Disclaimer

I am a childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Walking Alone...

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Photo Credit: Ben Earwicker www.garrisonphoto.org/sxc
I share this story with honor and love.  I feel so blessed to have been able to play a part with my dear friend at this important time in her life.  I have to warn you, it’s about the loss of a pregnancy. 

Loosing a child at any stage is heartbreaking.  It’s difficult on both parents.  We cannot judge how others handle the situation and must understand that everyone deals with emotional stress and grieving in their own way.  May Allah bless their marriage and may they be greeted at the gates of Jennah (Heaven) by their precious son who went before them.

I hope you benefit from reading these birth stories.  Please let me know if you'd like to share yours. Now on to the story...Walking Alone...  


This is a difficult story to write, albeit therapeutic too.  It’s taken me a while to sit down and put it into words.  I never thought that I’d have a second child.  At first I didn’t even realize I was pregnant!

I am in my mid forties and newly married, alhamdulelah.  Although I have a grown daughter from a previous marriage, I just didn’t think I could have another baby.  I had tried many times over the years and even conceived, but miscarried.

When I married my current spouse, about a year ago, I never dreamed I’d conceive.  We had no plans for children, given my advanced age and various “female problems.”  The thought of conception just never crossed my mind.

But the will of Allah is above all things.  It seems that in June of this year I did just that, I conceived.  But I was unaware of the pregnancy in the early months.  Since my “monthly gift” hasn’t been “regular” for some time, I really didn’t notice missing it.  Although I experienced the typical morning sickness and breast discomfort, I chalked it up to bad food or lack of sleep and didn’t pay much attention to it.

As time progressed and symptoms persisted I decided to take a test, just for the heck of it.  I must’ve been about 13 weeks when I when I took the first home test.  I didn’t expect it to show positive and thought it a mistake when it did.  I waited a week and tried again.  Shocked at the same positive result.  Oh my…now was the time for the “big talk” with my husband.

This “talk” didn’t go so well.  As I mentioned, we had no plans for children.  My health isn’t the best and I’ve had trouble with pregnancy in the past.  Years ago I had been told that I’d never have children and it could be life threatening if I did.  Obviously he was aware of this as I had told him before we married that I would not be able to give him children. 

When I told him that I was expecting, he was not enthused.  The thought of losing his wife to a pregnancy was not a risk he wanted to take.  He wasn’t ready for the news and blamed me for not taking care to prevent it.  Even so, I was naturally excited about the little life growing inside of me and felt hurt by his anger and blame.

A few tense week passed.  Our relationship suffering and the tears coming nonstop.  I could understand his concern for my health, but couldn’t understand how he could be so disconnected to the baby growing inside me. 

Finally, we visited an OB.  During the exam she performed an ultrasound.  She estimated the pregnancy at sixteen weeks.  That was farther than I had gotten with any of the prior pregnancies, besides my one daughter.  I was thrilled to have “passed the danger period” safely.  I was even happier when she announced, “It’s a boy!”  I could see my husband’s attitude and demeanor change at the news.  A son, his son…he was pleased and ready, masha’Allah.

His contempt turned to loving concern and support.  We decided on a name, Yusuf.  Being of advanced maternal age, I underwent all the precautionary tests, including the amniocentesis (a test performed by inserting a very long needle into the abdomen and withdrawing amniotic fluid for analysis).  This test is notable used to test for Downs Syndrome, among other abnormalities.

Thankfully, everything came out normal and we were well on our way with a seemingly healthy, viable pregnancy. I was thrilled as my husband and I were now on the same page, happily awaiting our son.  I began to feel Yusuf’s movements and was full of all of the wonder and excitement that I had enjoyed as a younger mother more than two decades prior.

We knew however, that this pregnancy was not without risk.  My various health issues still looming in the background, but I didn’t care.  We continued to visit the obstetrician regularly and made lots of dua (prayer) for our unborn child.

My husband, although now supportive and happy, was still understandably concerned.  He worked far from home and was only with me on alternating weekends.  Even so, he asked me not to tell our local friends and family.  He just didn’t want to deal with everyone’s judgment and concerns.  Given my age and health concerns he knew that he wouldn’t be able to stomach the many tainted “Congratulations” with a hint of “Are you crazy?” in the background.  To top that off, he knew he couldn’t bear if anything did happen to the pregnancy…the condolences mixed with, “What were you thinking?” 

So I reluctantly agreed to keep the pregnancy a secret.  I continued in silence, alone and lonely.  Since his request was targeted at “local” friends and family I was able to tell Aisha (Natural Mom) and one other dear, but far friend.  Alhamdulelah (thanks to Allah) for modern technology and the internet.  I was able to share my news and the hopes and fears that lay before me.

By my calculations, I was about eighteen and a half weeks when the first pains came.  It was late in the evening and my housekeeper had gone home for the night.  I was relaxing with my feet up.  I had minor pains around my navel.  This happened a couple of times throughout the night but it wasn’t until the next day that the show of blood came.

I found Aisha online and she insisted I call my obstetrician.  The doctor told me to come into the office.  But by then I was in too much pain to go out.  She sent her nurse to check on me in my home.

I continued to communicate with Aisha online and she even called me internationally a few times during the next few hours.  As things progressed Aisha prepared me for the worst.  She was able to say what I couldn’t even think, I was probably loosing Yusuf.  She knew that the gestation was just too early for any chance of survival.  We prayed together for the miracle, while emotionally preparing for the worst.

When the nurse arrived she examined me and concluded that my cervix was indeed dilating and birth was imminent.  The nurse called my doctor to explain my status and a car was called to take me to the hospital.  My husband was away and it would take several hours for him to reach me.  Aisha begged me to let her call another dear friend nearby to accompany me to the hospital.  I refused.  Aisha felt so helpless being so far away but kept in constant communication via text messages and phone calls.

During the car ride my mind was numb but my body wasn’t.  The labor pains were intensifying and I couldn’t cope.  Aisha called and talked me through my pains.  She told me to relax every muscle, even my tongue in my mouth.  She said to keep my arms loose with my hands open, loose, limp, and relaxed.  I hadn’t even realized I was tensing.  I followed her advice and felt better able to cope during the rest of the ride.

When I arrived at the hospital they administered some medication for the pain.  I felt so much better.  I wasn’t worried about the effect the drugs might have on the baby because I knew there was no chance for him this young.  They kept asking me when my last period was.  I couldn’t understand the relevance since my periods were so irregular to begin with.  I tried to tell them that I haven’t had a regular cycle in years but my doctor assessed my pregnancy by ultrasound and that I was just past eighteen weeks.

For a short while I was lying in a bed behind a curtain.  I never felt more alone.  I continued to text with Aisha and I knew my husband was on his way.  But the contractions were coming so hard and fast, there was just no stopping it. 

I called my husband as they were wheeling me to the delivery room.  I tried to explain through my sobs that I was losing the baby.  He asked to talk to my doctor.  My doctor hadn’t arrived so I tried to give the phone to the nearest nurse.  I told her that my husband was on the phone and wanted to speak to someone.  She rolled her eyes and snapped the phone shut.  She then shoved it in my purse which was on the bottom of the gurney and refused to give it back to me.  I was totally cut off and devastated.

Yusuf came at 11 pm.  He was so small.  He never took a breath or opened his eyes to see me.  I felt so heavy hearted and sad.  Immediately after the birth the nurses were yelling at me to get up.  They told me it was over and to go home.

When I got cleaned up and dressed I text Aisha and my husband.  I was sitting in the hospital lobby waiting for a ride.  My husband couldn’t deal with the emotions and said he was turning around and going back.  He said there was nothing left for him to do here.  I was devastated.  Aisha asked me, “Doesn’t he realize you need him now?  You need his emotional support now more than ever.”  I’m not sure if I even responded.  She didn’t say anymore about it and asked about Yusuf.

They had wrapped him up as I insisted to take him home with me.  I told her I had the little bundle in my purse.  I cried as I told her that he was smaller than my hand.  She reminded me to ask for a birth and death certificate so that burial could be arranged. 

I went to the registration counter to inquire about the documents.  They refused to give them to me.  I called my obstetrician (who never made it to the hospital) and she told me that the baby was less than fifteen weeks, so it’s considered a miscarriage, not a stillborn.  I was shocked and tried to remind her that I was past eighteen weeks at my last appointment.  She hushed me and insisted it was easier this way. 

Easier, for whom?  I was devastated yet again.  There I was, alone, with my precious, lifeless Yusuf tucked away in my purse with no record of his existence, no birth certificate, no death certificate.  To top that off, my husband wasn’t coming and I knew I would spend the night alone with my stillborn baby.  The emotional pain was unbearable.

When I got home I was a mess.  I lied cuddling with Yusuf’s wrapped body for a short while.  Then I didn’t know what to do with him.  I knew that I couldn’t deal with the logistics of burial that night so I put him in the fridge.  I didn’t know what else to do.  I called my husband and he agreed to let me call my housekeeper for help. 

Alhamdulelah (thanks to Allah), my housekeeper was kind and understanding.  She didn’t ask questions.  She assured me that she would come early in the morning and her husband would burry Yusuf with his own father.  She assured me that her husband would have a proper prayer and burial for him.  This was a relief and I finally slept.

It still hurts that my husband was not with me through this.  I walked alone.  What’s worse is my other dear friend was critical when I told her.  Her comments hurt and I realize maybe my husband was right to keep it to myself. 

Alhamdulelah (thanks to Allah) for Aisha.  She was there with me, even from afar.  She didn’t judge, she just lovingly supported me when I needed her most.  I don’t know how I could have managed without her. 

I really haven’t taken time to grieve.  My husband says that because I’m a Muslimah that I should just accept that all things come from Allah and return on HIS command.  Alhamdulelah (thanks to Allah), I can take solace in knowing that on the last day, insha’Allah, Yusuf will take me to Jennah (paradise in Heaven).

8 comments:

  1. Dear sister i feel heart broken in hearing of what happenened to you may Allah give you strength and you have a son waiting for you in jannah inshallah

    ReplyDelete
  2. Salam Alaikum,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Ameen to your dua for the sister.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

    ReplyDelete
  3. Assalamu alaikum

    Dear sister I am so sorry for your loss.

    I am horrified at the terrible treatment you were given by the medical staff.

    May Allah SWT enable you to heal from this trauma and surround you with loving, supportive, caring family and friends in this life and give you a tremendous reward in the hereafter, ameen.

    HUGS.

    Jessi

    ReplyDelete
  4. Salam Alaikum, Sister Jessi,

    Ameen to your dua for this mother and family. May she be blessed in ways that far out weigh her pain.

    I also pray for the birthing system overall, may they be overcome with compassion and mercy for women, especially in times of loss such as this and my we be protected from them.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

    ReplyDelete
  5. Allah has a better place for you and baby Yusuf In Jannah,

    I cannot believe you were treated in such a way, may Allah make the pain easy for you and may you be happy in remembering that Allah does not burden a believer more than he/she can bear, how highly must Allah think of you?

    You are a true inspiration in such materialistic times.

    All my love and Dua x

    ReplyDelete
  6. I also had a misccariage and It was so hard because my husband couldn't understand how I felt. I think it's because they did not have this little miracle in thir belly.

    May Allah forgive us and guide us.
    May Allah heal your heart with something better.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow.. such an emotional post.. I pray for the lady this affected and for those around the world who this happens to every year. I can only assume (as I am yet to have a child) that it doesnt matter the age of the child while still in the womb. And I cant believe the thoughlessness of the people around her at this time :(

    ReplyDelete
  8. To the last 3 comments (Anonymous x2 and Adventurous Ammena),

    Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness to reply. Ameen to your prayers!

    I will forward this to the mama of the story.

    Best regards,

    Aisha, Natural Mom

    ReplyDelete