Miscarriage: The Pain, The Strength
The ultra sound sound was so clear, we were only 5 weeks pregnant and I remember seeing a very tiny thing, so tiny but so clearly, my husband held my hand, we were going to be parents, in another 35 weeks, we would be responsible for a lil one, boy girl, it did not matter, our baby was incubating and I had the privilege to carry him/her for the next 9 months. Every appointment brought so much joy, I had a pretty much amazing pregnancy and on that date in December 3rd at 3:03 am in the OR I was declared a mother by the sweetest cry.
Having only experienced that, I cannot possibly understand, wrap my mind around or even begin to fathom the pain of losing a child, esp one that you have been waiting for and praying for. The pain, the anguish the devastation can leave you wounded, sometimes for ever. I have friends and family who have had miscarriages and the lack of a support system, or even people thinking you should pick yourself up and move on the baby was not yet born is outright brutal. I have followed the journey of Karimi Kagwe hers is a story of courage…
Thinking of what to post about next always takes me on a journey. Its easy for me to write about pregnancy because that is what I am going through right now. Sometimes you have to tell the story behind the story so that you who is reading this can understand just how far I have come. This is a difficult story to share but I believe in sharing my past pain. This may help somebody else. So here is UNMASKED.
I got married two years ago, we weren’t in a hurry to start having children and agreed from the beginning that we would wait at least a year before thinking of starting a family. We wanted to enjoy each other, get used to being married, sharing a home and all that good stuff. So a year went by and at that time I had already stopped taking contraception as the pill I was taking was causing serious side effects. By the time we decided to try conceiving I had been off the pill for four months. Nothing happened for sometime . I was beginning to worry, and was driving myself crazy buying at least two home pregnancy tests every month. Every time my monthly period would come I would cry. It was an emotional roller coaster for both of us .
I realised I had to give up this madness and just allow nature to take its course. I made a conscious decision to focus on making my marriage work, enjoy life and in God’s time I would conceive.
So I forgot about it and in May 2014 I did conceive. It was an exciting time for both of us. We began to visit our ob/gyn who I had started seeing after I got married. Important note for women choose a doctor that your husband likes. They clicked from day one and involved him in every examination every discussion and explained every change that was happening to me as the pregnancy developed. I feel like this helped our marriage a lot and made me feel like I wasn’t alone on this journey.
Where was I.. okay back to the doctor’s visits. During our first ultrasound my doctor was honest enough to tell us that the foetus was too small and was not growing as well as they should. He didn’t want to cause us any alarm but wanted us to understand that this was something he wanted to keep a close eye on.
So the weekly ultrasounds began, and his concerns continued to grow. This was a season of turmoil for my husband and I. We didn’t understand why or what was happening. It was way beyond our control and all we could do was pray. And we did pray,our immediate family prayed and we believed that some form of miracle would happen and the baby would begin to grow as expected and the heart beat would be heard.
When I was about 8 weeks pregnant we went for our usual ultrasound and there was the strong heart beat that we had longed and prayed for. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard, like the sound of a thousand beating drums. Our doctor was happy and sent us home although he insisted that we come back in two weeks time for another ultra sound just to be cautious.
I remember sharing with our family members that all was well and thanked them for their support and prayers.
So the days passed,and then one day after going for a short call I began to see brownish spots that I hadn’t seen before . I immediately called my doctor who asked me to describe how I was feeling and what I had seen. After our discussion he asked me to keep an eye out and If i continued spotting to go see him immediately. The day ended with no further spotting and so I relaxed and put my worries to rest.
The next day after a whole day of work, I went to the bathroom before leaving the office and there was blood. I panicked and began to cry. Then I calmed myself down and went to speak to a colleague who had experienced a miscarriage before and I told her what was happening and she prayed and hugged me and told me to go to the hospital immediately. I called my husband George but he was stuck all the way across town at a meeting .I told him I would call a cab and he promised to do his best to fly through traffic and meet me at the doctors. I then called my friend Jules, on that day i was to meet her for coffee across from my office after work. I told her what had happened and she immediately offered to take me to hospital. She picked me up and we drove to Aga Khan. I am so thankful she was there that day because I was a mess. I couldn’t think straight ,I couldn’t pray I couldn’t cry anymore. It felt like a nightmare.
We got to the hospital in ten minutes and we rushed to my doctor’s office. His receptionist informed me that he was in theatre and had no idea what time he would be done. I then decided to go the Jubilee clinic and see the doctors there. I remember getting there and I had to fill in the insurance claim form . I was such a mess I couldn’t remember my date of birth ,or my last names. I filled in two forms wrong before Jules took over and completed the registration process for me, I saw a lady doctor immediately after we told them I was bleeding. She examined me and immediately sent me for an ultra sound. We walked across to the radiology department and were fast tracked inside for examination, my husband who I had been talking to throughout met us there. And he was there as I lay my body down and the radiologist began the ultrasound. I remember closing my eyes and feeling the tears flowing down my face. Because right then I knew that there was going to be no heart beat, I knew right then that our baby was gone.
My eyes were closed as I lay there waiting to hear what the radiologist would say. I waited to hear the sound of our baby’s heartbeat. But all I heard was silence. I opened my eyes and looked at her and her eyes were full of pity and sadness. I looked at the screen and there was a flat line where the heart beat should be. She asked me a few questions, I was supposed to be 10 weeks pregnant on that day, but according to the scan the baby had stopped growing at around 7-8 weeks.
That meant our baby had been dead for two weeks. The nurse said ‘pole (sorry), you will get another child’. I didn’t want to hear it, I was helped off the bed and went to the changing room with my husband and friend and I cried. I don’t remember what they said to me as I changed. Everything was a blur after that; we walked out of the hospital as my husband called our doctor to update him about the ultrasound results. He asked us to see him first thing the next day to discuss the way forward.
I honestly don’t know what happened that night. I don’t remember what my husband and I talked about, whether we had dinner if I even slept. I only remember feeling like my world had come to a standstill. I was numb I felt indescribable grief. I didn’t want the world to continue moving like nothing had happened. This was our first child, we already loved this child (boy /girl only God knows I have to refer to the baby as them) .Every morning my husband and I would lay hands on my belly and pray over our baby.
We were excited, nervous at the prospect of being first time parents but we were already having conversations about all the plans we would have to make in the coming months. We had prayed, our friends had prayed, our family had prayed and yet the baby died. How was I supposed to make peace with that? Why? Had I done something wrong? Was I paying for the sins from my past? I had so many questions; so many morbid thoughts of wanting to die as well ran through my head.
Anyway the next day we say our doctor and we made plans to have a D&C (Dilation and curettage). This is a procedure conducted under anaesthesia to clean out the womb of the baby tissue. I still don’t remember how or when those plans were made; my husband took care of everything. Bless him, he was mourning too but had to be strong for the both of us. It wasn’t possible to have the procedure that same day as the hospital theatre was booked. So we went home ready to come back the next day. That night was the longest night of my life. I bled a lot. This was expected as the body was beginning to expel our child. I had cramps and I bled. It wasn’t enough that we were in emotional pain now I had to go through the physical pain as well.
By the time the morning came and we headed to the hospital I couldn’t wait to have the D& C done. I was relieved this nightmare would finally be over. I said goodbye to our baby and waited for the anaesthesia to put my body under so that this would be over. I welcomed it; I wanted to be dead to my emotions, dead to my pain. I enjoyed the feeling of the drug flowing into my veins and putting me out of my misery, I slept.
I woke up later in recovery and the first thing I heard was a baby crying. I remember thinking and asking what manner of sadism is this God? Aren’t you going to protect me from even this? I felt him say to me that this was his promise to me that I would hear the cry of our child someday. That word from God didn’t comfort me, I was too angry I didn’t want to trust or believe or hope again. I just wanted to wait for the hours to pass until it was time to go home.
People visited me in hospital that went by like a dream. People visited us at home; I was on medication and on bed rest as I was still in pain. Our friends and family came, they cooked they cleaned, they fed us. They prayed with us, they were there. That helped a lot I will be forever thankful, because we would never have gotten through that period if we were just the two of us in our home, drowned in a heavy cloud of sorrow.
The next few months were difficult, we saw a therapist. It helped. We just threw ourselves back into normal life. The possibility of trying to conceive again was far from our minds. We were both afraid that history would repeat itself and so shelved that idea of having children and went on with our lives. We grew closer than ever before. We had been through a traumatic experience our first year into our young marriage and had somehow gotten through it.
So 2015 came along, we had put that chapter of July 2014 behind us and lo and behold I conceived again. We were both scared but here we are 6 and half months later. Our baby is still, healthy, alive and kicking, I believe that this child will make it into this world as a testimony of God’s healing and restoration. Hope has truly visited our marriage again and we cannot wait for the birth of our first born child.
Follow her blog as she takes you through her pregnancy and motherhood journey. https://karimikagwe.wordpress.com/
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