We were not even trying to have a baby. It just happened when we least expected. I remember waiting for my husband to return from work so that we could take the test. He was out of town for a week when I realized that my period was late. I am the kind of girl who gets her periods on time. They don’t delay at all no matter the circumstances. And so I panicked, and all the answers I sought from google confirmed my suspicions. But I was still going to wait for him so that we take the damn test together.
He came back home on the 6th day of August (2019) but we took the test on the 7th Day of August at 7pm. I remember marking the exact time. I remember standing in the kitchen as he went to the washroom to check whether it was positive or negative. I remember crying in his arms, and not understanding whether I was happy or sad; I was just overwhelmed. I remember the joy he had. I remember praying and thanking God for the new journey we were going to embark on. I remember going for dinner to celebrate. I remember sleeping as he held my stomach every night (well, he still does, but this was different). It was so special! and we started looking for medical insurance, and a new house, and a new life…
At 8 weeks, we went for our first appointment. I wore my favorite pair of jeans. He wore something I didn’t like and I remember telling him that he wasn’t going to meet our baby with the pants that I hated. And so he changed, because who says no to a pregnant lady? I was craving bananas on that day. But our baby really loved anything. I used to eat everything and anything, but fries especially. I loved chicken, but that was just me, I’ve always loved chicken!
Before we got to the hospital, we passed by Java, Hurlingham. This time I’m craving a vanilla latte after a heavy meal.I never even take coffee. One hour later, we were at gynecologist’s office. He could tell we were first time parents for we were far too excited and had so many questions. We chat and he explained what my body needs so as to be fully healthy. I was used to eating twice a day and I’m now informed I need to eat three to four times. He sent us to the lab just to check that hormones and blood work is fine. Then thereafter we are to have the first ultrasound, the one thing I was really looking forward to…
I drank a lot of water; this is a pre-requisite before the ultrasound. The blood sample was taken. It’s now my turn at the Ultra Sound room. Such a tiny room but it was okay. I was so excited that I asked Dan to record this part; I needed to see my baby’s heart beat over and over again. So he pulled out his phone and smiled. That gel was so cold on my tummy…so freaking cold. I was still smiling though because I was so focused and keen on hearing the first beat. The nurse takes a long uncomfortable amount of time to find the heartbeat but says that sometimes it happens. So we wait….and wait…and wait…and I’m now crying. Because my gut says something is totally wrong… The nurse instructed me to go pee so that she can try a trans vaginal scan which is more accurate.
I went to pee, but I could feel my legs getting numb. I never ever thought of a miscarriage. Being a first time mom, I had never experienced it and neither had I met anyone who had gone through it (or so I thought). I peed, and pushed my body back to the room…still.. no heartbeat. She then told us that we would have to come back in a week just to check if the baby is growing since everything else is normal other than the missing heartbeat.
Dan is a very optimistic guy so that right there was a glimmer of hope for him. As for me, I was an emotional wreck. I called my big sister who despite not having a nanny to stay with her kids, showed up forty minutes later with red bata slippers. (she literally had dashed out of the house). My other sister, Linnette, arrived first and gave me lots of handkerchiefs since I walk with none and she always has one. (I could care less about a handkerchief unless I have a cold…)
We headed back to the doctor, who hadn’t seen the scan yet. This time you could feel the silence in the room. He checks the blood work results on the desktop and everything was fine. He’s happy about that. But I will never forget the words that came next from his mouth, “So now let’s check the scan, huyo ndio msemakweli…” (that’s where the truth lies). That right there crashed any form of hope I had taken from the nurse’s station. And tears started flowing…again…and again..
‘What did I do wrong?’ This was the question that lingered on mind. Was it that Vanilla latte? Was it that time I forgot to eat? Or was it the fact that I took a while to start my folic acid? or was it…? These questions would linger in mind over and over.
The doctor tells us to go back after a week before they can declare IUFD (IntraUterine Foetal Demise). I was busy trying to understand what was happening because my body was still feeling pregnant and now i was learning such big words as well. SMH. I kept wondering how this man expected me to remain sane for a whole week. I mean, damn it! Women are such strong human beings. I had to work as though everything was okay. I remembered I pushed myself to attend Nurtured Knot’s Hairitage Chronicles that week. I needed to feel like everything was okay but on the inside, I was crumbling to pieces.
I don’t remember much after we left the doctor’s. I zoned out. It was better to take my mind to another world even though I wasn’t running out of tears. It was a long drive back home. Dan was tired since he had worked out of town the previous day and his body was failing him. So I drove half the way back home. I got home. I opened a random page of the Bible that we were gifted by my best friend. Psalms…. Then I lost it! I cried and asked God to breath life into my baby. That would be my prayer the whole week. Until Tuesday…when I started spotting. and now I was sure.
Before I continue, let me explain to you what was happening. This was a missed miscarriage. Our baby had died in my womb but I had no symptoms such as bleeding or pain. My body had no idea what was happening and therefore I was experiencing all pregnancy symptoms as if nothing was wrong. It comes as a shock to most mothers since only a scan can tell that something is wrong. Read more about it here.
Anyway, a week was too long. I went to see another gynecologist, a second opinion, on Tuesday as soon as I started spotting. I went through another uncomfortable trans vaginal scan just for him to confirm that my baby didn’t actually have a heart beat. Our baby stopped growing at 7 weeks 4 days. And furthermore…I had a fibroid. I sighed… cried as he explained scientifically what he had seen. He gave us sometime alone before we could see him. Dan and I sat in that room for about five minutes. He was emotional but strong. He held my hand as I stared at the picture on the wall…a picture of a mother next to her baby… It was a reminder of what I was not going through even though I think the clinic put it there as a sign of hope. I cried. Then we prayed. Then we headed to the doctor’s to hear the way forward.
I had two options, to miscarry the natural way which could take days, weeks or even a month, OR, to go in for a Dilation & Curretage. We both decided to go for a D&C. It was scheduled for the next day. That meant I would not eat for several hours before the procedure. I remember Dan waking up in the middle of the night to make some food for me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. I was too weak to cook or even eat but at 3.00 a.m he made me food and we sat up, ate and talked a bit before going back to sleep. (Thank you)
We needed to be at the hospital by 8 am but we got there at 10 a.m, blame it on fatigue. A pill was inserted hours before the procedure and we sat in the ward with my sisters and a few close friends talking about nothing. My brain was on autopilot mode. My mum called. My sisters had told her. She told me not to worry, and explained that the procedure would go smoothly. There was something about this particular call that made me not to feel alone. This was the first time I was talking to someone so close who had been through it. She told me she had been through it before she had me. For the first time, I felt like someone shared in my pain, someone understood my pain; and I hope by sharing my story, you feel the same way if you have been through it. She really reassured me that I will pull through. 🙂
At 12.30pm,I went to the theatre. I can’t tell you enough how cold it felt. I was so scared… and I cried..a loot…I wasn’t ready for this moment. It’s the moment you say goodbye to the child you have been speaking to and praying for. It’s the moment they ‘factory reset’ your body. And I just wasn’t ready. You can never be ready. The anesthetist and my doctor friend,Dr. Jemimah held my hand and prayed before the meds took over my body… and waking up from the anesthesia, I wept for my baby…
As I write this, it’s been almost seven months since I went through this. A lot of healing has happened internally. On some days, I am fine. Some days, like the days I took to write this, I feel it all again and I cry. And it’s okay. People forget that your life changes when you discover you are pregnant. You literally see life with a different lens. At least that’s how I did; We moved to a bigger house, my phone was now full of baby apps, I saw a wedding dress designer and we designed a dress for a pregnant bride, Dan worked more, I couldn’t stop staring at baby stuff when I went shopping, you interact differently with people esp mothers, Your body goes through so many changes in preparation for this baby, Your mind shifts…and it takes a while to ‘unshift’ everything and move one.
But I am at peace. God’s grace has been sufficient. I am very thankful for my husband, my sisters and family, and my very close friends who walked with me. God really sent people my way whose words have brought healing, and my hope is that I can bring some sort of comfort to any woman going through it; that you will survive; that it will change you forever but you will survive. That it happens to one in four women. That it’s okay to cry. That it’s also okay to have happy days because no child loves to see their parent sad. That it’s not your fault. That your time will come. But above it all, that you are still a mum 🙂 and Happy Mothers Day to you.
Love, Margie Abissi