My Story: Pregnancy And Infant Loss
Issue No. 4: Black Maternal Health
Words - LaNeshe Miller-White
Prior to getting pregnant the first time, I thought the process was fairly simple: you thought you were pregnant, you took a pregnancy test, it read positive, and you were pregnant. A few weeks into my first pregnancy, someone from my OBGYN's office called to tell me my blood work numbers didn't look like they should have. I asked, "Am I pregnant?" and she said, "You are not, not pregnant." What kind of answer is that?, I thought. Since when was there ambiguity in pregnancy? To make matters worse, this was on a Friday before the New Year holiday, so there was nothing I could do, no doctor I could see until the following week.
About a week later, I began bleeding. Bleeding is the last thing on earth you want to see when you are pregnant. Between the blood work numbers and the bleeding, I knew what was happening: I was having a miscarriage. It was devastating. It felt so unfair. I felt so alone. My doctor told me that miscarriage was common, and it is, but that didn't make me feel any less of a loss.
When I became pregnant the second time, I was justifiably apprehensive about everything. I no longer had the privilege of thinking that when you get pregnant, having a baby is a guarantee. I went through the blood work process again and all seemed well. Then came the day women look forward to: the first ultrasound. I was going to get to see my baby and hear their heartbeat. I was very excited. The ultrasound technician didn't show me any photos, or let me hear the heartbeat; she just said that a doctor would be in with me shortly. Deep inside, I felt something was wrong, but this was my first ultrasound so I tried to convince myself that this was routine. A nurse came in and said that my OBGYN's office was on the phone for me. My doctor told me that there was no heartbeat, and that I would come into her office the next day to talk about my options.
I ended up needing a D&C procedure. I had to be put to sleep for my first time ever, and I woke up no longer pregnant. When I was wheeled outside, the aid sat me next to a woman in a wheelchair cuddling her new baby. We were both waiting for our husbands to pick us up. She was leaving with a baby, and I was leaving with a broken heart.
Doctors conducted tests to see if there was any reason the baby hadn't survived, but nothing came back. The hardest part of both pregnancies was not knowing why I didn’t carry to full term. During this same period of time I also lost my dog, Sunny. It was one of the saddest periods of my whole life.
This was hard to write, but I want women out there who have lost a pregnancy to know that they are not alone. That they have done nothing wrong. That they are allowed to hurt and to grieve. When I think of those pregnancies now, I think of how very blessed we are to have our child now.
This piece was originally published on www.nesheaholic.com.