On the evening of Thursday 30 December 2010, I had a miscarriage. My baby was almost 10 weeks old. After some period-like cramps and then uncontrollable bleeding, I rushed to hospital where I was informed I had had an incomplete miscarriage. My doctor performed a D&C to clean out my womb.
I had initially decided not to write about it. But to gloss over the event like my baby never existed felt wrong. Although I had my baby for only 10 weeks, of which, I knew of its existence for only 5 weeks, it was long enough for me to form an attachment. We had not planned this pregnancy. In fact, we had even decided that we were not going to have any more children. To say that the surprise was a welcomed one would be a lie. I hadn’t wanted this baby when I found out I was pregnant. But babies have a way of changing your heart even when you think it cannot be changed.
It has been an emotional 5 weeks. The fact that we knew early on that this was not the usual pregnancy and that miscarriage was a possibility has helped me prepare for this outcome but has not lessened the grief that I feel. It was difficult knowing that I needed to rest but had two young children who still depended on me very much. It is hard to say that even if I had had complete bed rest, this baby might still be alive. It was hard to ignore my two sons when they needed me so I did what I could and rested when I was able. It was also hard to ignore the guilt I felt because I was incapable of giving all I could to all my children.
Despite knowing that I was true to my expectations of myself as a mother, I cannot help but replay the events in my head wondering if things could have panned out differently if I had acted differently. Perhaps if I had rushed to the hospital when I started cramping instead of going home first – who knows if the doctors would have been able to do anything to stop the miscarriage from taking place.
During my first visit to Dr Wong, he noted that the attachment of the foetus was weak. I was advised to rest as much as possible and to avoid carrying heavy objects – including the baby. How do you stop carrying your one year old baby and make him understand when he cries for you that you cannot carry him because you are pregnant with his unborn sibling? How do you tell him that he needs to sleep through the night so you can rest, too?
Two weeks after my first visit to Dr Wong, I started bleeding. I received and injection to strengthen the womb and oral progesterone. I continued to bleed on and off for the next two weeks. On Thursday evening, I started having period-like cramps – just the mild, dull ache that accompanies most periods. We had taken the boys for ice cream and were heading home. I probably should not have gone out that night. On the way home in the car, the cramps came like waves of contractions and I knew I was losing the baby. It was late and Dr Wong was no longer in his clinic so I couldn’t call for advice.
By the time I got home, I took a shower and was about to head straight to bed when I started bleeding. It wouldn’t stop. I put on a pad but there was so much blood that it was soaked through before I could even get dressed. I put on an overnight pad and that bought me enough time to get dressed and into the car. By the time I arrived at the hospital, I could see little rivulets of blood seeping through my pants.
In the ER, I threw up – which I understand is the result of my body going into shock after losing so much blood. The emergency doctor made an accessment, although I knew even before I asked that I had lost the baby. It was an incomplete miscarriage that required a D&C under GA. The procedure was quick – 10 minutes in the OT and I was back in the recovery room. After an overnight stay in hospital, I was discharged the following day.
Perhaps if I had done things differently, the baby might still be around today. Perhaps if I had had complete bed rest, I might still have lost the baby. The body has a reason for aborting a pregnancy when it is simply not viable. No amount of medical intervention can save a baby that isn’t meant to be. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the way we feel about that baby.
To my unborn child – although you did not live past 10 weeks of your life, you were still my baby for just a little while and I loved you as I love your brothers.