All content property of Helen Davies. Copyright 2014
We both woke early, before Zac, which was unusual but it felt so right, almost as if he knew we needed some time on our own that morning. As soon as we roused, we both went to the ensuite and I peed on two sticks, the one from the hospital and a digital one from the chemist. Once more I stayed in the bathroom and waited for the result and Jason busied himself in the bedroom. I felt strangely calm and, more than ever before, I simply felt it was agonising waiting for the result. I couldn’t wait to see the smiley face. I was desperate to leap into Jason’s arms to hug him, squeeze him, cry, laugh and celebrate our impending new baby or babies. The excitement was almost unbearable. My mouth was dry and as swollen as my tummy was, I could feel that it was in knots as we waited.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say I literally leapt back away from the sticks. My gasp was so loud that Jason jumped. There was no other sound, no words, just silence as I held the sticks with one hand and put the other hand to my mouth. Negative. Both sticks showed negative.
It couldn’t be. They must be wrong. They must both be wrong, both be faulty. Or the date must be wrong and it is too soon to do the test. It just couldn’t be negative.
Sadly, of course, they weren’t wrong and as I continued to stand there staring in disbelief at both sticks, the hospital indicator was clearly getting stronger and stronger, confirming that there was no pregnancy, no baby, no happy ending.
I was stunned. Totally shocked by the result. I had always said it could have been the drugs giving me the symptoms but I had never really believed it. They were so strong, so frequent, so like my last pregnancy with Zac, that every part of my body believed I was definitely pregnant. I kept asking myself “How could I not be pregnant”.
It felt as if the pregnancy had been taken away from me. That morning someone took my future away from me. It felt like I had been on a track for sure and now, I had been unceremoniously thrown off it, not allowed to go any further. The end of the road. You’ve had two weeks to enjoy it, now get off the ride.
I still felt sick, my boobs were enormous and sore, my sides had thickened and I just felt so pregnant. And yet, I had to try to get my head around the result and start to believe that I wasn’t.
I wanted to do another test immediately, as I couldn’t get passed the thought that they must have been faulty, but Jason told me not to do another, don’t waste a test or upset myself further. Clearly it was conclusive. Clearly it wasn’t a faulty test. There was no baby.
I didn’t cry. I was numb. Jason had a small cry but I was almost paralysed. I couldn’t go to him, couldn’t hug him, I simply couldn’t move. The result wouldn’t sink in, it was as if my body was in limbo and before it could react I had to believe what the result was telling me. Jason went into the bedroom but my feet were rooted to the soft mat in the bathroom. I just kept looking at the sticks. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
I wasn’t bleeding like last time, I hadn’t even had a show and I felt fit and well and happy and…none of that mattered. I wasn’t pregnant. I had never been pregnant this time. It just hadn’t worked.
Zac woke and cried out for me, so I grabbed my dressing down and brought him downstairs for breakfast. Somehow a child’s cry and Mother Nature can suddenly make you function and jump into action, whether it is in the dead of night or in a moment of utter sorrow. I found myself carrying him, making him comfortable on the sofa, turning on the TV for him and then sitting in silence next to him. I didn’t hold him or cuddle him; I just sat closely next to him. I couldn’t bear for him to sense anything was wrong, I didn’t have the words of comfort or explanation for him just yet. I needed him to remain ignorant to what was going on for now and I knew I couldn’t be strong if he should start with his usual inquisitiveness.
Jason came down shortly after and turned the kettle on. He asked if I was all right and I just nodded and said yes. I was surprised to hear myself say yes, but at that moment I did feel all right. It hadn’t really sunk in and I couldn’t get my head around what had happened, so actually I did feel OK. I didn’t feel sad, didn’t feel heartbroken and didn’t feel like tears were going to come at all. I was remarkably OK, yes. I looked across at my sorrowful husband, busying himself in the kitchen getting his breakfast and making us cups of tea. Part of me felt compelled to go and hug and comfort him, but a larger part of me sensed that right now, that wasn’t going to help either of us, especially with Zac in the room.
It was nearly 8am and I knew my Mum would be pacing the floor but I just didn’t want to speak to anyone, not even her. I couldn’t face calling, didn’t know what to say really and certainly didn’t want to have a full-blown discussion about it.
I texted her. I wanted her to stop worrying but equally couldn’t face the reality of saying the words, so I just wrote: ‘I’m not pregnant. Two tests so it’s deffo x so shocked I’ll call later’ xx’
Quarter of an hour later I was still sat in the same place on the sofa and was now stroking Zac’s head. My whole world was turned upside down, it was like I’d fallen off a fairground ride and couldn’t get back on. And now feeling his warmth against me I felt that I had let Zac down as well. I was supposed to be telling him in a few weeks that he was going to have a baby brother or sister, or both, and the thought that that conversation wasn’t now going to happen was the catalyst that made my body finally realise, accept and deal with the reality that this cycle was over.
Tear started to form and I tried to wipe them. My eyes were stinging and I could sense that my body was starting to react to the news. Shock was making way for grief and I had no idea how to stop the emotion so I sent Zac upstairs to choose his clothes for the day and Jason came over and pulled me up into his arms. The tears started to come and my body started to shake. A desperate sobbing in response to the total disbelief at what had actually caused these tears. It felt good to be in Jason’s arms, to hold him too, but suddenly a huge painful wave came over me at the added pain I must have caused him after what I’d said to him the night before. I told him I was so, so sorry for what I had said at the dinner table. I should never have said I thought I was pregnant and to do so, I really felt was cruel to him. It was heartbreaking enough for me, but to think that I had said that to him, when he was wasn’t in control of the feelings in the body creating and carrying the child, was overwhelmingly painful for me. I was convinced enough I was pregnant that he should believe me and I was now truly regretful forever saying anything to him. I felt a huge burden at his pain, the pain I had helped cause. Of course he reassured me that he too had been convinced that I was, but that didn’t ease my guilt at saying those words. I had been wrong to say that to him and bitterly regretted it, which only added to the hurting that morning.
I texted the few friends that knew about the treatment, but felt at a loss to know what to say. When their words of comfort and friendship came back I repeatedly just texted ‘I know it’s shit, it’s just shit’, which is exactly how I felt but moreover it was a signal that I didn’t want to discuss it any more with anyone. There was nothing anyone could do or say to change the result or take the pain away, so I wanted to avoid all conversation completely. I certainly didn’t want to be told to remember how lucky I was to have Zac.
This time hit me much worse than the first time. I felt angry more quickly. I could feel the anger through my limbs, my stiff arms and clenched fists and I’m sure if I’d left the house and crossed paths with anyone, I could easily have punched something or someone. It was more than not being pregnant this time, I literally felt bereft, like someone had taken a pregnancy away from me. Last time I had been pregnant but never really believed it as I’d been so poorly and been bleeding and yet despite obviously never being pregnant at all this time, the pain was a hundred times more intense, because I thought I was.
I had to ring the clinic in the afternoon to tell them the result. My voice broke as I said the words ‘the tests were negative’. Yet again they were sympathetic, saying they were so sorry and that they would have an audit meeting to look at possible reasons why and then they would be in touch. And then it was over. Finished. Ended.
I felt cut loose, in freefall. There was no longer a track, no plan, and no baby. The clinic told me to stop taking the drugs immediately, but now I didn’t want to, I wanted to keep taking them. They were part of being on this journey and I didn’t want it to end.
Once the crying came it wouldn’t stop. As the reality slowly began sinking in fully, the enormity of what it meant reduced me to a sobbing wreck. I beat my fists on our coffee table. I found myself screaming out loud which broke down into a repetition of “No, No, No”. Then I cried some more and roared in pain, as loud as I could and again reduced to sobbing “No, No” over and over again. I was clenching my teeth and throwing my head back whilst this curdling, growling sound came out of my throat and then yet again, as my neck tensed and jaw thrust forward, an awful scream came rushing out of me. I had never made such noises in my life and would have perhaps been a little shocked at my outbursts, had I not been so distraught. Tears, snot and saliva were pumping out of me, smeared all over my face and sometimes not wiped or bothered about at all. My head was starting to pound and I rubbed my hands firmly across and around my face, almost searching for an answer as to why this was happening. My hair was all over the place, as I repeatedly rubbed my hands backwards and forwards in frustration then tried to run my fingers through it, but resorting to roughly tying it back out of the way.
Perhaps it is a primeval way of letting out anger and pain, but the screaming and roaring was something that was happening involuntary and whilst it didn’t take the hurt away, it did tire me out quickly which brought the screaming and shouting to an abrupt end. What was left was what felt like the broken shell of a girl. I had no emotion left inside me. I was exhausted and wrung out as I curled up on the floor, with a blanket wrapped round me, tucked between the coffee table and the sofa.
Occasionally I got up to get a drink or go to the toilet, but for most of the day, I sat or lay on the floor, weeping, wrapped in the blanket. I had known the day before that the chance of a negative result would be shattering, but I had never expected a reaction like this. I struggled to calm myself down, to be rationale or to think clearly. I really felt like I was losing control of my emotions and my ability to deal with the situation. What I hadn’t realised was that I simply needed to hit rock bottom with my grief and to let out all the pent up pain, before I could begin to start to deal with anything.
It was probably quite good to have had that insane reaction, as strange and as scary as it was at the time.