The End of the World as We Know It

This is a substantially redacted version of a post I’ve been ranting out of my fingertips in the last 24 hours. I may – or may not, who can ever say? – add in some of the rest of the material in forthcoming posts. I’m posting this for the sake of that minuscule handful of people that follow this blog that do not share contact with me elsewhere; those that do will know most of this story. It’s not that interesting anyway; I merely have a penchant for verbosely stringing things out. Uninteresting or otherwise, the material detailed kind of represents A Big Deal in the life of the present author, and indeed of those around her (most notably The Man, but others too). Apparently it’s the kind of A Big Deal that should be all warm and fuzzy! Apparently I am A Very Bad Person for not instantaneously recognising this indisputable fact! Apparently moral relativism is a poor philosophical construct! Apparently a lot of the ranting I’ve removed from what follows might have been related to attitudes of that nature! Apparently I will stop being facetious anon and get to the point! Hasta luego, and beware of the dog, the dog being a plethora of swear words (yes, old-timers, I’m back to my old self. Apparently).

[Redacted: lengthy introductory bollocks and content notes about cursing, length and a general tendency to vituperate. None of those things have abated (well, the length has, but to the uninitiated it will still appear long), but it’s enough for you to know that they’re there; wanking on about them for five years isn’t a particularly efficient use of one’s time.]

Anyone that had been reading up to and including my last post will know that stuff was by and large okay. That must have been pretty frustrating for those of you that enjoyed the misanthropic, fuck-everything rants for which I’d become mildly famous in our little community – despite being psychologically well, it was in a sense for me too. Being a snide bellend who was incapable of doing anything other than bitching out 3,000 words on top an electronic page of potent hate seemed so much more intellectually satisfying than writing, “yeah, life’s not making me want to set a Death Star on this dump of a planet!” (or whatever shitty euphemism was used in the stead of such a phrase). Nevertheless, that bland nicey-nicey Nice positive existence continued for a bit after I last posted. My work with MindWise (still ongoing, sort of – I’ll explain sometime) was rather excellent. The training was (is) of a high quality; I’ve met some great people; I’ve been involved in some very interesting projects; I feel that I’ve helped a truly worthwhile organisation (even if only in a small way). That’s Nice, and I remain glad of it, despite the foregoing invective about Nice. There is a place for Nice; it’s just that Nice for Nice‘s sake is not particularly interesting.

That’s Exceedingly Interesting and Everything, But I Actually Have Things to Do Here.

Yes, okay. One of these millennia I’ll get to the point. Things continued on a psychologically positive even keel. Until 13th August, when everything changed. For-the-fuck-ever.

I’ll change it in due course, but for the sake of irony and acknowledgement of the inherent black humour, I’ll leave my ‘About‘ description replete with the following description for now.

Stuff I Like

[Blah, blah, blah, blah, yawn, blah]…Books. Cynicism and scepticism. Puerile discourse. Rock, metal and symphonic metal music. Being an only child. Feminism (not misandry). Candles. Gaming. Holidays. The pursuit of knowledge. Complaining. H P Lovecraft, of course, but not much non-Lovecraftian horror. Football. Twitter. Astronomy. Purple. Books. Nerds and geeks. Childfreedom. Short (or one word), fragmented sentences (not really).

Big Yellow Taxi

They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. (Which is known as a multi-storey carpark on this side of the pond, though I don’t suppose that fits easily into the song).

Those of you that are familiar with the events discussed herein will see why I’ve quoted these final lines. For others: observe the word ‘childfreedom’.

Hhmph.

Such a beautiful linguistic construction. Such a heady, majestic concept. Such a wonderfully ordinary way of life for me.

Talk about not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Soon I will not have childfreedom. If you opine that a zygote/blastocyst/embryo/foetus is a ‘child’, then I already do not have childfreedom. Even if, like me, you do not hold that ideological position, it is regrettably hard to argue with the fact that acting as a vessel for a zygote/blastocyst/embryo/foetus has significant effects on said vessel, which in many cases (including mine) can be distinctly noticeable. Well. Distinctly noticeable now. Had said effects been distinctly noticeable some time before now, shit would have gone down quite, quite differently.

The Fuck..?!

13th August was a Tuesday. I was pottering about the house minding my own fucking business when I took the pains to end all motherfucking pains. Despite hating it (obviously!) I’m used to abdominal agony – I have a particularly virulent and nefarious form of IBS – but this went beyond anything I’d ever known; I was genuinely convinced that I was dying. It was sufficiently strong that I hoped I was dying (not the most convincing way to make my point, what with my having been chronically actively suicidal and stuff – but you know what I mean). Rational thought was, as you may imagine, not something available to me in abundance, but in the few fleeting bouts of the stuff I was able to grasp, I diagnosed myself with a ruptured appendix. Or bowel. Or anything-in-that-general-area – the point was that whatever the fucker was, it had (I believed) most assuredly blown the fuck up. Which is probably just a bit dangerous.

Gas and Air

I wasn’t even capable of phoning an ambulance, but fortunately my partner came home at an opportune moment and asked if I needed one. I proffered the view that I probably did. He rang it. It didn’t come. A bloke in a car with the fucking, wanky, useless bollocks that is entonox did, however, eventually transpire on our doorstep (by which point I could have been dead. I hope The Man would have sued in such a situation). He proceeded to patronise me for about 17 and a half years before radioing a colleague and asking him/her to “bring a vehicle.” Another five or six centuries later, two colleagues arrived; they brought a vehicle alright, so I suppose the efficacy of the service cannot be doubted from a literal standpoint. It would be inaccurate, however, to describe the mechanical contraption that took me to the hospital as an ‘ambulance’.

The triage and nursing staff in the heinous environment that is the temporary A&E were kind and did their best to ease my pain (and nausea, which had been strongly present in the first place, but which was exacerbated not insignificantly by that SHITEBOLLOCKSWANKSHAFTCUNTFUCKERY of gas and air that the probably-not-a-paramedic had force-fed me). Perhaps that old ’90s indie-ish band The Verve provided more prescient social commentary than once I realised, because the drugs indubitably didn’t work; they did just make [me] worse. Still, at least those girls weren’t arseholes. The doctor that saw me was. A total fuckstain, no less. By and large I was in too much pain to have any sort of opinion on the ballbag’s attitude, but when we got to the following exchange, the Rage did make a cameo appearance.

Ballbag: The women out there [waves hand in the direction of the nurses, that were working their arses off to do their jobs to the best of their ability] examined your urine sample. You’re pregnant.

Me: Oh my God.

[Pause. Ballbag grabs a vial of morphine and literally, without looking even in my general direction, stabs an arbitrary location in my arm with an attached needle. I had a bruise all down my arm for nearly a fortnight thereafter].

Am I miscarrying, then? Is that what’s causing the pain?

Dunno.

Excuse me?

[Enunciates in that tone and velocity that people employ when speaking to those they consider braindead] I said, ‘dun-no‘. That’s obstetrics’ problem, not mine. [Exits, stage left].

[Yells] Well, thanks for your profound civility!

Tosser. I mean, are pregnancy and potentially dangerous physical disturbances entirely mutually inclusive? Is it really impossible that, if in a state of pre-parturiency, one cannot experience an acute illness that is unrelated to said condition? (My point being that his dismissive attitude that my admission was “obstetrics’ problem” was unprofessional and uninvestigative at best; medically irresponsible/incompetent and potentially dangerous at worst). And even if there were no doubt in the shitrag’s mind that the pregnancy and agony were directly correlated, is basic politeness to anyone – never mind a person in obvious distress – so cockfucking difficult?

Whatever. Eventually the (pleasant) staff of another non-ambulance-ambulance turned up to take me to the adjacent maternity hospital. By this stage, maybe the…hmm, let’s see…

  • eight x 400mgs of ibuprofen tablets that I’d personally consumed*
  • two x fuck-knows-how-many-mgs of liquid paracetamol vials administered by the nurses
  • one x fuck-knows-how-many-mgs of morphine punctured into my person by Ballbag

…had finally began to have a modicum of an effect, because I was able to inelegantly move myself from a wheelchair to a seat in the maternity admissions waiting room. Talk about a difference in environment. Actually, as I’ve learnt over the past 11 weeks, the NHS as a whole could learn an utter fuckload from maternity services; the ethos is completely divergent, to the point where it feels like it’s delivered (pardon the totally unintentional and frankly sickening cutesy pun) by an entirely different organisation. This is one of many reasons to feel the Rage.

[Redacted: fairly lengthy rant with copious personal examples as to why it’s not on that pregnant people are apparently considered more important by the NHS than non-pregnant people. I almost certainly will publish that as its own post at some point because, whilst obviously I’m glad that I (and others in my boat) are receiving high quality care, it is out-twatting-rageous that said high quality care is not universal across all medical disciplines.]

25 weeks ultrasound scan.

I genuinely have no idea what this shows.

The obstetrician I saw was a lovely woman. What transpired in the room that night was unlovely in the extreme, but I am deeply grateful for the graciousness and understanding that she showed me as said events took place – I can say in retrospect that it probably helped ‘soften’ things, though I doubt I’d have made such a remark at the time. She took some details then did one of those ultrasound scans that are meant to be deeply emotionally moving because, wow, fuck me, they show a foetus (or embryo, if you get in early enough…it’s doubtful they’d get the zygote or blastocyst, though) baby…except that they don’t really, unless you’re a bastard genius son-/radiographer, because all a layperson can make the fuck out is a few black and white blobs that may, occasionally, resemble something that may, occasionally, be capable of being interpreted as a feature of a potential person.

She, being a bastard genius son-/radiographer, looked at the screen (when invited to follow suit, I refused), furled her eyebrows slightly, and said,

Quite far on…

I didn’t read an awful lot into this. When Ballbag had so sensitively announced details of my predicament to me, I assumed the stage of the gravidity to which he alluded was in the region of a few early weeks. Had I actually had the wherewithal at the time to think about this, I would have been able to work out the impossibility of that, but my body was ravaged with pain and, furthermore, being told you’re up the stick when you’re FUCKING CHILDFREE and have taken EVERY REASONABLE FUCKING PRECAUCTION to remain FUCKING CHILDFREE doesn’t easily lend itself to analytical thinking. So when the obstetrician levied the above comment in our direction, I assumed (there’s a reason it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’, kids!) we were talking about a few more weeks. Not necessarily a huge deal.

She continued her investigations silently (aside from asking, “do you want a photo of your baby?”, a question which, upon seeing my reaction to it, she instantly withdrew), then told me what she’d learnt.

And our world sort of fell apart.

24 weeks. Twenty-four weeks. TWENTY-FOUR WEEKS. TWENTY-FUCKING-FOUR WEEKS. TWENTY-MOTHERCUNTING-FUCKING-FOUR FUCKING-BLOODY-SHITTING WEEKS.

And I’d not had the faintest idea. Remember in the theatrical gods of this post, where I alluded to the effects of being a vessel for another (because I’ve learnt that that is often [more often than not?] how society starts perceiving you when it learns that you’re pregnant – adiós, individuality, ego and self; hello, YOU ARE A MOTHER[-TO-BE?] AND THAT IS YOUR ONLY IDENTITY NOW AND EVERYTHING MUST REVOLVE AROUND IT) being ‘distinctly noticeable’ now…but that it might have been helpful had that been the case months ago? Yeah. That. I 24 weeks pregnant - normal and not having had a fucking clue about ithad experienced literally none of those changes (or, at least, I had not noticed them) that are meant to accompany pregnancy, including the most obvious one – a lack of menstruation. Retrospectively, I suppose I probably did feel foetal movement – but even if you know you’re gestating, Jesus Christ, it’s not something that’s easily identifiable. Now when I feel it, of course I know what it is. But even in those early days after receiving this happy-clappy news, I would not have been sure if it was the kid fucking around inside my uterus or just some (generally) non-painful wind.

I screamed in the doctor’s face. Literally. I didn’t say anything at first; I just screamed.  (‘Literally’ is a word I don’t use lightly. “Oh, and I totes, like, literally died.” Well, obviously you didn’t, you stupid fucking twat; you wouldn’t be able to have articulated [a misnomer in such a context] those shitebrained words if you had. I’m aware that I’ve used ‘literally’ several times in this post, but, again, I don’t use it lightly. Ballbag did literally not even look at where he stuck the morphine needle. I did literally scream in the obstetrician’s face. Etc). In fact, now that I think about it, I didn’t say anything other than, “I don’t know what to…ugh…what to…fu…” for quite some time. I later apologised to her – she told me not to be daft – but I honestly couldn’t say a fucking thing in the minutes that followed her revelation. Tears and horrified sobs conspiratorially joined my speechlessness to form a cynical triumvirate of Fuck You, Karen. I’m not sure in what other fashion I could have reacted, but as you know, sweetest perusers, I don’t do crying (well, I didn’t…but that’s another story). I don’t do being unable to speak. For God’s bloody sake, look at this spiel of crap. I’m the most loquacious piece of walking shit I’ve ever encountered.

Anyhow, she was very gentle and kind, and didn’t employ the predictable tactic of, “well, I know it’s a shock, but it’ll be a nice one when you’re used to it!” (not unsurprisingly, she’d have been the first of many had she carted out that old cliché). She sat there for a moment saying fuck-knows-what in soothing, intended-to-be-reassuring tones, before telling us that she’d “give [us] a minute alone.”

When the “24 weeks” comment had been immediately passed, I’d sort of instinctively shot a glance at The Man. His face was in his palms, and remained there up to and including the point at which the doctor took her initial leave. A few seconds passed, then he stood up, came to where I was lying on something inaccurately referred to as a bed, and put his hand on my shoulder.

I found my voice.

I’m going to have to kill myself!†

I shrieked. It was an earnest suggestion.

He advised me against such a course of action, at which juncture I asked him what the fuck else I could do. I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to have gathered that we’d already considered and dismissed a termination; 24 weeks is the exact cut-off point for a legal abortion in Great Britain. Since the six counties that make up this backward part of the so-called United Kingdom are ruled by dogmatic, self-important wankers who opine that their personal politics and religious sensibilities trump the rights of those that hold other views, abortion without some very strict medical reason is not permitted here at all. Granted, though, someone with mental health problems as severe and chronic as mine would probably qualify as having a ‘very strict medical reason’ to end a pregnancy. I didn’t ask – as endlessly referenced, I couldn’t think straight – but even within that proviso, I very much doubt that any medical practitioner in Northern Ireland (or even in GB) would have agreed to terminate the pregnancy at such a stage. Perhaps if some quack or other had reason to believe I was about to imminently off myself, it might have been a notion they’d have entertained, but otherwise not.

[Redacted: snipped (even from the original post) several paragraphs dealing with the endless debate on this issue and my personal views about the morality of late-term abortion. I’ve saved them for the proverbial rainy day if anyone actually gives a shit, but there are probably 80 billion articles out there that articulate the relevant minutiae in a much more engaging, concise fashion than I could ever do, if you’re so inclined, do remember that DI Google is your friend].

So yeah. This was a pregnancy with which we were stuck.

[Redacted: very long, very annoyed commentary about some people’s judgemental, holier-than-thou attitudes to the fact that I was less than thrilled to learn of my pregnancy. In short: keep telling me how my cognitive processes should function and how I should behave, and I will end you. It is perfectly reasonable – indeed, for the sake of humanity’s very sanity, it is required for more than one opinion on an issue to fucking well exist; I am not required to subscribe to your stance, nor you to mine. I’ll probably end up sharing this rant at some point too, but there’s no need for any further explanation of it in this post, or in the continuation thereof; I’m simply telling a story here, after all…]

Due Date: 5th December 2013

[Redacted: relatively brief allusion to the development of my thoughts and feelings about being knocked up, viz., I am not in a state of abject horror at the minute, and have mostly accepted things. I have existential crises (obviously I always did – that’s the nature of being me, particularly given my predisposition to existential nihilism as an actual philosophy in the first place – but you know what I mean) where I fly into a panic thinking, “nope nope nope, can’t do this,” but I am reliably informed that actually, any prospective parent will feel this from time to time, and that the key thing is that it’s not the entirety of my (and The Man’s) thinking any more. I’ll examine the particulars of this ongoing phenomenon in more detail at some juncture, because certain individuals seem (inexplicably to me) confused as to how I can simultaneously say that I never wanted, and would still not choose to have, a child, whilst being relatively amicable to the idea that I’m going to have one anyway.] 

So, that’s how I found out about the lifeform I have taken to referring to as ‘Bump’ (there is a bump – now. There was fuck all in August, despite five months of its pre-life having elapsed. Granted, I’m fat – but its complete lack of appearance until so late in my gravidity still strikes me as kind of odd). But we are fast approaching November, meaning that Shit Has Happened since the Shit Detailed Above Happened.

What will Part Two of the epic saga deal with? How will you live in anticipation of my future words? HOW? How is even the most cursory of inhalations even remotely possible for you?

Will I have your death on my conscience because you just. couldn’t. wait. for the next thrilling instalment?

In all seriousness, other than our having to come to terms with impending parenthood, the specifics of the pregnancy and my interactions with healthcare professionals have been contextually routine – well, until the last three or four weeks, anyway. But I’ll write something, for the sake of completion anyway, on top of the heady lashings of delicious redactionrants I’ve promised. Until then, o my little brothers…

Appendices, For Required They Are

*For years, four has been my standard dose in any one go; two may be the recommended intake, but I have a very high tolerance to medication. Medical professionals who don’t know me may surmise stupidity, but as medical professionals who do know me would attest, stupidity is generally not a substance present in me in great abundance [dippiness can be quite another thing, however]; I know what I’m doing. Thus eight tablets was only two doses, but of course as soon as these dicks heard that I’d taken as ‘many’ as I had, and that I happen to have a mental illness, they put two and two together and got 398, assuming as they did that I’d been trying to off myself. Had I been capable at the time, I would have experienced much merriment at this silly presumption. It was obvious that I was assumed to be a moron by this point – but just how massive of a moron? As if eight ibroprofen would kill fucking anyone, never mind some US-style oversized fuckbitch like me. (Oh, and yes: I know. I do know that  Ibroprofen is counterindicated in pregnancy. But if you got this far, then you’re clearly a competent reader, and as such will be aware that at the juncture to which I allude, I did not know that I was with child. Yeah?).

†I was slightly perturbed by the reaction of my CPN to this remark when I was relaying the above tale to her. “Oh, it’s just something that you say, isn’t it?” she offered. She proceeded to seem genuinely taken aback by my taken aback-ness. It was most assuredly not just some throwaway declaration; in that moment – and for many, many, many thereafter – the only viable escape from the imminent arrival of one of my most nightmarish fears seemed to be to catch the bus. Surely a psychiatric nurse should be one of the first people to appreciate this?

Note for Friends; Note for People That Intend to Read Future Thrilling Installments

For those of you not on Facebastard: I lost my phone over two weeks ago, and as such am working on a temporary number (hopefully I’ll have the old one back in the next week or so). So if you’ve been trying to send a message (or even, if you’re really in need of sectioning, trying to ring *shudders*), I’m sorry for not getting back to you. I simply haven’t received your communique. Email me.

Some upcoming blog posts (if they ever transpire, that is) may be protected by a password. Within reason (obviously – there would be no point in passwords otherwise), I’m happy to give it out, but you need to email me. For reasons with which I’m still not familiar (because I loved it, and a few amazing people [you know who you are] from it pretty much saved my life on more than one occasion), I stopped tweeting one day and haven’t so much as checked Twitter since. As such, the only channels open for communication are real life ones – face-to-face, FB, that sort of thing – and email.

Details are on the ‘Contact‘ page.

Obligatory Picture Credits Section Thing

As always, where applicable, see the outgoing links. The second one, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been ever so slightly modified at the hands of Yours Truly. The third image is my own work – sort of. Obviously it’s the work of a hospital sonographer in its most original state, but as it’s a photograph of a photograph, I’m claiming it, so there. The fourth photo is my own work, though the inset is from here. The final crappy outing is my own work too.

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3 comments on “The End of the World as We Know It

  1. Nothing much to say really except that I _loved_ this post- you sound so like your old self, but in a good way, not like you’re ill again (not that your new self isn’t awesome because you are, it’s just that the kind of boundless energy in posts like this can almost be touched!!). From now knowing you elsewhere I know that you’re actually pretty OK with thing Bump-wise and I’m so glad for you in that, but from knowing you for years from the other blog I also know how entrenched your childfreedom was and its a disgrace that people are bitching at you because it inadvertently not being there anymore has upset you. What are you meant to do, rewrite your own mental history?? You’ve done nothing wrong…. who do they think they are!!

    I _know_ you’re sick of hearing this but i really think you’ll be a good mum…. I know you’re not an emotional type but you have a warmth to you that along with your intelligence and humour will bring great joy to your son (as I’m sure he will to you, despite everything…. OK, sorry, you’ll be sick of hearing that one too ;o)

    Anyway, really great to see you back at the blogging helm- can’t wait for the next part :o)

    Take care Karen

    Best wishes
    Kate

  2. A complete mindfuck articulated beautifully as always. I think the beeb should write a soap opera based on the way you write, it would be far more entertaining then the shite on the telly at the moment.

    I’m here for you anytime xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. hell’s bells. must say, it sounds like you’re handling this amazingly- it *is* a mindfuck but it hasn’t fucked yours as one might have reasonably expected.
    I don’t want to take (in any way) from where you are at, and as an avowed non-breeder (though through whose choice we’ll never know) i’m really in touch with how difficult this is, but it killed me seeing this post because in all that there’s a sliver of me that is happy, even jealous, for you.
    glad to see you’ve posted this- i’m not ‘connected’ in so many ways- so while i know it doesn’t really carry, it’s lovely to be able to wish you one a big all-embracing interweb hugs.
    you are a hero. it’ll stand you well wherever your weird path takes you.

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