By Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo
My mom was helping me fold the mountain of clean clothes that were accumulated on my sofa, when she shared her observation: “You are in a lot of pain, aren’t you?” I knew I had been fidgeting in my seat, but didn’t realize I had stopped folding and was now sitting: left hand on my abdomen, body weight supported by my right hand, holding my breath. The pain had intensified and seemed to be lasting longer than before. I started to joke about how it was probably contractions and should time them, just in case. Joking, of course, because I had no idea that’s actually what they were right then.
After they subsided a bit, I got up from the sofa and walked over to where my husband was to fill him in on our discussion. No sooner than I opened my mouth to speak did I feel the drop. “Oh no… oh, no, no, no..! Please no! No!” Clenching every muscle in my body, I ran to the bathroom and locked the door. What seemed like seconds later, I birthed my third child – all nine weeks and two days of him neatly delivered in the embryonic sac that had been his home; legs and arms tucked under, right eye flap still intact covering, left eye protruding out from under the skin. As per my obstetrician’s orders I caught him, used the supplied rubber glove to hold him properly and transferred him, safely, into a small zip lock bag to eliminate any contamination. I then placed the zip lock into a brown paper lunch bag, cleaned up, took in a deep breath and walked out of the bathroom and called my OB. It was about 8:30pm. My two angels were already in bed, sleeping… and even if they had been awake, will never get the chance to see how beautiful their little brother actually was.
I was 8 weeks and 3 days pregnant when an ultrasound scan detected a hemorrhage of sorts in my uterus. Apparently, SCH (or Subchorionic Hematoma) is a gathering of blood between the membranes of the placenta and the uterus. Though there is no known cause for a SCH, researchers speculate that the egg slightly separates or tears from the uterus, during egg implantation, causing a bleed in early pregnancy. Diagnosing a SCH is based on its symptoms and visualization via ultrasound. In the scan, the clot appears as a black mass within the uterus, almost as if there is another placenta present. The current statistics for pregnancy loss with a SCH is 1-3% (this low percentage is related to large clots). They say most pregnancies progress with no further complications, as clots resolve on their own by 20 weeks of pregnancy. By then, the clot either bleeds itself out or the body absorbs it. It is really important to note that there is absolutely nothing a woman did or could have done to cause or prevent this. SCH occurs to pregnant women of all ages and races. (www.justmommies.com)
I experienced two major scares each exactly 7 days apart. My OB would quiz me on my symptoms to see if I’d met ER status, instructing me to “call back if anything changes” and, if not, to “come in first thing Monday morning for an ultrasound”. Each time I went back (since detecting the SCH) they would report my baby was perfect: perfect measurement, perfect heartbeat. Was always sent home with a: “nothing to get alarmed over”, “rest as much as you are able” and “remember each pregnancy is different from the next”. I was doing everything right, my baby was growing as expected and, statistically, had a 97-99% chance of survival. But numbers mean nothing when the Universe’s plans transpire.
It was two months ago when I went in for that last ultrasound. Watching the screen as my doctor checked my baby’s condition, it was clear there was no heartbeat to detect. I have two children and know exactly what that twinkle looks like and his was still, nonexistent. The denial instantly began as I tried convincing myself there was SOMETHING my OB was going to observe that I couldn’t right then because she, after all, is the doctor and I am not so she would know something I didn’t. “Did you eat this morning?” – how I dreaded hearing that question! Oddly, I woke up without much of an appetite that morning, but ate anyway for the sake of the baby. Because of the anesthesia involved, the procedure to remove my child could not go through without a fast. I will be eternally grateful for that breakfast! Had it not been for this meal, they would have removed my baby instantly and I was nowhere near ready to say goodbye.
That was a Monday… April 23rd, to be exact… so, they scheduled the D&C for first thing that Wednesday morning and I was delighted to know he would still be with me for another day and a half. However, my body had other plans and delivered him to us the following night. Apparently it was destined for us to meet him, face to face; to receive closure by saying a proper goodbye; to let him rest in our bedroom overnight before taking him to the lab the following morning to get more answers. We were able to share sacred time with our healthy son (genetic exam, confirmed) and are eternally grateful. There is not one day that passes that he is not thought of, appreciated, loved: my Angel – the one who collected all my damage and delivered my soul back to me. Although it was not immediate, there is not one day I am not willing to speak in his memory. And though there is so much more to my story, I share what I can, when I can, because there is solace in knowing we are not alone. Miscarriage is seldom spoken of in my circle, and I am amazed at how many individuals I know (mothers and fathers, alike) who have suffered such loss but never really spoke much about it until now. Sharing through the words I choose to write and speak, granting myself permission to grieve and cry are what carry me through this healing journey. “When you can tell the story and it doesn’t bring up any pain, you know it is healed” (Iyanla Vanzant). Definitely have a long way ahead of me before being healed, but truly believe I am on my way. Blessings of peace, light, courage and love to all the mothers and fathers who have suffered the pain of losing a child – no matter the circumstances. We are not alone.
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