It felt so deliciously peaceful just floating there in the nothingness. The noisy mind-chatter all but disappeared, I was happily allowing myself to drift off to sleep, enjoying the half-way-ness of being here, there and nowhere in particular. It was Thursday 9th August, and I was staying in Gloucester with my dear friends Sarah and Kevin. With me was Patrice, a wonderfully kind and loving Frenchman that I have been seeing for a few months. I'd been rather distant with him for the past few days, and was concerned that I didn't understand my feelings towards him. I'd been pondering our relationship as I dozed off to sleep, and that was the moment when she came to me.
I sensed her way before I saw her, feeling her presence floating up from somewhere below me... a rich, deep soul filled with love and laughter. And then, down to my left, a beautiful pair of treacle brown eyes appeared in the distance. They were searching - open, smiling, but not quite certain. I looked down to meet her gaze, and smiled at the mass of unkempt chocolatey curls that framed the most beautiful face. She stopped moving towards me when I smiled and just stayed there, hovering, questioning - was she shy? Was she nervous? Looking in to her eyes, I somehow knew what she was asking. In the silence that hung between us I told her "It's OK. I've got you. You're safe" Her smile broadened, and I felt the most enormous surge of love and connection between us. I asked her who she was. It was unclear at first, but slowly the letters appeared and the sounds formed.... Maddy. She let me know that her name was Maddy. And that she loved me.
The following day, two clear lines in the window of the tester stick confirmed what I already knew to be true. That at the age of 47 I was four weeks pregnant.
"I knew I was!" I burbled to Sarah, who was there with me - and who actually checked the result for me because I'd been too nervous to look myself! "I just knew it! What on earth am I going to do?" Screams, questions, tears and an overwhelming sense of joy danced and crashed around together inside me, and I burst in to tears. I knew instantly that any idea of termination was out of the question, so it was a matter of getting used to the idea and finding out how I really felt. Sitting on a bench outside just a few moments later, I called my friend Anna in France. Checking first whether she was sitting down, I blurted out the news. "You'll never believe it... But I'm pregnant!" And with that it all became real. She was the first person I had told the news to - and now that the news was shared, it made it reality. Although the tears were flowing and I was still shaking with the shock, Anna's response brought a smile to my face "Well, what a wonderful gift" she enthused "and you and Patrice will make wonderful parents!"
Patrice was overjoyed with the news - surprised, yes, but absolutely delighted. The more I got used to the idea, the happier I became. Me, a mother again, when I honestly thought any possibility of producing a sibling for Dylan was way behind me. I felt incredibly blessed, and determined to to everything possible to protect the little soul that was growing inside me.
A couple of days later I returned to France, and collected Dylan from the train station. He'd been staying with friends and of course I hadn't wanted to tell him the news until we were face to face. Naturally concerned about how he may react, I was overjoyed to find that he was as happy as me - he was delighted by the idea that he was going to be a big brother! I knew the baby was a little girl, and I shared with Dylan my story about Maddy - far from being sceptical, he gave me the hugest cuddle and said he was looking forward to meeting his sister. My own sister was also pleased for me, and with every passing hour I felt more filled with joy and wonderment as the miracle continued to unfold in front of me.
Then just last Wednesday, and with no warning, I started to bleed. Only a small amount at first, but then quickly building as the cramps set in. I was losing Maddy. It was the same day that Dylan was packing to leave home, and it felt to me that I was losing two children in one fell swoop. It may make little sense, but although I had only known I was pregnant for less than a week, it felt like my entire world was falling apart. That evening, together with Patrice, I sobbed and wailed for my unborn baby. I had never appreciated the pain of a miscarriage - both emotional and physical - and simply was not prepared for the strength of overwhelming sadness that hit and hit again with relentless force.
"I don't know what bloody contract my soul signed before I was born" I sobbed to Ruth and Anna who had come the moment I realised what was happening "but I clearly didn't read the flippin small-print! I just can't do this roller-coaster any more. I just can't..."
But of course I could. And I did. The past week has been, quite frankly, absolutely ghastly. I dealt relatively quickly with the emotional onslaught, but physically it's been just horrid. I had never appreciated just how debilitating it is to experience a miscarriage, and my heart bleeds for those women who lose unborn children at a much later stage than my relatively insignificant four weeks. My body doesn't know what it's doing, my hormones are all over the place, and I am physically and emotionally exhausted.
As with everything else, though, this experience has brought me unexpected gifts. I have learned so much - about myself and the wonderful people who are around me - and I feel more blessed now than I did before Maddy's appearance. She has brought this to me, and while I may never hold her in my arms, I will always hold her in my heart.
Now I know without doubt that Patrice and I have a real chance of creating a wonderful future together. There is no need for me to hide or be scared anymore - he's not Cam. And he's going nowhere. On paper it may seem an unlikely proposition - he doesn't speak a word of English, he's 11 years younger than me, and until a couple of weeks ago had never left the country. But at the same time, he's the kindest, most gentle and genuine person I've ever met - and we get on like a house on fire.
As well as that, I also know that despite my age, I would very much like to have another child. Whether or not it's going to be possible, who knows. The hospital has already warned me of the dangers of pregnancy for older women - both for mother and for child. But hey, life's about love, miracles and hope isn't it? And goodness knows I'm now ready and willing to accept and experience all of the good stuff.
So, now my focus will be on looking after myself - properly. And that means shifting some weight, taking up exercise, eating healthily and allowing myself to be loved and cared for by a man who may just possibly turn out to be the person I grow old with. And with a bit of luck, we may yet be able to welcome a new soul in to the world.
Thank you, Maddy, my beautiful brown eyed girl - in such a short period of time, you've had a profound effect on my life. I love you.
Re-worded for Lovefraud, link here