No heart sounds Pregnancy after miscarriage – a woman talks about her experience
With both hands, the midwife presses into the bulging abdomen and palpates the abdominal wall. Then she puts her hands together and forms a hemisphere. "That is already a handful of baby", the obstetrician describes the size of the unborn child. "Madness", says the mother. That’s all the 39-year-old can say at this moment. She knows that this is a step in the right direction, that her first child was never this big. But there is also a heart sound?
One and a half years earlier: The woman, who does not want to be named, is pregnant for the first time – with an "unplanned dream child". Intuitively she knows that she is expecting a child, the gynecologist confirms the assumption. The joy of the couple, who come from the region around Wurzburg, is great. But at the second examination, the gynecologist can detect no heart sound: The child is dead.
Miscarriages are hardly ever talked about
Miscarriages are not uncommon – but little is said about them. The president of the German Association of Gynecologists, Christian Albring, estimates that in Germany almost one-third of all pregnancies are terminated by miscarriage by the third month. "After that, only less than ten percent of younger women’s pregnancies end before the child is mature enough to survive. However, the risk of miscarriage increases for women over 35", says the gynecologist.
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The woman from Lower Franconia is one of the so-called high-risk pregnancies over 35 years of age. She says she would have liked to just wait until her body naturally rejected the child. But when her water breaks, her gynecologist urgently advises a scraping of the uterus. In the tenth week of pregnancy, the fetus is surgically removed. "I felt like that was when my child died the second time", says the druggist.
After that, she sees children everywhere – on the street, in the waiting room, at friends’ houses. According to Albring, coping with grief becomes easier when the couple already has children. If this is not the case and a relationship has already been established with the child, the process is particularly difficult.
The mother and her husband already had a name for the unborn child. While he mourns in silence, she searches for a solution – psychological help was offered to her neither by her gynecologist nor in the clinic after the curettage. The now 39-year-old finds support in a bracelet: "Forever in my heart" is written on the leather strap from which three silver pendants hang.
They bear the names of the parents and the unborn baby. She wore it a lot at that time, says the woman. "I needed something to show me that he existed." At these words, tears come to her eyes, her voice breaks. Later, she will also tell her child that there was one before him. She puts her hands on her belly. The child is due in April.
By the fifth month, everyone should know about it
At the Wurzburg birth center, a dozen midwives take care of pregnant women, who can also give birth to their children in two rooms. At a wooden table in the middle of the room, the mother sits across from her midwife. She answers questions about the birth and explains about further examinations. The 39-year-old listens intently. When she talks about the baby in her belly, she smiles: "At the moment, I always feel such a fluttering and bubbling, like soap bubbles."
She and her husband have kept this happiness a secret for a long time – unlike with the first pregnancy. When the pregnancy test is positive, both are overjoyed. But the woman delays the first doctor’s appointment. At first, she didn’t want anyone to get close to her child; she wanted it to grow as if it were in a cocoon.
With the new pregnancy comes not only a return of hope, it is also a return to counting in weeks. The tenth week, in which she lost her first child, she tries to ignore, as she describes. Afterwards it gets better. Only in the fifth month the couple tells about the pregnancy. The unborn baby has grown well, confidence returns. Only now the expectant mother starts to choose baby carriage, clothes and furniture.
Birth center appointments are also a certain return, here the woman was already registered for her first pregnancy. The midwife now wants to check how the child is doing. Tensely, the mother pushes up her sweater. The click of the meter shows: The heart is beating.