My Baby's Story
Thank you so much for letting me share my baby's story with you. I would never have able to do so, had I not read the many stories, written by people, who have gone through similar painful experiences. The thought that there were so many people out there who understood how hard it could be made it easier to share the pain.
God bless you,
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999
It all began on April 1, 1998, when I missed my period. I am as regular as clockwork and so when my periods refused to start even after a week, I knew I was in for a visit to my gynecologist. I told my husband what was going on. He absolutely refused to believe that there was a chance, a very good one at that, that I might be pregnant. He said that we wait for a few more days before planning a visit to the doctor. But, when my periods showed no sign of starting even after a whole 10 days, my husband, too, had no choice left but to consider the possibility of my being pregnant.
We booked an appointment with our doctor for the very next day. She asked us to go in for a pregnancy test. The result came out positive. When my husband and I got to know of the test results, we were filled with mixed emotions. The pregnancy had taken us completely by surprise. We hadn't planned on being pregnant 6 months into our marriage. And we just didn't know what to think. The fact that we would be having a baby in 9 months changed everything. We decided that we would just have to give ourselves some time, to get used to the idea of being pregnant and having a baby after 9 months.
As the days went by, however, our fears and apprehensions were replaced by an evergrowing sense of excitement and joy. We were going to have a baby! We couldn't believe it. It was going to be wonderful. We could picture a bundle of joy and energy keeping us on our toes all day long. It would be our baby - our baby! It seemed like the perfect way to enhance our love and our relationship.
A few days later, I began to experience the first signs of morning sickness. I couldn't stand the smell of food, leave alone eat it. My doctor told me not to worry. I would start feeling better once my first trimester was over. And this was exactly what happened.
By the time I was in the 12th week of my pregnancy, I was feeling much better. I began to relax and enjoy my pregnancy. I began making plans for our baby. I day-dreamed about how I would feed my baby, how I would rock my baby to sleep, how I would bathe my baby, how I would play with my baby and how I would love my baby with all my heart and soul, just the way my parents had loved me. I talked to my baby everyday, telling her how much I loved her and how much I wanted to have her. I thought of how precious our baby was to me. Slowly, my whole world began to revolve around our unborn baby. My husband used to tease me, "Our baby's still in your tummy and I'm already having to fight for your attention. I dread to think what is going to happen to me when our baby comes into this world." In fact, my husband doted on our baby as much as I did, maybe more. He used to come back home everyday from work and ask me how our baby was doing. No more 'How was your day?'. I used to think that I should be the one who ought to be worried about not getting enough attention.
Soon, my tummy began to show. By 16 weeks the bulge in my abdomen was quite noticeable. The sight of my growing tummy made me hold my breath in wonder and amazement. I could hardly believe that I had a life growing inside me - a life that would one day grow to be an independent individual, separate from me, this being that was so much a part of me right now. I guessed it would always be that way. That my baby, though an independent person, would always remain a part of me, even after it was born.
About the same time, my husband had to leave abroad, on an assignment, for a month. He was worried about how I would manage without him, and I told him that he needn't worry, because, now, I wasn't alone. My baby and I would keep each other company and take good care of ourselves. During this time, my stomach really grew and almost began to resemble a full-sized football. When my husband heard this, he couldn't wait to come back. The day my husband returned, I felt as if we weren't just a couple meeting each other after a long time, but a family who had stayed apart and couldn't wait to be together again. That night, my husband put his ear to my stomach and talked and listened to our baby. It was the most beautiful and touching moment I had ever experienced. When I asked my husband what our baby was saying to him, he said it was between father and son, or daughter, we didn't know which one, then. We had decided that we wouldn't find out. We were going to keep it as a surprise for later.
By this time, I was in the 20th week of my pregnancy and due for an ultrasound scan. We went in for it together and, for the first time since I had become pregnant, actually got to see our baby. We could see the baby's face, it's eyes and nose and mouth, it's tiny hands and feet as they kicked me in the stomach. It brought tears to my eyes - to see this tiny little being kicking inside me, all alone in the darkness and the enclosed space. Did it feel lonely and lost? Or did it feel safe and secure to be inside its mother's womb? Could it think? Could it understand what was happening? I wrapped my arms tightly around my tummy in an effort to hug my baby. I wanted to make my baby feel protected. I wanted to let my baby know that I was there, that it's mother was there, to protect it, to take care of it.
Days went by and I settled into a comfortable routine of eating, sleeping and exercising. I could now feel my baby kicking me. My husband was extremely annoyed because he couldn't experience it himself. He would look at me a trifle enviously every time I screamed, "I can feel it kicking me. I can feel it kicking me." And then, he would come over to see if he could feel anything himself, but never did.
My ultrasound reports came back normal. The baby was healthy and growing perfectly. All my regular check-ups showed that everything was absolutely normal. I was 24 weeks into my pregnancy and things were going just fine.
It was when I had entered the 7th month of my pregnancy that I noticed one day that my baby wasn't moving as much as it usually did. I didn't think much of it as my doctor had told me that the baby's activity can vary from time to time. However, when I hadn't felt any movements from my baby for 4 days, I began to worry. I told my husband that I couldn't feel the baby moving. He immediately tensed. I told him there was no need to worry. It was probably nothing. But he insisted that we see the doctor first thing in the morning.
When we went to see our doctor the next morning, she advised us to get an ultrasound scan done. Unfortunately, there was an Ultrasonographists conference going on, and so, there were no ultrasound technicians available to do the scan. So, our doctor said that she would do it herself. When she began the ultrasound, I immediately sensed that something was wrong. I asked my doctor what was happening but she didn't reply. Then, after some time she told us that the amniotic fluid around the baby was severely reduced and she could detect no fetal movements. She was not sure whether there was a heartbeat or not. I panicked. I asked the doctor what could possibly be wrong. She told me to take it easy and not panic. She said she was going to make a few phone calls to find an ultrasound technician and get a professional scan done. After that, I was asked to wait outside while my doctor and my husband discussed a few things inside. I don't know what they talked about, but they were in there for what seemed like eternity. With every moment that passed I became more and more anxious. I knew something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong. I could feel it in my heart. I tried to keep myself calm. I told myself that it wouldn't be good for the baby to become agitated. After about half an hour my husband and the doctor emerged from the room. My doctor asked me not to jump to any conclusions and to think positively. Her words made my worst fears come to life.
Soon, my husband and I were on our way to another hospital to get an ultrasound scan done. My husband had already got in touch with my parents and my in-laws, and asked them to meet us at the hospital. I was terrified. Somehow, this whole thing didn't feel real. Once at the hospital, I was immediately taken in for a scan. After the scan was done I was asked to wait outside while the doctor prepared my report. Moments later he reappeared and said to us, "We are going to have to terminate the pregnancy. The baby's dead." I couldn't believe what I had just heard! Dead? My baby, dead? How could that be? How could that possibly be? How could my baby just die, all of a sudden, just like that, when everything had been going so well? Surely there was something wrong with the diagnosis. Maybe they had made some mistake. There was no way my baby was dead. Just no way. I told the doctor so. I asked him how he could be so sure. I said I wanted a second opinion. I told my husband that we would get another ultrasound done elsewhere. I was sure it would show that they had made a mistake, a terrible mistake, and that my baby was still alive and doing fine.
Holding on to this thought with all my life, I was back at my doctor's clinic. It was 6:00 in the evening now. The day - Sept. 11, 1998. The Ultrasonographists conference was over and the ultrasound technician at the hospital was back at work. Our doctor told us that we would get another ultrasound scan done if it was going to make us feel better. However, she advised us not to expect any miracles.
The scan began. The ultrasound technician was dictating notes to his assistant - measurements of our baby's head, kidneys and so on. And then, the words we had been dreading - amniotic fluid severely reduced, no fetal movements or cardiac activity seen. The fetus is dead. That was it. Our baby was gone. In the blink of an eye it was all over. I looked at my husband standing across the room. I saw a man who had waited in anticipation with me, who had shared the joy and excitement of finding out that I was pregnant and going to have a baby, with me, who had dreamed with me, who had planned the many things for our baby with me. I saw him standing across the room through blurred eyes and I saw him, in that instant, dying with our baby, and with me.
My world shattered around me. All my hopes and dreams broken into bits and pieces, my heart lying in tiny fragments on the floor, never to be picked up again. My baby was dead. I would never be able to hold it in my arms. I would never be able to feed it. I would never be able to put it to sleep. I had lost my baby forever, never to come back.
As I was in the seventh month of my pregnancy, I was going to have to deliver the baby. I couldn't bear the thought of giving birth to a dead baby. But the doctor said that it was the safest way to do it. At around 9:00 PM I was given labour-inducing injections and painkillers to decrease the pain. My husband and my mother stayed with me at the hospital. Neither slept throughout the night. I know because I didn't sleep either, I couldn't, in spite of the fact that I had been given medicines to make me sleep. Over the night, the pain in my abdomen began to increase in severity. At about 3:00 am I was put on a drip to accelerate the labour pains. By 5:30 am the pains became unbearable and continuous. I was scared to death. I felt as if the baby was coming out. I became hysterical. Soon after, I was taken into the labour room, where after about 15 minutes or so I gave birth to a dead baby girl.
The doctor wanted to show my daughter to me, but I didn't have the courage to look. My husband, my father and my father-in-law, however, had a look at her. When I asked my husband later on how our daughter had looked, he told me that she had been beautiful and that she had looked exactly like me. Sometimes, I regret not having seen my daughter, because now, I have nothing to remember her by, except for the way she had felt, when she had been inside me.
The days immediately after the delivery were dark and empty. I felt completely drained of emotion and energy. My mind was blank and numb. I looked at my stomach and I couldn't believe that my baby was no longer there. I was in denial. I wasn't ready to accept what had happened. I wasn't ready to face the truth. I felt raw and vulnerable. I still needed time to come to terms with reality. I was given medicines to stop lactation. But, in spite of the medications, some milk would flow out of my nipples.
Then, one day, as I watched the milk come out of my nipples and trickle down my breasts, the dam broke, and all the pent-up and denied emotions of the past few days rushed forth. I was completely distraught. What a waste, I thought. What a complete waste, this milk that was trickling down my breasts. There would never be anyone to feed this milk to. The one for whom it was meant was gone. She would never come back. She would never ever come back. That was the truth. That was reality. And it hurt. It hurt like hell.
Had it not been for the love and support of my husband, who I know suffered as much as I did, and my family, I would never have made it. Time, they say, is the best healer. And here I am, almost a year away from the time it happened. At least now, after all these months, I can talk about it. I wonder, though, whether this sharp stab of pain that I feel in my heart, whenever I think about my baby and what happened to her, will ever go.
We were later told that the probable cause of our baby's death was strangulation due to the umbilical cord. The autopsy showed that everything else had been absolutely normal. I only hope that my baby's death was not painful and prolonged.
I would like to share with you a poem that I wrote a month after I had lost my baby, to keep the memory of our baby alive. It's entitled - 'O Beautiful Baby'. Others may not remember our baby because they never got to know her, but for my husband and me she will always be our first daughter.
'O Beautiful Baby'
My beautiful baby!
My beautiful baby!
O beautiful baby!
O beautiful baby!
O my beautiful baby!
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