I fumble my way into the bathroom, heading towards the sink, mentally trying to prepare myself for the morning hell that is cleaning my teeth. My body, once so well known, is now an alien place to me - I feel weak, with wobbly legs and aching joints, my head continually feeling like it’s about to split open, my stomach churning with a never ending nausea. The radio announcer gaily informs his listeners that it’s going to be a fine sunny day, with a top of 33. These facts no longer mean anything to me, when I can barely move from table to couch to chair to toilet without throwing up. I am two months pregnant.
I lean over the sink, and squeeze out some toothpaste onto the brush. I gingerly put it into my mouth, and gently begin to brush. Within seconds the act of opening my mouth just so combining with the peppermint taste of the toothpaste conspire to make me gag before throwing up what little breakfast I had managed to force down. With a light head, I notice the blood mixed in with the toothpaste mixed in with the vomit. The tiny part of my brain still functioning in a normal manner idly notes that I’d never had bleeding gums before falling pregnant. I lean down, wash the vomit from my toothbrush and splash my face with water, then lower my head further to cool down on the porcelain sink. I feel like death. This baby better be worth it.
I’m in the shower, soaping my growing baby bump. It’s sometime in March. Reaching up, I squirt out some cleanser, then proceed to wash my face. Suddenly I feel a sharp pain in my nose. I open my eyes, and see blood pouring down my body, mixing with the hot water to produce torrents of red that flows quickly down the sink. I lose my head and begin screaming for my husband. He rushes into the bathroom and is confronted by me standing naked and horrified in the shower, blood everywhere, screaming “What have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?”
I am lying on the bed in the labour ward, legs still encased in the stirrups. My husband is holding our newborn baby girl, who hasn’t yet cried, but did make squeaking sounds, like a door without oil. A midwife is over me, pummelling my stomach in an effort to extract the placenta. Nobody is aware at this point that the placenta is actually embedded in the uterus. Unknowingly, we are dancing with the devil. After pummelling some more, the midwife gives up, and with a sigh, reaches in and pulls it out. In doing this act, she creates a gaping wound in the uterus, and within seconds the blood is pouring out, landing on bed, floor, legs, nurses. “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!” mutters one, as the room suddenly becomes a hive of activity. I hear a code red being announced. In my dazed state, I only realise it’s for me when the room begins filling up with people, one warning another not to slip in all the blood that is amassing on the floor. They begin cutting off my singlet top, trying to transfer me to a trolley, organising the theatre for the five hours of emergency surgery ahead, not bothering to hide the panicked looks on their faces. All I can feel is the cold coming in. I am terrified of closing my eyes. Against my will I begin to die.