Lynda shares her story of the loss of her baby.
The doctors tell me that it’s just been nature’s way; that it happens to women every day and I’ll have another child to replace the one I’ve lost. As if it’s as easy as that I think.
The pain is niggling at first, nudging its way from the pit of my stomach to somewhere near the small of my back. I’m thirteen weeks pregnant and it doesn’t take much to know that something is not the way it ought to be. So the doctor comes. She’s strange to me for we’ve only recently arrived in the neighbourhood but still she’s nice and she breathes on her fingers to warm them before examining me. It’s a thoughtful gesture I appreciate more than she knows. Her face is impassive when she breaks the news but I need her honesty; truth being somehow more believable when surrounded by the familiar. And anyway, I need to prepare myself before we leave home.
The plastic doors swing closed behind us with a loud slap. It’s a very hospital sound – a reminder of this place I’ve come to that will be my world for the next twenty-four hours. The place where I know now with certainty that I will lose my baby. I understand this. I do. But I’m not yet ready to believe it.
The nurses are already waiting and they lead the way to a small side room off the main ward. The bed has crisp white sheets and there’s an underlying smell of disinfectant but it’s private and I’m grateful for that. My husband, who’s come along with me, is told politely, “There’s nothing you can do but let nature take its course. Come back and collect your wife in the morning.” Don’t they know that it’s his baby too? Don’t they even think about that? But I’m left alone to wait.
I lie down on top of the bed and stare at four white walls and a sink. The truth is I want to be by myself – to share nothing but my own space and to selfishly breathe in my own air. So I let the hospital silence settle over me and ask my questions to an empty room.
What colour would my baby’s eyes have been? The colour of his hair? Her hair? And will the sense of loss I feel ever really disappear?
Later when it’s over the doctors tell me that it’s just been nature’s way; that it happens to women every day and I’ll have another child to replace the one I’ve lost. As if it’s as easy as that I think, watching their white coats recede through the doorway. As if it’s as easy as that.
I hear soft footfall in the corridor outside. One of the nurses has forgotten something I suppose. She comes in quietly and sits with me on the bed. There is a look of undisguised compassion on her face. Without warning she takes my hand in hers and squeezes it tightly for a moment. “It’s okay Lynda,” she whispers, “Time will help it heal, you’ll see.” This simple act of kindness from a stranger is something that I’ll not forget. The relief I feel from her words is overwhelming.
My healing has a long way still to go, but it’s a start.
Lynda’s story has been broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster, as part of their ‘My Story’ series.