Then came a surprise! In June 1995 I was five days late. I could hardly believe it! My Mum and I were due to go away for three days from a Wednesday to Friday. We both belong to a spinning and weaving group, and it was our annual group gathering where about 20 of us book into a nearby Priory and spend the time spinning and sharing craft tips and stories, while our other halves have a chance to do their own thing. It is a Catholic place of worship and dedication, but welcomes all denominations.
I didn’t do a pregnancy test before I went and I didn’t mention it to H. We’d had so many ups and downs that I didn’t want to disappoint him, and I wanted to wait until I came back home so that I could take the test first thing on the Saturday morning when we were together.
We were travelling to work on the Tuesday before I was due to go away, down a long straight road with a curve in it near a petrol station. H pulled out into the centre of the road and stopped, then when there was no traffic coming he drove into the petrol station. Suddenly a white car came hurtling around the bend while we were half-way across the petrol station side of the road, and slammed on the brakes but not quite soon enough.
I knew that we were going to be hit and could only cover my head with my arms as my door window shattered glass fragments all over me and the door came in to hit me on my left hip bone. Our car was thrown sideways into the station forecourt by the impact. We were both shocked and trembling but we were both all right, as was the other driver, though I had to climb out of H’s door because my door was too damaged and would not open.
We phoned our Brother-in-law’s repair garage and he sent a tow-truck to take us and our poor car to his garage. The petrol station owner was very kind and brought us some tea while we waited and he went out to measure the skidmarks. When we arrived at the garage they knew immediately that our car was a write off and would never be driven again. It was an Audi coupé; our beautiful Silver Lady.
Somebody, I can’t remember who, suggested that we visited the doctor just so the accident was on our records if either of us should have damaged ourselves without realising.
Somehow, H found the courage to drive home in a car that our Brother-in-law had lent us. We saw the doctor and he was about to prescribe some painkillers for my hip and thigh, and then I had to tell him (and H – not the way I wanted him to find out!) that I thought I might be pregnant, and didn’t want to take any tablets in case I was. It was some time before I realised that they hurt, actually; it was more stiffness and bruising than pain.
We spent the rest of the day at home, stunned, and practically in silence – what could we say? We were both just glad that we were still alive. H said he would still take us the next day, though I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go, but H wanted to get his confidence back as soon as possible.
So I went. Every day I prayed that I would ‘stay pregnant’. I was fine on Wednesday, though was hobbling rather a bit. By Thursday I was still fine, i.e. ‘still pregnant’ as far as I knew. Surely, among all these women who were mothers (and some grandmothers) there would be some kind of collective ‘sisterhood’ thing that would protect my embryo, as I now thought of it? And I was in a Priory, too! A holy place where God has lived for hundreds of years, a Catholic place where children are welcomed as special. I am not Catholic but there was something very calming about the big statue of St. Mary and Baby Jesus in the courtyard and the chapel and other buildings. Surely She would understand and protect the life that I felt sure was inside me?
Halfway through Friday morning I realised that all my prayers had not been answered. I was most definitely not pregnant.
Had an embryo implanted but become detached by the accident and it just took a couple of days for my hormones to reject it?
Was it only tenuously attached and would have left me anyway?
Was I just late, and not pregnant at all?