- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Sunday, 6 May 2012
Bye Bye Baby By Holly Searle
Why would that Bay City Roller's tune spring to mind at a tragic moment like this?
Probably, because that is how human beings deal with adversely emotional situations that they have absolutely no control over, she told herself.
Also, that tune (in particular) was an ironic hug (from herself, to herself) in not only the situation that she currently found herself alone in, but also, because she was alone in this sad sorry state of affairs and had been for a while now.
Its optimistic repetitive upbeat tune was keeping her anchored to a reality in surreal uncharted waters she could quite easily have drifted off into, if she hadn't of had that one thing to focus on she didn't know what she would have done.
It had sprung to mind as soon as it had happened, after she had realised it had happened, after she had left the bathroom, after peering into the toilet bowl and seeing the undeniable truth of her loss resting lifelessly on its bottom.
There it laid, weigh down by a quiet grief, a motionless rosy red sea anemone, separated from her and then after one flush (or was it two), washed away from view to prevent its sight from having to be explained to the innocent bystanders of the household.
Bye, bye baby.
Her other babies where downstairs, safe from the events unravelling upstairs, although she was sure that the older one probably knew what was happening.
But she couldn't think about that now, couldn't think about anyone else as it was taking every ounce of her being to keep herself together. Not to loose the plot, panic and freak out, but to view the situation from a calm and objective point of view and to concentrate on that tune. Don't focus on the pain or the grisly reality of it all and the abundant sense of guilt she felt for there was too much of that already.
Too much had transpired in too short a space of time as too many people had demanded her attention as their Mother and their wife for her to deal with it all fairly. But it was unfair that she had been forced into those situations and made to take sides, to make choices. Such demands had in all probability caused this and would cause further issues and force later discussions after the dust had settled. It was becoming clear that there was no other alternative other than the one that was been becoming clearer to her in the days before today’s events and in the days that would follow.
Don't make me cry.
When terrible events unfold, so do people in their response to them. Her husband on hearing her early suspicions that she needed to go to hospital as she suspected the seriousness of the situation had decided that now would be the perfect opportunity for him to deal with the tyres on his car. He left her alone with it all, telling her that he needed to attend to that first before he could take her to the hospital. He was gone for a long time.
Maybe he needed his own space in this moment, in this event in which to deal with what was to come, or maybe his ill thought out errand was his own pragmatic way of dealing with it. Bye, bye baby. After all, she reasoned later, when we have no control over what we can't control, it is better to have control over something we can.
Still, his actions were unforgivable and could never be mended or fixed like his car. That isn't love is it she reasoned.
Her other babies waited downstairs with each other for company and while he was away, she sat alone on the edge of their bed with herself for company. She was still as a statue with equal stony emotions with The Bay City Rollers playing on a loop in her head.
She couldn't recall how long she waited and sat like that alone until he returned to take her to the hospital, but it was infinite.
The children were taken to other family members to wait for a how long is a piece of string amount of time for her.
His mother and sister took care of the youngest one, united with her in her pain, promising her that their son and brother would take care of her. What did they know? It was what they didn't know that really mattered and the shame they would feel if they did.
The baby was gone and so was her love and respect and any trust or belief she may have once had in him and the rocky foundations of their relationship.
In A&E they waited, but waited for what? Usually people waited there for a diagnosis, but she didn't need to be told, she knew what had happened, so they waited not for a diagnosis, but a conformation of something she already knew.
The edges of the reality became blurred by the amount of time that passed waiting, a destination not a choice until eventually she was given some sanctuary and dignity in which to grieve in a cold monastical room away from it all.
The tune that had kept her company now became a faint echo and it was almost liberating to be recognised as the lead participant in her loss.
Was it shock that made her feel so cold? When she mentioned this to her husband, he left her again so he could return home to collect a cover for her. Didn't hospitals have those she wondered laying alone on the bed in the still room waiting for him again.
She was becoming annoyed with his actions now and his abandonment of her. He had a choice in his movements in his actions, whilst she presently did not.
That, she realised laying there, was the core root of all of their problems in their relationship. She did, but he didn't. He was constantly absent from it all, while she wasn't, leaving all of the responsibilities to her. Wasn't marriage an equal partnership between two adults? She had just ended up becoming a sponge, mopping it all up and now she was so weight down that she didn't even have the peace of mind to deal with his remissive lack of support any longer.
A nurse arrived and brutally connected her to an IV and left. Her arm began to hurt and she laid there worrying about the needle in her arm. She started to panic as the pain grew as she remembered reading something about air bubbles entering the body through air left in syringes and the fatal damage this could caused.
There was no button to press, no one to relay her fears to. If he was he here she could have told him.
The new pain became her focal point and when he did eventually return with the cover, she told him of her fears and he called the nurse and she duly removed the IV explaining that the first nurse had chipped her bone when she had inserted it.
A few days later a nasty black bruise appeared along the lower length of her arm a visible wound of time spent in the hospital.
Her husband left for the night and the hospital had no beds available for her to spend the night in, so she spent the night in a bed just off of A&E with several others.
Her bed was positioned just opposite the entrance and exit, so she could clearly see and was aware of all of the comings and goings for the next eighteen hours. It was like being behind the scenes of a theatre production. The hospital was busy all through the night with life and distress and disappointment and despair and she didn't sleep at all.
In the far end of the makeshift ward was a teenage girl who was waiting for a psychologist to speak to her as she had taken an overdose.
When he arrived, the poor girl explained her the story of why she had done what she had done without any thought for her dignity or privacy in retelling her story.
The girl's story centred around her lost of identity in her extended family and as she listened to it, she couldn't help but think of her own daughter how she had become lost. The girl had become overlooked in her current situation that had once just consisted of her and her mother. Her mother had married a man she didn't get along with and had started a new family and she felt that she no longer fitted in and had lost her mother. She had taken the pills as a cry for help as her frustration with it all had taken its toll on her.
She was horrified as she listened as it all sounded too familiar and cried for her own daughter.
The girl was sent home with a friend but her story remained and haunted her for the rest of the night.
The events of the previous day and the night and now the following morning concertinaed in to one fixed time span. There were no gaps as life in the hospital remained unmarked by time, only by events.
A nurse had assured her that a porter would arrive to take her for a scan to confirm her loss. Her husband arrived, but the porter did not. In the end, he took her himself to the appointment rather unnecessary in a wheelchair.
When they arrived at the maternity unit they waited. They couldn't think of what to say to each other and she looked at the posters on the walls that featured babies instead.
When her time came and she was positioned on the examinations table. The doctor explained that her pregnancy was too early to use the traditional scanning method, so he would have to use a vibrator like wand to detect any signs of life.
The discomfort was both physical and mental and after a few moments of searching he announced that she was “Empty” and removed the wand.
Don't make me cry, but she did at that moment and after a few tears, swallowed them down again until she could find a private space later in which to let them out, away from strangers.
Her husband pushed her back to the ward, why? She wasn't ill, she had lost her baby.
The hospital discharged her and sent her home and she was looking forward to seeing her children again, but her daughter was missing and he didn't seem to know where she was, but she held onto the one that was present and was grateful for him.
The following day everyone went about their business as though it had never happened, but of course it had and she felt the grief and saw how it illuminated all the pain in her patchwork family.
The time passed and all of them acted out their roles until it became an unbearable sequence of events and she broke and told her husband that she had to see the doctor. It was only then that she let the tears out. The pain and realisation of it all a monsoon of hot emotional tears and loss for the living and those recently passed.
The doctor was kind and understood, she gave her pills to ease the hurt and said that she would arrange for her to speak to someone and she did and it helped.
She was at last able to speak to confess the misgivings she had hidden about the prospect of having another baby, about how trapped she felt being with him and how she had panicked at the thought of subjecting another child to the unevenness of their relationship.
How she had dallied with the idea of terminating the baby and of how when she recounted her appointment with her GP in which she had had this discussion, how the GP had looked at her as though she were mad. She wasn't mad, she just had no support and had been placed in the middle of a situation that she could no longer sustain without something giving way because she was being pulled apart and had lost sight of which way to go.
If you hate me after what I say.
Maybe she had been crazy as people often acted out of character when faced with a situation that they knew was unresolvable. The baby was a catalyst for it all and would become a victim to that situation as she herself had become.
Letting it all out was cathartic. The counsellor listened to her and it felt good at last to be able to confess the suppressed truth of it all but it offered no absolution as the guilt remained. She wondered if she would be able to ever forgive herself for even contemplating such an action and if the baby had known and that is why it left on its own accord.
In the end she stopped taking the pills and with a clear head and renewed strength told her husband that she didn't love him any more and told him to leave. His temper and his lack of support was something she and her children could do without. She loved them too much to allow it to continue.
When he left he took the car with its new tyres and the weight of his character lifted from the household and all was calm and peaceful.
In the days, weeks, months and years that followed his exit, she struggled with money, spun plates and juggled to keep it all on an even keel. It wasn't easy, but it was better than it had been and she laid a new foundation for her and her children and never forgot about the baby that she lost.
Bye bye baby, baby goodbye.