The title says it all. And that’s about all I have to say. They turn around a shitty day like no one else.
I went for my post-op appointment yesterday.
The doctor said she couldn’t identify any particular reason for my miscarriage. She called it my ‘recurrent miscarriage’.
And here’s what she thinks. My body created antibodies that saw the baby as a foreign body and attacked it trying to stop its circulation. Well guess what body? You were fucking successful.
It’s been nearly 2 week since my miscarriage. At first, I was doing just fine. Walking around with a broad smile on my face. Playing with my daughter and cleaning around the house. However, the monday after my miscarriage, my composure started to wobble and by Thursday it crashed. After sending Zahra off to school on Monday, I set my husband, Junaid on his way to work. That’s when it hit. Maybe I felt alone. For the past two days I was surrounded by my family and good food. All of them were making an effort to keep me happy. But that Monday morning, tears began to escape my eyes. For the first time since I heard that my baby’s heart had stopped beating…I began to cry. And even then, the tears were few. All I needed was a good cry and I couldn’t make it happen. My husband saw my scattered tears and consoled me, but alas he had a meeting to get to and so had to rush off to work. That day I couldnt get out of bed until it was about time to get Zahra from school. About 12:30pm I forced myself out of bed and took Zahra straight to the park. As I thought, the sun did me plenty good. There’s something about the blinding sun on a winter day.
The next two days were again surprisingly normal. Surprisingly, because well I kept myself busy. I took Zahra to the park after school everyday and began taking her to Quran classes. I was doing all the things I longed to do on bedrest. During these days, I began to realize the mannerisms of my sister in laws. Emotionally they were truly saddened for me and my loss. But what a relief to them that I was back on my feet. After getting my D&C done on Saturday, Monday morning my sister in law asked me to make here breakfast at 8 am. I politely refused and instead requested that she make my breakfast too. On Thursday, I went shopping with my sister and bought clothes. I had cooked lunch for my sisters in law before leaving and was in a great rush to get a bazillion things done before leaving the house. I came back in the evening, calm and collected only to have my husband tell me that my dear sisters in law had complained about what I had cooked. “They said it was your first time you cooked something in a long time, and THAT’s what you cooked?” I couldn’t take it anymore. I smiled and went into my room.
What a relief. The tears finally came. I cried and cried and asked my husband to hold me. He has been nothing but supportive through all of this and I was eternally grateful to him. But being a mother, you never really get your time. The time that you desperately need. After a few minutes of me sobbing in the bedroom, I heard that my daughter crying outside my room. And there I was again. Dry eyed and smiling. Consoling my 4 year old daughter that it was okay if her cousin took her toy.
The reason to write has become paramount. Grief is funny. Yes I said it, GRIEF IS FUNNY. Let me explain before I go any further. I have a 4 and a half year old daughter, lost my twin sons in November of 2009 and decided in September 2011 that I was ready to get pregnant again. More than anything I wanted a companion for my beautiful, overly smart and delightful daughter. Conception happened quickly, and November 26, 2011 showed me 4-5 weeks pregnant on the bHCG test. Apart from the excitement, I wanted to contain it from my daughter. I didnt want her heart to break the same way mine had. I didnt want her to get her hopes up. But she’s a smart kid. Picked up on the prospect of ‘new baby’ vibes and began planning incessantly. “We need to make a list of things my brother would need”. “I am convinced I am going to have a brother, because I am a girl so now its time to have a little boy in the house” “Maybe I can go to the hospital with you and try to catch my baby brother when the ‘bird drops it from the sky’” “It’s okay, I won’t bother you when my baby brother is here, he’ll need you more than I do” That last line made me hug her tighter than I ever have. And reassured her she will always be my favorite, no matter what.
For me, pregnancy is a daunting time because I am put on bedrest from day 1. Yes day 1. So after the excitement of finding out about the pregnancy, I dutifully took to my bed. I wanted a healthy baby…and this was how I was going to get it. (I spent nearly 7 months on bed with Zahra, and 7 months with the twins). I was willing to do it again. However that meant I needed my inlaws and husband to take on Zahra full time, i.e. bathing her, feeding her, taking her and bringing her from school. And that shattered Zahra. She wanted her mother to pamper her and I wasn’t in a position to do it. Still in hopes of protecting her, I convinced her I had a terrible backache and that the doctor asked me not to move around much. She’s a good kid. Once she understood, she never made a fuss and made habit of going out with her father…something she hadn’t willingly done before. All she ever wanted was me and now she was adjusting.
A month passed and in my two prenatal appointments, I came back happy and content. Everything was according to plan and my ob/gyn wanted me to visit her every 2 weeks so she could keep a close watch on me. On the 17th of December, I heard my baby’s heartbeat. I prayed and prayed that it would continue to grow and be healthy. I felt things wouldn’t be worrisome until my 6th month due to my incompetent cervix. I felt I could sleep easy until then.
On the 31st I had another prenatal appointment, one that my sister took me to because my husband was out of town. I took Zahra as well. Five minutes into the appt. my ob/gyn asked me to lie down for an ultrasound so she could check the heartbeat. I almost blurted out that we don’t need to since we saw it only 2 weeks ago and I was feeling very healthy. The abdominal ultrasound showed no heartbeat. Nothing turned up in the transvaginal scan either (TVS). I could only whimper. I was shocked and yet could only manage a few scattered tears. I was asked to go into the hospital for a more detailed scan, maybe my doctor couldn’t catch it (she reassured me that happened sometimes but I wasnt convinced).
Same thing happened at the hospital. No heartbeat. There was a dead baby inside of me. The one that I had talked to and cooed to. That baby. It was dead. I managed to send Zahra off with my sister in law, while my sister helped me back to the doctor’s. We were told she’d schedule a D&C on Monday, because I needed to wait for my husband to come home. I called him from the hospital and he wouldn’t believe me at first. He thought I was joking. But he quickly realized this was not something I was going to joke about. He came back the same day, along with my father in law and sister in law who was visiting from Australia. (They had all gone to Lahore to visit my brother in law).
After informing my parents and inlaws and sending Zahra home, my sister thought it would be a good idea to take me to Street 1 Cafe in Kohsar Market. Somewhere I never went because it was pricey. She thought it would do us some good to sit out in the sun and absorb the striking winter afternoon sunrays along with the news we had just received. I managed to smile and laugh and have the delicious fish and caesar salad, while sipping my freshly squeezed orange juice. And that is why grief is funny. I had just heard my baby’s heart had stopped beating and I was smiling. Without effort. Looking around I imagined the circumstances that had brought other people to that street side cafe. At that point I wanted to throw my arms in the air and scream “Look! There is a dead baby inside of me” I felt I needed to, but inhibition contained me. And I was smiling again. Without effort.
Grief is even more comical. But I’ll let you know next time. Soon.