“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”Meghan Markle.
I woke up this morning to the sad news that the Duchess of Sussex had had a miscarriage in July. It’s even more painful to read given all the hard times she had been dealt with by both the media and the British public.
Sadly, so many women go through the baby/child losses but are hushed up due to the backlash that may follow when they talk about it. In some cultures, it will be seen as the woman is cursed or some sort of omen.
According to tommys.org (a charity which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and provides pregnancy health information to parents), “an estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage (1 in 5 if we only count women who realised/reported the miscarriage).”
It’s unfortunate that something so rampant, so personal and so painful is rarely talked about However when people like the Duchess speaks out, it encourages more women to come forward.
In my case, although I have a supportive husband who went through all the emotions with me, it still has particularly been a difficult experience. I have not been able to speak publicly about it except mentioning it to a few close family and friends.
If nothing else, society needs to understand that pains of having a miscarriage are deeper than the physical pain you might have from cramps. The psychological pain lingers for months. The self-blame, the guilt you carry and your inability to truly mourn your loss. A miscarriage is a true loss and must be treated as such. Many women carry those pain alone and for a lifetime.
Months later, I still don’t understand and I still wonder why it happened. I still blame myself and still do search my mind, wondering if I did anything to cause the miscarriage – did I eat something I shouldn’t?Faustina Anyanwu
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” Meghan recounts of her ordeal in her article with the New York Times. Reading that re-opened a part of my experience which I thought had been closed. Unfortunately, these experiences cannot be bottled away. They happened and must be carefully and thoroughly dealt with not forced out of our daily memories.
My baby, David, my only son and my fourth child had just turned one and I began to wean him from breast milk. As I did, I also began to work on my weight – which included reducing quantity of my food intake and some rigorous exercises. Usually, whenever I give birth, my period will not return until I have weaned my baby, as I do exclusively breast feed my babies. However, in my son’s case, it was a bit different as he was a ‘lazy feeder’ and I hated expressing my milk. So I opted for complementing his feeding with some baby milk. But still, my period never came before I started weaning him.
So, I was preparing to having my period again from the following month as soon as he turned one in September 2019. But things took a different turn. First, I was vacuum cleaning the house when I felt so dizzy and suddenly blacked out and I fell on the sofa. Initially my husband and kids thought I was joking until when I didn’t get up after a few seconds. He then came to check what had happened to me. My husband suggested I may have been doing the dieting thing too much so quickly. He suggested to take it a bit slowly.
A few weeks later, I began to feel the same way I usually will feel when I’m pregnant. I told my husband that I feel pregnant to which we laughed off. My son had just turned one and it was such a tough journey with his pregnancy and we have been taking precautions (so we thought).
The following week, however, I saw my ‘period’ which lasted just one day. I became alarmed at this point. Why would my period run for just one day? But again, I excused it to hormonal fluctuations from just ending breastfeeding. Then two days later, nausea and vomiting went full-blown, my nose went on overdrive picking every tiny smell, and I could pick the distinct smell of my urine whenever I took in. That was it, that was confirmatory for me. We then had to do a home pregnancy test and it was bold positive.
At this point, I was between confusion, fear and a hint of excitement. Fear and confusion because I have just gone through a tough pregnancy, just recovering and the thought of having another baby – 5 children was so gripping. Lots of thoughts were rushing through my mind – our business which already had suffered over one year since my pregnancy, having to go through that again will be a disaster. How will my husband cope again with dealing with all of this again? Then there was this excitement lurking within with the thought of holding this precious thing within me and the chance that David might be having a brother. Gradually the excitement grew bigger than the fear and confusion. We began to make way for the bundle of joy.
We announced the news of our pregnancy to our daughters who were – 12, 11 and 8. The girls were excited and they began to come up with names. If a girl she will be Andrea and if a boy they opted for Denzel.
I booked to see my midwife and had my initial booking. The estimated I was about 8 to 10 weeks pregnant. I was booked to go for my dating scan in the following 2 weeks. But it was not to be. Few days after my booking, I began to spot. Initially, it was just a tiny bloodstain. I called my midwife and she said to have some rest and watch it. But resting wasn’t cutting it.
The spotting persisted. I didn’t have any pains at this point and it wasn’t rushing either. Oftentimes, I would go to urinate and see a mixture of tiny bloodstains. Three days later, my midwife requested for an emergency scan. The sonographer I believe deliberately didn’t let me know exactly what she saw. Instead, she asked me a series of questions including how many children I had and my family situation. She, however, booked me in for another scan within 7 days and told me if I ever had any heavy bleeding I should come into the hospital immediately.
Later that evening, it was like hell was let loose. I began to bleed. There were clots of blood, I was screaming in pain. No amount of pain reliever was cutting through the chase. I was going mad with pain. I was taken to the theatre and spent another three nights at the hospitals. And that was Andrea or Denzel, gone. I will never know. But those names have remained a part of our family till today.
Almost a year later, I still haven’t found complete consolation, I haven’t really forgiven myself. My mother, my husband a few of my aunties and my close friends have done their best to help me get through it. I guess i closed the chapter so that I don’t become a nuisance to them throwing my pity party about a baby I never met. But the truth remains, I lost my baby and I’ll never know if it was a baby boy or girl and I still don’t know if I caused it or what made it go. I’m still filled with guilt of not wholly wanting another baby at first. Was God angry with me and took the baby away from me?
That is a part of my journey that will remain unexplained and unresolved but I find consolation in the names – Andrea and Denzel, whichever it was still has a place in our home.