Giving birth to a dead daughter

Queralt spent sixteen weeks with me. I only saw her twice in two ultrasounds. When I said goodbye, we had known for four weeks that she was a girl, her name had been Queralt for four weeks.

When I was told that her heart had stopped beating I didn’t want to see the ultrasound they were doing to me. I did not want to see her still, because in the other two ultrasounds I had seen her so alive, so restless, that I didn’t want to see her motionless.

I was told what was coming next: the measures of the baby indicated that her heart had stopped three weeks before. We had to induce labor. Sometimes if the heart has recently stopped, they give the option to wait until the body is ready to naturally deliver, without having to induce labor, but after three weeks it is dangerous for the mother to do nothing.

I was given the option of starting that night or going home and checking in the next morning to begin the process. I was told I would get some pills and then I would have to wait for the reaction of my body, which could take up to forty-eight hours. I thought if it could take so long I preferred to start as soon as possible. In addition, I was sure that I wouldn’t have slept at all that night at home.

I went through an amniocentesis in case the results could give clues to what happened, to why it was over too soon. I think that the gynaecologist who did the amniocentesis had little experience because he was receiving instructions from another gynaecologist. I thought that kind of amniocentesis were used to practice. After all, my daughter was already dead, it didn’t matter if the needle reached her.

Then they took me to a room, I got the pills and waited. On the smartphone, I looked at a web a midwife had recommended of mothers who had lost a pregnancy (something like this one). I read stories of women who had lost a child in the last weeks of pregnancy or in the first weeks of life. I thought I did not have such great pain, I was just a few weeks pregnant, I thought I couldn’t be as sad as them. I didn’t know then, but I was wrong.

Sometime in the night, a midwife asked me if after the delivery I would like to see Queralt. I asked ‘what would I see’ and she told me she probably would be very purple, or unpleasant to see, because it was already three weeks since her heart had stopped. I thought about the time when my grandfather died. I then decided not to see him because I wanted to remember him alive. And so I decided that I didn’t need to see Queralt. And right there, I was wrong again.

I seem to recall it was three or four in the morning when I went into labor, the contractions were not very strong. I was taken down to the pits of gynaecology. Soon I noticed that my water broke and shortly after Queralt came out. They took her away wrapped in a hospital cloth.

I was tired but with strength and I was told that if I got up, maybe it would help finish expelling any rests out of my uterus. I got up, I walked away from the bed a couple of steps and noticed that I was about to faint. I was held to prevent me from falling. I heard how they called me by my name, how they sounded concerned, but I could not answer. I threw up, I blacked out and returned. Everything happened very fast. But I got scared.

Then I had to have a curettage because the uterus had not been cleared completely. I was left for a single moment in a wheelchair in an operating room. It was very cold and I felt I would faint again. I had never had that feeling before of fainting while sitting and I got afraid again. Besides, I didn’t even have the strength to scream for help. I thought about sliding off the chair to lie on the floor, to stop the dizziness. But luckily someone came and they laid me down in the operating room table. I asked for a blanket because I felt too cold. I was told I might need a blood transfusion. I had to sign a bunch of papers I didn’t even read, and then I went under the anaesthesia.

I woke up shivering in an exaggerated manner, with spasms, as if I had a seizure. I noticed a few hands grabbed me by the arms and legs to control my wild body. I heard someone say, ‘This anesthesia has a very rude awakening’. And gradually the shaking was over. The first thing I asked when I was better was if I had needed a blood transfusion. I hadn’t.

After spending some time under observation they took me to the room. It was already six or seven o’clock in the morning. And it was over.

Then visits came (close relatives) and I felt strangely calm. The nightmare was over, I was fine.

My hormones thought I had given birth to a living daughter and they gave me a false sense of happiness.

The fall came in the following days.