Boxing Day 2009


January is a desperate month. Bleak and grey, its enveloping darkness creates a mask of desolation that blinds you to everything that is good and positive. In short, it’s depressing and ugly and if there were a political movement to decimalise the calendar, I’d join and vote off January and November.

This week we lived through what is touted as the most depressing day of the year, and it truly was until I remembered that I have so much to be thankful for.

This is a post I’ve been trying and failing to write for the last year.  I kept starting it in my head then stopping because it sounded overly maudlin and unnecessary.  Maybe I thought if I closed the door on it then the emotional spider monkeys couldn’t escape and mess up my hair. But this week I decided to give it a go.  The fact that I’ve just spent 3 paragraphs procrastinating is a warning that I might not complete.  I also apologise profusely for the forthcoming ramblings…

I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child in July 2008.  An unplanned pregnancy, a careless mistake and a huge cross through our long term ‘Plan to get out of financial black hole’. I looked at my three perfect children and weighed up the odds: not much more than a nasty bout of eczema and some hay fever between them, would we be so lucky again?  I considered the state of my pelvic floor and wondered if I could sustain a pregnancy without puddling my way through Tesco on a daily basis and most of all I tried to think, honestly: “Is this what I want”.

Sitting in the surgery with 2 out of 3 children wrapped around my legs I decided to let my head take the lead. I hesitantly asked the doctor about my ‘options’, such a euphemistic turn of phrase but the doc instantly knew what I was on about.  Taking my ‘options’ home, we spent the next couple of days trying to evaluate everything, finally coming to the decision that whatever the sensible route might be, realistically this baby was going to happen – and we finally allowed ourselves to celebrate.

Fast forward a week, maybe not even that long.  It’d been a manic day, I was really busy with work and had grabbed some leftover sweet and sour chicken and rice from the fridge for lunch.  As I ganneted it down I spared half a thought to the intelligence of eating rice that had been in the fridge for 3 days.

Chopping carrots for tea later that evening I was gripped by churning stomach pains, so intense that I could only stagger doubled-up to the sofa.  After a minute the pain seemed to ease but the nausea rose and took hold so badly that all I could do was crawl upstairs and lie down.

Warm in my bed, I chastised myself for eating the rice, making mental promises to a) clean the fridge and b) label and date stamp all future left-overs to prevent food poisoning. By 10pm I could barely move and resigned myself to lying as still as possible, staggering to the bathroom hoping that the next bout of nausea would eject the poison and I’d magically feel fine again. By midnight I’d decided that camping out in the bathroom was the only option. Round about the same time our youngest daughter woke up crying so OH decamped to her room to settle her, inevitably falling asleep there.

All the time I was cursing the sweet and sour chicken, I had no idea that what had actually happened was a rupture of my left fallopian tube caused by an ectopic pregnancy.  By midnight I’d been bleeding internally for 4 hours. The pain was beginning to fade, along with my consciousness.  At some point in the night, my (then 6 year old) son got up for a wee.  This was unheard of in our house: this was the boy who slept with a light on all night, who regularly wet the bed because his ‘something receptors’ forgot to tell him that he needed to go, but here he was, stumbling over me in the dark in his hurry to get to the loo.  There I was, foetally curled, waiting for something to happen. My beautiful boy didn’t stumble back to his bed, he lay down, spooning me and pulling as many towels as he could over the two of us.  And there we lay…

Somehow my consciousness returned just before dawn and I was able to tell the Boy Wonder to go get his dad to call the doctor.  In his confusion following his sleepless night, OH didn’t appreciate how poorly I was.  He didn’t even know the doctor’s number and hazy in my memory is a conversation to locate my mobile and dial the number.  His first call was to the out of hours doctor, closely followed by a 999 call when he got a good look at the blood-drained cadaver that had once been his wife.

The next few hours are a jumble of part memories jigsawed together with recounts from my OH and others. An ambulance to Milton Keynes hospital, a huge echo filled room staffed by angels who persuaded me to hang on to life, a pivotal moment where my broken voice whispered “Am I going to be ok” and was answered with “We’re doing all we can”, uncontrollable shaking, needles, drips, scans, more consultants, a lift, an anaesthetic mask and a prolonged pause.

Of course that’s not the end of the story but it’s enough.  I need to thank the amazing folk at MK hospital who sewed me back together and my family and friends who helped me knit my head back together, but mainly my thanks go to my son, my Boy Wonder.  Without him, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have simply drifted away that night. His physical presence gave me the umbilical cord I needed to hold on to life, and on a miserable January day I reflect on this, letting my loss rest easy and basking in the beauty of my remaining 75%.



The Boy Wonder….
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37 thoughts on “The Boy Wonder….

  • January 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

    What an amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing it and even though I don’t know you at all, I’m glad you’re still here with us!


  • January 20, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Hi Karin – I’ve just been over at your site reading about your disastrous cake!

    Thanks for your kind words, Px

  • January 20, 2010 at 10:49 am

    That is amazing and now I am crying! x

  • January 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Sorry! Wasn’t meant to be maudlin…

    Thanks for reading, and for commenting Px

  • January 20, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Emotional tears, not sad tears! x

  • January 20, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Oh, well that’s alright then! Nothing like an emotional outpouring on a Wednesday morning… x

  • January 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Emotional tears here too.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • January 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    How wonderful is your little boy? Instinct is a wonderful thing too.
    Amazing story x

  • January 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for listening, it really means a lot that people take the time to come and read and to comment.

    Thank you Px

  • January 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    He’s a star – something that I often have to remind myself of when he’s being your average (nearly) 8 year old!

    Thanks for stopping by…


  • January 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    What a thought provoking post, thank you for writing it.

  • January 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks Claire, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


  • January 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I stumbled across this after we became friends on JR and I had gone to check out your page Paula. What powerful writing. What moved me the most was the process you went through when you found out you were pregnant as it was so similar to mine w/ no 2, due to the fact that my eldest was only 6 mths at the time.

    Also it has helped me to deal w/ some v sad news received tonight – a friend has just had a still birth w/ her second at 36 wks.

    Thank you.

  • January 22, 2010 at 3:20 am

    You have made me cry, what a beautiful boy, what a courageous Mum. So very, very powerful.

  • January 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Thanks Kate, it’s a hard subject to be honest about. Especially as the events that followed left me with huge amounts of guilt – as if I wasn’t allowed to grieve because i’d even considered my ‘options’.

    So, so, sad about your friend, there are no words. I was so lucky to have some amazing friends who let me talk when I needed to and listened without telling me that it would all be ok. The worst thing for me was good friends who couldn’t bring themselves to ask about it – I understand why but that really hurt. I hope your friend is as surrounded by love and understanding – I’m sure she will be…


  • January 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Thank you – he is such a beautiful boy and I’m incredibly proud of him. I let him read this post (after long consideration) and he was beaming by the time he finished it. As a boisterous nearly 8 year old there are lots of occasions where he gets told off for complete nonsense so it was really important to me to let him know how much he means to me…

    Thanks so much for visiting and for your comments – they really do mean a lot.


  • January 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Oh my goodness Paula, what a story. Thank you so much for sharing it. What a special boy you have to pull you through such an awful experience. I’m always amazed for children’s instinct for things like that, he knew you were in pain and needed him.

    Sorry for the VERY late comment, and thank you for sharing such a personal and moving story x

  • January 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing.
    Shedding lots of tears here but smiling through them at the thought of your boy wonder.

    Beki xxx

  • January 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks Josie – they are all amazing aren’t they? Must remind myself of that fact more often…

    Can’t bang on enough about how inspirational Judith’s Room has been – I’ve no idea how you find the time to do it all, but so pleased that you do!


  • January 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Beki, thanks for taking the time to comment. Had no idea I’d get such lovely feedback – makes me feel so much better about forcing myself to commit it all to the page.


  • January 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    This is a such a lovely post, and it nearly brought me to tears, thank god for your boy wonder. He must of known you needed him and he was there what a bond x

  • January 22, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Probably shouldn’t have read this after a bottle of wine – shoot – I’m all soppy now…

  • January 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks Kerry, and yes I am eternally grateful to have him….


  • January 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I think that, generally, half a bottle of wine is a good state to do pretty much everything – except drive – so thanks for visiting avec vino and for taking the time to tell me that it moved you…it is much appreciated.


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  • February 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I hope you don’t mind me blundering in here. I found your blog via HUN and I feel lucky to have done so. What a moving tale, so well told. It brought tears to my eyes. Bless the Boy Wonder. If our children can keep us grounded, in whatever way they do, then perhaps we’re doing an OK job.

  • February 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Mind? Not at all, lovely to welcome you…

    Thanks for your kind comment and you’re so right, our children hold up a mirror to us, showing us the good and the bad and the best thing we can do is take note and keep trying!


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  • April 20, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Wow-so glad you made it through!

  • June 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Just read this post again – made me cry again. It’s amazing. S x

  • June 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Tremendously late reply….thanks Susie 🙂

  • June 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you so much – I’m glad to say that things are much, much better now. Px

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  • September 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Bloody hell. I’d never read this. I know you said you’d blogged about it, but I thought it seemed a bit macabre to go searching through your posts looking for it. I kind of guessed what I was getting when I clicked on the link. Not really sure what to say now except your boy really is a wonder, and I’m very pleased that you stuck around long enough for me to meet you. Puts all the other stuff in perspective xxx

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