A Life Interrupted

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

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| This is the 205th story of Our Life Logs |

As with everything in life, we plan ahead, and things appear to be completely fail-safe. But sometimes the unexpected happens, and it throws you a curve ball that irrevocably changes your entire life.

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I was born in May 1976, in Pretoria, South Africa, the oldest of four kids. I was a bubbly little girl who spent many afternoons playing with neighborhood friends and our dolls. However, as I grew older, my happy afternoons grew increasingly more difficult. My life was lived in between abuse, leaving it hard to hold my head high. It was like walking in a ghost’s body, alive, yet not at all.

Though, having my first son changed that. I was a 21-year-old single mother, brought back to life by the heartbeat and quiet cooing of a tiny, boyish newborn. I had given breath to a seed of innocence. This alone was enough to shatter the mask of insecurity I’d worn for so long.

I met my husband at the turn of the century with Y2K warnings flaring up everywhere, but those hardly affected me. Although I had a son, my soon-to-be-husband, accepted him as his own. We got married on April 13, 2002. By 2004 we had our second son, and by 2006 our third.

My boys.
My boys.
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Having three boys isn’t easy, especially when it came to finances, so when I discovered I had yet another bun in the oven it shocked me. It was all so unexpected. I felt tired, more than usual, and for a few days I simply managed until my husband insisted I go see our General Practitioner. The first concern was my blood pressure, which was sky high, but it was something we could manage with medication, what we didn’t expect was when he did an ultrasound, to discover the little bean-like shape in my womb. “Mrs. Meyer, you’re about four weeks pregnant, but your blood pressure is a concern, you may not make it to thirty-two weeks.”

Whether I got to full term wasn’t even an option, the only thing that went through my mind was how would we be able to afford another child?

Weighing up all our options, my husband and I considered abortion. It made sense at the time. For one, my blood pressure was a problem, secondly, we could never afford the antenatal care, and then there was the slight eventuality of day care and schools.

We drove about sixty odd kilometers to the nearest abortion clinic, but as we pulled up to their doors, we both copped out. We couldn’t go through with it; how could we punish an innocent child for our own short comings? So instead, we drove all the way back home.

My husband and me at a Christmas Party, 2011.
My husband and me at a Christmas Party, 2011.

Funny thing is, although we stressed about finances, it was all working out fine. We saved some money, reworked our budget and by March 11, 2011, everything would be ready to welcome our new baby home.

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As the days dragged on, I went about my routine. Every day I took the boys to school, go to work, go home, make supper, do dishes, do homework and get ready for bed. And every day, the routine starts again like a mechanical clock ticking monotonously through time. It’s a routine I had grown so used to. Other than occasional traffic jams, things were pretty much set in motion, and I hardly ever veered off.

Then, the interruption of ALL interruptions happened…

It was February 9, 2001; my son Michael’s 8th birthday was the next day. It was a day like any other, only this time, I had my to-do list for that afternoon in my handbag.

  1. Go to mom’s and pick up the cupcakes.

  2. Go to the store and get treats for the class party.

  3. Make sure the gift is wrapped and ready for the birthday boy 😊

By that evening I was more tired than usual—but what do you expect when you’re 37 weeks pregnant, carrying all that extra weight?

The next morning, we woke up super early. I got Michael’s gift, the single cupcake with the candle, and we all gathered around his bed to sing for him.

My antenatal appointment was at 11 am that same day. Now, I’ve had 3 pregnancies, all normal, no issues, and I really didn’t expect anything different this time around. As I lay on the bed in the Gynecologists’ office, I waited with bated breath. Maybe this time they will be able to see the gender of my baby.

He moved the transducer probe around, pushed at my tummy, and then he lowered his head. The frown on the doctor’s face made my heart stop.

“Mrs. Meyer, I can’t detect a heartbeat.”

Time stood still, and everything slowed down around me. The doctor’s voice became distant and muffled as I tried to process the news. “Are you sure?” I asked with a lump in my throat.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

My survival instinct kicked in. I got off the bed, got dressed and took a few deep breaths then made my way through to his office.

“Would you like me to call your husband?”

“No,” I whispered, “I’ll call him.”

With shaking fingers, I took out my cell phone and dialed my husband’s number. He sounded so excited, also expecting to hear the news and see if they could determine the gender.

Instead, I had to break the news that our baby didn’t make it.

The ultrasound.