“He ordered the steak dinner and I had a milkshake”. I knew then that we were handling our miscarriage very differently.
There is no rulebook for handling the news when you miscarry, how you pass the unborn child, and how to have conversations about the news. The entire situation simply sucks! It has been over a year since I miscarried our baby #2 and I still think about it often.
For years and years, women have struggled to get pregnant and carry a healthy child to term. I am a firm believer that birthing a child is simply God’s miracle, and trust me when I say I am the furthest from being religious, I just truly think it is a miracle from above.
I found out I was expecting baby #2 roughly six weeks after our daughter, Adiya’s, first birthday.
Full transparency, I got knocked up on her Birthday. Ha! Throwing your child’s first birthday party is stressful and Adiya’s was still during a strange lockdown period for the UK. We did a virtual zoom party with 60 friends and family tuning in from around the globe to sing to the birthday girl. We had the gifts and cake and all the birthday fun. What an exhausting day that definitely needed a glass or two of wine, or as I like to call it, “Mama Juice”, to celebrate the birthday. I won’t go into the remaining details but as you can imagine the adults tangoed and received fab news 6 weeks later.
My husband, Rikki, was happy. At least I think he was. To be honest, I think he could take it or leave it. He is very career driven and focused on building a company in Uganda, so he is often consumed by this endeavor. Due to COVID and living in the UK, the multiple lockdown periods caused him to stay in London a bit longer at times before traveling back to Africa. This was one of those small silver linings to the pandemic, and allowed us to spend more time together as a family.
When the coast was clear to travel, Adiya and I planned a trip to visit my mom in Florida and go to Disney.
In preparation, I went for a scan at the hospital to make sure that everything was ok before the trip. I went by myself as Rikki was back in Uganda. All the same technicians were there and I felt like I was reliving my first pregnancy all over again. So much so that I actually got the same technician I had from previous scans with Adiya, who I did not particularly like. She was Irish and didn’t always use the right words or perhaps it was me being “extra” sensitive. Whatever the case, I was a bit “extra” anxious now walking into the scan room. The scan was good but she did say that she thought the heartbeat was on the slower side, but because I was just six weeks along she wasn’t too concerned. She recommended I come back in again as soon as I was back from my trip.
Off to Florida and Disney we went! This was Adiya’s first flight. She was an absolute dreamboat on the flight. Well, dreamboat until the landing when she projectile vomited everywhere. On me, on her, I was crying. What a mess. We had to connect as there were no direct flights at the time. We made it but my goodness was that stressful.
My trip to Florida was great. No real issues to report that would flag that anything could be wrong. I was a bit tired. No sickness and typical hunger pangs. Adiya had her first beach trip. We met my bestie Amanda and her hubby David at Disney and spent two days there. It was all great and wonderful. Mom time is always the best time. We had a ball.
We arrived back in London and we had to quarantine as per the country’s rules at the time.
By then I was 11 weeks. I called the doctor’s office to make a scan appointment and also to book the Harmony test as you can have one of those done once you are past 12 weeks. Rikki was back in town from Africa so he arranged his schedule to go with me for this particular appointment.
Again, same technicians all around upon arrival and I am set again to meet the Irish lady to whom I wasn’t the biggest fan of. My recollection of when I had the Harmony test when carrying Adiya was different. Before, they did all the blood work and tests on me prior to the scan. This time, we were asked to come straight back for the scan. It felt weird. I replay that in my brain a lot and wonder if the Irish woman already knew something that I didn’t know or didn’t feel. “Did I look different to her?”
When I entered the scan room, it felt empty and somber.
She proceeded to advise me to sit up on the table and lie back for the scan. She then went on to explain that while she didn’t have high concern that the heartbeat was slow on my last appointment, she thought it was best to do this first before I take on the Harmony test.
When you look at the big screen, it’s simply lifeless.
Yes, that is what our eyes were met with. No heartbeat, no quiver. Just a shape, lost. She proceeded to share that by the growth, that the baby stopped growing around the 10/11 weeks marker. She then proceeded to ask if I had any bleeding, spotting, or severe cramping. All of my answers were no, as I thought I was fit, strong, healthy and carrying another child.
The Irish lady proceeded to tell me my options of what I could do. Take a pill to speed up the process, wait for “little nugget” to pass or have a D & C (Dilation and curettage) procedure to remove tissue from inside of my uterus. This clears the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion. I chose to have the D&C. I freaked out and thought, “What if I pass the child before the D&C?!” I begged for them to take me in the next room and do it right then and there. They simply couldn’t as there was not enough staff and operating rooms available as everything was overbooked/backlogged due to COVID. I had to wait another 2 weeks to have the procedure.
I hugged the Irish lady. I thanked her for her compassion and essentially handling it all so perfectly while I was a crumbling mess.
We scheduled my D&C and waited.
I panicked every day leading up to the operation. I feared I would just instantly start bleeding. I was walking around London with essentially a dead being inside me. I felt so disconnected within myself. I suffered postpartum depression with Adiya and now this was heightened to another level.
The “I’m so sorry” sentiments from family members began.
The “it happens” and “It’s so common” comments were becoming redundant. I was tired and angry. Angry at Rikki. Angry at myself. I was a walking nightmare and I just wanted the D&C over with and done.
It was a freezing cold room at The Portland Hospital. It was nice though, ha! They did renovations during COVID so the room was fancier than the last time we were there for Adiya. Rikki stayed in the recovery room and they took me down.
They walked me down this time. When I was last here to deliver Adiya, I was pushed in a bed as to be celebrated. I was carrying an “alive” child and we were going to welcome her into the world. This time, it was a very cold walk to the elevator and down to surgery. Everyone seemed nice. I asked if they were going to play music since the last time we had music and Rikki made a playlist. They politely said no music and directed me to sit up on a bed. No smiles, very little eye contact from passing nurses. “Why am I feeling like I’ve done something wrong? I didn’t ask for this!”
Dr. Chilcott was overseeing the procedure. I asked him to tell me a joke. He did. It was about an old jewish man being rushed into the hospital and the nurse asked him if he was comfortable and the old jewish man replied, “I’m comfortable, I make a good living”. I smiled, and the nurse asked me if I was comfortable.
It was over, it was done.
Dr. Chilcott told me that everything went according to plan and that I would have a follow up in two weeks. He was happy with everything and that after I had the follow up we could start discussing, planning, trying for another child. I smiled and said my thank you’s. I was devastated inside. I wanted my Mom! I wanted to go back to Disney with Adiya when I thought I was still pregnant with baby #2 but instead, we ordered food at The Portland Hospital.
Rikki ordered the steak dinner and I had a milkshake.