The Loneliness We Share: Miscarriage During Covid

This is a very personal piece of information to share in such a public way. But in these times of social distancing, I find myself quite removed from my normal group of friends, and I don’t feel like picking up the phone to tell people what’s going on in my life. This seems like a very good way to let anyone who sees it know what’s going on. I guess I finally understand the catharsis of public grief.

My husband and I were so happy when we found out I was pregnant. This joy turned to real sadness two days ago. Miscarriages are sad events, but somehow the pain of that loss isn’t what my mind dwells on these days. It’s the loneliness and the fear in the hospital that lingers.

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Me in the ER

Because of Covid, you are alone in visits to the doctor and you are alone as you bleed out in the ER. My husband was not allowed in the hospital. He had to sit outside of the hospital, in the sun, and on a bench as he waited for phone updates from me about what was happening.

I read Meghan Markle’s op-ed in the NYT about her miscarriage, and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s a loss many women know and mourn for years. I also felt a pang of sadness for the class disparities that Covid brings to light. Prince Harry could be with his wife as she bled out. But mine could not be with me. I had to check myself into the ER alone as I bled. I had to wait alone in the waiting room as I bled. I undressed and saw that the blood had increased. I disrobed alone and saw the blood alone. I tried to get into the hospital gown, but every movement felt like it would mean more blood would come. I knew I was losing the baby, but somehow I thought that if I moved gingerly, it would be better. I had no idea how long I’d be there or what was going to happen. The cramps increased, the blood flowed, the early pregnancy all over the bed. The sounds of the ER aren’t a comforting environment by any means to experience this loss. The nurse placed a bunch of tubes on me to measure my vitals, that looked scary. She left the room. I was alone behind a curtain with all the bustle of the ER and other traumas happening around me. I knew I was miscarrying, but I didn’t think the day would go as it did. I felt a surge of pain. My vision blurred and I cried for help. No one came. I face-timed my husband so he could let someone know that I needed help. He can see everything, hear me yell for help, and he can see that no one is coming. Black women have a much higher maternal mortality rate than white women in the US, with black mothers dying at a rate 3.2 times that of white mothers between 2007 and 2016. There are reasons for this and one of them is to do with the crucial life-and-death moments where not listening to Black women express their pain and needs results in lost life for the mother.

My husband pled from outside of the hospital to be let in. They wouldn’t let him pass. But he demanded they call for a nurse to check on me, and because of his intervention, a nurse was told to respond to my yells for help. My heart rate had dropped to 40, and I had almost passed out. The nurse stood astonished that my heartbeat plummeted so low.

I had no advocate by my side. We were both losing a child, a cluster of cells in the first trimester I suppose, and he was not allowed to be there. If this had been a second trimester loss, this could have been worse for me as the mother in need of major surgery. And I would have been alone. What a cruel take on paternity. I can’t believe he’s not allowed in the hospital. I’m so sad for the women who have lost children in this way. I’m not easily affected by personal loss in my family, I’ve developed a “keep calm, carry on” attitude for so much of the adversity that I’ve experienced. But this one hits differently. I was scared in the hospital. Everyone is in masks, Covid is surging, and you are alone in the hospital. Even if it all went through to 9 months of pregnancy, you are alone in the hospital. Not again. We will wait to have a child when this pandemic is under control, when a family member can go into the hospital with me and into the room and hold my hand at the very least.

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