Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a mother.
I got pregnant in March, not long after my wedding. Later, when I went to the doctor, although I had a pre-existing health condition, he told me not to worry. He told me everything was going along well. I live on an island, so at the time, our care was limited.
As far as I knew, everything was going fine.
I went to the doctor for a routine check up, plus to find out the baby’s gender. During the ultrasound, the doctor told me that my child was on the big side. He told us that I needed to go off-island to the big city, to get a second opinion.
On August 3rd, with my mother and my husband in tow, we traveled for our ultrasound. I knew there was no heartbeat. The doctors tried everything from buzzing my stomach to turning me from side to side. But my child had passed away. I heard myself cry.
It was a cry that no mother should have to cry.
They started asking me all these questions: Why wasn’t I on medication? What were my treatment protocols? My head was spinning.
They didn’t have room for me deliver her that day. So, I went home, back to the Island. I carried her for three more days. During those three days, in my head, I thought they were wrong.
I swore that I could feel her, I swore that I could feel movement.
But what I was feeling, was small uterine contractions. That Sunday, I went to the big city hospital again. I was put in the Maternity Ward. I could hear so many babies crying.
Monday, my daughter was born still.
I was so out of it. It was like a movie. I knew she was a girl before they even told me. In her short time on Earth, in my belly, she brought me the most incredible Joy. So, I named her Joya. They asked me if I wanted to take her home. I was so confused. I said no. They put her cremated remains in the garden of the hospital.
I came back home to this emptiness, it was horrific. So many of my so-called friends stayed away from me. My family didn’t know what to say, so they said: “you can try again”. Even the doctor that treated me said that I could just, try again: “It was just a fetus”.
That was 20 days after my daughter was born still. My doctor hadn’t even contacted me to see if I was ok. I remember yelling, saying she was my child. I was more than halfway to my due date.
She was a person.
Eventually, a girlfriend of mine got me help. I wouldn’t have made it through without the help of a local nurse. She listened to me cry.
I went for my follow-up in the big city. They told me that my medical care was subpar, that I should consult a lawyer. I found out that the OBGYN that was treating me, was not a board-certified physician. I ended up suing and I won.
It took me 7 years to get what I wanted. I wanted him not to practice anymore.
15 years ago, when this happened, we just didn’t talk about it. I suffered for years. There were bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts and an emptiness that nothing could fill. I would look at mother’s that I thought were inept, I wanted their babies. I felt they didn’t deserve them. My marriage fell apart. My husband had a baby with someone that I thought was a close friend. It was such a rough patch.
One day, I met a man by sheer coincidence. Three years later, we got married and we became pregnant. I was sad to find out it was a girl, I was sure that she was going to die before I even had the chance to meet her. When she was born, I wouldn’t hold her until many doctors had checked on her, I needed to make sure that she was okay.
I lived in constant fear that she was going to die.
I felt guilty for having another child after my daughter Joya. To me, It was like I was dishonouring her by moving on. With counseling and medication, I got through that.
Now, I have a daughter, a son and a brand new baby boy. They are all healthy. I still mourn Joya, not everyday but often. The experience I went through helps me to help others. I am no longer silent.
It hurts a lot, it will hurt forever.
Sometimes I have dreams of what she might look like, what she might be like. She was due on Christmas day, so that’s always a bittersweet day for me. My husband honors her memory, even though she wasn’t his child. Our children know about their sister in heaven and talk to her quite frequently.
I focus on the truth that, though her life was so short. It was not in vain, she saved other babies from her same demise.
Because I live in a small community, I see the doctor every once in awhile. I say hello, I make him talk to me. I make him look at my other children and say hello to them. Still, I have a piece of her baby blanket that I was making for her. It is packed away safely. But, sometimes I pull it out and I have a good cry. Time does make it easier, the grief is like an ocean. It comes in waves. I have learned to say it’s okay, not to be okay. I forgave the doctor a long time ago. The forgiveness is for me, not for him.
I had a daughter on August 6th, her name was Joya. My daughter would be 15 years old. I believe she would have been amazing.
I miss her, I love her and as long as I’m living, my baby she will be.
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