"He never should had assumed or told you that," she said, her tone laced with agitation. Her right hand was flirting with the telephone on her desk, as if she were to pick it up and call my doctor in Essex to voice her aggressions. She held my gaze the entire time.
All I can think to myself in this moment is "why the fuck am I here again?"
When my fertility was called into question following a painful infection I contracted after an abortion I had early in 2014, I had spent a lot of time searching my soul for the ability to find peace with what I thought would be a childless future. I cried, I fought and I wrote, all for the strength to forgive myself for, what I truly believed to be, a grave, undeniable and regrettable mistake.
Why the fuck am I here again? The same hot seat, the same relentless stream of cusses flowing from my mouth, like verses from a bard. FUCK.
I've been crying for weeks. Today is the first day in nearly two months that tears haven't escaped my eyes. I can't tell if I'm frightened, or if my ducts have just stopped working altogether. As I sit opposite the clinician, I search her face for answers. All I can see is warmth and respect. I have been treated so well. Every step of the way. "I don't deserve to be treated with such kindness for being so careless". I felt the words escape my mouth before I'd even had a chance to send them through a filter.
Look, let's face it. No one likes a sequel. I see no need to discuss the tragic creation of Grease 2 for that reason, and I honestly believe that whoever decided to turn Shrek into a franchise needs to have their career called into question. I've done the bold, brave thing before. It won't work the second time around. I should have had my fertility tested. We should have used protection. I'm an idiot.
Why am I here again? I've lowered myself into the same shit-stinking vat of guilt that bathed me before. I can still feel the heat from my last visit. I'm trembling. I can't do this.
"This might be a bit cold and unpleasant, but just try your best to relax," she said. I never asked for her name. What is her name?
"I normally expect to at least be taken for dinner before I let someone get themselves wrist-deep in me." I shouldn't have let those words leave me, either. "I'm sorry, I'm nervous." She laughs, tells me I'm doing great, pops a lollipop in my mouth and sticks one of those stupid propeller hats on my head. She's still inside me, poking around with a camera that looks a lot like a vibrator I used to own. I think about telling her that. No, don't do that. Inappropriate. Don't embarrass yourself, Robyn.
I'll never forget the tone of her voice as she directed her next question at me. Her voice broke a little as she opened, but for the most part, she asked me as if she were simply asking whether or not I'd like a cup of tea. She's still holding my gaze. I appreciate her bedside manner, and I know she's doing the right thing, but Christ, I don't like it when a man looks into my eyes as I'm having an orgasm, so I certainly don't feel comfortable looking into hers as she tinkers around my cervix.
"Would you like to know how many pregnancies there are?"
No. Nope. Nah-uh. Not even at all. I actually couldn't think of a piece of information I would allow myself to die not knowing quite as much, actually. TMI, Sharon. Susan? I can't read what it says on her fucking badge. But in my head, all I'm hearing her asking me is whether or not I'd like that cup of tea.
"Yeah, sure," I say, with a lot more confidence than I expected of myself at that point. "I can see two," she replies. Two. What crossed me in that moment will visit me in my nightmares until the day my last breath leaves me. Four sets of eyes into which I could gaze. A harmony of playful giggles. Matching shoes and lunch boxes. More love than my currently fragile body would even be able to handle. A whole life. Two whole lives. What I did in the next moment, will haunt my nightmares until the day my last breath leaves me. I think to myself, I can't tell him. I need to do this.
I nodded. For the next few minutes, I half-listen to her telling me how far along I was, and what the possible date of conception would have been. Is he here today? Would HE like a cup of tea? When she's done, I close my legs and pull my pants and leggings up, and I thank her as quietly as the soft rain that had been falling down outside since 7am. She is no longer holding my gaze.
As I set off back down the world's longest corridor, I stop for a second and look at the wall. What colour is that? Some custard yellow situation, I reckon. Looks a bit like the hallway of a primary school. I stop in my tracks, I turn to the wall, and I place both my palms and my forehead against it. Still no tears, and now no cussing, either.
At as soon as six weeks into a pregnancy, the heart begins to beat. At seven and a half, I had three hearts beating inside my body. And as I stand with the front of my body pressed against that custard yellow wall, I swear my own was beating so hard it could have exited my chest cavity and turned the whole corridor into rubble. For the first time today, I'm not wondering why I am here again, because I have never been here before.
As I saunter back into the waiting room, where my then-was-but-would-soon-not-be boyfriend was waiting for me, I saw him sat directly upright, arms folded across his chest, sleeping lightly as his head tilted to the side. I suck in my chest and throw myself down next to him. We play Gun-Fu on my phone for about 45 minutes, until I am called into the next room.
Fast forward. Four hours pass by, and I'm in a taxi on the way home. I've got a pair of those, kind-of paper, kind-of bandage-style hospital pants on. I can feel myself bleeding in the seat. I try and hold in my tears by focusing on watching the meter go up. £3.80, £4.00, £4.20. By £7.40, I'm home, I'm in bed.
I cry again, and I've never cried harder. My heart feels as empty as my womb. I can't even feel it beating anymore. I sleep for one year and five months, and I wake up today, in front of my computer. I listen to the gulls outside my window, I watch the cobwebs across my window seals move one millimeter to each side in the light breeze that creeps in through the cracks. I'm so indignant not to conclude this essay, that I almost believe I can hear the sea in the near distance. I think about how the waves may forget, but that the sands against which they crash will always remember.
I never believed in any type of God until I was placed in a position wherein I was staged to play one.
Never again do I hope that type of power is placed into my hands.