The Second Chance

But the nurses kept on moving the camera and then they found it....

Editor's Note: This is part 2, you can read part 1 here: Covid 19 and a Miscarriage | SikhNet

"I think it's time we get a dog." 

It had been six months since the miscarriage. Six months of trying. Six months of prenatal pills and ovulation tests and heartbreaking periods. Every month was a huge disappointment because the nurses and doctors said that I would be extra fertile during this period. They said that the first 6 months after giving birth or having a miscarriage was an extremely fertile time and there was nothing wrong with me and they were confident that I could get pregnant again. But month after month, nothing was happening. And every time I got my period, it brought back the trauma of the miscarriage.

I was getting depressed. I lost my job. And because of covid 19, countrywide lockdowns were in full effect. Everything was closed. Travel was banned. And meeting with people in general was pretty much forbidden. (Unless you were the prime minister of the United Kingdom of course. Then you could go to parties and do whatever you want!) But for an extrovert like me, the rules and restrictions were incredibly difficult. I was grieving so much and I couldn't heal the way I wanted to and needed to. 

After six months, I finally gave in. If I couldn't get pregnant during the "extra fertile" period then how would I get pregnant after the "extra fertile" period ended? I accepted defeat. My husband and I were now finally ready to get a dog. We looked online at some adoption sites but because of covid 19, everyone was now working from home so everyone got a dog and there were literally no dogs for adoption! We had to wait on some new dogs coming in from Romania! 

After all of the trying and waiting I did something that I did a long time ago when I wanted to get married. I wrote a letter to God. I asked God for what I wanted - a beautiful and healthy baby and to start working again. I might have been a little greedy asking for both but I really just wanted both - baby first of course. And then I did an Ardas and put my letter away. I finally came to the point of submission. If I was to get pregnant again, I would be over the moon. And if it wasn't in my destiny, I would accept. (And then get a dog from Romania.) 

I then stopped with the ovulations tests and I stopped taking the prenatal pills. I applied to as many companies as I could and I obtained a new job! The new job paid more than my previous job and it was for a much more reputable company with much more wonderful people! I was so happy as I was extremely lucky because that was a difficult time period to obtain work. Covid. Alas!

And then on the 7th month, a miracle happened. I was a few days late. I didn't really say much about it or think about it because I didn't want to get my hopes up. So I took a pee test when no one was home and sure enough, there it was - the positive line that said I was pregnant. It wasn't even a faint line. It was clear as night and day. Upon seeing it, I started to cry uncontrollably.  I cried out tears of happiness and joy. I cried out the tears of frustration from the past 6 months. I cried out the lingering pain of the miscarriage. I cried for baby's soul. I cried for a new beginning.  We were given a second a chance. 

When my husband came home I told him the good news and he shared the same sentiment as myself. A feeling of extreme happiness but also a scared kind of happiness. We both agreed not to tell anyone for a while. This time I was very cautious. I didn't take walks. I didn't have a drop of caffeinated coffee or tea. I abandoned my almost vegan lifestyle and started eating regular butter, cheese, and milk again and I stayed away from soy as much as possible. Plus I hardly went out because covid was still on the rise. I still blamed myself for the first miscarriage and I wanted to do everything in my power to prevent it from happening again. 

Now, remember in my last pregnancy, I felt a warm shiver in the middle of the night randomly and thats when I thought the soul entered the womb? Well, this time it happened again except it was in the evening while my husband and I were watching The Mandalorian. (I know, I know! I don't even like Star Wars! But that little baby Yoda was so cute! Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones?!) Anyways, we were sitting on the couch and I just felt a warm shiver in my back and it lasted for a few seconds and that was it. It was a few weeks into the pregnancy and all I could think to myself was, "Was that the soul?" and more importantly "Was it the same soul from before???"

My husband and I were in a blissful state of happiness. Each day that passed brought us a little closer and closer to her. Yes, her. I knew it was a girl again. Don't ask me how, I just knew! But then of course, one day, our happy little bubble bursted. 

I felt some sharp and painful cramps in my lower abdomen. This pain was accompanied by one drop of blood. Luckily it was just one drop this time. We called the NHS and they told me over the phone that I was having a threatened miscarriage and that I needed to go to the emergency room. And so we went. I couldn't believe this was happening again. I was incredibly scared. Why was this happening? What was I doing wrong???

When I was admitted to the hospital, the first test that they ran on me was a pregnancy pee test and it came out negative. I was shocked. When the doctor approached me, she said, “I’m sorry but it appears that you have miscarried.” She had no expression on her face. No sympathy. No empathy. Nothing. I was mortified beyond all comprehension. 

“How is this possible?” I asked. “I only bled one drop. Last time I had a miscarriage, I bled so much. How could I have miscarried with just one drop???” 

The doctor said that I should expect to bleed more soon and that the hormone level was gone since the test was negative but they would check my blood just to be sure. 

I was devastated. I cried and cried and cried.  I texted my husband telling him I’m sorry. He said it wasn’t my fault. But I started to believe that something was truly wrong with my body. How could this be happening AGAIN?! I didn’t even have covid this time. 

A male nurse then came to take my blood. I don’t know if he was Indian or Pakistani or Bengali, but he was definitely brown just like me and in my mind he was extended family. He saw me crying and put down his supplies and asked me what was wrong. I told him everything that had happened. Instead of walking by and ignoring me like the others, he listened to me and he gave me his full attention. He then said, “Let’s wait for this blood test to come back.” He also said that he was going to make an appointment for me to be seen by the early pregnancy unit. They would perform an ultrasound on me to really see what’s going on. 

After he took my blood, I had to wait. I still had hope. I pulled up the Gurbani app on my phone and I did an Ardas. I didn't have a dupatta as I left the house in my pj's and robe. So, I pulled the robe over my head and I prayed and prayed and prayed. In my purse I also had some parshad. Not the yummy karah parshad which is the one made of flour and butter and sugar. Because of Covid, the Gurudwara was only giving out mishri or sukha parshad that consisted of almonds and sugar cubes. These same almonds made my throat swell up years ago so I stayed away from almonds thinking I had an allergy. But in that moment in the hospital, I didn't care if my throat swelled up again. After all, I was already in the emergency room. I ate all of the parshad with all of its almonds because I needed all of the blessings I could get! 

I was so exhausted from all the pain, worry, and crying, that I then fell asleep. When I woke up, my throat was surprisingly okay and the nurse told me that my blood test showed that I was still pregnant! He made an appointment for me to be seen in two days by the early pregnancy unit. I was so incredibly grateful to him and to God and the Universe. 

For the next two days, I hardly moved. My husband catered to my every need. We both were just so scared. He would ask, "What else can I do for you?" and I would respond with, "Make the embryo stick to the wall." He then said, "Think sticky thoughts!" 

He was joking but I actually started doing that. When I had my miscarriage 6 months prior, I watched various videos on youtube showing the science of it all and in one of the videos there was a computer animated video showing how embryos just fall off of the uterus wall sometimes. I replayed that video in my mind, but this time I envisioned the embryo staying put and not moving and just getting bigger and bigger. 

After the two days, we went back to the hospital and when they stuck the camera inside of me, I saw an empty uterus on the screen again. It was just all black. My heart was sinking again. But the nurses kept on moving the camera and then they found it. We saw a little bump on the wall and we heard the heartbeat. That had to have been the most wonderful sound that I heard in my entire life at that point. I cried tears of pure joy and relief. We were indeed given a second chance. 

Shortly after all of that, some strange things started happening in this pregnancy that did not happen in my first pregnancy. I felt nauseous. I felt tired. I started throwing up every morning. I took several naps throughout the day. I couldn't eat spicy food anymore. I started craving things. I spoke to my mom and she said she went through similar things during her pregnancies and it was all very normal. 

And then finally it hit me. I got all of those symptoms during my second pregnancy pretty early on but I didn't have any of those symptoms in my first pregnancy. I had way too much energy during my first pregnancy. Something must have been off from the very beginning. I then remembered something my sister told me. (I know, I always refer to my sister. She is very wise!) She said that when our body is stressed, it focuses on the reproductive system last because we don't need those organs to survive. She was telling me not to stress and stay as calm as possible. 

But then I remembered when I had covid during my first pregnancy, I couldn't breathe properly for several days. Each breath literally hurt. I was 4 weeks pregnant at that time. It all made sense now. My body had to focus on my lungs and my heart and everything else to fight off this new and invasive virus. My body probably couldn't focus on my uterus. After 6 months of everyone telling me that it wasn't my fault, I finally believed it. Perhaps covid didn't directly affect my uterus. But indirectly, it caused me and my body a lot of stress. And if I wasn't getting tired or throwing up, then something had to have been off. 

This may sound a little crazy but it wasn't until my second pregnancy that I forgave myself for the first one. I finally started trusting myself again. I started taking walks outside again. I started drinking decaf coffee and I allowed myself to have a caffeinated tea or coffee once a week. I started going out a little more (while wearing a mask of course.) I would even later go on to have a maternity shoot and an online baby shower! I was going to trust and believe and enjoy this pregnancy as much as I could. 

I was given a second chance and I couldn't have been more thankful. I was on my way to having my own little baby Yoda. :) 

Bhull Chuk Maaf

Christine Kaur

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