Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): This month’s theme is “Bruised But Not Broken” and I would like to talk to you about your experience with the loss of a baby by way of a miscarriage and how that impacted you as a mother of 4 (girls) and how you and your family (especially your husband) were able to overcome such a loss.
Tell me about the moment you were given the news of being pregnant and what was going through your mind?
Kathleen Muhammad (KM): I found out I was pregnant in fall of 2005 with a home pregnancy test. The results showed up immediately and my first thought was “OH MY GOD!” I was already a wife and working mother of four beautiful daughters.
EM: How was the pregnancy overall? Were there any signs of complications, and if so were you given the impression that they were serious?
KM: Like all my other pregnancies, I had severe morning sickness, diagnosed high-risk and had to be on best rest for duration of all my pregnancies. So when we were told the same for this one, we pretty much expected to have the same experience. Unlike the pregnancies before, with this one there were multiple times where I had to be hospitalized for severe dehydration and had to receive fluids to hydrate myself and the baby. Nor was I gaining any weight.
EM: When did you find out that there was something more to the complications? How was the news of the miscarriage given to you?
KM: A few days before my next appointment(second trimester/5months), the morning sickness subsided. I told my husband I am finally beginning to really enjoy this pregnancy. I had more energy. My appetite increased…all that good stuff. We went to our monthly routine check-up. My name was called. The nurse did the routine tests, and when she read the results she asked me a question I thought was strange, “Are you alone?” I didn’t pay it too much attention. The doctor came in to do the usual examination. When he checked for the baby’s heart beat with the heart monitor he could not hear the heart beat. Then he did a full picture ultra-sound and could not see the heart beat nor activity coming from the baby. At that time he said, “I’m sorry Mrs. Muhammad, but I believe your baby has expired. He then said, I am going to send you to a specialist to get a second opinion.
EM: How did your husband respond/handle the news? What was the response of your daughters (and extended family/friends)?
KM: I met my husband outside the waiting room. We got on the elevator and he asked, “So how did it go?” I told him, the doctor said he believe that the baby has expired, and we have to go to a specialist for a second opinion. The elevator door opened and I began to cry in is arms. I could not feel my feet or legs under my body. He had to carry me to nearest bench where he held me, consoling me while I was going through the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s.
He was very strong and understanding. Later on that evening, we told our four girls the news. We had to tell them that the baby wasn’t strong enough and was very sick and passed away. Surprisingly, they were very supportive. They told me, “It’s ok mommy,” gave me hugs and went on their way. Our family and friends were very supportive as well. When we were being discharged from the hospital after the DNC (Dilation and Curation Procedure), our Student Minister, Robert Muhammad, was coming to see us. Being that we were being discharged, he decided to follow us home. When we arrived at our home he, my husband, and another brother sat on the couch; I was sitting on a chair. The words he said to my husband, while ministering on to us, really began the healing process for me. He said, “Brother, we as men can never understand the bond that is made in the womb between a mother and child. There will be times that no matter what you say- it may not help her feel better.” At that moment, I realized that I was not the only one who lost this baby. I realized that I was not the only one grieving. Though he appeared to be handling his grief so manly-he was still suffered a lost.
EM: How were you able to overcome the loss?
KM: The loss of life to me is not something you overcome-but something you learn to cope with and understand. I began a journal about this experience and is in the process of one day becoming a book-BEST SELLER HERE WE COME!
EM: I understand one of your daughters was actually a twin. Tell me a little about that story.
KM: Yes, this miscarriage was not my first. When we were pregnant for our first daughter 13 years ago, I went into the hospital with some signs of spotting and pain in my lower abdomen. The nurse did the routine heart monitor check on the baby and the heart beat was very strong. The doctor came in to do physical exam. Before he could check me out, I began to hemorrhage. I felt pressure and pain in my lower abdomen. The doctor said, “I’m sorry but the baby just passed.” He told the nurse to help me get cleaned up, run an IV and he was going to be back to check me later. She was in disbelief. She said there is no way the baby, whose heart beat that I just heard, passed away this quickly. She did another test and check again and sure enough, heard another heart beat. She immediately called the doctor. He came running back into the room with other doctors and nurses. He checked for the heart beat and said, “Yes momma-you still have one in there!” I really did not have time to get sad for the first lost. Everything happened so quickly and we were only eight weeks at the time. The last news was the best news we could have heard. I had to be on complete bed rest for the entire pregnancy-but good news none the less!
EM: What words would you like to share with other women who have experienced a miscarriage and may be having a difficult time overcoming their loss? What words would your husband like to share with the fathers who are also a part of the grieving process?
KM: Every one grieves differently. I don’t know if there are exact words to tell anyone who has experienced a miscarriage. I went through stages of anger, guilt, denial, disbelief. My relationship with Allah (God) comforts me. Understanding that Allah (God) is the Author of life and death comforts me. I personally just continue to share my story and pray it helps. I thank Hurt 2 Healing for giving my family an outlet to share our story and allowing your readers the opportunity to experience our healing process. My husband would tell other fathers who are going to the grieving process to be there and to listen and tell your spouse or partner how you feel as well. Have your moment even if you have to have it to yourself.
EM: Thank you very much.