The coco pinchard boxset.., p.72
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       The Coco Pinchard Boxset: 5 bestselling romantic comedies in one!, p.72

           Robert Bryndza
 

  After all this, I don’t hold much faith in birth plans. I know Meryl had one. I also know she had it laminated for her water birth (which never went ahead as someone had stolen the plug for the birthing pool). I picked up the phone and gave her a call at Daniel/Jennifer’s place. She answered straight away.

  ‘Coco, I was just about to phone you…What’s Throwback Thursday?’

  ‘It’s where people post pictures on social media which are obviously from the past, and it’s usually done on a Thursday,’ I said.

  ‘Right…’

  ‘Are you thinking of getting involved?’ I asked.

  ‘No. Tony’s posted a Throwback Thursday picture of us from 1992, back when we were members of that amateur dramatics group, you remember? We were both in A Clockwork Orange…’

  The image of Meryl and Tony dressed in bowler hats and codpieces as droogs is something I have never forgotten.

  ‘It’s just so unexpected,’ said Meryl. ‘For the past few months Tony’s been posting endless pictures of him and Mai Ling… And now he posts one of me and him.’

  ‘Maybe he misses you Meryl,’ I said.

  ‘No,’ she said wistfully. ‘He probably just wants to look young and hip for Mai Ling. She had her twenty second birthday last week. Twenty two! Tony’s had the same wallet for twenty five years. Of course, he kept the wallet…’

  There was a pause and I asked Meryl if she could send me a copy of her birth plan. This seemed to cheer her up.

  ‘Yes of course, it would be nice if someone appreciates it,’ she said. ‘I spent days writing it, and no one in the hospital gave it a second glance…’

  A few minutes later it came through by email. It’s quite a read…

  Friday 25th May

  I filled in my birthing plan very simply. I just want the baby to be born easily. I have asked for gas and air, and if I scream for an epidural, I want it. I also said I would be breastfeeding. midwife Justine sat behind her desk reading through with her little troll pen hovering over it.

  ‘This is wonderful Mrs Pinchard,’ she said. ‘I have something very valuable here, it might be worth a few quid in the future.’

  ‘What?’ I asked.

  ‘You didn’t tell me you were an author!’ she pulled a copy of Agent Fergie out of her handbag, and came over to the examination bench where I was perched.

  ‘I was doing it for my book club, and only realised when I saw your photo on the back…’

  She handed me her troll pen and asked me to sign it. I wrote,

  “TO JUSTINE, THE BEST MIDWIFE A GIRL COULD ASK FOR! LOVE COCO x x”

  ‘I’ve bought Chasing Diana Spencer too, will you sign that?’ I said I would.

  ‘I feel all embarrassed now,’ she said. ‘Now I know you’re famous.’

  ‘Don’t, I’ll be the one embarrassed when I’m lying there in stirrups,’ I said.

  ‘We don’t do stirrups anymore. You can squat on the floor, stand up, kneel on all fours…’

  It all sounded hideous. She pumped the blood pressure monitor on my arm, and when the cuff was at its tightest she listened with her stethoscope.

  ‘Pulse sounds healthy. Are you having heartburn?’

  ‘Not too bad.’

  ‘Now I haven’t seen you at my antenatal classes…’

  ‘Things have been a bit crazy,’ I said.

  ‘Well you should. I always start the session with pelvic floor exercises. I can’t emphasise enough doing your pelvic floor exercises.’

  ‘I’ve got a very strong bladder,’ I said. She opened her drawer and handed me a leaflet for good measure.

  ‘Seeing as you are my special patient. Would you like to see something funny?’ she asked.

  I said a cautious yes. Midwife Justine seemed a bit over excited and I was dreading that she was going to whip out something she’d had pierced.

  ‘I wouldn’t show this to patients usually,’ she said. Oh God it is a piercing, I thought. ‘The patient’s name is blacked out so it’s not a data protection issue.’ She unpinned a sheet of paper from the noticeboard behind her desk. ‘Here,’ she said. With relief I took it. Without having to read too much I could see it was Meryl’s birth plan!

  ‘Where did you get this?’ I said.

  ‘It’s been doing the rounds for the past year or so. Nearly every midwife I know has had this forwarded to her as an email!’

  Meryl’s name, date of birth and other details had been blacked out.

  ‘I mean, who is this woman? What a nutcase,’ she said. The look on midwife Justine’s face was priceless. I burst out laughing, it jolted through me, and then, I wet myself. I couldn’t stop.

  ‘Oh, oh Coco, Mrs Pinchard, um… you’re just doing a little wee, nothing to be embarrassed about.’ Midwife Justine lunged for the paper towel dispenser as a wet patch started to grow on the front of my denim dungarees. I was caught between mirth and horror, but I couldn’t stop laughing.

  ‘It’s okay, pelvic floor exercises,’ she said grabbing my hand. ‘Squeeze and draw in your anus at the same time, and close up and draw your vagina upwards, can you do that for me?’

  This made me laugh even more. In the end I had to phone Adam who came to the surgery with a change of trousers and a bin liner. When I made it to the car the full horror of what had happened came over me.

  ‘I can’t look at you,’ I said.

  ‘It’s okay. I didn’t see you wet yourself,’ said Adam.

  ‘But you had to bring me a change of clothes, oh my God… I’m not supposed to be wetting myself until after the baby is born.’

  ‘What made you…?’

  I told Adam how Meryl’s birth plan had gone viral. Adam collapsed into hysterics. He laughed so hard tears were running down his face. This set me off again.

  ‘Quick, drive,’ I said. Luckily we got home in one piece with dry seats. I’ve told Adam not to say anything on pain of death. In Meryl’s mind she was writing a perfectly serious birth plan.

  Saturday 26th May

  An Estate Agent came today to value the house. I was expecting a bit of a slime ball, but he was a pleasant young chap called Neil. As we took him round, he asked a lot of questions. Did we have a basement? A loft conversion? Underfloor heating? Underground parking? a wastewater recycling system?

  We had to say no.

  ‘Have you installed Creston or Lutron?’ he asked.

  ‘Is that a kind of flooring?’ said Adam.

  ‘No, they’re home automation systems, allows you to programme and control lighting and sound.’

  We shook our heads guiltily, feeling very uncool.

  ‘We have got a dimmer switch in the lounge,’ I said. Neil frowned.

  ‘And there’s a little pond and a view of the London Eye from the garden.’

  Neil gave a nod to say you’ve got a crap house. He took lots of pictures on his iPhone, and left saying he would be in touch with a valuation.

  ‘We’re never going to sell it,’ I said. ‘People want fancy houses in London, not this dump.’

  June

  Friday 1st June

  I am now huge, and sleeping is a problem. I can’t get comfy. Gravity seems to pull my bump and boobs in all the wrong directions. I now know why hippos wallow in the mud: it must give their heaving bodies a comfy weightlessness.

  I woke up suddenly with a shout. It was three-thirty, and I could hear muffled laughing. I got up to use the loo, and Adam had the airing cupboard door open and was fiddling about with the big container of fermenting beer.

  ‘What are you doing?’ I asked blearily.

  ‘Measuring the pressure.’

  ‘Is it okay?’

  ‘Yes,’ he smirked.

  ‘Good. We wouldn’t want an explosion.’

  Adam started to laugh.

  ‘What’s funny about another explosion? It would stink the place out.’ This set him off even more.

  ‘What?’

  ‘I love you, and I know you’re pregnant, but you just did the hugest f
art in your sleep. You actually shouted, ‘Ooh what was that?’ when you woke up.’ Adam laughed even harder.

  ‘You men have it so easy,’ I snapped. ‘And to think, I’m growing another one inside me.’

  I tried to make an elegant exit, but the gap between the edge of the airing cupboard door and the windowsill wasn’t big enough. My bump got wedged in. Adam had to gently pull me out, and then lead me to the toilet, much like you lead an elephant up a ramp before transit.

  ‘I’m fine,’ I snapped and waddled my way to the bathroom. When I came back, Adam was in bed looking all cosy

  ‘Give me all your pillows,’ I said.

  ‘All of them?’

  ‘Yes. Now.’

  He handed them over and I managed to make a little nest with my bump supported.

  ‘Now my neck isn’t supported,’ he whined.

  ‘It will be when my hands are round it, squeezing tightly.’

  He took the hint and kept quiet.

  Monday 4th June

  Adam bought me a long curved pregnancy pillow, and regained custody of his own pillows.

  We’ve been sleeping beautifully the past few nights. For the first time in ages I feel really great. Pregnant and big, but great. I was having a shower this morning, and watching Adam through the glass cubicle when I suddenly felt incredibly, horny.

  He had a towel round his waist and had just finished shaving. I watched his biceps shift and flex as he reached into the sink to scoop up water, my eyes travelled along his muscular back, his broad shoulders tapering down to a thin waist, and the curve of his rump under the taut material of his white towel. He dried his face, and turned round. A little water ran down his neck and over his pecs. He walked out of the bathroom giving me a wink on the way.

  I realised I felt more horny than I ever have before. I rinsed off the last of the soap, stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in a big towel.

  Adam was in the bedroom, already dressed in tight black jeans and doing up the last buttons on his work shirt, when I launched myself on him. I kissed him furiously. He responded, surprised.

  ‘Make love to me, now,’ I said and started to undo his belt buckle. He pulled away.

  ‘Hey, what about the baby?’

  ‘What about the baby?’

  ‘Should we be doing it?’ he ran his hand softly over my huge bump. I carried on unbuckling his trousers.

  ‘Whoa whoa whoa, Coco, I’m serious. You’re in week thirty-one.’

  ‘It’s fine,’ I said finally getting his belt undone and yanking his jeans down exposing his hairy footballers legs.

  ‘How do you know it’s fine?’

  ‘It says so in all the books.’

  ‘You haven’t read any of the books, you lobbed one at a pot plant.’

  I started to unbutton his shirt, got fed up and ripped it open. Buttons flew off, a couple pinging against the bedside lamp.

  ‘I want you,’ I growled.

  ‘Coco, I don’t think we should.’

  ‘Well your head might say one thing, but below the belt you seem much more keen.’ I hooked my hand under the waistband of his briefs and went to slide them down.

  ‘No! I’m serious, what if there is a reason that you shouldn’t have sex? Didn’t they say you shouldn’t do anything strenuous?’

  ‘Oh my God say that word again!’

  ‘Strenuous.’

  ‘Oh! I’ll go on all fours, and you can give it to me strenuously.’ I pulled his briefs down. His penis was really hard and it sprang up and slapped against his belly button.

  ‘Ow!’

  ‘Don’t be a baby!’ I said. I kneeled on the bed and tried to arrange myself. He started to soften.

  ‘No no no no no!’ I said, pulling at it as if it were a bicycle pump and I’d had to stop with a flat tyre during the Tour de France.’

  ‘Adam, I could hump a tree right now. I can’t drink, or smoke, or eat any of the things I love. I can’t dye my hair. You are having sex with me whether you like it or not.’

  ‘But that’s…’

  ‘That’s called being a supportive husband. Other women ask their husbands to put up shelves or mow the lawn. All I want is a damn good seeing too! I think you’ve got it very easy.’

  ‘Ouch Ow! Stop Coco,’ he said jumping back. I took my hand away.

  ‘Adam, please. I want you so badly… I’ve heard it’s a legitimate pregnancy symptom. Clinical horniness. What if I spoke to midwife Justine? Would you be happier?’

  ‘Yes,’ he said relieved and went to pick up his jeans.

  I grabbed my phone off the bedside table and began scrolling through.

  ‘What? Now? You’re going to ask her now?’

  ‘She said to phone if I had any questions.’ I found her number. Midwife Justine answered after two rings. I put her on speakerphone. We could hear traffic in the background.

  ‘Hello. It’s Coco Pinchard,’ I said. ‘I want to know if we can have sex?’

  ‘Hello, Mrs Pinchard?’

  ‘Not you and me, obviously…’ I added.

  ‘No, no I didn’t think that,’ she said. ‘It’s just that this is my emergency line. Is this an emergency?’

  Adam looked at me and shook his head.

  ‘I’m experiencing clinical horniness…’ I said.

  ‘I’m not sure that’s an emergency though, Mrs Pinchard, I must impress on you that the NHS is a free resource but it shouldn’t be abused.’

  ‘I just want to know if I can safely have sex in my thirty first week. Adam is worried he might poke the baby… I mean he’s not that long… well he is long, no complaints there.’

  I looked at Adam who had his head in his hands.

  ‘Mrs Pinchard. It’s perfectly fine for you both to engage in sexual intercourse. Just make sure you are well supported, and take it slow. You can even do your pelvic floor exercises when Adam is inside you.’

  ‘Adam is here,’ I said. ‘I’ve got you on speakerphone.’

  I mouthed say hello to Adam.

  ‘Hello,’ said Adam awkwardly.

  ‘Morning, Adam. Think of your penis like a divining rod. When you penetrate Coco, you’ll feel her doing her pelvic floor exercises, it will be like a squeezing sensation… This will help her enormously with any incontinence issues. Did she tell you she did a little wee-wee in my office?’

  ‘Yes,’ cringed Adam.

  ‘Both of you must tell me how it goes, as I said I’m still rather new to all this. In fact I sometimes forget I’m a midwife! I made a curry last night and sliced a pile of chillies, forgetting that I have to do a membrane sweep this morning…’

  ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine, and thanks,’ I said. I pressed end call and climbed on the bed.

  ‘That was the most unsexy conversation, ever,’ said Adam. ‘Coco, I love you but I don’t know if I can…’

  ‘Adam. Do me from behind. Now!’ I ordered.

  Men are simple creatures, and these words seemed to do the trick. He managed it twice and was rather late for work.

  Thursday 7th June

  My clinical horniness vanished today, just as quickly as it arrived. For the last few days the oddest things have set me off. On Monday Adam rolling up his sleeves to bleed the radiators got me incredibly fired up, then on Tuesday night I saw a trailer for ‘Luther’ on BBC1 and had to phone the bar and see if he could get home any earlier. This morning we went shopping and some elderly reverend was reading Thought for the Day on Radio 4. I was randy as anything. Although I think it was more the vibrations from the car speakers than the elderly reverend. I hope.

  In a way I’m glad my ardour has cooled. When we last had sex, Adam had to help me turn over, he pulled the same strained face I saw him use when he once helped Daniel shift a piano.

  We had a piece of very good news this evening. The estate agent has found tenants for Adam’s flat. They’ve been vetted, and they are due to sign contracts tomorrow!

  Friday 8th June

  I was waiting by the ph
one this morning for confirmation that our new tenants had signed. So when it rang with a withheld number, I thought it was them, but it wasn’t.

  ‘Is this Mrs Pinchard?’ asked a female voice; there was a scratchy inaudible tannoy in the background.

  ‘Yes?’

  ‘Hello I’m calling from University College Hospital your son Rosencrantz Pinchard was admitted to A & E this morning under the influence of alcohol.’

  ‘What?’

  ‘I said…’

  ‘I heard what you said. What do you mean under the influence?’

  ‘It means drunk. We had to pump his stomach as a precaution.’

  ‘Stomach pumped? Why?’

  ‘I think it’s best if you come to A & E,’ she said. I grabbed my bag and left the house. As I went through the automatic doors of the hospital, I was breathless and staggering under the weight of my bump. A porter tried to put me in a wheelchair thinking I was about to give birth, but I explained I was visiting.

  Accident and Emergency department was remarkably quiet. I found Rosencrantz alone in a curtained off cubicle. I was shocked at his appearance. He’d lost a lot of weight. His already slim frame jutted out from under the thin yellow hospital gown. His cheeks were hollow, he had a black eye, and there was the tell-tale black tinge of the charcoal solution on his lips to show he’d had his stomach pumped.

  ‘Rosencrantz. What’s going on?’ I asked. I leaned over and hugged him. He stank of stale booze.

  A kind-faced middle-aged nurse came through the curtain.

  ‘Is this mum?’ she asked. Rosencrantz nodded. ‘I spoke to you on the phone.’

  ‘I’m going to be sick,’ said Rosencrantz. The nurse grabbed a cardboard bowl from a pile beside him and Rosencrantz threw up.

  ‘There you are, love... All done?’ She went out and came back with some blue paper towel, gave a piece to Rosencrantz and lay a square over the bowl.

  ‘I don’t understand what’s going on,’ I said. Rosencrantz gingerly eased himself back on the bed and stared blankly ahead. When the nurse saw he wasn’t going to offer up any information, she took me out of the cubicle and down to the nurses’ station.

 

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