As I woke up slowly, I realised I was still in the hospital bed, my whole abdomen, my legs, aching and contracting with pain. The starched sheets seemed to cut into my arms and legs cruelly offering no comfort whatsoever.
I see my husband’s lovely face, like home coming towards me, slowly evolves into focus and I try to say ‘hiya’ but my voice is contained, echoing and breathy – I have a mask over my mouth. I try to turn my head but am pulled back by a tube connecting me to something, somewhere. I try again to say hello, but he can’t hear me and leans further over me, and an absent-minded elbow digs into my shoulder…’owwwww’ I say.. ‘what babe??…’, he digs some more… ‘oowwwwwwww!!!’ I shout as loud as I can with my face covered. He suddenly realises he’s the source of the problem and leaps back – and we laugh about it now.
It reminds me now of the time a year later, almost to the day, when I had gone into labour and was perched on the edge of the hospital bed in a cold, clinical labour suite and my waters broke (again) and I shouted out to my husband ‘waterrrrrr’ to which he dutifully swing round, poured me a glass of repulsively warm hospital tap-water and handed it to me with a hopeful grin. ‘No….. WATER…. ‘ I said nodding my head downwards.. ‘OH!’ he said, and promptly ditched the tumbler and found a midwife.
I had just woken up after an hour and half of unconsciousness following an operation to remove my miscarried baby. One of twins apparently. I had been in the same operating theatre, with the same staff and same equipment that they use to perform abortions. I felt horrified, out of place and cheated. I will come back to that.
The first little soul had left me 2 weeks earlier with all the drama of tummy pains and a lot of blood. We rushed to hospital and were gently reassured that it is ‘so very common’ (not to me it isn’t, lady) and there was no reason why we couldn’t try again in a couple of months and ‘things will go absolutely fine’ (right, ok, so we have your word on that do we, ‘cos right now I feel like I might never be able to carry a baby). The well-meaning doc subtly ushered us home with parting words along the lines of ‘have a glass of wine, relax and try again in a few weeks’.
We did go home and have wine, quite a lot – and a very large pizza to boot. I deserved it. I had just seen the end of the worst experience of my whole life. We had already told our parents and close friends we were pregnant, and now I’d have to call them and tell them we were not. Yet, an even more cruel twist was just around the corner.
3 days later, I had an appointment to be scanned, to be sure all was well in the oven – and to make sure any future buns would hopefully stick. The sonographer seemed oblivious to the pain and upset I had endured as she merrily splatted my belly with gel and merrily rolled the scanner around as if she was kneading dough. I turned my head away to the window – the last time I lay here, just a couple of weeks ago – a nuclear explosion would not have taken my eyes off that screen.. but now – I stared at a chip of paint on the wall. Suddenly her words jolted me back into the room..
‘And there we have it! A lovely little heartbeat! Can you see that love?’ and turned the screen round so my tear-stung eyes couldn’t not look.
Sure enough, the tiniest little flicker. Life. A heartbeat. A baby. A soul. Hope.
I stammered.. ‘bbbbut, I’ve had a miscarriage. I was here on Sunday. I lost my baby.’ She looked confused, annoyed even: ‘no dear, there is clearly a yolk sac and a heartbeat right there’ and tapped the screen with her bitten finger nail.
I couldn’t speak.
She didn’t seem to know about Sunday. She didn’t seem to care. She cleaned up her little dough-kneader, scraped some olive-green tissue paper over my belly (achieving little more than rubbing the gel into my clothes….. ) Something weird is going on! Stop this! (My thoughts screamed all at once..) I drank nearly a bottle of wine! I wasn’t pregnant any more! I could have had pate, peanuts and a Mr Whippy too lady!!! WHAT IS GOING ON?
I found myself in the car park, calling my husband at work, asking if he was sitting down (which of course he was = an office job), a Miracle has happened – the baby survived, or perhaps one of twins has survived.. a little fighter! It’s clinging on to life! I’m not such a miserable failure of a woman afterall!
Despite her initial scepticism (she hadn’t read my notes afterall) the sonographer listened to my story and booked me in for another scan in 1 week to ensure this heartbeat was for keeps.
We were elated. And the stunned ‘oh’s of our family when we called to say ‘yes, we miscarried, but we’re still pregnant’ was just such FUN! We began to re-prepare, re-plan and re-live the initial excitement of expecting our first child. It seems so amazing, how is it possible, God must have great plans for this life! Mid December later that year, we would meet our little Fighter!
1 week later, we did our 2nd anti-nuclear-explosion stare at the sonographers’ tele. All was quiet. She kneaded, and pushed, and rolled and.. frowned. She magnified, changed angles.. all silent. Silence. She said ‘hold on a minute’ and left the room. She had phoned a friend and a young male doctor appeared with a kindly reassuring smile. He kneaded, and pushed, and rolled and… frowned.
The flicker was gone. The life had left us. The soul had flown. Our hearts broke.
We were sentenced to return in another week ‘to make sure’. To make sure? To make sure our Dream is dead?!
I lived on the sofa in over-sized comfortable clothing. Huddled up to myself as if layers of cotton might feel like cuddles of comfort. I watched series after series of my favourite comedy. I didn’t laugh once. But I watched them all intently, over and over again.
We did recover and go on to try again. We were so very blessed to fall pregnant quickly and in due course, bang on his due date our wonderful boy was born – ‘behold, a son’ the meaning behind the name we chose. Because for us – we wanted to shout from the rooftops – BEHOLD!! A SON!!!
This is a very long introduction to something I wanted to post.
Prior to this experience in my life, I was ‘pro-choice’ when it came to abortion. I used to argue until my adrenalin pumped my face pink – what about women who have been raped? What about when the baby is deformed? What if the woman doesn’t have the support and resources she will need to raise the child properly? What if the child will be brought into a miserable or abusive environment?
It all sounded so reasonable, so ‘PC’, so measured and fair and liberal – I felt quite settled in my view. I was quite right thank you very much.
When that heartbeat begins to pump and life starts to flow – a kiss from Heaven into this long-suffering groaning Earth – it is NEW, fresh, innocent, unspoiled. Oblivious to its conception, oblivious to the home it will be brought into – that flicker is a person. A real live person with the potential and RIGHT to all of its hopes and dreams. They may never be Prime Minister, or an inspired musician, or a breakthrough scientist – but they are worthy of seeing a sun rise, an ocean swell, a rainbow caress the sky above them. They are entitled to hear a bird sing its song of chirpy thankfulness and feel a warm summer breeze brush adoringly across their face and feel the soft downy fur of a puppy.
People long and cry out to adopt and foster. There are homes within houses. There are options. No, not the ideal or the perfect or the norm – but enough to give that life, life.
I was challenged to my core whilst pregnant with my son, watching a documentary of a fetus growing in the womb day by day. The narration was first-hand and I listened intently as this pre-baby spoke out; ‘will you still love me if I’m not perfect?’, ‘will you still bring me home, even if you don’t know where the next meal will come from?’. The words were like knives striking swiftly straight through my politically correct armour.
The fetus would never say ‘I know things will be tough, so just end it now.’ or ‘Daddy was a bad man who hurt you so just flush me away so you need never be reminded of him’. No, no, no!
So I changed. From my heart to my head my view took a major turn.
I am PRO CHOICE.
Pro the choice that each new life would chose to live.
Pro the choice that person then has to live however they wish to and at the very least experience the most simple wonders of being alive.
Who are we to take anyone else’s choice away?