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CAMEROON: Our Baby Didn't Survive

Emily Miki
Posted July 14, 2016 from Cameroon

After a devastating miscarriage, Emily Miki is determined to see all pregnant women receive the support and care they deserve.

My pregnancy was three months, two weeks and four days old when a doctor told me the words I feared most: “Here is the heart, but there is no heartbeat.”I heard machine sounds and the doctor pressing buttons.My baby was no longer living.

Earlier that morning, my fiancé and I had gone to the hospital for a consult for the lower abdominal pain and bleeding I experienced in the first trimester of my pregnancy. I now knew this was my womb trying to expel the dead fetus.

I had started my antenatal care early and followed all the treatments. The hospital ran all the necessary lab tests a month ago. My fiancé and I wondered, what could have caused our baby’s death?

The doctor said it could be from malaria that I had previously or maybe an infection. My thoughts went immediately to stressful moments in the first trimester of my pregnancy.Like many pregnant women in my country, I experienced a lot of stress.Earlier on, when I saw my work plan for the year, I had questioned whether a baby was a job I wanted to take on. My partner and I decided to keep our baby, but it wasn't easy for me. It was stressful trying to keep up with a demanding schedule—and I believe this is the same for many other women out there.

Family stress and financial stress are also common.For instance, the 20,000 Francs I spent on my first antenatal appointment is more than many women in Cameroon are able to spend.

There could be so many reasons why the baby didn't survive. Many pregnancies end in a miscarriage, and usually there is nothing that could have been done to prevent it. What I know for sure is that the pain of this experience can only be managed with the support of family and friends.

The doctor gave me two options. I could wait for days or weeks for the womb to expel the dead fetus. Or the doctor could induce labor and perform a dilation and curatage (D&C).

The next day, my fiancé stood by my side the whole time as the doctor induced labor. The procedure was as painful as the labor pains I experienced while having my daughter two years ago. But this was a different kind of pain because I wasn't going to go home with a little angel in my arms. I wouldn’t have a smallie to grow and laugh with me and to cater to and care for.

My fiancé's support as he held my hands during the induced labor is the kind of support every husband, brother, sister, and friend should offer to an expectant mother during pregnancy. What if our whole society supported women throughout their pregnancies?

What if the antenatal visits were free? What if nurses and midwives asked questions about the situation at home? What if they invited family members for counseling sessions and health education programs on how to care for expectant mothers? There is supposed to be a Community Nurse who follows up the care situation of patients in their communities and neighborhoods. But in practice, this follow up often doesn’t happen.

It is time to prioritize the health needs of expectant women.All women deserve support and care during their pregnancies.

Comments 17

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Mata from California
Jul 15, 2016
Jul 15, 2016

Emily,

Thank you for sharing your story.  It is true that sometimes pregnancies self terminate for unknown reasons.  I don't think knowing that really helps ease the pain in your heart though.  The stress you describe is felt by so many women around the world. We take care of our families, we work, we try and survive the best we can.

I'm so glad for you that you have a loving and supportive partner.  You are absolutely right about how important loving support is for expecting mothers as well as young families.  We must all try and work at making this a reality.

Best to you and your family.

Emily Miki
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

Hi Mata,

Thanks for reaching out with the encouraging words. Indeed our call as women is a great one, so much expectations from us and so many roles to meet up too. We rely on the encouragements from those around us to be able to sustain all.

Having a wonderful community like this is also very encouraging and works magic in enforcing us.

Thanks sister,

Nusrat Ara
Jul 20, 2016
Jul 20, 2016

You have raised some very important questions. If only things were like we wanted them to be. They aren't and it is our job to strive for exactly that.

Love

Emily Miki
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

Hi Ara,

Yeah it's up to us to walk the change we want and make our world a better place.

Let us not relent.

Immaculate Amoit
Jul 20, 2016
Jul 20, 2016

Emily.

I am sorry for your loss. I am a grieving mother too and feel your loss too. May God strengthen you and your fiance'.

Its not proper for women to go through our experiences we can change their story. You have done well to share your powerful story. we need to push our policy makers in health to do more in maternal health care.

Much Love

Emily Miki
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

Hey Immah,

My warmest regards to you too. I can understand you so well. Stay strong sis and let's together help the other women out there who have no voice and are going through worse pain.

Let's do this!

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Jul 20, 2016
Jul 20, 2016

Hi Emily Sorry you experienced that. I am glad because you are using this experience to cause a change in your community. In Cameroon, pregnancy is a death trap because of the poor health facilities we have Sound it loud those deaf ears will hear and act soonest.

Emily Miki
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

Hi Masalien's,

Thanks for sharing my moment and also thanks for the new phrase you just taught me, " sound it loud those deaf ears will hear and act". Am so taking this new quote home with me.

Thanks again!

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 20, 2016
Jul 20, 2016

Dear Emily, Sorry about your loss. I commend your courage for using your painful experience to highlight a pressing need in our community and in trying to help other women in a similiar condition. I do agree the cost of Ante-natal clinic is high. I can just try to imagine how difficult that could be for someone whose economic standing makes it impossible to get that care. More courage

Emily Miki
Jul 15, 2017
Jul 15, 2017

Thanks Arrey!

Adahmbah
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

Hello Emily,

Thanks for sharing your plight and sorry for your lost. Your story brings back memories of a sister and a friend we lost last month during child birth.She lives behind three young girls of ages 7.5 and a one month old baby.So painful and frustrating.Again i remember the Lakatini episode of where three souls were lost due to negligence.

What if only antenatal visits were free? What if only nurses and midwives could change their attitudes and follow up their patients in communities and schools. If all  pregnant women and girls were given the support and care they deserved during their pregnancies.what a world it will be.

Thanks for sharing

Adah

Emily Miki
Jul 17, 2017
Jul 17, 2017

My sis there are just too much unanswered questions. God has to help us in this our work.

Sophie Ngassa
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

Dear sis,

Your story is so touching to all women.

Thanks for sharing.

Lots of love,

Sophie.

Emily Miki
Jul 17, 2017
Jul 17, 2017

Thanks Sis!

Olutosin
Jul 23, 2016
Jul 23, 2016

Hello Emily,

I can feel you. I just had same experience last year September, the physical pain could not be compared to the psychological and emotional ones. Thank God for supportive partners.

Why? is still what baffles me till today, I dont know why it happened. 

Mbithi
Jul 25, 2016
Jul 25, 2016

Emily

You are a strong woman.

Am sure there are so many women out there who need you.You are doing a noble job,every woman you touch is a whole community and the world you touch.

Mbithi with regards

mkaplan
Jul 27, 2016
Jul 27, 2016

Emily, thank you for sharing your story and my deepest sympathies for your loss. You bring up an excellent point that there should be more support for mothers going through pregnancy--no one should have to be alone. My thoughts and prayers are with you and know that your voice is being heard.