26 November 2020, by Marian Nathan
I was 22 years old and Andre was 26 when we got married in October 2010, after 4 years of dating. I married young for a myriad of reasons. One of the bigger reasons being that I have always wanted a large family, hence the early head-start. I wanted a noisy house full of laughter, chatter, and the occasional tantrum.
Hubby and I were both the eldest child in our families, and have had our fair share of looking after our younger siblings. Having grown up watching shows like ‘7th Heaven’ which featured a family with 7 kids, I adored the dynamics of a busy household. Starting our own brood seemed like it would be quite straightforward: Do the deed, and you miss a period, right?
I did miss my period 2 months later and was over the moon when a home pregnancy test came back positive. I gleefully told friends and family early on that I was expecting. I started talking to my tummy, avoided strenuous activities, eating well, got afflicted with bad morning sickness – the whole shebang. But no one could ever prepare me for what would follow,
15 April 2011. I was looking forward to finding out the baby’s gender at the following week’s appointment. While asleep that night, I was suddenly awoken to a horrible gut-wrenching pain. I had never experienced pain like that in my life. I awoke my husband, crying in pain, and he rushed me to the hospital as fast as we could go. The whole way I was doubling over in pain, and wondering what it could mean, not wanting to think what the obvious reason was. The doctor checked on me immediately and told us the news: I was in active labour.
We were shocked. It was not at all what I expected to hear. How could I be going into labour if I am 4 months pregnant? The doctor grimly told me that because labour had started already, there was no stopping it. I was dilated and almost ready to deliver. The only option for me was to try and rest to encourage my body to close the cervix up on its own, and they admitted me. It was near impossible to get myself to calm down while pangs of labour consumed me. Painkillers are not given to women once labour has started, with the small exception of paracetamol, which barely made a dent in the contractions that were coming. They constantly checked for the baby’s heartbeat with a fetal doppler meter, and that sound of my baby’s heartbeat still haunts me till today. But it progressed too far too fast, and I delivered my firstborn. The physical pain stopped immediately, but the growing realisation of what just happened hurt so much more.
It was the first time I saw my husband cry. The nurse gingerly carried the baby and softly told us that it was a boy. My son couldn’t even take his first breath because his lungs were barely developed, and so he passed away the moment he was delivered. There are no words to describe that moment. The nurse let me hold his little body for a while and I was overwhelmed with emotion. He was so red for his skin was so translucent, and his eyes were shut tight.
How could this have happened? We wanted answers. The doctors shared that miscarriages are more common than most people think, up to 1 in 5 pregnancies. It just happens sometimes. I would later come to regret my decision of telling so many people about my pregnancy, because while so many came forward with their well-wishes and good intentions, to be truthful all I wanted was space alone to grieve. I truly understood then why people are advised not to reveal their pregnancy so early on.
I did not want to give up trying, and by July 2011, I had conceived again. It was not a joyfully celebrated pregnancy like before, because this time I was nervous. And it turned out I would have every right to be.
October 2011 came. Our first wedding anniversary was coming up, I was 4 months pregnant again, and I was hopeful. The very day before our anniversary, I was again awoken from my sleep in horrible pain. This time I recognised the pain and was truly filled with dread. My husband rushed me to the hospital, but it couldn’t be stopped. Past midnight, on our first wedding anniversary, I delivered my second-born, a girl.
I had never truly known the meaning of depression until then. Going for my post-delivery appointments, I would sometimes overhear other pregnant mothers have the doppler heartbeat monitor used on them and would start crying uncontrollably.
I became terrified of sleeping in general because my miscarriages seemed to only occur while I was asleep. I was angry, I was upset, I was a wreck. I hated gatherings. I still had people who didn’t know the outcome of the first pregnancy ask me how my baby was, thinking I had delivered a full-term infant.
One more pregnancy would come naturally to us a few months later, but that one would only last 6 weeks before I found myself bleeding heavily from below. My pregnancy hormone levels dropped steadily, indicating I was going through a miscarriage. I could not take it. My babies now can’t even make it through the first trimester.
After that, nothing. No matter how many times we tried naturally, I didn’t get pregnant anymore. Months passed, then a year. One and a half years passed, still nothing. I would get my period regularly like clockwork, and cry each time I did. We were going to welcome our third wedding anniversary childless.
Follow my journey as I share how we would eventually go through IVF to conceive our first child.