Six years ago, when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in an advanced stage and was told it was inoperable I had something of a breakdown. It wasn’t all connected with my dad, indeed it involved many strands of my life not least among them was the fact that at twenty-two almost twenty three my first husband left me seven and a half months pregnant with planned child number two (Surrealo Son). It turns out, although it wasn’t revealed at the time, that he was having an affair with a work colleague and although he told me he was leaving because I was fat ugly and useless, the real reason was that he was actually in love with someone else.
I was left with two children who were brought up by me, my parents and later by me and the Painter but also with the conviction that I shouldn’t have anymore children; this is a drastic decision to take at any age but especially at 23.
I spent the next few years at college and then afterwards supressing all kinds of feelings about children. The Painter was very ambivalent about them and just kept telling myself I didn’t want them. Six cats should have told me that there was certainly something missing but I couldn’t see it for myself.
When dad was diagnosed the world came crashing in on me and I realised that I wanted a baby as much as I had ever wanted anything and I wanted my dad to hold it before he died. The issue would be the Painter or so I thought. Becoming pregnant with my two older children had been easy and I thought it would be the same.
I became pregnant in about seven months (I realise this must seem easy to some) and was delighted. At eight and a half weeks I lost this pregnancy. I put it down to one of those things and got on with life. It took another seven months for me to get pregnant again again I was delighted and hopeful and sick and tired: I lost this one at six weeks. I think I would have been okay if my doctor had been different but he basically instructed me to go on the pill and to forget about having a baby for a while. I didn’t want to do this for several reasons, my dad was still alive and I desperately wanted a home birth which I’d been supposed to have with Surrealo Son but had been denied by the circumstances. The doctor told me I was stupid for even considering a home birth anyway.
The treatment I got from the doctor led to a real deep depression, paranoia and agoraphobic type tendencies. I was a mess and things felt like they couldn’t get any worse when Arty Daughter was hit by a car one evening after school. When I saw the windscreen of the car I was convinced she must be dead but she was lying in the back of the ambulance telling the paramedic how uncomfortable the bed was and generally being very hyper. The paramedic said it was just shock and a good sign in the circumstances.
I went into all the Xrays and scans with her and although she had a tiny fracture to her elbow and another suspect thing somewhere behind her ear she got better quickly.
I was a different kettle of fish – a bit of a basket case by now, I even found myself asleep on the floor one day – not long after I discovered I was pregnant again and had probably been when I was exposed to the Xray and scans. I dared not even cough or sneeze and was convinced every day that I was going to loose the baby again. I explained to the midwife, after a little while, my experience with the doctor and what I wanted and she was fantastic, organising everything with no recourse to the doctor.
There wasn’t a single day in that pregnancy that I didn’t expect it to end but it was lovely to look forward, too, with dad to the new baby coming.
Dad died on 14 December 2002, about five weeks before Lachlantheboy made a delayed appearance. I never got my homebirth, the delay meant they wanted me to be induced and I think with all the emotional strain of losing my dad and the continuing uncertainty I had about ever having a baby, I just wanted to hold him.
I don’t know why I wrote this really. Just to tell someone I care about that I know how it feels to have hope and then for those hopes to be dashed.
I hope with all my heart that you get a happy ending like the one in the picture above.