Nine And A Half Weeks
Ethan was only three months old when I found out I was pregnant again. If I thought it was tough with three under five, there was about to be four under five and this baby and Ethan at some point will be the same age at one part of the year as they would be less than a year apart.
I wanted to scream, this was the first pregnancy that there was no smiles, no excitement, I was scared, what was in Kens mind? I needed to just leave him alone for a while to breathe and take it all in. All I needed was his approval, something to say ‘I love you, we can do this together, and I’ll be ok with it all. I just wanted his support and I could fight the world. Afterall he helped make it!
Never in my life did I think abortion would be an option in my life, this was for single people, people who are in the situation of pregnancy deserted by their partners etc… I was married, through all our arguments, I loved Ken, loved our little family, loved being a wife and mother. Talking of mothers, my mum was most concerned. Her first response was ‘Maria you simply can’t go through with this pregnancy, Ken is struggling to make ends meet, you can’t breathe and just about manage with the three you have. You have no choice, get rid of it.’ Just like that, no emotion, no concern, it flew out her mouth as fast as oxygen flowing out her lungs, tears welled in my eyes and I turned to look at Kens reaction but his head was bowed low, he said nothing! What did his silence mean? ’but it’s killing a baby, my baby, the children’s brother or sister. What will I say, how do I explain if I get pregnant in the future, the reason for putting this baby to sleep?’ the tears broke the barrier of my lashes and streamed down. ‘Maria catch yourself, number one it is not a baby it is a mass of cells still, surely you can see the strain and pressure Ken is under and will get worse; you’re young, you have time to have another child in the future but not THIS YEAR! Nursery runs, breast feeding and looking after Ethan, it’s cruelty, no Maria my advice to you and Ken is to get rid of it.’ Under my skin grew hot like fire with anger, not just at mums words but at Ken just sitting there not defending his unborn baby or me. I could’ve boxed his lights out but mum was there and no way was I going to show here the other side to us. It was important to me that she saw at least one of her children’s marriage works; Cams first marriage ended in divorce, my eldest brother Teddy was now divorced after just five years and my other brother Lincoln’s marriage was on the rocks but more visible than ours. Gosh someone’s marriage had to work! Mum turned to Ken, ‘well what you think Ken as this involves you too? I stated my feelings on this predicament with you in mind, you feel you can handle a baby… another baby?’ He rubbed his hands over his face as if he just woke up ‘look whatever Maria decides I will stand by her.’ Now what the heck was that supposed to mean? What ah cop out, how was that supporting me? how did that put a band aid over the cuts of mum’s tongue? He had mouth enough to cuss and carry on when we disagreed on things, yet the minute I truly need him to just love me through a difficult situation he couldn’t or wouldn’t show any strength or control…I will stand by her!!!
I sat there unable to speak anymore. Mum got up and said she needed to go but to think very hard and quickly as the last thing we wanted was to make this linger and it become noticeable. And with that she left.
I was numb, I couldn’t look at Ken as I blamed him, I’m not sure what for, maybe all of this, but it felt easier to blame someone else and I was hurt that he didn’t speak up more.
I looked at my pregnancy book that was given to me by the prenatal clinic in hospital when I was pregnant with Nadia. It was so cool, it showed week by week of the baby’s growth up to the fortieth week with illustrations. A group of cells, not a baby mum said, but at nine weeks there would be a visible heartbeat according to that book. I was six weeks. If I was going to go through with this I would have to think and act fast for real. But the pressure, I felt so pressured, I couldn’t think straight and all Ken would say was ‘anything I decided he will support me.’ The more I heard those words in my mind the more upset I got. I knew full well that if I chose to continue with this pregnancy I would be blamed for all setbacks, all hardship, all debts, everything bad. How on earth was I going to do something I’ve never agreed on in my life. The only thing keeping me sane was it needed to be done before I was nine weeks!
I booked in to see my Gp the following day, he was very nice and sympathetic after hearing my reasons why I was heading down the path of putting my baby to sleep ( I couldn’t say the words killing or abortion, they felt cold, heartless and like cuss words) He gave me a referral letter to a Marie Stopes abortion clinic and contacted them to book an appointment.
The whole process seemed so long, and it seemed no one cared about the time frame but me.
It was just over a week that I had to wait for the appointment, it was more of a consultation. The therapist spoke at length trying to get a sense of my mental wellbeing. All pointless, what did it matter, it’s not like I had much choice in the matter. Mum was adamant the baby had to go, Ken was on the fence but only because he was too gutless to speak up. He did however say that he didn’t want to say yes in agreement to mum as he didn’t want me to blame him, but I already did!
The day came for the procedure. Ken drove me there, but he couldn’t stay as he had Ethan. Nadia & Rishon were at nursery. There were two other women in the waiting room, one was a young teenager who was as tearful as I was and looked awfully scared, the other was a young woman, maybe in her late twenties with her partner. They sat holding hands and I couldn’t help but wonder what their story was.
‘Maria Sajor’ my name was called but it sounded like a distant echo underwater. I was shaky when I stood up and tears burned my eyes, what was I doing? This was my body my baby… ok cells, it was just a mass of stuff, I had to fill my mind with the vision of cells as I lay on the bed. A nurse was speaking and telling me what to expect and asked if someone was coming to collect me as I couldn’t go home on my own. I whispered yes and sobbed, she rubbed my arms and said everything would be alright. She also asked before she gave me the anaesthetic if I was sure this was what I wanted. It was like giving last rights. I shamefully nodded my head, as she started to give me the injection I heard the surgeon read my file asking to confirm my name, date of birth. I said yes to all.
I felt a sharp scratch and cold fluid entered my hands as I heard ‘young woman 23yrs old nine and a half weeks gestation, marr’…. And it went black.
In my mind I screamed stop and my eyes opened, thank God they heard me, where was the nurse, she was just here? I had a baby not cells, nine and a half weeks, that meant I had a baby not cells, it had a heartbeat according to my book, so no I couldn’t put my baby to sleep. Everyone would have to understand.
The nurse came from around the curtain and I smiled at her ‘how are you Maria? Everything went well, we’ll give you a couple hours to make sure there are no after affects and you can call the person who is to collect you.’ I lay there gobsmacked, but I just blinked my eyes what did she mean. ‘I don’t understand I cried out stop, I thought you heard me, what do you mean I just shut my eyes for a second’ I sobbed as she started to explain the effect of the anaesthetic that when I spoke out it was in my mind as I went under within seconds…’but my baby, I was nine and a half weeks, it had a heartbeat, was it a boy or a girl?’ I was inconsolable as I didn’t realise with all the appointments I had gone to; time had obviously slipped by and I lost count. I put my baby to sleep, it was gone and the pain was intense, the same after pain you get after delivering a baby. My stomach was contracting the most horrendous pain I felt like I was going to die. Was God punishing me for murder?
The nurse gave me a shot of pethidine… I think that’s what she said it was, I was too upset to hear her words, and I drifted into sleep.
Weeks, months passed, and my life was a cloud. My joy of Ethan was stripped away with the loss of my baby. Yes, MY baby, nobody else wanted it except me. Mum tried to make it seem right telling me God will understand and He will not punish me and it was for the best for both me and Ken. Oh my gosh it was just too much. Sometimes water produced in my eyes with no physical effort, I’d blink and there it was. I had to pull myself together for the kids sake and I hated crying in front of them.
I constantly heard a new born baby crying in the night while I slept, and in the quiet times of the day, but when I got up to look there was no baby, I was going out of my mind. Butterflies, they fluttered in my stomach. It was the same feeling of the first kick you get from your baby in the womb. Then the thoughts started, what if they left part of the baby in me, what was making that movement?? Constant reminders daily of what I’d done. Nine and a half weeks, I even went over the cut off time I gave myself, just so I wasn’t stopping any heartbeat. How awful. I would have to live with this for the rest of my life.
Ken was true to his word, over the following months he was very supportive and allowed me to cradle in his arms when need be, he tidied up and cooked when I couldn’t. There was no fighting or arguing, to be honest, I wouldn’t know how. Ken loved on me and he had said one day, if he knew it would affect me so bad, he would’ve never let me go through with it. I was glad he said it but it was too late.