A gift given and taken away

April 1, 2020 - 12:00am -- Living City

A gift given and taken away
The trauma of miscarriage through the eyes of a young mother

By Linda Specht

It was early in the morning when my husband and I drove for my first trimester’s scan. I was 12 weeks pregnant to the day.

We were first on the list for my scan and were looking forward to seeing how the pregnancy was progressing. The technician applied the gel and a nice image appeared. Then she started moving the probe around and asked me to cough a few times.

I suddenly realized that I couldn’t hear the baby’s heart. I asked whether there were some technical problems with the machine. She then gave us the sad news: the baby’s heart had stopped at some point. She called in a colleague for a second opinion. Both confirmed that the fetus’s heart had probably stopped the day before or even that very morning.

I only began to cry once we were sent to another hospital unit and sat waiting for a consultation. The pregnancy had been smooth, with no issues at all until that day.

The nurse explained that I had had a “delayed miscarriage,” which happens in about one out of four women. A small surgical procedure was required, as the baby was too big for a natural expulsion. They asked me to come back the following day.

While I was packing my hospital bag that afternoon, however, the nursery called to report that our daughter had a fever. “How are we going to manage tomorrow?” we wondered. Thankfully, a friend offered to stay with our sick child for a few hours until we returned from the hospital.

However, God had a different plan. I was brought in for surgery at noon. Before falling asleep with the general anesthetic, I tried to keep smiling at the nurse and doctor that were administering the drug. For me, they were neighbors to be loved.

I woke up in a state of total shock; I will never forget that feeling. My lips kept repeating, “The baby is gone, the baby is gone.” This lasted 15–20 minutes, accompanied by silent tears, as I gradually recovered from the anesthetic.

However, in that moment of great confusion and so many emotions, I felt the presence of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I was experiencing the tremendous loss of my unborn child whom I loved so much, without even knowing him or her. How much more had Mary suffered seeing her son Jesus dying on the cross?

I was finally brought back to the main ward and I saw the relief on my husband’s face. I had been away longer than expected, and I was to spend the night in the hospital.

My husband was looking after me with great care when our friend informed us that unfortunately our daughter still had a high temperature. As much as I did not want him to go, I knew my daughter needed him more at that moment.

The following hours were very difficult. There were five other women with different conditions in the ward, and they couldn’t stop talking to each other while I just wanted to cry and sleep. After I had finally managed to fall asleep, a lady, softly crying, was brought into the room at 2am, as well as a newborn baby crying! I thought I had already cried all my tears, but hearing the baby and thinking of my own now in paradise made me start again.

The following morning I saw the new patient. She had been hospitalized for an infection, but the baby was fine. I did not want to upset her with my story, so I simply listened to her — another neighbor to be loved.

Finally, after a long wait I was discharged in the afternoon. Arriving home, I decided all my attention should go to my daughter. I was thankful to God for the gift of having her. I thought of the tremendous grief of a first-time parent in the loss of their unborn, and I knew how lucky we were that the miscarriage hadn’t happened with the first pregnancy.

The certainty that the loss of our second baby has happened for a greater good — although hard to humanly understand — has accompanied us since that day. I decided to offer my grief for all parents who have experienced such a loss but aren’t yet able to believe in God’s plan of love for them and their families.

- N. L.

(First published in New City, London)

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