4am – I am not feeling so well anymore, actually I am in acute pain so much pain I am groaning.
Around 4:30am – The pain is too much, I can smell death fast approaching. I struggle out of the hospital bed and kneel down dragging my saline bag holder next to me. I repent of all my sins and ask God to forgive me and take me home.
Immediately I am overwhelmed with so much peace and the pain begins to reduce.
Around 5am – I urgently feel the need to pee, I roll of the bed and as I am positioning myself for the bed pan next to my bed Noah’s flood happens. Honestly after being in pre-term labour for a week and having endured all the drugs and injections to try save the baby while keeping me alive, I felt relieved. And that was the end of the pain, at least for the moment. I climbed back into bed, all wet and bloody.
The doctor showed up past 7am, and with her arrival the pain was back. From VE to beginning of labour until my precious son was born, dead; that was past 3pm
On 15th of February 2011, I had my second miscarriage. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had to go through in my short life both physically and emotional, and I will not even get started on the psychological torture I went through. You see a week before the events recorded above I began to experience intense labour pains, pre-term labour pains, because I was around 19 weeks into the pregnancy. My husband rushed me to the hospital and I was admitted in hospital for the first time in my life. I was so scared, with a needle in my hand for labour control drugs to flow in I clutched my phone and slept in a fetal position until day broke. Unknown to me, that hospital admission would not end up well and it would be the beginning of several in my reproductive health life.
The previous day around 4pm I got what had become my usual dose of drugs to keep the pain down and stop the preterm labor process. However, this dose felt different. As soon as I took it, I slept and for a few hours instead of fighting contractions my body relaxed; I should have known something was up, but I welcomed the calm before the storm albeit unknowingly.
So on this day 6 years ago at around just past 3pm my precious son Thayu Kiheo was born, dead. I had been in labour since around 8am, though the doctor had given me some painkillers as well as drugs to expedite the labour and birth process. At some point during the day as I was chatting with my husband who remained by my bedside all through, we wondered whether either of those drugs were really having any effect because of the pain I was in. Just before my son was born, a nurse came into the labour room and informed me that she needed to change the beddings, of the bed I was lying on, honestly I thought that she was joking! I told her there was no way I was going to move from that bed, I was not even going to attempt to stand. She calmly informed me that it was ok, she was actually going to change the beddings while I still lay on the bed, I wondered how. So she began the process slowly and then she touched me and turned me just one little bit; all hell broke loose!
The pain intensified and I felt my son coming out. The flurry of activities that accompany a birth process was kicked into motion. At last my son was here, but he was dead. I cannot even begin to describe the emotional pain of that reality, of that moment in time. I didn’t have the courage or strength to look at him, but my husband did; then he was taken away from us. For you see, in the morning they had asked us if we wanted to bury him or the hospital to do it for us and we had signed the hospital should do it. In hindsight I regret that decision, I wish I took my son with me and buried him myself! But in foresight I am glad I didn’t, it would have been a torturous ordeal.
That night, I realized that I was still having stuff coming out and after informing the nurses I was immediately scheduled for theatre the next day for clean up. If I thought having a miscarriage was painful, what followed caused me even more pain than I could begin to explain.
Miscarriage in the part of the world where I come from (and I have since learnt it is in most parts of the world) is almost a taboo subject. When you go through it you are supposed to shut up, never talk about it and quickly move on with life. Unlike death after birth where funeral rites and a burial takes place, most if not all the time there’s nothing of the sort after a miscarriage. In all honesty, despite the physical pain for the mother and emotional anguish for the parents, it is as if it never happened.
That was my story, and this being a second miscarriage, whispers were rife especially in the village. Because, you see where I come from, things don’t just happen they are caused to happen. And so began a search for the cause for my miscarriages, a reason for them, a justification to explain this mystery. I made a choice not to be and never to be involved in such ventures.
Fast forward, I did find healing – though healing is a process – and I am grateful to God for it. After searching for other women who had gone through miscarriage and were willing to openly talk about it (most of the ones I met, spoke in private, in hushed tones – it was as if we had caused miscarriage on ourselves, we were to blame for losing our children preterm), I finally stumbled on two thanks to the internet. One is Becky Thompson who shares her story of child loss through miscarriage and the other is Wanjiru Kihusa the founder of #stillamum, she’s my heroine!
God in his grace since this miscarriage has blessed my husband and I with two living children. If you thought talking about a miscarriage after the event was hard, try talking about it after getting a child, or children. I have had all types of labels on me from ingrate to drama queen, from attention seeker to ‘deal with it’ reprimands. However, no matter how much I try, I simply cannot wish my experience away, I cannot wish away the loss of my son. I went through it, I felt the pain, I gave birth to him; if we insist that life begins at conception, then today I commemorate 6 years since I lost my son. I don’t do it crying, I do it with a smile; God has comforted me with His comfort (and I am not talking about the birth of my two living children) and it is with that same comfort I comfort other women who have gone through, are going through this path.
Since I wrote this, I have met many other wonderful women and organisation working to walk with Mums and Dads who have gone through Pregnancy and Infant Loss. Below is an updated list. Will keep updating as I get to know more contacts that can help:
- Vivian Gaiko – Empower Mama
- Samoina Wangui – Post Partum Depression Kenya
- Joyce Wachira – Climb Out Kenya
- Befrienders Kenya