This week HuffPost UK, with the World Health Organisation, is hosting a week’s worth of personal blogs reflecting on what it’s like to experience baby loss across the world: in the UK, USA, Kenya, Colombia, and India.
Warning: This piece includes graphic descriptions of what it’s like to experience miscarriage, which may be triggering for some readers
In 2013, I had my first miscarriage, I had been married for eight months and I was 25 years old. I found out I was pregnant in September and three days later my only brother passed away. And then, one month later, I had a miscarriage.
As soon as I started bleeding I went to the hospital and I was sent to get a sonogram, but the person in charge thought that I wasn’t married and made me wait. I asked her: “Even if I wasn’t married, why would you want to treat someone who is losing a baby this way?”. She just looked at me and replied: “It’s not an emergency, only a woman over 60 would be treated as an emergency case.” The doctor, however, had clearly written at the top of my papers that it was an emergency!
I was given medication to speed the bleeding process along and I was sent home. It felt like I was bleeding mentally and physically. A week later I returned to the hospital for a dilation and curettage (D&C). When I asked the doctor if there was a reason for losing the baby, she said that it was because I had a virus that I had probably contracted it from my two dogs. I agreed to get medications and I never bothered to look further into it because I trusted her.
In 2016 I got pregnant again and the medical reports showed that I still had antibodies from the virus I contracted in 2013. A good friend of mine who is doctor went through my reports and told me I had been vaccinated against rubella because it was noted in small letters at the end of a page. That’s when I found out that the virus I had contracted in 2013 was rubella (which is airborne, I couldn’t have possibly gotten it from my dogs), but I was never informed about it or told that I got vaccinated against it.
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I also sent my medical reports to one of my cousins who lives in Dubai and is a doctor, and he confirmed it and said that it’s quite common to have antibodies in the bloodstream for years following a recent infection, a past infection or vaccination. My doctor, however, seemed very worried when she saw the results so she sent me to another doctor whom, according to her, had more experience on infectious diseases. The latter put me immediately under medication and gave me progesterone injections along with tablets. I went ahead and took these medications like an uneducated woman, I just wanted a baby and I realise all of this now.
I was under an incredible amount of pressure because every time I went for a scan, she wouldn’t tell me if the baby was okay. She would quietly say, “I will let you know next month”. Finally, when I was five months pregnant, she said “I will let you know if you can keep the baby or abort it on your seventh month”. That is when I lost it – I told her that I would keep my baby no matter what, and how dare she suggest I should get an abortion!
We immediately looked for another doctor, and we found a good one, my current doctor, who explained that I didn’t need to take medications because I had already been vaccinated against rubella and that I was having a healthy pregnancy. She immediately took me off all medications, including the progesterone injections. I could finally breathe, I didn’t look back and enjoyed my pregnancy thoroughly. I delivered my baby in November 2016. He is the joy of our life!
In August 2018 I got pregnant again. We were overjoyed but then I had a miscarriage in October. I thought that I’d be able to deal with it because I had already been through it, but I was wrong. I started bleeding on my husband’s birthday – I will never forget it. The doctor told me that I didn’t need to wait for the bleeding process to complete its course so the next day I checked in at the hospital to get a D&C. My doctor held my hand until the procedure begun and she spent a long time talking to me and comforting me after the operation.
I was never offered any counselling but I was lucky to have such a good doctor. I think that counselling should be offered to all women in hospitals. However, in India, it is associated with weakness and shame.
As for cultural beliefs, I am petite and people often commented that I was too skinny to have a baby and that I needed to eat more. I have a healthy child now so I’m not in the least bothered about what people say, but it did affect me at the time when people indirectly suggested that I was unfit to carry a baby just because I’m petite. When I first lost my baby, it crushed my confidence and I blamed myself, until I met the doctor who delivered my son.
For more information, visit the WHO website