Monthly Archives: February 2020
Home Sweet Home
It was a little over a year that the intensity of the nightmares from going through that trauma subsided. I still heard new-born babies crying in the wind normally, but it wasn’t tormenting me as before.
After the procedure I decided on the ‘Injection’ as my contraception which needed to be administered once every three months which suited me just fine, plus it stopped my monthly cycles.
Ken really looked after me, I know he felt it too and the only way he seemed to cope was diving into caring for me and the kids. He was such a good dad, the children screamed in delight every time he put the key in the lock when he came in from work. The first thing he did was drop his keys, take off his jacket and drop to the floor to give them horseback rides. There was always a mad fit of giggles. Everything was great, I guess.
In the summer we’d spend most of our Saturdays down at the local cricket club watching Ken play. I even started making their cricket teas for the players and learnt how to score. Things were hard but we were comfortable and just went with the flow of life.
I went out with Bernell, Toni and Kacee occasionally and Ken went to see his crew every other Friday. It was what kept our sanity and to make us feel we were still young and could have some fun outside our four walls.
The apartment was becoming claustrophobic as the children were getting bigger and accumulating more toys. We decided to go ahead and buy our own house with the help of a grant given to us by the local council. It put a pep in my step, finally more of my dreams were coming true, married and now a prospective homeowner. It made me feel so mature over my peers. I had a proper little family, imagine me, an actual homeowner.
Obtaining a mortgage was quite stressful but we finally got one. Ken had a friend that worked in something to do in credit checks and was able to tell us which companies to apply to that didn’t do a credit check using a system that picked up our bad results from somewhere else as they were all connected somehow. I don’t know, it was something like that!
Looking at houses were so much fun, but the stress came when one after the other they fell through. Either the other party in the chain pulled out, or another buyer offered more, or the surveyors disapproved of the worth of the property.
Finally, we found our dream three-bedroom house. Fitted kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms, two fireplaces, one in the sitting room and dining room. The garden was huge with a swing for the children and we had a garage at the end of it.
I had gone back to work to help with our income and to get me out the house to interact with other adults for a change. Ethan was with a lovely childminder that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, Nadia started school and Rishon was in nursery. Our family was stable, and life was good.
I got a job in a private day care nursery which hours were ideal to work around our children’s school hours. They all finally went to the same school and our routine was now very straight forward.
My duties were to create menus and cook lunch and afternoon tea for children aged three months to five years old and the staff team. It was an enjoyable job and so rewarding as I was to bring new ideas and created themes to coincide with traditional holidays from around the world and different faiths.
Before long a new position was created within the company for me as a Senior Cook, I was to oversee the food health and safety records of eight other of the company’s nurseries around the M25 area. Making sure they were correct for environmental health inspections. I was also a mentor for the other cooks, their go to person to help them with alternative dietary requirements ideas for their menus.
Ken would often call me during the day and occasioally I’d prepare lots of great finger foods, he would pick me up from work and we’d go pick up the kids from school and have a picnic in the park for dinner. Oh these were certainly the best times.
The kids had some really cool friends and they were quite popular. I took pleasure in doing themed birthday parties where I would do everything from handmade invitations to party bag fillers all in the chosen theme and party games and homemade party food. Their cakes always personally made, not shop cakes, they had a Mickey Mouse cake, a Magic Hat with a Rabbit at the top and sparkling candles, a Sports Car, and a Teddy Bear cake for the teddy bears picnic party where all the guests brought along their favourite teddy. That was a few to memory. The kids always had the best parties and their whole class was always invited as they didn’t want to upset anyone by leaving them out. For so young they were so considerate and were not mean to anyone.
Ken got promoted and after going for a degree and graduating, he got promoted again. With his income I really didn’t have to work but it made us live well. Kens salary did the mortgage and bills and mines done shopping and all the other things, school dinner money and trips, haircuts, clothes and shoes etc.
Our hours got a little more at work and school term holidays were a struggle. Ken had an Asian friend from cricket that arrived from India with his wife and we agreed that they stay in our home and Tandreema Ari’s wife became our Au-pair. I was then able to do longer hours. I also worked as a Silver Service Waitress and a Commis Chef for an events company that catered for V.I.Ps, the royal family and celebrities. I worked as and when there were events so not every night or weekend, maybe three nights a week and every other Saturday as I still wanted time for the kids, plus being busy kept my mind of the baby I lost which bothered my mind. Sometimes a stiff drink cleared my mind.
There was always spectacular decorations at the events, funny enough it was my dad who got me the job as the head butler and him became good friends. The company did quite a few dinner parties for the 9th Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley at Apsley House where my dad was head of security. Dad always brought home the leftover flower arrangements that they gave away at the end of the evening, they were so elaborate.
I also had the privilege to do the same at some functions… and there were many grand affairs such as state dinners at the Guild Hall for heads of state hosted by the queen and captain Mark Philips, cocktail parties for princess Diana at the National History Museum, cocktail parties hosted by prince Charles and princess Anne at St James Palace. There were also fancy dinners hosted by princess Margaret at Blenheim Palace and Hampton Court Palace, parties for album launches, the cast of the tv series Eastenders, Jewish bar mitzvahs and weddings of the elite…I saw it all and it was amazing until pains started to cripple me in my arms and it became too hard to carry the amount of covers expected in Silver Service, and my arms grew too weak to lift. After a good few years of service I had no choice but to throw in the towel. It was hard as I enjoyed being around our clients and their guests but that’s life I guess. My work hours were cut at the nursery also as I started to walk funny if I was on my feet too long and my hands would freeze in pain if I were to cut or chop for too long. It had gotten worse and after tests were done, it was found I had Fibromyalgia. It was crippling but it was manageable to a certain degree with anti-inflammatory meds.
Summer holidays and Rishon and Ethan had a joint Action Man birthday party. Their birthdays were close to each other and with one income less, it made sense to just have one, Rishon was turning seven and Ethan five, they both loved the same stuff so it was easy.
Nadia seemed quiet and I wondered if she was feeling a little jealous, but every time I asked what was wrong she just said I got a headache and sat quietly with her dolls whilst the boys played outside.
My brother Teddy’s girlfriend had given birth to their son and she was out of hospital so I decided to take a train ride with the kids to go see them. It was a nice summers day, Ken was working until late and Tandreema had the day off, it was a nice day for some family time.
The train ride was enjoyable and a little long being as Teddy lived in the South East. The baby was so cute and looked a lot like Rishon. It was nice having another boy in the family, the boys were coming to catch up to the many nieces. The children played in the garden and a little while after Nadia came in as she was tired. The rest dribbled in and then they decided to play some cards, nothing beats a good game of snap. They were all in a fit of giggles then out of the blue Nadia threw up on the floor and everyone froze. I didn’t know what to do first, what I really wanted to do is run as I had such a phobia about vomiting, Ken was the one that dealt with the kids being sick but there was no Ken here!
Teddys girlfriend was so good and helped me clean up the floor and Nadia. Her eyes were red and she complained her tummy and head hurt. It seemed a beginning of a dreaded stomach bug. The boys got very quiet and seemed concerned as they really loved each other and didn’t like when one of them were unwell or told off.
After a couple hours making sure Nads was ok to journey home, we got ready to leave. Nadia slept for most of the train journey and Ken picked us up from the train station. It was late and the kids went straight to bed. In the morning Nadia was looking normal with no signs that she was sick the night before and the boys were also fine. I had a couple more days at home and then went back to work.
I got a call from Tandreema the day after returning to work that Nadia had been sick and she was complaining of a headache. I called my gp for an evening appointment and left to go home early. I called Ken at work as I started to have a bad feeling about this.
When I got home Nadia wasn’t herself at all, she was lying still in a dark room. The doctor examined her and asked a few questions regarding our family health background. Given I was a migraine sufferer, it was diagnosed that she too had a migraine as it was hereditary. He prescribed some medicine and advised for her to keep of certain foods such as cheese and chocolate for a while and see if that helped improve her.
Nadia was sick again the next day and I wasn’t convinced it was migraine but another trip to the gp gave the same diagnosis. I felt uneasy and decided to keep a diary. She was sick again twice over two days, her eyes seemed to bulge when she threw up as her head hurt at the same time, and after a week had passed the vomiting stopped but she looked so weak bless her. The kids summer holidays kind of went on hold whilst Nadia was unwell. The boys played outside with their scooters and bike with the neighbours kids so it wasn’t all bad.
Nadia seemed a little better and Tandereema encouraged me to go back to work, that she could look after her. So I did. A week passed and Nadia was ok but started to get a little quiet by the end of the week. It was hot outside and I told myself it was the sun and she was sensitive to the light. I was so nervous but I couldn’t think why.
Ken reassured me the doctors had to be right as two separate doctors diagnosed the same thing. I know I was a worrier but there was something that wasn’t sitting well with me. Nadia was always tired, her head always hurting and the whites of her eyes constantly pink.
It was a Friday, I left early to go to work. Ken was home for a much-deserved day off. Around lunch time I was called into the office for a phone call, It was Dr Hargreaves! ‘Hi Mrs Sajor I have another prescription for your husband to pick up.’ ‘Huh… what? Sorry you’ve lost me, what prescription I thought we had all of it?’ ‘Yes this is the one from this morning.’ I was puzzled, I said ok and that he would pick it up. I rang home straight away, Ken answered the phone ‘Ken, what’s going on, Dr Hargreaves just called again about a prescription!?’ There was an awkward silence then he explained ‘ look, Nads was sick again and she looked really unwell so I took her to the doctors’ Ken spoked and my head swirled, in a moment my head seemed to spin like a top. I dropped the phone and dropped to the ground sobbing. My manager came running into the office, ‘My God Maria what’s happened?’ I screamed ‘SOMETHING BAD IS WRONG WITH MY BABY AND THEY’RE MISSING IT… SOMETHINGS WRONG SUSAN’ and I cried and cried. She got one of the staff members to drive me home. I asked her to drive me to the doctors first. I calmed down and took my diary out my bag and marked down an ‘S’ by todays date. And looked back over the last few weeks and staring back at me was a distinct pattern of events, I froze.
I rushed out the car and asked the receptionist to please call out Dr Hargreaves. They knew us very well and saw how unwell Nadia looked that morning, she called her out.
I showed Dr Hargreaves the diary of Nadias headaches and vomiting. I wasn’t going crazy, there was a pattern, she saw it too… five days vomiting in the morning once a day, then six days vomiting twice a day then a couple days nothing then it would start again. She took the prescription back and gave me something else. ‘Now Mrs Sajor, listen carefully, give Nadia this medicine after her meal tonight. If she still vomits tomorrow morning then it’s not migraine, take her straight to A & E they’ll be waiting for her as an emergency. ’I was shaking and tears were streaming down my face as my work colleague Alyson drove me home.
The boys were home and if I knew them I know they’d be anxious and Nadia scared and poorly so I had to wipe my face and compose myself and act as normal as possible. I explained to Ken all what the doctor said and he held me in his arms saying it was all going to be ok I closed my eyes and held him tight back. The evening was spent as normal as possible playing with the boys whilst Nadia rested quietly with her dolls on the sofa after taking her medication.
The morning came and with it our greatest fear, Nadia was sick again. We called the hospital to say we were on our way.
She was admitted straight away and annoyingly all her obs were fine. We couldn’t understand it, Ken and I was at our wits end now as after showing Ken my diary, he then agreed it wasn’t my mind, something was wrong. The rest of the Saturday Nads was fine, she was fine on Sunday and her obs were also fine. The doctors and nurses all joked she was a mystery child. After talking to the doctor he said a CT Scan was booked for the Monday and there was no harm in still getting it done and we can then see about going home, that maybe it really was a case of really bad migraines. In my mind I was like no way.
Just after breakfast on Monday morning Nads was sick again and part of me was glad, only because she was so well in hospital and I needed them to see her sick.
She went for the scan in the afternoon, Ken left to take the boys home for lunch and I told him I’ll call him to pick us up later as I was sure we were going home regardless.
About twenty minutes passed and three doctors came by Nadias bed. ‘Mrs Sajor? Hello, I’m Dr Parker the registrar and these are Drs Reynalds and Simmons specialists in neurology.’ All that sounded foreign to me… ‘Where is Mr Sajor we would like to speak to you both?’’ He’s gone home to get the boys some lunch’ ‘Can you call him back straight away please we found something.’ My heart pounded like a bass drum I swallowed hard and looked at all their faces trying to read each one. ‘Yes I will call him but I need you to tell me straight away as I can’t wait, I cannot stand not knowing a moment longer please tell me what is wrong?’ They led me into a room and told me to take a seat as they closed in the door. I felt I was in a tv documentary it was so surreal.
Dr Parker allowed Dr Simmons to begin… he took out a pad and began to draw what looked like a walls sausage and another long shape a little thinner than a pencil. He begun to explain… ‘There are ventricles in the brain that carry fluid called cerebrospinal fluid, your daughters ventricle is the size of this…pointing to the large walls sausage shape… but they should be smaller than this one…pointing to the thinner one… its blocked somewhere at the base of her skull it’s a term called Hydrocephalus, Fluid on the Brain. Its common with babies born with Spina Bifida, she’s eight years old now so that’s highly unlikely, Has she knocked her head?’ I was in a daze, I answered ‘no not that I know of, she just started having lots of headaches and vomiting and it was put down to migraines until I noticed a pattern, I kept a diary.’ ‘We’ve couriered her scan down to Great Ormond Street Hospital as we haven’t got the equipment to look at it in detail for a tumour, you do know what a tumour is Mrs Sajor? As she hasn’t knocked her head it could be what’s blocking the fluid.’
This was too much for me, where was Ken? The nurses had called him and he was on his way back, but it felt like hours. Dr Parker informed me that they were organizing an ambulance to take Nadia to Great Ormond Street which is in central London. I went back to Nadias bed and watched her play with the toys, she looked so normal, nothing showed on her obs, temperature, blood pressure, we were facing a secret killer.
Ken arrived and the boys went in the play area. The drs again repeated all what they told me, and Ken crumbled to a chair, he fell apart and cried ever so deeply. I held him in my arms and whispered gently ‘Come on darling the kids need us…shhhhh we gotta keep it together so we don’t scare them. It’s going to be okay, they finally know now.’ And with that, after a few minutes, Ken composed himself and excused himself to go wash his face. I couldn’t cry. I needed to be of sound mind and understand everything the drs were to tell us.
Work, I had to call work, only that morning I rang and said she was going for a scan but we’ll more than likely be home that day and I should be back tomorrow.
Susan answered the phone, I began strong ‘Hiya, ummmm we’re not coming out, they found something, we’re being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, They’re looking for a tumour on in her brain, there is fluid blocked.’ As the words came out my voice began to shake, and I broke down. I heard Susans voice but yet heard nothing, my world was in a glass bottle with deep cracks appeared out of nowhere. It was about to shatter.
The Pain Of Fertility
What am I to do?
There’s no getting through to you
For every spoken sore there is a plaster
Useless tears that fill a carving of alabaster
A long bandage of reasons,
To kill the life within me is treason
Betraying the care given unto me
Entrusted to nurture,
Yet trouble and strife
Is all they envision
Am I then living and seeing a delusion?
I am but an emptying jug
Cascading out to a river of confusion
Shall I tell myself the inner wall of my womb holds an illusion?
I’m so sorry
I couldn’t find the right words to shout
And make your mothers words turn like a roundabout 360!
I know you thought being married would be your curtain
A covering that would shield you from indignation
You looked to him to defend
He said for better for worse
Yet when you needed him, he abstained from putting you first.
If I could just let you know
That your inner me intercedes for you
Crying out, your spirit begs for mercy and grace
But it is not time yet for you to understand
How much your unborn child is in HIS hands
You’ve catapulted in deep misery
Fighting demon’s day and night
Crying babies that are out of sight
I wish I could save you from this despair
Through it all
Love has evolved
He covers you with a marital shawl
His affection awakened trying to help you stand up
Sounds of laughter from your sons and daughter
Helps the sadness take shelter
Out of hibernation of guilt and self-hate
Enough, it’s time to recuperate
Come out of this depressive state before it is too late
Oh my baby how I adore you
Your tiny hands
Your cute little face
My imagination goes crazy
Picturing what you would have looked like
And whether you are a boy or a girl
I’m so sorry
So very very sorry
But it was out of my control
I couldn’t win on the blame game
Looking back I feel so ashamed
That when I came under attack
I had no back bone for you to fight back
Who Knows, I could have won
And all the naysayers shocked and surprised
As they never realised that you’d grow to be the exceptional one
I’m sorry I put you to sleep beloved
If only you knew how much after I suffered
Crying over a baby I never knew
Always remember my precious
As you lay in the hands of Jesus
Mummy did, and always will love you
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.