Today’s post is brought to you by the letter ‘K’ which stands for Kemosabe – old faithful friend. And they were my Kemosabe if even just for a few months. Today’s post will also get graphic and will contain adult language and such. Please be advised accordingly.
They told me, and by they I mean the internet, doctors, friends, everybody, that once you’re out of the first trimester unscathed, you are pretty much good to go. I know miscarriages happen all the time especially in the 1st trimester and that it was almost expected. That is why they say “wait until you’re second trimester to tell people”.
So I waited. I waited until I was four and a half months in to tell people because I didn’t want to take any chances; I didn’t want to jinx it. And now that I was fully into the second trimester I felt safe. I felt confident, I felt ready.
When you’ve gotten to the second trimester your energy level grows. You’re eager to go maternity shopping, setting up the baby registry, trying out names, and when you’ve found out the sex you try out other names. You find that you’re not sleeping at 7pm anymore and that you can actually go out for a night with the significant other (without the liquor of course). You get back into the swing of things, and start to feel like your old self, with a little companion.
That is until you wake up one Saturday morning, that Saturday morning when you would have celebrated five whole months with baby on board. You wake up that morning in a puddle that’s not exactly pee. It’s too early to call your doctor so you google the shit out of it. By the time you’ve cleaned yourself up, another trickle runs down your legs. You head to the nearest hospital and they confirm your water has broken and now there’s an infection, which now has the possibility of sneaking its way into your baby’s safe area, killing them and you.
You’re given a shot for the infection and told to get an ultrasound to check on baby. Only thing, most ultrasound places aren’t open on Saturdays, the second one you try on the other side of town – the machine isn’t working which they didn’t tell you until you drove into their office. The third place has about a dozen people ahead of you waiting. You wait, patiently at first, but with every passing hour that you’re waiting you realize how much closer you are to losing this baby. You try not to freak out but then your doctor returns your call only to brandish you with even more doom and gloom.
“Once your sac is ruptured, that’s it. You’re going to go into preterm labour and the baby is not ready to come yet.”
“If you wait this out, the baby will still come within 17 days and the infection can kill you both or render you infertile.”
“There is no hope at this point, you know. That baby will not survive this. You now have to think of yourself.”
You take a deep breath and force back the tears and that knot growing in your throat. You don’t want any of this to happen, not at this stage. You’re half way there anyways. You have to save the baby. How can you save this baby? You finally get through with the ultrasound and you hear the heartbeat. The baby is still alive. We have to save her, we have to do something.
Your doc advises you to head back to the hospital, the posh one you first visited, the one you decided on months ago when you were doing your hospital research. The one that costs an arm and a leg, but its peaceful, calm and comfortable and that’s what you want most during any difficult time – peace, calm, and comfort. You head in and try to get admitted, only thing admissions is closed on Saturdays, and though this is sort of an emergency, they can’t admit you without written consent from your doctor. After much hemming and hawing, they run some tests and wheel you into your room, hook you up with some IV and tell you to wait. Wait on what, you have no idea, but you wait.
Your doctor visits you and you have a million questions, half of which are lost to the ether but you have to ask anyways. She explains the Doom story again as if you are a child, reiterating that there is nothing that can be done to save the baby. You are just five months, but a five month old fetus is still a fetus and nowhere near semi developed to survive outside of the mother’s womb. If you choose to wait it out, you will be in monitoring at the posh hospital for up to 17 days which is already costing you an arm. If you stay longer you would have to pay with your SO’s arm as well. If you transfer to the public hospital the fee will be less but you’ll have to deal with the poor health system, going through the same tests and checks like you’ve been doing all day, often times you would be neglected, and surrounded by the moans and groans of others worse off than you. Not very appealing!
After reviewing the facts, you and your SO decide to expel the baby before it gets too late and you suffer from the infection. They insert a tablet to speed up the process of preterm labour but all it does is give you cramps. You mistakenly think that these cramps, because they are stronger than your usual cramps, must be contractions and that you can so handle this. After all, your baby is not a full term baby so you wouldn’t feel much anyways. They weren’t contractions at all. Your cervix isn’t even ready for it yet. So the next day they insert three tablets and within hours the cramps are back. Only thing, they grow into real contractions, which grow into something else entirely.
The worst part is, you’re only half pregnant. You haven’t done any classes yet, you don’t know what to expect, or how to relieve your pain, and the nurse talks to you like this is your hundredth child, you should know this by now. She looks at you and says you’re not ready yet, even though you’re wheeling and squealing from the pain. They give you some morphine like drug that does nothing but make you sleepy. Do NOT go for this, because now, you can’t even hold on to the bed frame properly.
The contractions come one right on top of the other, without time to breathe, without pause, and there is a constant pain in your back. No position is comfortable, no position eases the pain. They give you another pain-killer which numbs your womb to an extent but the crushing pain in your back is still there, like you’re being steamrolled back and forth by tiny evil Leprechauns digging for their gold (in the wrong place).
You’re told to wait until you have pressure down there, yet when you feel the pressure you must wait for other things to come, but don’t push, even though you feel like pushing.
Walking doesn’t help because you can’t even take two steps without a contraction. Breathing doesn’t help, in fact, you can hardly breathe during the contractions. Rubbing your back, your stomach, your thighs, nothing seems to help. You can’t talk, you can only scream at the nurse who insists you are not ready with just a glance. She says wait another 15 to 20 minutes just so she can be relieved by the night nurse who, thank God for her, tells you to push when you feel like it, but only during the contraction. And so you push, although you have no idea where you’re pushing. You push because now, your life depends on it; you could very well die from all these contractions. You push through each contraction until you feel the baby plop out. You realize in that moment that:
1. You just gave birth without much assistance. So if you’re stuck in the woods post apocalypse and you’re about to give birth, you can soooo do it, easy peasy.
2. The baby that pops out at 5 months cannot, would not have survived. It is still a fetus. There was no hope for it.
3. You have a sudden appreciation for single women who become mothers. How do they do it? I could not have done any of this without my husband. I would have been one of the statistics that chose to wait it out, at home, caught an infection, and probably died in my sleep. He didn’t want to take that chance. He was there with me every single day, from sun up to sun down, telling me I’m strong even though I didn’t believe it. There were many times when I wanted to give up, to take a time out, put this whole thing on pause for now. I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to cry and couldn’t, I had no way of doing so, but him being there gave me more strength than I thought I had.
4. Once the baby pops outs, the pain literally vanishes, like it was a figment of my imagination, all this time. It was never really here. You’ll feel one more tiny contraction to dispel the placenta, but that was it. Did I just go through labour?! I have no idea.
5. If you were to do this shit again, they better have an epidural ready, cause that pain nuh normal. I often wonder if it’s the same pain I’d feel at full term or if this was only a fraction of it?!
There are times when I’m good, I’m good now. I can talk and laugh and chat and I’ll feel like my old self, but for the most part, I just don’t want to talk, especially about it.
The worst part, although loosing a baby is the most terrible feeling in the world, the worst part for me is explaining to everyone who not too long ago found out I was pregnant. Now I have to relive this ordeal, this nightmare, over and over again with everyone: friends, family, coworkers, my hairdresser, every Tom, Dick and Harry, whether I liked them or not.
And it definitely didn’t help when the universe sent out a message to random people who would message me over the weekend to find out how everything is going, how is mommy and baby? How do I tell them that “mommy is no longer a mommy, and that there is no baby”? How do I tell them that I’d rather not talk about it?
So I wrote this for a couple of reasons but mainly:
1. To tell people, those people, our family and our friends, our coworkers, and such, that yeah, WE had a miscarriage. My water broke at 5 months, and we chose to induce preterm labour to avoid further complications. And no, we do not want to talk about it at length. Just know that we are not pregnant anymore, but we are good, and we will try again eventually.
2. That miscarriages happen all throughout pregnancy, sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. And to the miscarried mothers, it is NOT our fault. Shit happens at every stage of life. I have to swallow this pill every morning now. Shit like this happens all the time.
It is normal to wonder whether you did something to cause your miscarriage. It may help to know that most miscarriages happen because the fertilized egg in the uterus does not develop normally, not because of something you did. A miscarriage is not caused by stress, exercise, or sex.
3. I needed to put my story out there. I need to remember our first child, who we thought was a girl based on our last ultrasound, turned out to be a boy. Can you imagine giving birth to healthy baby boy after you’ve bought all the girly things you can find, decorating the nursery in flowers and unicorns, having chosen girly names, and have to now go back to the drawing board and find a boy name quickly?!
Our first was a boy that we’ll never get to hold, we’ll never get to hear him cry.
I want to say life goes on, and it does, but it’s hard to move on knowing there is this hole inside of me where my baby should be, where I’m supposed to feel him kick me any day now, all that good stuff. There is now a void created by this miscarriage.
I can’t even look at other pregnant women, and babies, and children, and they are EVERYWHERE!!!
I know I’m not alone, there are millions of women who have had miscarriages. My grandmother just told me that her first pregnancy was miscarried as well, but she went on to have three beautiful women. That gives me some hope, especially since I want to have three children like she did. But I have to admit, it is rather depressing and a downright lonely place to be.
I just thank God profusely for my husband without whom, I could not have done any of it.
Your strength was my strength, your love, your voice, your touch showed me the light at the end of this tunnel. I love you to pieces!
If you’ve experienced a miscarriage yourself, not to relive the harrowing details, but please let me know what you did to get over it. How did you move on? How did you cope with telling everyone? How did you do it?! And were you able to have other babies?