Highs and lows.
The next few weeks were a blur in my memory. I was trying to get used to my new sleeping patterns, to the new job, and to making plans for the future. Our flat was a small one bedroom place, very useful for a working couple who spent lots of time out partying, but not really the best place to bring a little baby into. We started looking at larger places, maybe a two bedroom flat or even a little cottage somewhere. Judy insisted that we cut out the drinking as she heard it was bad for the baby, and made me promise that if I had to smoke, it would be outside.
I seemed to be always tired, either I was working and tired, or at home and tired, but I tried my best to keep up with the planning and how Judy was doing. The doctor confirmed what we already knew, and set us up with a midwife visit, which started another round of cleaning and preparation.
It was about a month later, and I was on my first of 4 days of rest. Judy went to bed first, and it was around midnight when I crawled in and snuggled up to her back. She seemed to be sleeping peacefully, and I quickly fell asleep myself.
I was suddenly awake, conscious that the light was on and Judy was sitting up in bed, staring at her hand. Her hand that was covered in blood. I looked over to see a growing stain of blood on the bed between her legs. I didn’t know what to do, and Judy whispered at me to get her to the hospital.
The trip there, the admittance, the waiting, all of that seems a blur to me. The one thing I remember clearly is when the doctor came out to talk to me.
“Mr. Platt?” he said. “First of all, let me say that you’re wife is doing fine, and should make a full recovery. However, I’m very sorry to tell you that she has lost the baby.” I know he said other things about the reasons for the miscarriage, about how we should be careful if we tried for any more children, but I was in too much shock to really take anything in. I was allowed to go in to see Judy, who burst into tears as I took her in my arms. We were both sobbing uncontrollably, and then the nurses suggested that she needed some sleep, so I left the hospital, and soon found myself standing by my car in the dark of the hospital parking lot.
It was crazy, so much had happened in so little time. It seemed that one moment I was a happy bachelor, running a successful pub, and the next I was a married man, with a responsible job in a factory. I was just coming to terms with being a father, but now it seemed I wasn’t going to be one. I couldn’t take all the sudden changes.
We hadn’t planned on starting a family, but somehow when Judy got pregnant it was as if it was all falling into place; marriage, job, children, just like everyone else. But now with this setback, what was going to happen to us? My emotions were all over the place. I was shocked and devastated, but, much as I don’t like to admit this, there was also a tinge of relief that I didn’t have to play the part of “Dad” yet. Of course, I would never have admitted that back then, not even to myself, but as I look back, I can recognize that emotion too.
I was still standing with my hand on the car door. I looked down at my car, a newer model now, but still a Jag. We had talked about getting rid of this and changing it for a family car, but it seemed that I didn’t have to give it up just yet. A sudden urge came over me. In the pre-dawn, I drove way out to the countryside, and, taking a deep breath, hit the accelerator. I drove like a lunatic for maybe 10 minutes, until, sweaty and breathless, I noticed another car in the distance. I slowed to a sensible speed and then drove back home.
I was calm again. It still hurt, and it was going to for several years to come. But at that moment, I felt like I had cheated death one more time, and I knew I could cope with whatever life threw at me.