Content warning: This essay contains graphic depictions of miscarriage.
Early March 2021
The pandemic and COVID-19 have me feeling as though I’m looking death right in the face. However, my superpowers allow me to fight, not only for my 8-year-old daughter, but also for my son who we’re watching grow and flourish in my womb.
March 17, 2021
We take our first 3-D sonogram. Even though he isn’t big enough for me to see all his features, I still love that photo.
March 18, 2021
We’re able to see him again. He’s waving. (I thought at the time that it was a “Hi, Mommy.” Now I know he was waving goodbye.) I go to my godson’s house later in the day to wish him “Happy Birthday,” but I leave early due to the pain I’m experiencing.
March 19, 2021
I’m using the bathroom so frequently, I think I have a UTI, and I plan to call the doctor the next day. Fighting the pain, I clutch my pregnancy pillow to give me a lil’ comfort. I’m not worried much about the discomfort. I figure seeing our baby boy, who we’ve named Nasir Jahiid, two days in a row is enough. I think Nas is annoyed from all the poking the doctor did.
March 20, 2021
Like a normal day, I plan to get my nails done with family. I wash a few outfits, and I’m happy that the frequent bathroom trips have subsided. However, the last trip to the toilet scares me—a massacre has occurred on my bathroom floor. I fall so hard to my knees—I believe that’s what wakes up my daughter from her sleep. I rush myself to the hospital only to be told that my baby is still fighting, his heart racing at 148 beats per minute. Nevertheless, something just doesn’t feel right. What’s the odds that he would be okay given the amount of blood I lost? I’m sent home though.
Around 8:00 p.m., I reach out to the on-call doctor at my clinic. The operator tells me that the doctor will call back. Around 9:20 p.m., there’s still no returned call, leaving me no choice but to call back, demanding that someone explain why I’m cramping so much and to tell me what’s the follow-up plan. Around 9:33 p.m., I can hear the doctor say her name while I stand in the bathroom, about to sit on the toilet. At the time, this is all I can remember…but what comes next, I will never forget.
Piercing screams. My baby is on the floor escaping my lips. The doctor is saying, “Your body is doing the work. Take Tylenol if it gets too rough.” (Four days later, I was hospitalized because I listened to the doctor instead of my own body.) The physical pain is excruciating, but the emotional pain is sitting on my chest, causing me to suffocate. I am in so much pain that when I instruct my body to move, it lays there, not following any commands or rules. How could I be so stupid? I should have listened to my body; I could have saved my son.
Eventually, the world went back to normal. I was forced to have a sit down with grief alone. Feeling abandoned and defeated, I was angry. Angry because I felt tricked. Tricked by the doctors who told me my son was okay. Tricked by his father, who I thought would be in this together with me. Tricked by my friends and family who said they loved me but didn’t show up with the support I needed.
I was upset that God chose to make an example out of me. Upset that I still felt butterflies in my stomach, knowing that I had birthed and buried my son. Upset that the doctors spoke to me with all types of medical terminology instead of being humane and showing me compassion and empathy. Upset that, even with a psychology degree, I couldn’t use my own tools to pull me out of that dark place. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to have another child. Scared that I would lose everyone I loved if I voiced my feelings openly with no sugar added. And I still had to find strength somewhere because my 8-year-old was grieving the loss of her baby brother.
Weeks passed and I started to allow myself permission to be vulnerable, to grieve, to miss my son, Nas. I allowed myself to embrace nice weather as the sign of a good day. And with the help of my therapeutic services, I’m starting to feel as though I can breathe. In (pause)…. out (release)…
My Love, my Queens, my Sisters, my Mothers: I’m so sorry that you have to get up after a miscarriage, wipe your tears, and keep it moving. I’m so sorry for your loss, your physical pain, your emotional pain, and your sacrifice. I pray for your strength at night when you get butterflies in your stomach that remind you of your sweet baby. I pray you feel comfort when you’re dazed ‘cause it seems like you’re in a dream that you can’t wake up from. I want you to know that you aren’t alone even though it may seem like it. I promise you that you will love and trust your bodies again. I promise that you won’t feel as though you’re drowning forever. Please reach out for that extra therapeutic support and know that you don’t have to fight alone. Even though at this moment you may be struggling with your pain or disbelief, I want you to know that so many of us are standing in your corner.
Promises for You is a column that gives voice and space to those who have experienced infertility, miscarriage, and child loss at any age. We need open conversations on a continuous basis to dispel shame, give room to grief, and nurture understanding.
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