Ireland / Anna Profile picture
May 18, 2018 64 tweets 17 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Ok I’m going to share a story with you regarding a crisis pregnancy I had many years ago, I have previously shared this story on my own account but think it might be good to revisit it. I was 15 when I became pregnant, 15 when I gave birth too. My eldest is now 27 #togetherforyes
I concealed my pregnancy for 5.5 months, they were very frightening times indeed. I was in school in 5th year in an all girls school. I went back to school three weeks after delivering my baby. This photo is of my and my lovely little one when she was 4 weeks old #togetherforyes
We only recently saw a photo of Ann Lovett for the first time, both of us 15 in these pics. #togetherforyes
I was able to choose to keep my baby, although concealing the pregnancy was extremely risky, however many people do it, it happens every single day. Not everyone has a choice. I was lucky I went back to school and was able to do my leaving cert, go to debs etc, Ann didn’t 💔
I have been able to share this story and clearly my family have always been a wonderful support. They say lightening never strikes twice, however I know that it does.
I’ve never told this story before, so be patient, it might take a while. #togetherforyes
Fast forward to my twenties, I moved out of my parents house when I was 26, myself and my little daughter (10 at this stage) got a tiny little bungalow in Tallaght, it was the moment we had talked about for years and I’ll never forget that day getting the keys, so exciting 💖
We had nothing, we slept on mattresses and stuck newspaper on the windows that first night, borrowed a two ring camping stove and a couple of chairs, but it was ours, a dream come true 💖 I was working three jobs at the time, they were busy times.
Then lightening struck a second time. I’ll never forget being in the house alone when I did that pregnancy test. Myself and himself discussed it, there was no way for either of us that this was good news, he had his own reason, mine were deeply rooted in my past.
I remembered only too well every single word that had been said to me, every single name I’d been called, the horror of that pregnancy, the shame, the guilt oh god the guilt. I knew exactly what it would be like this time, except it would have been worse #togetherforyes
I knew not to go to Cura this time and also not to go to the place they’d referred me to in Berkeley St (they had informed me all about abortion and it’s cancer causing when I was 15) so I went to a clinic in the city centre, they couldn’t have been nicer.
Despite juggling jobs (office full time and chipper partime) money was tight. I was earning approx €12k per annum (2002). I was 5 weeks pregnant when I had pregnancy confirmed. I then had to save. I spoke at length to the people in the clinic we discussed every option.
I cried and I prayed and I hit myself in the stomach with encyclopaedias, took hot baths and alcohol, literally tried everything I could whilst at the same time saving to go to the UK. (Please if your having a crisis pregnancy do not try any of this, please).
It took me 7 weeks to save the money, book the flights, save for taxi money. I was 12 weeks at that stage. The thing about it was, because I couldn’t tell anyone what I was doing, I had to ensure it looked like I was in work. My parents were minding my eldest after school.
So for me there was no other option I had to go over and come back home in the one day. Also money was tight, as with all procedures there are costs involved, for me to go over and back in the one day and to keep it as cheap as possible I chose to not have an anaesthetic.
To have an anaesthetic it would have been €50 dearer and I really didn’t have it to spare. So I had everything arranged. I left my daughter in my parents the night before (saying I was going to the cinema) and got up in the middle of the night and got the bus to the airport.
I had only ever been in an airport once before when I was 21 going on my first foreign holiday, just me and the eldest, such good memories from that trip 💖. This time though it was horrific, the fear that someone would see me and know I wasn’t in work was huge.
I’d phoned my boss to say I was sick. That I’d be in the next day. Anyway sitting in the airport all I wanted was for it to be over. The plane trip was uneventful (I was convinced it would crash and I’d be found out and then my family would know).
On arrival I got a taxi and gave the address of the clinic, I can still remember the mans face, he knew, he was incredibly kind. I cried all the way there, he gave me tissues and cigarettes. He talked about loads of things, his voice was so kind.
He gave me his card and said no matter what time I was finished at, to ring him and he’d bring me back, he was lovely. I remember walking up the few steps of the clinic and going in. I went and booked in and was ushered into the waiting room. The waiting room was full. Very full.
A man got up to let me sit down, the woman I sat beside looked terrified, everyone looked terrified, pale, exhausted. Because we were. Myself and the woman spoke, she was married it was her husband that had given me his seat, she had three children in their late teens, she said
She couldn’t go through it again, she was frightened for her own mental health, we swapped stories. Everyone there was Irish, some had a partner or family or friend with them, a few of us didn’t. We all waited nervously. Eventually it was my turn. They had already done the scan.
Totally uncertain what to expect I changed into my paper gown and went into room. Onto table, stirrups for legs, exposed, frightened, ashamed. The procedure was cheaper without anaesthetic or sedation. I came to regret not finding that extra money.
I asked the nurse how long it would take and she said about 20 mins or so. It took 30 minutes, it was horrific, the pain was indescribable. I kept looking at the clock, afraid of screaming because I knew if I started I wouldn’t be able to stop. The nurse held my hand
wiped my silent tears and reassured me that it would soon be over. She was kindness personified, she was brilliant. After that hideous 30 minutes I went to a recovery room, very conscious of the time as I’d a plane to catch. I rang the taxi driver. I was an hour post procedure.
The taxi driver arrived, I had been given water and paracetamol and given advice re contraception. The walk to the taxi was short, my legs were like jelly. He opened the door and I asked had he a newspaper to put on the seat, he did. The journey back to airport was horrific.
I lapsed in and out of a sort of sleep, I felt dizzy, the pain was hideous and I knew I was bleeding. Thankfully the newspaper was there, I had to take my jacket off to tie around my waist as my clothes were destroyed. The lovely taxi man walked me into the airport and hugged me
Then the plane, the plane I will never forget, I was quite unwell and locked myself in the bathroom, I lost a lot of blood and had to clean the bathroom with the rubbish toilet paper. It was awful. I arrived back to Dublin and I don’t know how I made it from terminal to arrivals.
The walk on jelly legs seemed endless, then out to the bus. I had left my car behind as I couldn’t afford the car park. I got on a bus and passed out. Eventually made it home. I phoned my parents to say I wasn’t feeling great and that I was vomiting, they kept the eldest.
I remember lying on the sitting room floor still in the same clothes as I simply couldn’t support myself on my legs. I knew I had to drink water, so managed to get some and painkillers, paracetamol and nurofen. They didn’t do much. I didn’t sleep that night, the bleeding was
horrific, the pain was horrific. It was frightening. The next day was no better. Again I phoned my parents and told them I had food poisoning and would they hang on to her for a few days. I phoned work with the same excuse. Then I got worse. I started to hallucinate and this was
because I had a temperature. I also knew by what was coming out of me that I was infected. Even though it was legal in Ireland at that time to travel to the UK for an abortion, I was too afraid to go and get help. I wasn’t a nurse at the time, I didn’t know much about infection
however I knew teethchattering and hallucinating were signs of a sky high temp. Paracetamol and nurofen just weren’t enough. I searched my medicine press for remnants of antibiotics and called the cavalry (my next door neighbour Kelly) she came in and gave me antibiotics and
solpadeine, horrified at the state of me. It took a full week but I got better. I went back to work after 7 days of hell. I went on as usual pretending I was grand. I wasn’t grand for a long time. But eventually I was again.
I never spoke about it, did my usual of pretend you’re grand and maybe you’ll believe it. My Mam was minding my house for me after it, I must have been gone somewhere on a holiday with the scouts and she would have been feeding the cats. When I got back she started to explain
that she hadn’t been snooping in my room but had found something on the floor, it was the receipt from clinic. We didn’t discuss it, I said ‘I’m grand’ and that was the end of it. Never mentioned again, my family were all very much anti-choice, my Mam still is. That’s her choice.
I met a man when I was 30, I had just started nursing school, I knew him when I was young, he was the first boy I’d ever had a dance with in a teenage disco, he was lovely when we were kids. Again I got pregnant and we set about preparing for our wee baby to arrive.
However, as was soon quite apparent he had changed tremendously over the years and was a violent, cruel, abusive man. My life would never be the same again. The pregnancy raced along, he spent most of his time drinking, taking cocaine or whatever it was he was taking and being
horrible, he ruined me financially, he was a disaster. However me being little miss fix it always hoped he’d change, I was obviously very naive. My eldest went on a scout camp in Switzerland on the morning of the 14th of July 2006. She would be gone for a week. Great excitement.
Himself during a brief period of sobriety was working doing a roof for a friend. I stayed in bed till about 8am and then went and got myself some breakfast. I was 37 weeks pregnant to the day. I was having pains and thought I might be having contractions, I rang himself, then the
hospital, the hospital said to only come in when pains were frequent. An hour later they were so I rang himself to come home. It was his first baby, he was fierce excited. We rang the Coombe and they said to come in. Whilst dressing I said to himself ‘I think my waters broke’
We both looked at floor, he said yeah they have ! However by what I was looking at I knew it wasn’t my waters. I was ankle deep in blood. I calmly explained to him that this was not normal. He panicked. I rang the Coombe, they said not to wait for ambulance, we broke all the red
lights from Tallaght to m50 roundabout where a Garda car with lone driver was stopped we screamed at him for help and he blue lighted us to the coombe. When we got to crumlin I felt I was dying and said so, himself screamed at me that I wasn’t and here have a smoke !! So I did
The car was destroyed, transferring out to wheelchair I bled again badly in the car park. I felt odd like I wasn’t going to be ok. In the emergency room a young doctor wouldn’t answer me when I asked was their a heartbeat. There was another doctor there I asked her and she took
my hand and said no. I howled but then was able to know where I was at. I was then induced, I couldn’t believe I was going to have to deliver a dead baby. I thought it would be a section, however because I’d lost so much blood I couldn’t even have an epidural. I don’t remember
A lot about that day, apparently loads of family came to see me, maybe they thought I was dying, I don’t know. Blood transfusions, inductions, all watched from above like I was watching someone else. The night shift took over, a lovely midwife with the same name as me, she was
kindness personified. Eventually my platelets rose and I could have the epidural. About two hours later my son was ready to be born, the midwife said he was bum first, breech. Even though I knew he was dead I still secretly held out the hope that he would be alive. The silence
was deafening, he was here but he was gone, all 7lbs 9ozs of him, a fine looking boy, AJ Andrew James. It was horrific, it impacted everyone. Writing the funeral was horrific. Everything was wrong. You don’t think you’ll be buying a grave instead of a buggy. It’s funny though
When I went back to the consultant he used the words ‘lightening not striking twice’ and said there’s never a guarantee that things don’t happen twice.
How I came to remember those words bitterly. I got pregnant again, baby due in November, nervous, cautious, anxious but busy studying 36 hours a week and working night shifts full time as a HCA as I had on my previous pregnancy too.
July was great for the weather in 2007. I was 17 weeks pregnant and went to my hospital appointment. The midwife asked me as she did my observations prior to seeing the consultant ‘are you feeling baby moving’ ... I hadn’t thought about it or noticed it tbh. Waiting in the room
For the doc I thought about it though, anyway in to the doctors and it was my consultant that day just by fluke. Mini scan in hand, the picture appeared on screen, I looked at at, looked at him and said that’s not alive is it ?
He raced me up to the scan dept, big scan, no heartbeat. I was alone. I was given a tablet and had to ring himself. The consultant spoke to both of us and said I’d have to come back on the Saturday for delivery. I freaked and said no way could I do it that day as it was the other
babies first anniversary 14th of July. He looked horrified and explained that I’d have to. So in I went and was induced, tiny 17 weeker most likely a girl, Carly 14/07. Again the grave opened and two names on headstone.
I had another pregnancy the following year, I was very unwell , respiratory issues caused by a Hb of 6 so more transfusions. It was a horrific pregnancy, we were all terrified. Thankfully wee Jess arrived 25/09/08 at 36+5. They were the most awful of times, all of my pregnancies
were crisis pregnancies in their own way. All of them I suppose have made me who I am today. My son was beautiful, I’ll share a pic of him now, Andrew James (the Andrew was after my brother who’s second name is Andrew and the James was after James Herriot)
My 17 weeker Carly I have Polaroid’s the hospital took But I cannot share them, I would upset too many people, they aren’t pleasant and are kept very private. I’ve never shown my family them.
Jess though and Rochelle (always referred to as the eldest) are lovely, Andrew would have been the image of them, they are the image of me 💚🧡💖❤️💙💜 and the grandson is gorgeous too Dylan 💖 (Rochelle in 1st pic, Jess in middle, Dylan in third) 💚🧡💖💜❤️💙
I have seen pregnancy and childbirth from every angle and I am grateful for all that I have. It has taught me that I shouldn’t take things for granted. I was lucky also to muster the strength to escape from the 10 year abusive relationship that I was in, I’m grateful for that 💖
But what I am most grateful for is all of the people who have shared their stories, every single one, you have all been so brave and whilst I’d shared parts of my story before too, what I had never been able to admit to was ‘I had an abortion’ I took strength from every story
All of the bravery, all of the different reasons for each person who has also made that choice, although as I always say ‘some choice’, it’s not a celebration or indeed something we take lightly, for each one of us it is a necessity. For each one of us it is deeply personal.
We are not cruel, we are not unkind, we are caring lovely people, we deserve better, we deserve to be cared for here in our own country. Despite what any person decides to do we all deserve better, despite what anyone else says or thinks, we deserve better. I am voting #Yes
My #Yes will be for all of the Ann’s, Paula’s, Tara’s, all of the names, all of those who’s stories will remain untold, all of those who have bravely shared their sorrow and heartbreak, all of the parents & grandparents, all of the sisters and brothers and husbands and partners,
My #Yes is for everyone. Each voice as important as the next, all joined #togetherforyes #repealthe8th #WhoNeedsYourYes 💚🧡💖❤️💙💜

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