I am one of those people who can block bad memories from my mind, and somehow with time I forget the details of an incident that brought me pain. I am not sure whether this is a healthy way of dealing with my emotions or not. There are very few painful occurrences in my life that I remember in detail. However, I always remember, second by second, the details of the events leading to my very first miscarriage.
It was January of 2002 had I started my very first formal job and had moved away from home to a new town (Gwanda). I was still living in the joy and euphoria after the lobola phase and moving closer to my fiancé and getting a job! It was a very happy period in my life and I was happily pregnant and in love. I think I was about 8 to 10 weeks pregnant.
On that fateful day I was sent, with a colleague, to go and work at another location not too far from our office. I was feeling a little sick and had a bit of cramps. I thought maybe being pregnant, these cramps were normal. They were not too severe but there was some discomfort. Also, I did not want to raise alarm as I had been in that job for less than a month. By mid-morning, the cramps had intensified and I informed my colleague. She was older than me and already had a few kids of her own. I saw a bit of worry in her when I informed her, and in hindsight I realize she did not want to alarm me but she already knew something was terribly wrong. She insisted that I should go to the doctor’s rooms. Gwanda was a small town, and within the city centre everything was a walking distance from everything lol! So I walked to the doctor, and was there in less than ten minutes. But I still did not even think about a miscarriage. In my mind, I thought I would get treated, receive a prescription and happily go back to work! My fiancé had a job interview coming up in Bulawayo, and that’s all I kept thinking about.
At the blink of an eye, life can change. My life changed on that fateful day in January of 2002. The journey of pain began on that day. It is the day I will never forget, if I were to go back to school and be asked to write an essay on the day I will never forget, that would be it.
At the doctor’s office, the nurse then informed me that the doctor would not be coming in that day. At that point I had started bleeding, but just a little. I had read somewhere about spotting (definitely not on the internet, the web was still a luxury in Zimbabwe), so I thought maybe I was spotting. Then the nurse said to me in Ndebele, “You are pregnant, and bleeding and you are here alone. What game are you playing” The way she said it cut deep. I may have been very young and naive at that time, but I knew that she suspected I was deliberately trying to abort! She did not wait for me to answer, but immediately called an ambulance.
At that point the pains had intensified. I was in agony. I remember the ambulance ride, the first time I had ever been in an ambulance. To date, I have not ridden in an ambulance again. The trip to the hospital was a very short drive, but it felt like hours. I was weeping, I was in pain, and I thought I was going to die.
When we got to the hospital, things just went downhill. There was a queue as long as the river Nile. I was screaming in pain and the nurses just looked at me and went about their business. At some point a foreign doctor examined me and stated as a matter of fact that I was having a miscarriage then left, as if to say, “See you when the baby is out” By then the labour pains were feeling like death itself. I really thought I was dying and kept thinking, “how can I get my mother here now, she will know what to do” My black dress was getting soaked in blood. I was confused. I pulled myself to the toilet, and then went out again without using it. It seemed like a lifetime before I felt something leave my body and the physical pain die. Most of what happened after that is a blur up to this day. I don’t remember giving them contact details for my family, but it turns out I gave them my dad’s work number (cell phones were still a rare luxury in Zimbabwe).
And so in January of 2002, I suffered my first miscarriage. Something in me must have died on that day. Today as I write this, for the first time in a long time, the memory has brought me to tears.
I look forward to sharing the rest of the journey with you over the next couple of months. Look out for the next post soon, and in the meantime, feel free to leave a comment, and also check out the other posts on the blog….God Bless, Zwi