Being a baby I'm not surprised that she doesn't reply, but when she starts sucking gently on my shoulder I decide she's probably hungry. I walk downstairs with her in my arms, bouncing up and down slightly with every step.
Audrey falls asleep in my arms and I carry her upstairs to bed, for a few hours, hopefully, of sleep. By the time the sun rises, we're both slightly more rested and I carry her to the cake I've set up to age her into toddlerhood. Standing next to an excitable James, who had come despite the early hour and late invitation, I cheer and encourage my daughter."Good luck Audrey!" I say with a grin.
"Hey Peg. How are you doing?"
"Honestly, I'm considering ways to kill myself with baby bottles." I tell her, honestly.
"I told you it was hard. And hey, if you need help, I'm only like five minutes away. Call me if you need me. Anyway, I might have been interfering a little and found you a new father. He's willing to participate if you'll do it the 'science way'."
"Really! Who is it?" I ask. Despite how stressed I am, I want to move on with my challenge as fast as I can.
"His name's Vitus. You probably saw him around town. Silver hair, purple eyes. And he isn't related to us."
"Huh. I guess we have similar taste. I saw him down in town and I was gonna try and find out more about him. Send him my way."
When Vitus arrives the next morning, my thoughts are confirmed. It is indeed the man I had seen yesterday. He smiles at me, then gestures awkwardly. "Shall we get this show on the road?" I nod and follow him down the driveway to my car, driving us both down to the fertility clinic. There, I'm inseminated and am able to continue on my way. Although it's much easier than normal impregnation, I do feel like much of the challenge has gone out of the challenge by doing it like this, especially because Mum actually sent him my way.
She tends to follow me around as I garden dressed up in 'dungaroos like a farmer, Mummy!' to tell me all about the dangers of eating meat. Fortunately for her, she has a very accommodating mother who is willing to work her way into vegetarian meals for her firstborn child, even when pregnant with her younger siblings.
It isn't long after that that I find myself heading down into town to register myself as a self-employed gardener. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it earlier, especially because it's one of the few things I do with my time. So one day while Audrey is busy at school, I drive down to fill in the paperwork. On the way out I go into labour and give birth to baby 2, Benjamin Brendan Everard and Baby 3
, Clara Charlie Everard.