Me in the bath: Riyaaaaaaaaaahd!
Me: (sobbing, on my knees in the water): I can’t reach inside my butt.
Pregnancy is beautiful.
I woke up on the morning of December 14th very disorientated. My birthday doesn’t instill feelings of joy or celebrations. Every year it starts and ends the exact same way.
The day before, I woke up in a cold sweat, screaming; “No don’t hit me”.
When I opened my eyes, Riyaahd was holding me, kissing my shoulder.
I had dreamt of several scary realities.
Lyle was alive and hitting me.
Sidney was drowning in a pool.
My eyebrows were thin again.
There is a reason I wake up in a cold sweat most days in December.
We will get into that.
But first, let’s discuss the last blog post, and my abrupt, somewhat lazy ending.
“Shana Genever. DOB 14/12/1988. Reason for termination: Abusive relationship.”
I didn’t recognize 2013 Shana’s handwriting. It looked rushed and panicked.
For a second I considered removing the page from the folder. But like in life, I was certain that it had already been saved on a hard-drive somewhere, a permanent stain on my record.
The moment was surreal, and I even considered taking a picture of the page. It felt like a momento. The floor was still as dirty as I remember. I had accidentally walked into the MOU instead of the emergency room. The pregnant women lined up against the wall.
Just like last time.
My husband held my hand as we entered.
“Hi, I am 13 weeks and I have terrible cramps. I was told to come to the emergency room but I don’t know where it is”.
“Who told you that?”, the clipboard behind the glass semi-shouted.
She was polite-ish, which I was willing to accept because my vagina weighed a ton.
I was holding cement in my kegels.
I was ushered to the maternity section… Just in time to hear a fellow inmate of gestational prison give natural birth.
Up until this point- I too considered giving birth as nature intended… with great difficulty.
And of course… the waiting area was a wooden bench, I assume to add to the construction site mounting in my anus.
I would have been more comfortable on a black label kussie.
“Ooooooh…. susssterrrrrrr…. ” I heard the inmate shout from deathrow. “Iss seeeer!”.
I folded my legs. (A little too late, most would say).
I turned to the girl next to me. I always make awkward conversation with strange women when I feel uncomfortable.
“How long is she pushing?”
“Nee sy is so heel oggend hier. Van 5 o clock af”.
The other inmate chimed in. “Ha ah it was worse for me. I was three days in labor.”
I didn’t feel it justified to add my elective c-section story into the pot.
I used to have medical aid once. I know how the other side lives.
I shut my bek even tighter than my thighs.
Someone please give this kin an epidural.
And then I smelt it… the blood I recalled from my last visit. I wasn’t just in the ward where birth happened…
Down the passage was the abattoir.
Of course the universe waited until I was carrying a baby I actually wanted, to bring me back to the place where I killed my son.
And I remembered something that I have never shared before…
It was very sunny on the 13th of June, 2013.
I woke up, with my best friend at the time by my side. I told my mother and father that I had to report at parliament early that day, and I left the house at 6am.
I arrived at Mitchell’s Plain hospital and felt instant diarrhea as I walked through the doorway, fully aware that I was blocking out the magnitude of the decision that I had made.
My friend couldn’t go in with me, so I made my way down the corridor alone, and sat down next to the women I recognized from the day before. When you have an abortion, you have to book the procedure, then you are given a date to come back, depending on whether or not you are having a chemical or surgical abortion.
As I was only 8 weeks pregnant, I was eligible for a chemical abortion. This would mean I had to take a series of tablets, and I could pretend that I was having a miscarriage at home.
But, like with most things in my autobiography, the day that I chose to terminate my pregnancy, the physician who administered the pill was on leave.
So on that Thursday, I walked into the hospital… ready to be prepped for surgery.
But that isn’t what happens in group abortions.
There is no comfortable hospital gown. There is no one on one preparation, to make you feel comfortable with the surgical crew.
We were all instructed the day before to bring our own pajamas.
At around 8am, we were all ushered into a room, which seemed to be the nurse’s office, and we were given a tiny white pill to put under our tongues… to open up the cervix.
“Ladies, once you take this, there is no going back”, the nurse said. She was the nicer of the two who had evaluated us the day before.
The other nurse, an older, large lady had shouted at all of us since taking down our names. She was very obviously disgusted at the group. She was there only for her paycheck. She must have also blissfully pushed her participation in the abortion of fetuses to the recesses of her mind.
If I was her, I would probably have grown bitter too.
But I have already spoken about my abortion in detail. If you want to read about it, I have added the link here.
However, what I remembered, that I now realise has haunted me for the last few years, is not the physical pain of having a vacuum placed inside of your womb; but what happens when you walk out of the hospital, no longer pregnant, but with no baby.
When I got into my car, I remember being silent for quite some time. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t relieved.
I wasn’t in pain.
I felt a succinct nothingness that I am yet to feel again.
After a few moments, I drove around to the house I lived in as a small child, in Dune Drive, Woodlands, and stared.
In a Hollywood montage of memories I saw five year old me running across the road, blissfully unaware of the ugliness that the next twenty years would introduce me to. By this point, however, I still hadn’t cried.
My friend called my mother, to lie about the events of the day.
The story we concocted was as follows:
“Hi Aunty Sarah. Shana fainted while we were at parliament and was taken to Mowbray MOU. The baby died and was making her sick, poisoning her blood. She is awake now. We will be home soon”.
I told that story for years. I wanted to own that memory.
Eventually, I went home, and climbed into a bath, which after a few seconds consisted mostly of my own blood, and a few clotted remnants.
I remember chuckling at the fact that they administer only two Panados after the very quick, never-ending procedure.
I got dressed and walked to the shop for a cigarette and a tin of coke. I sat outside the door smoking and felt the tears finally start to run down my cheeks. My mother walked out of the house to look for me, and met me with a very disappointed gaze.
“Rook jy alweer?”
“Yeah, I feel very junk right now. Please leave me alone for a bit”.
“Why you cross at me? I didn’t do this to you”.
She didn’t. Only years later did I realise that she wasn’t angry at me for being pregnant, or for ‘losing the baby’… or for smoking. She was angry at me for being weak.
A lesson I learned from my mom, by just watching her every day, was that women have to be strong, or they won’t survive. The sad reality is that there is no time, to cry. There is no space to wait for someone to fix your situation.
A ‘Knight in shining armour’ is the only lie bigger than a Panado.
The next day, I went to my cousin’s home, to congratulate her on the birth of her little girl. I asked to hold the baby, and hugged her a little too tight for her mother’s liking.
My cousin asked me to please give her back.
I left shortly after that interaction. I don’t think that part of me ever came back.
As 2013 went by, I found a new job in my field. I tried to ignore the 13th of June replays in my head, and as time went on, the gaps between the memory creeping into my head became longer.
In September that year, when I found out that I was pregnant with Rose, from the man who had left me no choice but to abort my previous pregnancy, I remember feeling the urge to jump from our Fourth floor apartment balcony.
And Sidney walked in.
“Mama, why are you crying?”
In my head I felt grateful that as a boy, he would never know.
I only didn’t jump that day because he was watching me. He never fucking left me alone. Ever. I hated him.
I hated the child in my womb.
I hated her for being predestined to be hurt by everything.
But I knew I was never going back to that clinic.
After a few hours in the emergency room, I am called in. (By now I was 100% certain that my child had already started to decompose in my womb).
“Please sit on the bed, doctor will be with you shortly.”
From my bed, I heard the “doctor” speaking to the nurse.
“…no man I failed my module, but I write it again next week then I am fully qualified”.
“Hi Sharna, Sherna? I am Dr. WorthlessPoes, what seems to be going on?”.
“I have bad cramps and I feel really really sick. I am vomiting way more than usual”.
“Well vomiting is part of pregnancy..”
Wow, I am surprised this genius doesn’t have his own talk show.
“Yes, I understand that doctor, but I have hyperemesis… nevermind. I have cramps.
He writes down more words than I have said, and calls a colleague. A fellow, female student doctor.
She runs through certain questions… “How many weeks are you?”
I take a few minutes and she continues…”You must mos know”.
I now understood the magnitude of the hymn, “Jesus take the wheel. Take it from my hands….”
She asks me to lay down and proceeds to push her student finger up, against my cervix.
Long story short, there is no blood, my cervix is closed and I probably have an infection.
I take my Potomist and leave… (Oddly enough, feeling and looking like a fucking hippopotomist).
“Baby, please just take me to Al-Nisa… before im a HippoPosthumous, please”.
That Saturday, we went to the wonderfully clean, halaal establishment and I laid on the bed.
“Congratulations, you guys… It’s a girl”.
(To be continued….. Yes, there is loads, loads more).
*The image used for this post is me, after an anxiety attack. The repercussions of certain life choices are more painful than most would like to admit. In my next blog, I will elaborate on the many challenges that I have encountered in the last few weeks. Thanks for following my journey. God Bless you all.