The first time, I was carrying the baby for one month and 10 days, when suddenly, I lost the breast tenderness which is a symptom of pregnancy, and began cramping every now and then. And then came the earth-shaking cramp, which lasted the whole night! Was I losing my baby, or was I just getting my periods late? I actually didn’t know. An eternal optimist, I had assumed it was pregnancy, but the confusion only grew when one test showed positive for pregnancy, and another negative. I had cheerily turned a blind eye to that report, and believed a little one grew inside me. Until that night.
I saw huge clots passing from my urine. Big tears streamed down my face, and the magnitude of the actual situation sunk into me. Did I just go through what so many other women go through stoically? Why was I feeling so numb with shock, and drained out of energy? Why was I sobbing copiously seeing the clots? Why did I feel as though I had just killed my own baby, and was watching it helplessly flow away in the drain pipe! Why did I secretly want to preserve the clots? Why so much pain? I had thought I was unprepared to be a parent. The whole experience had been one big game for me, until then. Even after that night, everyone around me thought I looked my carefree self, but why did my husband and I have this inexplicable silent grief within our hearts? I was sure I had noticed a slight change in behaviour, and withdrawal in my husband Nikhil. Maybe in myself as well! But on the face of it, we cheered each other on by affirming that we were there for each other, and that was all that mattered.
Six months down the line, excitement knocked at our door once again. This time, in the form of undisputed positive pregnancy tests that made us delirious, and filled us with a strange sense of newness and uncertainty. So finally, we were on our way to being parents for real. Doubts lurked in corners of our minds, but neither of us gave them centrestage. The doctor congratulated me, and here I was sharing my excitement with one and all. Of course, I was told not to talk for three months, but who could stop my unbridled enthusiasm. ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant’, rang my happy voice to anyone who would listen.
My brother brought cute toys to remind us of babies to come. A tad early, but I guess happiness is infectious. I followed a good nutritious diet and began consulting various pregnancy books and compiling a gamut of information over the Internet, which I photocopied in my files for reference. My blood tests regularly showed a steady rise of the pregnancy hormones – a good indication of progress, albeit with some medicines to support my growth. I was looking forward to hearing the heartbeat in the seventh week when I was summoned for a sonography. Very shortly, I would hear the heartbeats, feel life within me, and feel powerful with the knowledge that I was creating another human being. Yes, there was someone living within me! Somebody who would become very dear to me.
And then came the news that the foetus was growing at a pace of five weeks pregnancy, though I was in the seventh week. No, I did not hear the heartbeat. It could not be detected. Maybe we were a bit early in our detection, and needed to wait two more weeks, was the general consoling word passed around. Maybe in two weeks, the baby would grow. I had my fingers crossed. And then the blood tests showed a drop in my pregnancy hormone. Did it mean that I was not going to be a mom after all? The show had ended before it had begun.
We were prepared to hear the news, and once again we knew we had each other. Things just happen in life, and we were destined to go through it. Adoption would always be an option, even if we never succeeded with a pregnancy. I realised, with resounding clarity, one of life’s greatest messages: life is nothing but a collection of experiences – some exhilarating, some not – and yet, if I could find smiles even through tearful days, even the painful experience might become beautiful. And it did. I went through the termination of the pregnancy cheerfully with a big smile on my face. There was hope and acceptance; acceptance that not all women have the same experiences. Not everybody has a normal pregnancy, and if I was the chosen one, so be it! I was, in fact, special. God chose to give me harder experiences to become stronger in life, and appreciate the happier moments with greater joy when they actually happened. He also made me realise what a beautiful, intimate bond I shared with Nikhil; although he could not share my physical loss, he held my hand through the emotional one.
It was my decision that I would not mope. I was up and about almost immediately. I would be normal about it, and not wince in telling people straight-faced – yes, I went through a termination of pregnancy, since it was doomed for miscarriage. I didn’t want to be a victim of sympathy. My face remained straight, my tone matter-of-fact. I wanted it that way.
We planned to try again when the time was right and I had rejuvenated myself emotionally and spiritually. My point is this – why should one incident sour or mar an entire lifetime of experiences? Why should we not try again to go through the lovely process called pregnancy, and experience it, whether or not one is prepared for a baby or not? It is a beautiful unique experience that God has chosen us women to have. Something men can’t even dream about!
Of course, there were moments of despair, doubt, paranoia. Was I capable? Was I responsible for the miscarriages? I felt guilty towards my husband, but why? Conflicting emotions jostled within me. But the predominant feeling was hope. And it worked for sure. Today, I am in my fifth month of pregnancy, and have never felt better. God blessed me with another chance in February. I was not above fractional self-defeating thoughts, but I had the courage to try again and try fast; very sure of the fact that I would give myself umpteen chances till I succeeded on my path to motherhood.
What joy I felt as I crossed each hurdle successfully:
• 5th week: My results were positive. This time my loud mouth was well sealed. The pregnancy hormones rose satisfactorily, much higher than the last time.
• 7th week: I heard the heartbeats. And my heart skipped a beat. Was I finally on my way to success? Was a little magic actually brewing within me?
• 11th week: We saw the baby vigorously moving in my stomach, and actually sucking its thumb, during sonography. I did not look pregnant from any angle. Not then, not even now! My smaller frame belied my actual status. Even with a flat stomach on the outside, was my body capable of nursing a small, healthy, fast-growing baby within? So many questions! The doctor allayed my fear: “Everything is okay. You have an excellent muscle tone on your stomach. Nobody will know till the sixth month that you are pregnant.”
• 12th week: The verdict is that I am safe. I have a viable pregnancy. I have passed the three-month test.
• 16th week: My baby is growing healthily at a faster pace than my gestation age. Am I relieved!
Today, I am suffused with feelings of well-being. Mistrust, I will not have. Doubt, I cannot have. And faith is what I have in my heart and soul. Good things do happen to everybody. I know this time it’s happened!
Contact: Priti Chandra at firstname.lastname@example.org
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