It all started at 2.30am this morning when a Caterpillar Truck crushed the left side of my body. Or at least, that’s what it felt like. The pain moved to my abdomen and was still there in the time it took me to shake DH awake, appraise him of what was happening, ask him what I should do and field his comments about turning off the light.
When the pain turned to dull ache and my anxiety hit the roof, I resolved to report my fractured physical status to the doctor first thing in the morning.
By 8.01 a.m. I was sitting in her surgery, apologising profusely for being there twice in one week (the first was to finally convince her of my pregnancy so in retrospect I regret my too polite apology). Having explained my symptoms, she took a urine sample to identify any signs of infection and suggested we go to the Early Pregnancy Unit for a scan that afternoon.
It sounded like a plan, so I coaxed my anxiety levels down by reading The Daily Mail in reception as the doctor typed my referral letter.
No sooner had I started to engage in the sordid details of our MP’s sex lives than the doctor called me back into the office to watch her “print” my referral. Unless she wanted a hand getting the printing press out of cold storage, I had a feeling that something was up.
She told me she’d found blood in my urine and that we should make our way to the Early Pregnancy Unit immediately.
My anxiety levels returned to the stratosphere.
On the way to the hospital DH and I did not speak, in fact we sat at opposite ends of the bus. Not because we don’t love each other, not because we weren’t supporting each other but because I was enveloped with the feeling that I was going to lose our second baby, so wrapped up in the size and weight of that feeling that I think it was impossible for him to get near me. I felt like I was walking around in a force field of anxiety whose only sounds were the muffled rumblings of how I, then we, might deal with a second miscarriage. How I’d feel – much worse, how we’d deal – much worse, what we’d do next – pass..
It was a long wait for the scan but I managed to force down some pasta in the canteen and throw back a handful of ante natal vitamins like it was some awful Last Supper.
The woman who scanned me was blonde, unlike all the other women who have scanned me in the past year – and that’s been four in total. She was happy and positive and she smiled, unlike all the other women, as I explained the past three months in tones so hushed and funereal she actually asked me whether the pregnancy was wanted.
And so she shuffled around with the dildo of doom and in a moment, there it was… the little tadpole appeared, with a head like Jack Nicholson, a tail like The Little Mermaid and a heartbeat like someone falling in love. I cried, a bit, with relief, in amazement but all the while feeling like a headmistress was watching over me, warning this was not the right time to get too attached.
It was hard not to. It was hard not to get attached to life.
Safe in the knowledge that the embryo was ok, I was dispatched back to the doctor to deal with the crushing pains and blood in my urine. I saw an old man doctor this time who took several minutes to line up the cursor with a link on his computer screen in a bid to explain to me why he thought the crushing pain had been muscular. Then he happily splashed my urine sample over his desk and my handbag as he explained he couldn’t find anything suspect about my urine but would send it off to the hospital for further testing post haste.
As long as the life in my tummy was ok, I figured that whatever the pains and the blood were, it would be ok eventually.
In this moment I have the memory of it being alive. Tomorrow my anxiety may cause me to feel differently, and indeed whatever comes next might change all this entirely. But for now, I remember. And I will its little heartbeat onwards now, and for the rest of my life.