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  • An Emergency Scan with Baby Winter

    Six weeks.  I find myself on an unfamiliar table; my legs are shaking in metal stirrups.  I can hear the blood whooshing in my head; it reminds me of seaside holidays when I was small, of licking rum and raisin cones whilst the waves crashed over my feet.  My adult life often feels so much simpler than my childhood but today I would give anything to be back at Brighton beach with my grandparents again.  I would give anything to be anywhere but here.

    The sonographer is a trainee; she looks at me as though she wants to immortalise my face, as though my story matters.  She asks me if I mind if she consults with her colleague during my scan, and laughs nervously when I tell her that I don’t mind at all, that I look forward to eavesdropping.  My voice sounds like somebody else’s; I am having trouble keeping myself grounded in this room, keeping my mind on the table.  My heart is pounding like I am being chased.  I thought that I had already reconciled myself to the loss of you.

    The ultrasound machine is turned away from me.  I’m afraid to watch her face, but when I close my eyes I feel trapped within the darkness of myself, so I stare at the fluorescent lighting overhead until my vision blurs.  I feel as though I’m melting; the blood is collecting underneath me, puddling on the paper sheet.  I feel as though I am trapped in a horrible dream; I am disconnected, disoriented by the sudden turn of events.  This time yesterday everything was fine. My head feels like a balloon, swollen and full of nothing.  I am trying to pull thoughts out of myself, to use them as anchors to keep myself calm whilst around me, my body shakes.  I feel like a war zone.  I feel precisely as uninhabitable, as toxic, as I always feared that I would.

    And oh, I thought that I had already said goodbye to you, when I opened my eyes to a world of white.  But laying here, I feel as though I am fighting to peel myself off of you, the reality of you, our little Baby Winter, our November baby.  And I don’t want to.  I’m not ready to have this news confirmed.  I’m not ready.

    But then the sonographer turns to me and she says –

    she says –

    “The pregnancy is in the right place, and there’s a heartbeat.”



    1. March 17, 2018 / 10:33 pm

      Oh, I remember the terror of having to have an emergency scan at 16 weeks with Zoë. As I was walking into the room, I remember thinking that this was going to be the dividing line in my life, that everything coming after that moment would be forever changed. I was right, but not in the way I thought I’d be! She’s now sleeping peacefully next to me, clinging to my hand even in her sleep. I hope this time next year baby Winter is doing the same for you.

    2. Lene
      April 24, 2018 / 11:01 am

      I’ve followed your beautiful family since you were pregnant with the boys. Lurked on the periphery, if you will. But something about this post made me want to tell you my story about my November baby. I started to bleed at 8 weeks, 1 day. In the early hours of the morning. Huge clots of the stuff. I woke at 0203hrs to my anti-social, hated everyone cat headbutting at my crotch through the duvet, kind of bleeding. The local pregnancy unit? More interested in their take-away meal (as, perhaps they felt they should have been). I was told “oh, you’re having a miscarriage” and my mother felt the need, a few hours later when she arrived, to tell me in detail about all of hers (which, believe me, is not what any mother – I have an older child – needs to hear, never mind any daughter!). It took 9 days for me to get a scan, due to the Easter bank holidays. 9 days I spent on “advised” bed rest, alone in my flat, my mother having absconded with my older child. I read a lot, I cried a lot, I seem to remember eating a lot of cake…

      And then, like you, during my scan (following a row with my mother), I saw it. A tiny little bean with a flickering heart-beat. In the right place. The remnants of his non-identical (seperate placentas) next to him. My little survivor. Who is now a strapping, taller-than-his-mum 14 year old. Every time I look at him, I am grateful for his survival, for the fact that he’s here… but I think about his twin, too. Wonder what he/she might have been like. Every year, on the anniversary of the day I lost my son’s twin (Good Friday, so it sort of stuck in the mind irrespective!), I take a photograph of my son and my older child and whilst there’s a space where their sibling might have stood? I am so grateful for the fact that I have two healthy, beautiful children… despite the few tears I allow myself to shed each year for their sibling.

      May this be you and Kirsty in 14 years time, parents of 5 beautiful, healthy, happy (and undoubtedly stroppy at times) young adults and teenagers. Baby Winter is loved, there can be no doubt about that – just as your two boys and two girls already are. You’re fantastic mums, and I truly hope that Baby Winter gets to experience the love you have to shower upon them first-hand.

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