It seems like the only time I actually hit publish on my posts is when I need to easily share our family pictures. But one day I’ll actually edit the hundreds of other posts I’ve written and I’ll have a good archive of the kids’ early days.
It’s hard to believe that we are already well on our way to welcoming our third baby. This pregnancy has felt like it has gone on forever. And in some ways, I suppose it has. I found out I was pregnant in early 2017 and was both nervous and excited. Nia was still very young but knowing that I wanted another baby at some point, I tried to be positive. That was a short lived pregnancy and before the second month, I miscarried.
After that I did know that I wanted to continue growing our family and luckily we got pregnant again shortly after. When we went to California last spring I was pretty sure I was pregnant but wanted to wait until I got home to test. I feel like too many of my memories over the last 8 years have been complicated by negative pregnancy tests.
After a long flight and wrangling two kids home, we were exhausted and grumpy. After everyone was asleep I took the test and it was positive. The next few weeks, I was really sick – a great sign! Around the 7 week mark, we went to check for a heartbeat because of my history. Although there was no heartbeat, my progesterone levels were high and so the midwives were hopeful. The next two weeks were a game of maybe this is a viable pregnancy, maybe it isn’t.
My progesterone levels went up, up, up into the 100,000s. I even got a call congratulating me from the midwives because they were rising just as they would in a normal pregnancy. I continued to be sick as a dog so hope levels were high as well.
Unfortunately a heartbeat was never found and the midwives consulted with an exacerbated OB who came in and did another ultrasound and said something along the lines of, “There’s no heartbeat, what do you want me to tell her??” as I sat right there and tried to not let my tears overflow. I just nodded and did that ‘what can you do?’ smile. After the OB left, I’m sure I bawled. All these losses blend together at some point.
This was the day before Ramadan 2017 and the silver lining was that I was able to fast for the first time in four years. Unfortunately I hadn’t prepared for it at all! Ultimately, it was a great Ramadan but my miscarriage still hadn’t started by the end. I should have been more worried but since my midwives didn’t seem concerned, I really wasn’t either.
We went to Michigan for Eid and on the day before Eid, my miscarriage began. I expected it to be uneventful as all of my miscarriages so far had been and in the beginning it was. We went back to DC and resumed our regular life.
On a Thursday night I woke up knowing something was wrong. I was bleeding profusely and without too many gorey details we quickly got changed and headed to urgent care.
The first PSA break for this post:
- I almost stayed home to try to have the miscarriage in the shower because I had read in the internet that it can be hell and you just cry and get through the pain. Do not do this. I really think if I stayed home I could have died.
- Our first instinct was to go to urgent care. Thank God it was closed and we went to the ER. If you are bleeding profusely, go to an ER!
When we got to the ER it was more clear that something was wrong. They immediately admitted me and the next hour or so was just lots of bleeding and testing. Once in the room we waited for an ultrasound and my pain was still manageable. During the course of waiting I started getting horrible contractions and my pain became increasingly worse. It’s one thing to experience that pain when you are in the process of bringing your child into the world but entirely different as you try to let it go. It was emotionally and physically excruciating.
Again, without going into the gory details, the next couple of hours involved a lot of blood loss and finally an invasive and painful ultrasound by a very cold sonographer.
When the ultrasound finished and I was getting back in the wheelchair I said, I’m going to pass out now, please don’t let me fall on the floor. Apparently I passed out and my body started shaking as the sonographer asked Feraz if this was normal. Argh! Thankfully a nurse was passing by and he rushed over to help. The next thing I remember is being in a crowded room with IVs in my arm, an oxygen mask on my face and someone asking for a history of what happened and someone else asking if I had signed off on receiving a blood transfusion. I was in and out of consciousness and hearing bits of conversation. I remember shaking uncontrollably from being so cold and trying to pull my hand away because they were putting an IV in there. Eventually I came back to and was on fluids and getting a blood transfusion. They were having trouble getting my blood pressure back up and couldn’t move me to SICU until that happened. Eventually I stabilized, they gave me drugs to slow down the bleeding and I was moved to a room.
Unfortunately my bleeding didn’t slow down and I needed another blood transfusion and eventually I was taken in for a D&C. It wasn’t until I was getting the anesthesia that I cried. I was so tired and they had to intubate me which was more scary to me than the D&C.
When I came to, I felt so much better. The pain and bleeding were gone. I did feel like I was having a heart attack and they did an EKG but my guess is it was just anxiety from everything that happened.
Second PSA stop:
- Get the D&C much sooner than later if you know the pregnancy is not viable!
- Be a squeaky wheel! If you feel something is wrong, keep articulating it until someone listens or explains to you in detail why you shouldn’t be concerned.
And just like that it was over. I was discharged shortly after and with bruised arms and bandaids I went home and got to see the girls before they went to sleep.
Part of me doesn’t want to share this story juxtaposed with the pictures below. It is sad and uncomfortable and I kind of want to forget it happened. But it is the narrative of so many women. Conception, pregnancy and childbirth are harrowing experiences for so many of us.
Before I entered this world I had no idea of the many complexities of creating a family and the fact that most women have some sort of trauma associated with bringing life into this world. For someone who is struggling to start a family or has dealt with loss, scrolling past pictures of families and round bellies can be painful. We don’t talk about the hard parts for so many reasons. The shame of what has happened, the taboo surrounding any talk of women’s bodies and the discomfort of remembering. But sharing stories and pain is also healing. It humanizes both ourselves and the person we are sharing with. Without the dark periods, most of our narratives are not sincere or complete.
And so, the next chapter. A few months later, in early November, we found out we were expecting again. Again, I was both nervous and excited. Probably also a bit terrified this go around.
As this pregnancy winds down I can’t help but reflect of the last 8 years and what my body has endured and what it has accomplished. I am so grateful for our girls and God willing, their baby brother. I pray that I am making the right choices for our family and that this baby comes into this world in good health, peacefully and uneventfully. I pray that we all find peace in the stories we have lived and are living. I ask that you join me in these prayers. Ameen.