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Losing a baby in early pregnancy might be common, but the loss can be devastating to the parents-to-be, as this emotionally harrowing personal account narrates.
My dear Baby,
For several times now I have started writing this post and deleted it, without even saving a draft. So let me tell you this first, I am confused (about so many things right now but right now lets talk about this) about whether to share this or not. But the fact that I’m not able to get any proper sleep even now, keeps pushing me to do this. Maybe this can help me in the process of coming back. So let’s do this.
Up until a month ago we, my hubby and I used to watch a lot of movies on the big screen, and Thugs of Hindostan was just another movie. Since it was an Aamir Khan movie, expectations were high and we booked tickets a week early. The release date was November 8th, and we had booked tickets for the evening show on November 8th.
Trigger alert: descriptions of emotions of loss and pain
It was a fine Friday and both of us were enjoying our day off from work. The show was at 4, and my husband asked me to be ready by 3:30. Just as we were checking the tickets again, I saw that date on the tickets, and it struck me that I was a day late for my periods.
Usually, one day late is nothing, but even then I thought I’ll just pee on that stick and make sure. That’s it, just a casual check; I remember not even telling my husband while going to the washroom. And so I did the test, kept it there, and went out hurriedly to get ready as he was already done and ready to leave. Even while going to the washroom after 5 minutes to check the result, I was sure, it would be negative. But then… I saw a very faint line in there… so faint that I was confused whether my mind was playing tricks on me. I called him, and he saw it too. We took a picture and sent it to my sister. She cried – it is YES!
I just sat on the bed and was telling myself “this is it, this it it!” I’m going to have a baby… so blissful that feeling was! For some reason I was shaking with joy. Absolute happiness.
Having booked the tickets, we set out to the theatre and after 3 hours of suffering Thugs (as it is a horrible movie, and it only got worse when coupled with our anxiety) we went to the clinic. But, the doctor had left by then and so we had to wait till the next day.
That night we took the home test again which too turned out positive, and next day early morning we took the blood test. By evening the result was out and it was positive! My mind was so full of joy. It was from that moment, that I felt you inside… “yeah, there is a little baby growing in there and he/she is mine, our own…”. Of course I was worried about how to manage along with my 12 hour job, changing eating habits and everything, but definitely JOY was the strongest feeling!
Our consultation with the doctor told us that I was in Week 4-5 now.
The following weeks went so fast! It was like so many things were happening… my body was changing, morning sickness kicked in, pregnancy hormones, fatigue… Realizing my trouble dodging between work and home, my mom offered to come home and stay with us at least till the morning sickness got over. Till then we continued our routine, me taking occasional breaks from work.
We visited the doctor for routine checkups and on our second checkup, the doctor gave me the scan picture. Oh! I had so much trouble finding you in that picture, but when I did see you, even though you were not more than a small dot, I could feel that connection, that feeling of you, my baby being there, kept getting stronger. I was so enthusiastic while sharing it with family. We started preparing ourselves, took strolls together in the park and even bought our pregnancy guide – what to expect when expecting. I deleted the monthly cycle tracking app and installed the pregnancy app.
Our next checkup was scheduled after three weeks, on the 8th of December, and I was relieved because my mom would be here by then, and things would finally be on track again. By then I would be in my 9th week. Our doctor told us that during the next visit we would be able see my baby’s heartbeat, and I couldn’t wait for it! My mom arrived along with my 4 year old niece on the 7th of December. I was crying with joy when I saw them; maybe it was the pregnancy hormones kicking in, but I was slowly getting used to frequent and intense mood swings by then.
We went to the doctor on the 8th as scheduled, but unfortunately she was on leave that day. The following day I went to work as usual. At office I could wait till it was evening so that I can see your heart beating, I shared with my friends my happiness. In the evening, I along with my mother, went to the doctor. The doctor was also relieved to see my mom; I guess maybe in her mind she was worried I was such a small kid!
She greeted us so pleasantly, she addressed me, ”Afifa baby, come here. I’m so happy to see your mother with you.” She scanned through my blood test results and told me happily, “everything seems so right. Now we’ll do the scanning and see the heartbeat.” You should know that I was so happy entering the scanning room, because I had been waiting for this moment for the past three weeks.
She shut the curtains and started doing the scan, and the first time I sensed something wrong was when she asked me, ”Afifa, is your husband here?”
I told her, “No. He is at work.”
”Why? Is there something wrong?” I asked
She said, ”You know, surprisingly I am not able to see the heartbeat”
There – my heart stopped right there, it was like my world stopped there. Everything seemed so pointless and numb.
Back in the consulting room she was explaining to my mom that by the 9th week the heartbeat must be clearly visible. She also told something about “no growth”. Those few minutes felt like an eternity and I just sat there. Even as the doctor told me, ”I’m very sorry Afifa, I really wanted to make sure to give you a healthy baby,” I was, like, thinking of something else. Because in my mind I was trying to convince myself that you were alright.
Out of the consulting room, I lost it. I broke into tears. It felt as if I couldn’t go on anymore. I simply leaned on to my mom’s shoulders and cried. Later I learnt we were to consult a radiologist the next day. That night was the longest night of my life.
All around me people were trying hard to convince me not to give myself any more hope, that it was over… but deep inside, my dear, I was trying so desperately to hold on to that single ray of hope – the radiologist, what if she could find something?!
The next day, we waited for the results outside the radiologist’s room. After what felt like days we finally got it. And in there I saw two words: ”Missed Abortion”.
My dear, I have no idea as to how to put the rest of it to words. Nothing has been able to console me, not the fact that this was a very common thing, and 1 in every 4 women worldwide go through it. Or the fact this will not affect us having another baby. Yes, this might be common, and many might have gone through it, but definitely it doesn’t make it any easier. Not to any of them. It is so hard to walk through a miscarriage. It is so hard losing a child even if it is still in the womb. It is almost like losing a part of you. If anything, it made it even harder for me on realizing the fact that many women are going through it these days, and why is that? Is there a reason, I ask any doctor I see….
People tell me there was never a baby inside me, it was just a small dot, it never became a human. I really don’t know how to respond. Because for me, you had already become a part of my life, and losing you is never going to become easy. I tried going for work, but had to come back unable to concentrate. At home, everyone was talking about the procedure to take you out of me, before it became complicated for my health, but I didn’t want you to go. Even when I knew there was no hope, I prayed for you. There were so many things I wanted to talk of, my feelings, my thoughts. But all I did was uninstall the pregnancy app and bringing back the cycle tracker. I thought it would help me find closure.
The next week was painful both mentally and physically. The pain was too much. Hot water bags became a part of me, I was never seen without that, but more than anything I think it was, and it still is, the pain of losing you. I have almost fully recovered from the physical pain slowly, and mentally I am trying to bring back that smile on my face. I still am, as I know the people around me are being sad too. But sometimes, mostly at night as I close my eyes it just kicks into me that I am no longer pregnant. There is no YOU in ME now. And that I am just one person and not two.
It has been three weeks now and I still can’t get over you. I know I should. Maybe this would help and that is why I am writing this.
Today my mom and niece have returned home. And it feels so much more empty. Here lying down in bed, suddenly I saw the entire happenings of the past month in front of me. It was just for a moment but there I saw everything. From the moment we took the home test to the operation theatre. I saw it all.
Hoping for the best.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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My name is Afifa. I was born and bought up in Kerala, India. I graduated
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