A Story of Trial and Triumph (1)
Wake up! My spirit kept on saying, go do a urine pregnancy test. I had tens of the pregnancy test strips in one of the drawers in my dresser table. I was hesitant because I had been doing the same test everyday for two days and I was getting the same negative results. Even though we had just been married a few months, I was already worried that something was wrong with me.
I got up from the bed, of course Ola; my husband was still snoring away. It was only 1.30am in the morning. I went into the toilet and made use of the sticks. Lo and behold it was positive. I couldn’t believe my eyes so I did another one. When I gave my husband the news, he told me he already knew I was pregnant a long time ago and he got tired of telling me because I didn’t believe him whenever he said so. We went to the clinic the next day and the doctor confirmed that I was 9weeks along. We were so happy; we even celebrated it with a bucket of blue bunny ice cream. That was one of my most memorable nights. Ever!
We made plans on how we would decorate a room for the baby. We talked about the possibility of going to the US to have him/her. What would we name him/her? What would he/she look like? How will I look like when I am very heavy? We were so excited to see the little one. We called the baby Lil’Raj and also attended most of the ante natal classes together.
Things went smoothly but slowly. My sister even organized a surprise baby shower for me. I shopped tirelessly and endlessly. I also got lots of gifts from friends and well wishers. I had already known I was having a girl so each time I saw something pink, flowery and cute, I would rush to get it.
Then came one day in the early hours of the morning, say around 2am on the 7th of Dec, 2010, I had the urge to pee so I went into the toilet, I got up to clean up and felt another urge to pee again, this time the pee was so much but it felt good to release the pressure from my bowels. At that time I knew my water had broken but I couldn’t feel any pain. I took a shower, and lay down on my bed to pray. I tried to call my husband who was still in Nigeria at the time but for some reason, I couldn’t get through. I wanted him to be the first person to know Lil’raj was on her way. The cramping came on slowly but bearable and I decided no need to wake the house up if I could still handle the situation.
At the break of dawn, I alerted the house and we parked the necessary things and rushed to the hospital. I wasn’t feeling any serious pains. In fact I was wondering why women used to exaggerate about labor pains. We got to the hospital and the doctor said he would check the fetal heart beat while he asked me questions about how my water broke. I noticed he was spending too much time finding the baby’s heartbeat, and then he asked when it was I felt the baby move last. I told him I felt the baby move while I was in the waiting room of the hospital. He decided that the heartbeat monitor was broken and we should go for a quick ultra scan instead. At that time I began to get worried, but I just shrugged any negative thoughts in my head off and agreed with the doctor that the machine was indeed broken. He took quite a long time with the scanning, few minutes later; he called on a colleague to have a second look and opinion about what he could see from the scan. They talked quietly for few seconds and then the other doctor left leaving just me and my doctor again, then he said the words that broke my heart, my soul, my whole being completely into pieces. He said “I’m sorry Funke but the baby has passed”. What? How? When? How? What do you mean my baby has passed? I felt bad but I was calm. Apparently the doctor had gone to tell my sister and her husband because immediately they came into my room, they started crying. I told the doctor to find a way to get the baby out of me. I was nauseous with the thought of carrying a dead baby in my tummy. I got transferred to the labor and delivery section and that was where the real horror began. The doctor had advised against a CS but my labor was taking longer than necessary. It was 12noon already and all I felt was a little pain.
Dr Troy decided after 2more hours of gentle labor and only 3cm dilated that it was time I got induced, few minutes after the pills were administered and then labor pains started, it progressed really slowly such that at 3pm, I was only just 6cm dilated. The pains had progressed almost to an unbearable state, I was so tired and they wouldn’t let me eat anything except ice cubes. Ola’s presence would have made me feel better but he wasn’t there. At about 9pm, when I couldn’t take the pains anymore, I asked for an epidural. That was another grievous mistake that I made. The Anaesthiologist was an old man who obviously didn’t have any nice thing to say. He told me to sit up and sit still. Common, I have a baby’s head stuck in pelvic and it feels like someone forgot pestle meant for pounding yam in my anus. I am in serious horrible pains yet you expect me to sit still. Needless to say, the epidural needle was stuck into my back twice before he got it right the third time and I felt every pinch. I expected things to get better after the epidural but apparently my horror had just begun because the epidural didn’t work. I heard the Anaesthisiologist say on his way out of my room that he had given me enough epidural to knock out a horse and couldn’t afford to give me any more.
At this time I broke down completely, my whole body was on fire, my legs were clamped and I was so tired. About 20minutes later, I started to crown and it was time for the real work. I felt like I needed to push. I couldn’t hold it back, but with each push, I felt my body parts tear. Usually during labor, both the mother and the baby push to get the baby out, but in my case, I was the only one pushing. Finally at about 12.05am of the next day, after about 12hours of huffing and puffing and excreting some too, the baby finally came out.
How do I put this? She was very beautiful, small in size, weighed in about 5.25inches and she had a head full of hair. She was so pretty I totally forgot I had a third degree tear that needed to be stitched. I carried her in my arms and that was when it hit me CLEAR. She wasn’t opening her eyes, she wasn’t moving, she didn’t even cry, not even a little sound, not even a little twitch. She never opened her eyes. She said her goodbyes long before we could say hello. I cried my heart out. I checked all over her body maybe I would see what went wrong but she was perfect, everything was complete. So what happened? What went wrong? When did this happen? The doctor must have read my thoughts because she replied ‘From the look of the baby, its sure she passed more than 12hours ago” So I had been carrying a dead baby in my womb and I did not know! I couldn’t tell! What have I done to my baby? I couldn’t get my mind off the pain and suffering she must have gone through at the time she was dying, trying very hard to survive and what exactly was I doing? Sleeping? Watching TV? Facebooking? I didn’t know. I didn’t feel a thing. I couldn’t tell she wasn’t moving anymore.
My husband was given the tragic news and he came to meet me at the hospital the next day. We asked the doctor if they had found anything that would have caused the baby to pass and she said they had done all the possible tests and everything came out fine and that she was confused as to what happened to the baby. So she called it ‘An act of God”, “A bad lottery”. I think the most unforgettable thing was when I was discharged from the hospital and I was leaving the building empty handed. I came in with a big tummy and I am leaving with nothing. I broke down in the middle of the hallway and told my husband I couldn’t leave, I said our baby is in a freezer in this hospital and she is cold. They are going to bury her in an unmarked grave somewhere and I can’t let that happen. I felt incomplete, something was missing and that thing was my baby. She is still in this hospital and I am not going home with her?
For so many days after wards I couldn’t stop crying. It was even worse whenever I saw a baby. I couldn’t eat, smile or talk to people, I wasn’t even picking my calls. Nothing made sense to me anymore. My milk was flowing but there was no baby to suck it. I would wake up every night crying. And then people started to tell me lots of crap. One even told me that God just wanted me to have a taste of childbirth so that I can be fully prepared when my real baby comes. Another one said, that wasn’t your baby, your baby will come soon.
When something like this happens, you never really heal completely. Time makes the pain a little more bearable as it goes but you never ever forget. I cannot begin to say just how much God loves me for giving me my husband; he was such a great support throughout this trying period. He stood by me and comforted me. He made plans for my sister to come back home with us so I am not alone when he is at work. I also got myself registered in a one year post graduate programme. And then the waiting started... click to continue reading
Written by Funke Raji
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