarre met Taija. How folks insisted on putting my name in everything never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t read anywhere that Martina was talking ish about me, but it was pointed out to me by Bri and Jazz, some of Martina’s friends were saying I hooked those two up. Swerve and to the left. I wasn’t going to respond to any of it. I had grown folks business to take care of and my top priority was my baby. If people wanted to get they life by keeping my name in their mouth, go right ahead. I was over and beyond that.
My due date was getting closer and I have seen or spoken with my father everyday over the past few weeks. I trusted his advice on parenting more than anyone and I wanted to learn as much as possible from him. “Daddy, were you scared?” I asked. “Of becoming a father? Sure. I was a young man fresh out of college. I thought I had my whole life figured out, knew exactly where I would end up. One day I was one of the most anticipated college football players hoping to enter the draft. Another day, I had a freak accident, messed my knee up, it was impossible for me to play on a professional level after that,” sighed Daddy. I knew it was hard on Daddy that he never got to play in the pros. He didn’t let it weigh him or make him bitter like it would some people.
Daddy looked at me. “Sorry, baby, you were asking about parenting. The thought of becoming a parent scared me. To be honest with you, I was depressed about not turning pro, but knowing this little person was coming along soon, gave me hope. I chose to focus on you and your mother. I figured since I couldn’t be the best corner in the league like Richard Sherman, I could be the best daddy I could be.”
“I’m sorry Daddy. I know you would have been a great football player,” I said. “Baby, when I look at you and your sister, I have no regrets. I don’t even regret meeting and falling in love with your mother, because I have my daughters. I remember asking my mom a ton of questions about babies when Apollonia was still pregnant with you. I didn’t know how she did it as a single parent. You and Jay are going to be good parents and you’ll have your family right there. This baby will want for nothing. When this little girl is born, she’ll come out, look at you, and know you’re her mama.”
The day of my baby shower arrived. I had asked Jay that morning if he was going to stick around. He of course said no and would be posted up at Winners shooting pool with his boys. I knew he didn’t want to be here, I just wanted to get a kick out of his response. Once I got through to Yuri, Bri, and Kennedey, this shower was going to be done my way, they backed off. Similar to my bridal shower, I wanted this to be a laid back occasion for everyone. I bypassed the most mundane games and only settled on a couple, so my guests could win the party favors I paid a pretty penny for. Yuri and Bri kept whining about having games and I agreed to get them off my back.
To appease Kennedey, I suggested to my guests to bring cloth diapers and bio-friendly disposable diapers. I just refused to do all that extra stuff they wanted me to do. “When are we going to get to find out the name, Reagan?” asked Aoki as my guests gathered into the foyer. “When she’s born. I’ll let everyone know then,” I replied with a wink.
Once my friends were all assembled in the living room, Briah yelled for everyone to be quiet so I could talk. “Thank you all for coming out this afternoon, I really appreciate it. Y’all know me, so I like to think of this as less of a party and more of a celebration of our first child. You’re my family and friends and you know my background for the most part. Being a mother is the greatest and most important job I will ever have. I’m going to try my best everyday to the best mom I can be, but I know I will make mistakes along the way. Fortunately, I have a lot of support in the people around me. Becoming parents was the last thing Jay and I thought would be happening to us right now. We couldn’t be happier though and we’ve been preparing ever since we found out. I’m not going to torture y’all with a lot of games. I just want everyone to have good food, good drinks, and good conversation. Drink all the champagne you want and drink some for me, because I can’t right now,” I laughed.
“Don’t worry, Reagan, today is all about the baby, but we’re going to have a nice long spa day, so you can get some pampering too after the baby comes,” teased Jasmine. A spa day and massage did sound nice and I longed to relax in a jacuzzi. I spent the next hour mingling with my friends and family.
Originally when I invited Jade, she said she doubted she would be able to come. It wasn’t a big deal since she lived so far away. I did find it suspect when she called me a couple of days ago saying she was able to come through because she was in town visiting Jayson. I wasn’t trippin’ because Jayson is supposed to be her man and all now. What was a little funny about Jade is that she was quick to travel anywhere any of her baller boyfriends summoned her to until she got with Jayson.
“Bitch, I can tell you ’bout to drop that baby. It’s good you didn’t gain too much weight in your hips. You still lookin’ boss, even pregnant. You’ll be able to get back in your clothes within a few months,” said Jade, eying me from head to toe. I noticed Bri giving Jade the side eye and honestly, I was too. Jade may have thought she was saying something nice, but it came off as a backhanded compliment. I didn’t need her to tell me I looked good. I didn’t gain that much weight, most of it went to booty, hips, and boobs. And I certainly wasn’t worried about fitting back into my clothes.
“I don’t have much to lose. I’m not even bothering with it right away. I have high metabolism like my mom, so I know I’ll snap back. My hips spread just a little, but I’m still in my jeans,” I replied. I rolled my eyes, Jade knew better than to be throwing underhanded shade about some hips, especially how far east and west hers go. She liked to tease a lot, but the girl wasn’t stupid. I was going to let it roll off my back and chop Jade’s comments up to being Jade. I knew Bri would have something to say considering the back and forth between them over the last several months, but I wasn’t here for it. Jade been feeling herself for the longest, but even more so during all the pre wedding activities when she stayed posting on Instagram how she was part of my wedding. If it gave her enough likes and static to land on a couple of blogs in stories about me, then good for her. If a little Instagram fame and Jayson was pumping her head up, I’ll let her have her little shine.
After I finished opening my gifts, my guests played games Bri orchestrated. As long as they weren’t horribly boring, I told Bri is was okay if we played a couple. The fun part for me were the prizes my guests won. My family, friends and associates all put a lot of thought and care into the gifts they gave me for my bridal shower and wedding. I wanted to return the favor. Maybe I went a little overboard considering the costs of some of the prizes and favors, but everyone loved what I gave them. All of my guests received party favors, but the prizes were even better. I purchased everything from perfume, makeup kits, to Chanel earrings as the prizes. When everyone found out I was expecting, Jay and I received gifts from around the world. My old agent, Charlie, my lawyers, Brad, and several designers all sent me beautiful and extravagant gifts for the baby. She received high end baby clothes, toys, rattle, and so much more. How a newborn needed Hermes anything was beyond me. I wasn’t going to complain, however. If that’s what people wanted to give us, then so be it.
Kennedey was in charge of what she called the diaper raffle. I knew she took a hard stand on being ‘green’, so she told my guests everyone who brought a cloth diaper would get a raffle ticket for a prize. The more cloth diapers you brought, the more raffle tickets you got, thus increasing your chances of winning. Not a hard concept and it went by fairly quickly. Thank goodness, because I was ready to take a nap.
“Reagan, we used to ride on those shoots. Now you’re about to be a mama. You’re just glowing, like for real. You’re all baby too,” gushed Taina. “Thank you. I never knew what people meant by ‘pregnancy glow’ until now. I’m ready for her to come, but to be honest, I liked being pregnant. The first few weeks were hard when I was sick all the time, but after that it was pretty easy. I was scared too girl, because I read about these horror stories and hard pregnancies. I ain’t telling Jay I liked being pregnant, because he’ll be trying to keep me that way!” I laughed.
The party wrapped up about an hour or so later. I thanked everyone for coming. I knew I wouldn’t see some of my friends until after the baby was born. I actually had a good time and everyone else seemed to as well. Tai even thanked me for bypassing the regular baby games that she’s tortured to participate in whenever one of her cousins gets pregnant. What made me especially happy was that Yuri got to put her two cents in regarding the food, Bri got to have her game, and I received a lot of cloth diapers to Kennedey’s satisfaction. All in a day’s work.
I was waiting for Jaylen to get home from his brother’s the next evening. We were going out for Chinese food and I was hungry as hell. As soon as I saw his face, I knew something was up. “What’s the matter, boo?” I asked. Jaylen shook his head, as if in amazement. “Yo, I just got done talking to my brother. Apparently Martina is claiming she’s pregnant,” he replied. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. “Pregnant? Since when?”, I scoffed. I don’t know why my first instinct was to laugh, probably because I thought Jay was joking. “Amarre said she ain’t that far along. She told him last night. ‘A is buggin’ too. I didn’t even know he started back fucking with her,” Jaylen shrugged.
When Amarre broke up with Martina a while back, it’s not like anyone didn’t see it coming. Martina was on his ass for months and stayed accusing him of cheating, from what Amarre said. I wasn’t involved in all of that, so I didn’t really pay any attention. Only when people chose to put my name in it, that irritated me. That was drama I didn’t want or need in my life.
“What did Amarre say? I know this is the last thing he expected,” I said. “He’s in shock. He hold me he hooked up with Martina one night awhile back. It was just one of those things I guess. Amarre said he wasn’t trying to get back into a relationship, but they had sex. He claim he still loved her, but he wasn’t trying to be with her when they hooked up,” said Jaylen.There goes Amarre’s little perfectly laid out plans. If Martina was really pregnant, I had no idea what Amarre was going to do.
“Something don’t sit with me right though, baby. The way Amarre said Martina explained how she thinks she got pregnant. She told him she was still on the pill, but she thinks some antibiotic she was on for a sinus infection may have canceled it out. To me, that’s suspect, cause a couple of my cousins heard this same story in the past. I know it takes two to make a baby, no doubt. Both people are responsible, regardless, something just don’t sit right with me,” said Jaylen. “Did Amarre say anything like that?” I asked. Jaylen shrugged. “Nah, he didn’t say in so many words. I know my brother, but I didn’t get the feeling he thought Martina could be that chick. It’s not like I can even say anything to him, cause if Martina tried to get pregnant or purpose, how would I know?” asked Jaylen.
It sounded it little suspect to me, because most antibiotics don’t mess with birth control. It was possible, but whatever. “I can imagine he ain’t told Yuri or Kevin?” I asked. “Nope, I’m the only one he said anything to. I asked him what he was going to do, he was like he don’t even know. If this is my brother’s baby, I know ‘A will take care of his child, no doubt. But, I ain’t never really trusted Martina. Amarre was all in love and shit, so I mainly kept my mouth shut after we squashed all that. I don’t know if Martina would be that scandalous to try to get knocked up on purpose. I just know what the streets say about her,” said Jaylen. I didn’t have all that much to say at this point. I could say a lot, but I chose to keep my thoughts to myself. Bottom line is, that was them, I had my own pregnancy and baby to worry about. Let the chips fall where they may.
I went into the baby’s newly finished nursery. Yuri and I did a great job. I wish this would’ve been my room when I was little. I’m just happy that I’m in a position to provide for my child in ways my parents couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, my father was the best father anyone could have and his income made no difference to me. Daddy always said, as parents you want your own children to strive to be greater than yourself.
The more my pregnancy progressed, the more I began to reflect on my own childhood. I knew I wanted to be a much better mother than my mom was. Not every moment spent with Apollonia was bad. No one ever knew this, but I loved it when it was bath time when I was little. It meant I got to spend a good forty-five minutes in the tub when she was washing me up and washing my hair. Then it took an additional two hours for Mom to dry and comb my thick red locks. It seemed like it was just a necessary task for my mom, but not for me.
When it was time to comb my hair for, I specifically remember Mom telling me to bring the footstool, barrette container, the orange comb, red brush, water spray bottle, hair lotion, and hair oil. It was a whole process Mom repeated on both Kennedey and I all through elementary for the most part. For bed she would put two fat French braids in my hair. For school she would either pile all my hair on top of my head or put five or six pony tails in it. Typical styles most little black girls wore in our neighborhood. When summer came around, Mom didn’t like dealing with our hair all the time, so she would put it in beads.
Whenever we went around her family, Mom seemed to pride herself on the fact that Kennedey and I had the longest and thickest hair in the family. Bottom line, my mother believed she had the best looking kids in the family and she had no problem telling them that. I’m not really sure what made me think about all this. I guess I wanted to relish in the feeling of having Mom to myself again, even if it were for these few occasions.
Jaylen and I were on what would be our last dinner date as a couple before becoming parents. “How do you like having our daughter on a date with us, Daddy Powers?” I teased. Jaylen smiled at me from across the table. “I love it, Ma. I know this will be the last date you and I will have as a childless couple. From here on out, it’s going to be two am. feedings and enough diapers to bury ourselves in,” laughed Jaylen. “Well, you can thank Auntie Kennedey for all the organic cloth diapers waiting for us at home. And that’s all they will be doing, waiting for us,” I replied. “Leave it up to Kennedey find organic cotton cloth diapers. I never heard of such a thing,” mused Jaylen.
“Look, Jay I know the baby is going to take up a lot of my time. Our marriage is so important to me and it’s crucial that we make time for each other and see to it that our needs are met. You and I have to be good and strong in our relationship to keep our family together. My parents fought all the time. I don’t want that to be us. ,” I said.
Jay looked thoughtful. “Reagan, that’s not us, we don’t do that. I know you love your parents, but their situation was entirely different. On the real, the same applies to me. If you feel like I could do more, just let me know. I’ll do anything you and what I need to do, but I want to give you an extra support,” he said. It was good Jay had my back and as his wife, I had his. Just another week and a half and our lives will change forever.
My due date wasn’t for another week. Jay and I decided to head into town to catch lunch and a movie. As soon as I made my way downstairs, I felt something, I felt pain. I’m not just talking any kind of pain, but contractions. I held my stomach and cried out. Jaylen looked at me with a worried look on his face. “Whoa, baby, what’s going on?” he asked cautiously. “I think I’m going into labor!” I struggled to say through deep breaths. “What! But you’re not due for another week!” exclaimed Jaylen. “Well, this child has other ideas,” I said, wincing in pain.
Jaylen seemed to go into panic mode, like he forgot all the plans we discussed in advance for this day. I couldn’t concentrate on him freaking, because I was in too much pain. If only men could feel for one second what I was feeling now and I knew it would get worse. Stay calm, stay calm, breath, breath, I tried to tell myself. Nothing seemed to work and all I could focus on was the pain. I’m so not ready for this! No one told me the pain would be this bad!
Jaylen finally got his bearings together and began to function. He grabbed my suitcase and it was off to the hospital. We were leaving the house as Reagan and Jaylen Powers, when we returned, we would be the Powers 3. One thing I could already tell about my daughter, like me, she wanted to do things when she was good and ready. Whether we were prepared or not, she was coming.
***The last POVs in the Expanded Universe relating to Reagan’s Story. Briah and Jade’s stories are on hiatus until Reagan’s story is complete
SN Reagan’s memory about her mother combing her hair was plucked from my own childhood memory.