October 3, 2021
Spiritual Awakening: How Many Babies Do I have to Lose?
I’ve never really dreamt to be a mother, but do I have to lose three fetuses in a span of 7 years?
My first miscarriage was a surprise. After knowing that I was pregnant in January 2015, I felt it was the perfect gift to my new husband on his birthday. My gift to him after our uber expensive dinner at the now defunct Gallery VASK was the positive pregnant test. Upon receiving that he’s going to be a father, my husband broke into a smile.
A week later, I lost the baby in a most anticlimactic way. It started with a few spots, which grew into gushes, like a regular dysmenorrhea. I knew then the baby was gone. At that time, newly married in six months, I felt a moment of despair. But it was just a gist, since it was my first miscarriage. At that time, I felt that maybe this baby just was not strong enough, and it was simply not meant to be.
I had my woohaa inspected by an fertility doctor in Cardinal Santos. “Do I need a D&C?” I asked. “Is it gone?”
“Yes,” he said. “You may have been pregnant but right now, you’re clean.”
“Oh,” I said bereft of emotion. “That’s sad.”
“Oh well” he sighed. “At least it will help you get pregnant again. We don’t have to scrape anything out anymore.”
My next menstruation came 30 months later. I got pregnant immediately the miscarriage. Had a healthy baby girl, Aeva. And never got my period again until over 2 years of breastfeeding.
I got pregnant again in 2018 when my daughter turned 3 years old. Once again, I received a positive pregnant test, and informed my family immediately after, who were overwhelmed with joy. But after I announced, I lost the fetus just at the end of the first trimester.
I remember that moment vividly. I was in the office when I heard a pop, and then I bled. I bled and bled and bled. I sat on the toilet and bled until the water was deep red with blood. I bled so much, I bled my fetus out. I could see it on the side of the bowl.
With tissues on my woohaa, I gingerly picked it up, put it on a plastic bowl with some water and brought it home. A 10 week fetus was smaller than my thumb, but you could see the shapes of which would be its eyes, hands and feet. So yes, that was a bit traumatic.
By that time, I’ve lost shitloads of blood and I was starting to feel chills. “Oh, so this was how dying people feel…” I thought to myself as my body felt cold.
Honestly, I count myself lucky that I listened to my OB. If I stubbornly stayed at home and was not in the hospital at that time when I bled after a few hours, I would have died then. It would have been a stupid way to die, but it was the truth. That’s what happens when you bleed for hours or end, and you don’t even know when it’ll stop. I had a D&C for the very first time, and my insides were squeaky clean.
The miscarriage moved me. It was not that I’m maternal — far from it — but with this fetus, I felt as if the Lord stole something from me. I did not really care about my first miscarriage, but the second made an impact. If the first one was a fluke, the second one was becoming a pattern. It was as if I couldn’t keep a baby alive inside me. And in a way, it felt like a failure, especially when I almost died.
A year later, I got pregnant again. Now, I was no longer as ecstatic. Remembering the disappointment everyone felt when I lost my third baby, I decided not to tell anyone but my husband that I was pregnant. If I lost my baby by the end of the first trimester, I decided to wait for my first trimester before I’d announce the happy news.
Dr. Google said that “About 80 percent of miscarriages happen in the first trimester.” So sure, fine, I would not announce. So when I went to my first OB check-up, I hid my itty little secret. And on the second checkup, I finally started letting out a sigh of relief. “Go and get your periodic ultrasound,” my OB said.
So I did.
And lo and behold, when I went for the ultrasound, the lady said, “NO heartbeat.”
I could not believe it.
“What the fucking hell.” I thought.
“Are you sure?” I managed a croak.
“Yes, no heartbeat,” she said. “I’m sure.”
And to drive the point even further, wrote on the image in all capital letters, “NO CARDIAC ACTIVITY.”
The worst part was scheduling my second D&C. After the traumatic first D&C when I bled to death, my OB and I felt that it was safer for us to schedule a D&C instead of letting my body pop it out like the first time. So we did.
In a way, it was terrible.
Scheduling a D&C was suffering at its purest form.
In this occasion, I define suffering as knowing you’ll hate every moment of something, but you gotta get it done. And it was awful checking yourself in a hospital, knowing that by tomorrow, they are to extricate a dead fetus inside of your body.
By the time I had my second D&C, I was already on my 12th week. Right at the end of the first trimester.
“Great….” I mumbled. “What the heck is going on here?”
No matter how I analyze the situation, the reality was, getting pregnant was not really an issue for me. But keeping a baby alive was.
For some reason, babies kept on dying on me. And what’s worse, they died before they even got the chance to live. Their heart would just stop, and there was really no way for them to continue.
It was tough not to feel discouraged. Especially since I have not lost one, not two, but three almost babies one after another. Maybe it was the diet, or my routine. Maybe it was the two shots of coffee I drank every morning. Or maybe, there’s just something wrong with my body, and God told me that I was already lucky to have one, I should not have another.
So when I got pregnant again for the FIFTH time, my husband and I came in with extremely lowered expectations. Sure, there was a ¼ chance it would have lived — our daughter Aeva did — but there was a 75% chance it would have died, just like the other little fetuses.
Yes, we still took precautions. This time around, I immediately consulted with the OB as soon as I found out I was pregnant. And started on Duphaston, also known as Progesterone, known as a drug commonly used to support embryo implantation and pregnancy maintenance.
Dr. Google also informed me of the risk. While animal studies have shown that there were little to no evidence of fetal harm or impaired fertility, genital abnormalities have been reported in fetuses of animals treated during gestation. Birth defects reported during clinical trials include cleft palate, intrauterine growth retardation, spina bifida, congenital heart defects, umbilical hernia, intestinal anomaly, esophageal fistula, hypospadias, underdeveloped right ear, Down’s and atrial septal defect, DiGeorge’s syndrome, and hand deformity. So great, I was taking a drug that may save my child’s life, but at the risk of a child with some sort of abnormality.
“Just great,” I thought.
At this point, I was tired. People who know me know I am not too emotional as a person, but it was truly tiring to be told that I was pregnant one day, and then told that I would lose the baby in a span of a few weeks. So the best way to cope was to set expectations low. Do what the OB says, and let God take care of the rest.
Hence, with every single check-up, I prepared myself to the words, “No heartbeat.”
Unlike other potential mothers fresh with excitement, I felt that it was better for me to ready my heart to be disappointed. So with every check-up, every ultra-sound, every month of the way, I waited for the bad news. And to top it all, it was at the midst of a pandemic. Not the best time to get pregnant especially with all the uncertainties out there.
On my seventh month, I contracted COVID-19. I was exhausted for 5 days straight and did not even have the appetite to eat. My symptoms were mild – I had mild pneumonia and UTI. I — we — were lucky. Apparently, the three other pregnant patients of my OB caught COVID-19 at the same time. One ended up in the ICU and almost died. I heard later on that many pregnant women contracted COVID-19 and died along with their babies. God must have been watching over us so tight to let me recover unscathed.
And the baby still lived despite contracting COVID-19 with me.
I actually gave birth to a healthy baby boy last May 13, 2021. On his birth certificate, I listed him as my FOURTH child as the list included fetal deaths (I no longer counted the first). He is strong, healthy, and I believe was born with COVID-19 antibodies.
After losing three babies at different stages, Alyx is nothing short of a miracle. We honestly stopped hoping for another one after my third miscarriage, and consoled ourselves with the knowledge that we’ll only have a baby daughter to love and that was enough. We had no longer expected anything more from our Lord, and felt that even we three could be happy even with our first and last born.
I was raised a Christian and lived a Christian life. I believe God exists and He is there looking out for all of us. I believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, never have I felt so weak, so human and so vulnerable than when I am losing a child. People who know me know that I pride myself on being a strong, independent and very opinionated woman. But my inability to carry my children to fruition shows the limitation of who I am.
And so, I look at my family today with the realization that without God, we are truly nothing. And it is only through His grace and our faith that miracles can happen. So what if it took three fetuses, one traumatic D&C, another expensive D&C and a COVID-19 scare to push the point through?
Truth be told, I’m pretty damn lucky. And I thank God for giving me my second, even if it ends up to be my last.