I had doubles for breakfast the day we arrived. Doubles are like a warm gooey mess of peas and a flaky tortilla like bread. It was ninety-plus degrees every day, and I loved it. We visited relatives every day, and I ate bus-up-shut, curry mango, bake and shark, shadow beni and my absolute favorite fruit, pommecythere. Pommecythere is the perfect mix of the crispness of an apple, the sweetness of a plum, and the citrus punch of an orange.
Hubby and the boys had arrived a week before me, so the Lion was completely daddystruck. This was fine by me! All the Lion wanted was “da-ey!” As soon as I arrived the mosquitoes began their feast. I was bitten several times a day, and they swole into glorious welts. We visited Aunty Carol and her grandson Akil, which Gadget loved! They are exactly one month apart in age, so I guess that makes them each others great godsons?? We visited Aunty Marjorie, Aunty Linda and Uncle Roland took us to the beach. Hubby has a huge family in Trinidad, made up of aunts, uncles and their children, so I loved the feeling of having more family than we could possibly see during the time we were there. So much family, and so much love. Annually, at the end of each trip to TNT hubby organizes a family get together, and at least fifty family members attend every time. I greatly look forward to this event every year. It’s like a mini-family reunion! This year we got together at Aunty Linda’s house, but more about that later.
We also visited one of hubby’s Aunts in the hospital. She had tended to the medical needs of others as a nurse her entire life, and now she was ill with renal failure. She entered the hospital and soon after her dialysis session, she was contracted a bacterial infection from the machine and passed away a few days later. He funeral was the day we left. Trinidad was also experiencing a drought, so everyone had purchased huge tanks and filled them so they had water when the city shut off the pipes. It rained the day of Aunty Earlin’s funeral, and in Trinidad they say good people receive rain on the day of their funeral.
On warmer note, I was so excited to share our good news of baby #3 with hubby’s family. As we saw folks, I proudly showcased my belly. This was baby #3’s first trip to Trinidad. Gadget and the Lion’s first trip to their father’s home country occurred in vitro as well. The baby went swimming at Macqueripe and Macaras Bay. I floated in the ocean for the first time at Macqueripe. I had never swam in such a salty body of water before!
The boys LOVED the beach. They ran up and down the shore, letting the waves gently push and shove them. Gadget professed that he only eats fruits and snacks, while the Lion tasted just about everything. Our vacation was going along fabulously!
It was on the Thursday morning of our trip that I woke up and I saw the spotting. Immediately I knew. I started calling my midwife here in the states, but she wasn’t on call, it was one of the doctors instead. It was 7:30 AM in the US, and the office didn’t open until 9. I left a message with the emergency line, and waited for the return call from the doctor. I left a message that I was in my 13th week of pregnancy and spotting. Half an hour later I had still not heard back and had the doctor paged again. I could not believe that doctors Nabil Khoury and Jacqueline Elyse Monaco-Bavaro at White Plains OB-GYN had not called me back yet! I never received the call-back, so at 9 AM state’s time I called the office. I explained as calmly as I could what my symptoms were, and asked to speak to the doctor. The receptionist told me to come right in, and as I explained that I was in TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO and could not come in, I wanted to speak to the doctor to obtain professional medical advice. I was also not very confident about going to the emergency room, because I had just learned that Aunty Earlin had received the bacterial infection! I called my former OB-GYN in New York for advice. As I explained my condition to the receptionist I began to sob because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get in touch with a doctor! They denied me medical advice and explained that because I was already under the medical care of another practice, they could not intervene. I called my widwife’s non-urgent line and left a voicemail explaining everything. I knew she would call back. Hubby called his father, who is a retired minister of some sorts (basically an important man with connections in the country), and he gave me the cell phone number of the one of the nation’s best OB’s. I called the number and the OB immediately answered his cell and made an appointment to see me the next day.
I explained to him about the brown spotting, and he said that it was old blood and not to worry. But of course I did. I worried because this pregnancy began just like my two miscarriages, and I felt as though I already knew what was in store. We had planned to go to the water park that day, but headed to beach for a day of relaxation instead. That evening when we returned I listened to the voicemail from my midwife saying not to worry as well. She repeated the same medical opinion as the OB in Trinidad, saying that it was old blood and not to worry. The next morning I found the same symptoms, but it seemed to decrease during the day, so my hopes began to rise. I ferociously searched the internet for stories of spotting in the thirteenth week that had positive outcomes. All the stories I found had happy endings. Spotting happened as the uterus lifted out of the pelvis and into the abdomen. Yay! I was very hopeful, but waiting in limbo was hard. Was I still pregnant and progressing or not? We headed to the private OB’s office. Of course you know what a small world we live in. Turns out the doctor was hubby’s college roommate’s father. I didn’t know what to expect at the appointment. Would his office have an ultrasound machine? Would he examine me?
The nurse brought me back and asked me a few basic questions. She took my blood pressure and weight, and then told me to go in and see the doctor. Hubby joined me, and the doctor began drilling us. I think he was curious to find out about his son’s old roommate, so he asked about our backgrounds, where did we go to school? What do we do now? How many kids do we have? Why do we have so many? Wait, how old are we? How many more do we plan to have? Have we ever heard of birth control?… So you can imagine at this point I realize that the spotting is a WAY bigger issue to me, than it is to him. Finally, he sends me back into the medical area and checks my cervix and brings over a sonogram to listen to the heartbeat. He rubs the jelly on my stomach (which in my head was beginning to look way too small for 13 weeks. I tried to remember how I looked with the Lion at this point, and I could have sworn my belly was more firm that the jiggly feeling my belly had- or was that just the rapid weight gain I had experienced so far? I digress). He moved the monitor over my pelvis and we heard the loud sounds of a heartbeat. My heartbeat. It was very loud, but I knew it was beating too slowly to be the pulse of my child. He moved the monitor all around and pressed down and patiently listened. He looked at me and then moved it all around until finally he concluded that he did not have good positioning. He performed an exam and was confident that my cervix was closed and all looked well. I left the office the same way I came in, unsure if I was still pregnant or not.
I pondered that thought all day and all night and into the next day. It was now the evening of the family gathering. Aunty Earlin has passed away in the middle of the night, and there was a somber feeling among the family. Had my baby died the same day as Aunty Earlin? Or was she just fine, swaying to the motion of my movements and would one day be surprised to hear about how paranoid I was. I was so excited to go see Ayanna and everyone else I hadn’t seen in over a year. There were sooo many relatives, and the Lion had only meet them once before. As soon as we got the party I started to feel crampy. Or was it in my head? I headed to the bathroom and confirmed the worst. There was bright red blood. I wanted to go home immediately. I wanted hubby to take me back to his mom’s house. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to meet the family and have fun. I would be cramping and crying, and that doesn’t make for a fun evening. Aunty Linda gave me some Panadol (basically Tylenol) and told me to lay down in the bedroom with the air on. All the aunts stopped in one by one to say hi and send comforting words. Everyone was so positive, saying that I was okay, and to remain hopeful. But I was bleeding! I had so much looked forward to seeing the entire family, and as folks arrived I heard the noise pick up. The boys were running around with their cousins, and I believed I was miscarrying. The next morning our flight was to leave at 8. We arrived after 6 at the airport to learn that our flight was canceled, and that the next flight would depart four days later. FOUR DAYS LATER! There were huge storms in the northeast which had grounded several of the planes, and our plane never left New York. By the grace of God, we were booked on a flight leaving at 9 AM the next morning. We left the airport and called the doctor straight away. He called a private hospital and ultrasound technician and told us the technician would be there waiting for us. It was about an hour drive. Hubby had mentioned earlier that morning there had to have been a reason why our flight was canceled and here it was.
At the hospital we checked in, paid $50 and I was seen immediately. The technician must have come straight from church, based on the clothes she was wearing. She turned on the machine and asked me if I was bleeding, having cramps, and how far along was I. She moved the device over my belly and searched for signs of life. I could not see the screen and asked if she could she anything. I was afraid that maybe my body had re-adsorbed the tissue? She hoovered over a point and turned the monitor towards me. There she was, my baby girl. She was in a heap in the corner of my uterus, and she wasn’t moving. I starred very hard at the screen, trying to see the flickering of her heart, but I couldn’t find it. I don’t know why I was looking so hard. I could tell she looked just about the same size that she looked at the last appointment four weeks ago. She should have grown. Her head shouldn’t have been so big in proportion to the rest of her body. I looked at the screen, but I had not yet accepted the obvious. It was understandable from all that was happening to me physically, but I had not accepted the fact. I thought, maybe if I stare a little bit more I will see a flutter. Finally, the technician turned off the machine. An aid came behind the curtain, and started explaining that I was septic and would need a D&C. They wanted to admit me to the hospital. There was no way I was having surgery in Trinidad. I discharged myself against medical advice and we headed home. I told my body it was over and it was okay release. I was able to get in touch with my midwife, and she told me that she was sorry, and to look at my two boys in their awesome perfection. She told me that God had blessed me with them and that I was surrounded by family. She told me that it was not a health risk if I started cramping and bleeding while traveling, as she did not believe I was at risk for hemorrhaging. Almost immediately after I hung up the phone with her it began. I cramped and bleed and by that evening the worst had passed. The next morning I stalked up on painkillers and traveled safely back home to the states.
More happened on this trip than we ever imagined happening, but we were blessed. My midwife helped me more than she realized. Instead of looking at this as a loss, I looked at the beautiful gifts in Gadget and his brother. Hubby commented on how strong they must really be. Out of my five pregnancies, we have two beautiful boys and we are blessed and overflowing with abundance.