“Sorry Rufus and Natasha, but your baby is deceased” were the words that came from my doctor’s lips as she helped me sit up after conducting an unplanned ultrasound.
It was an exciting day you see. I had what felt like a million contractions late into the night, so I knew it was time. I didn’t call my doctor or go to the hospital because doc told me the week before to wait until my contractions were 5-10 minutes apart for and hour and a half before going to the hospital. Prior to that week, I was to go if there were 6 in an hour. I had the 6, but not the consistent 5-10 minute increments, so I thought “no big deal.” Plus, I had a doctor’s appointment the next morning, so I figured I would wait.
I woke up the morning of my appointment excited about my delivery. I repacked my hospital bag with some extra items for the baby, and my husband , 16 month old son, and I headed to the office.
We anxiously sat in the waiting room for my turn…For them to tell me what I already knew. And although my previous delivery kicked my butt, I didn’t care, I was ready to do it all-over again for her.
The nurse called and it was our turn. “I’ve been contracting and I know today is the day.” were the first words from my mouth. The nurse shared in my excitement as she placed the cold jelly and heart monitor on my belly and listened. She then said “Can you give me a minute? I’ll be right back.” and rushed out of the room.
Nurse #2 popped in. She said “Hey Natasha, How’s it going?” as she took out her monitor and placed it on my belly. I don’t remember having time to respond before she said “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”
My doctor finally showed up and repeated the same process. “Natasha, Can you come across the hall with me?” “Sure” I said oblivious to what was happening.
As a lay on the examination table, my heart started racing. I guess my body knew something wasn’t right. When I saw doc mouth “Jesus,” I started praying. It never occurred to me what her next words would be. And once she uttered them it was like my heart exploded.
My eyes blinked a million times as my brain tried to process her words. She helped me up and the tears began to flow. My husband walked over to the table, head down, nose red, and then he cracked a smile. I touched his hand and softly said “It’s okay.” and then tears rolled down his cheeks.
“What now?” replayed like a broken record in my mind. I felt trapped in a nightmare. My mom expected a call telling her to meet me at the hospital (She even told everyone at work) for the birth of her second grandchild, but instead got a phone call saying “She’s gone.” My son was in the room and we couldn’t hide our grief. We couldn’t pretend that everything was alright because it was not.
After tears, hugging, and phone calls to our parents, we drove home. Doc told us to take our time going to the hospital. We didn’t go home for the purpose of trying to hold on to her for a little while longer, but to unpack a hospital bag of items that would be of no use.
We felt so defeated. “What did we do to deserve this? Why didn’t I just go to the hospital after having 6 contractions in an hour?” I looked for somewhere to place blame because this didn’t make sense. I knew about the importance of “making it” pass 13 weeks, but I never heard of death at 38 weeks.
After making provisions for our son, we arrived at the hospital around noon. I was right. I was in labor. We delivered Niyah LaShelle Jessie Wilson by 7 pm. There’s a special place in my heart for one of my nurses who stayed after her shift to see me through to the end. So, I had two nurses in the room with me.
I can still see Niyah’s lifeless body as I gave the final push and my doctor pulled her out. We held her, sang to her, and prayed over her. Then, we let her go.
I hated my hospital stay. My room was in the “infant loss” section. There was an eerie silence. I felt the weight of death as a nursed rolled me to my room. I wanted to be in the presence of life, love, and laughter. I wanted to talk with the other women(and try to make sense of this), maybe send them flowers or something, anything to give us all a sign that we could and would survive this.
A few hours later, I realized I accidentally left my comb in the “delivery” room. A nurse told me to go get it, so I did. I don’t even think it dawned on her that I had to go back to “that room” to get it, but whatever. I traveled down my hall, around the corner, and through two giant-sized doors to the Labor and Delivery hall. Nobody said anything to me as I made my way to “the room.” My comb was still in the bathroom, and even though I could have quickly gone in there and come right out, I couldn’t help but to stand in the room in silence, remembering what had taken place some hours before. Not just remembering, but realizing that the birthing experience would never be the same.
Afterwards, I went back to my room and waited for my husband to bring me some french fries (I tend to want fries when I’m stressed).
I took a lot of showers during my hospital stay. Every time I felt pressure, be it from the hospital pastor bugging me about what to do with the body (My aunt made all of the arrangements for me. I couldn’t do it), reading those sad poems in a folder for women like me, or looking at the family photos I had taken a month before; I went to take a shower. For some I reason, I kept trying to “wash” the situation away. It didn’t work, but that didn’t stop me from trying.
When the last day of my stay arrived I tried to convince the nurse to let me walk to the car. I didn’t want people to see me and know that I was one of the women going home empty-handed. There was no carrier in my lap and congratulations from those walking pass us. There was just me, a woman who has all of the physical signs of labor (I looked a mess), but no baby. I felt like the wheel chair somehow exposed my secret.
On the drive home we realized the real work had only just begun. We left the house expecting to return with a new baby, and that didn’t happen? “What do we do now?”
Stay tuned: When Overcoming is the ONLY Option (Part 2): The Battle for Healing
Peace and Blessings,