Now, for you, back to that other Saturday, some years ago. I woke up, and still felt normal. We had been given an appointment in the morning, so caught an early train. There was a bitingly cold wind as we went from the car park to the station, and R left me inside the waiting room while he bought a car parking ticket and nipped back with it. It wasn’t a cosy waiting room and the main doors to the outside world and to the track opened straight into and out of it, so it was more of a foyer than a waiting room, but at least it was not so icy.
I knew that this blood test was going to be a waste of time, and really would much rather have stayed at home and done some housework before the awful cramps and pains that I was now expecting hit me. I estimated that this would be some time tomorrow. But we had decided that we would find something of interest to do; there’s always something inLondon, after all, and we would make a day of it.
R came back in, muffled up in his scarf, gloves and hat, with just his dear, bearded face visible. I looked at him. That man still hoped that we had a child. I knew that he was not going to be a Daddy this time either, and I knew that he would have the scientific proof later today.
My heart was a mixture of emotions. Sadness, because this man that I loved, who would be a Great Dad, would be so sad; grief, for the tiny little embryos that two days ago already had heartbeats which had now ceased, and who would very soon be leaving me for ever; anger, because – well, because it just wasn’t fair, I suppose.
Their sex would have been determined the moment that the sperm had been chosen by the ICSI specialist’s tweezers. Had they been boys or girls? We would never know.
R walked to the little shop at the end of the room in order to buy a newspaper to read on the journey. I watched him walk to the counter – and immediately felt as though I had been slapped in the face.
There was a revolving magazine rack to the left hand side of the counter, displaying among other things a car magazine. On the front cover it was advertising a new, smaller model of some type of car. I think that it might have been a Fiat Cinquecento, but am not sure. It was celebrating the arrival of their “New Baby” car. In big letters. Big letters that I could see right across the room. Big letters making words that seemed to mock me. Was their no escape from the B word? Why today, of all days? Why did the magazine rack have to be turned so that that particular headline was facing me?
It mesmerised me for a long moment. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it, and yet I couldn’t bear to sit looking at it any longer. My legs made the decision and stood up and then took me outside into the freezing air. I think that I must have been holding my breath for a while because the freshness of the winter air in my lungs came as a surprise, and after a while I felt steadier.
R came to join me; I nearly told him about the headline, but it was stupid of me to get upset about seeing the B word in print. It was only print, after all. Soon our train arrived, and we crammed ourselves on to it.
R read and I spent the time watching the countryside flash past my window, with eyes that only half registered what they were looking at. I tried to remember all the things that other women, mothers, told me that they didn’t like about having children. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t want a baby, didn’t want a child. I fitted the words to the beat of the wheels on the track. I don’t want a baby, I don’t want a baby, I don’t want one. Over and over and over again. Maybe I would start to believe it. Maybe Fate would even hear me and believe it, and make me pregnant, because it thought that I didn’t want to be! (Ha – some hope!)
Well, I knew that that wouldn’t happen, but all the same the repetition of the words in my head was some kind of calming influence.