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No to giving up

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

No to giving up

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Harriette Skeete is like most mothers after starting a family, wanting a decent gap of time between children. After enjoying her daughter Annaleyah for four years, Harriette and her husband Adrian decided it was time to expand their family.
“We came off contraception and were trying for about nine months to a year and were actively trying because we wanted more children,” Harriette said. “We didn’t expect it to happen right away, and we kind of gave ourselves about twelve months just because of the contraception.”
It was earlier this year back in March when the couple found out that their efforts did bear fruit and Harriette was pregnant.
“We were extremely elated when we got the news,” Harriette revealed. “My husband got on Facebook and told his friends – I was only seven weeks [pregnant] but he was so excited. I was glad that he was happy and was showing it in that way. I didn’t really have any fears with regard to loss even though I had a miscarriage before we had Annaleyah, so I kind of went into it pretty safe.”
Harriette said that she did have some early warning signs in terms of spotting during the first few weeks but it was nothing to be alarmed about.
“I spoke to my doctor about it and he said we would just monitor it, but everything was progressing well,” Harriette said.
“Then as soon as I hit 12 weeks, that was it – I was lying down in bed and I almost felt like a popping, a disconnect or separation occurring in my body. I don’t quite know how to explain it.
“I remember it was early in the morning; I woke up my husband and went to the bathroom and everything was just gushing and gushing blood.”
At that point Harriette and her husband were clear that she was in the process of having a miscarriage.
“I had never experienced that because when I had the miscarriage before, I was five months pregnant and had to deliver the baby, which was very hard,” she said.
“They had to induce me because at that point the baby was fully formed so they had to deliver it and give me a [dilatation and curettage]. I had the labour pains and everything but we chose not to look at the baby. My husband and I gave specific instructions not to see it. I didn’t want an image in my head so we decided not to look. As traumatic as that was, this miscarriage felt more traumatic because of physically seeing this child being drained from me. There was so much blood.”
Harriette and her husband immediately went to the doctor who confirmed everything.
“It was a really emotional journey because you are there thinking, oh my God,” she said.
“After the fact we confirmed that there was nothing physically wrong with me and I heard that these things happen, but I was like, why do they always seem to happen to me?
“But we learnt from going through this situation again, even though it felt more traumatic.”
It was at that point that Harriette’s faith really came in to help her and her husband deal with their loss.
“We prayed about it and talked a lot about what happened, so I thought the healing process probably came a lot quicker even though it was more traumatic,” she said.
“My husband was great and he was really strong. He was very open about the whole process. He knows I’m a talker and for me, my healing is talking, so I felt like I got over it a lot quicker than the first one.”
Even though Harriette said she got over it, there was one incident that shocked her.
“My husband had a friend who was having a bay shower and he said, let’s go and we’ll buys some stuff,” Harriette recalled.
“But the day of the shower I just broke down and I told him I can’t go. I was imagining seeing this girl fully pregnant opening her gifts and I just started bawling and he understood. I was really shocked by those emotions but they just came out.”
Despite the miscarriage, Harriette said she and her husband never stopped trying to conceive.
“The reason we never stopped was because of our faith in God and we knew that something good would come,” she said.
“We had the example of Annaleyah, so we knew that we couldn’t stop just because of the miscarriage. We didn’t let that deter us.”
But when Harriette found out she was pregnant a few months later, she admitted to being petrified.
“I was scared,” she said.
“I cried and I didn’t cry [for] joy, I cried in fear – I thought, what happens now if I lose this baby? I spoke to my husband about it and he was really cool and calm, but I had to do a lot of praying.
“He wanted to tell people but I was like, no – absolutely not. We told people when I was about four months pregnant.”
Harriette said her biggest hurdle was coming up to the 12-week mark and once she passed that without a repeat of what happened, she was relieved.
Now at 23 weeks, Harriette has that unmistakable glow that so many expectant mothers have.
“As my faith has grown I feel a lot more okay with this pregnancy, because whatever the reason God allowed it, if only to help other people who might be going through it, I know it is for a purpose,” she said.
“So now I don’t have that fear anymore and I feel pretty good.”