Disaster? I have experienced one. A few in fact. Let me share with you one that would change how I deal with pregnancy, prenatal care and parenting.
35th Anniversary Of The Chernobyl Disaster
On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant catastrophe occurred. Although we were living only 100 kilometres away, in Kyiv, we only had official confirmation about two weeks after the incident.
Fellow students, who were interns in various hospitals across Kyiv, reported seeing badly burned people being quietly whisked into their facilities. The minimal access we had to international media broadcasts was blocked. We were able to sporadically hear the British Broadcasting Corporation. However, the news was too big to keep it from leaking. Too many students were travelling outside of the country for information of the disaster to be kept on the “down low,” for too long.
Pregnant with my first child, I was one of the first to get out of the country. Months later, my child – a boy – was born, dead, a stillbirth. I blamed the Soviet Government for my loss. With some research and other information from some medical professionals, the possible reasons for my baby’s death became clear.
The stress of being in the country for months after the accident, eating and drinking polluted food and water, were likely to be blamed. The actual effects of the nuclear substances that wafted across Kyiv, were also thought to be somehow responsible for my loss.
Twenty-eight years later, sitting in a waiting room in Edmonton, this memory flooded back to me.
Another potential disaster.
On July 1, 2014, at 1:40 in the morning, my first grandchild, a girl, was born. Her arrival was unexpected by the medical professional. But, something told me she was going to get here earlier than the due date of August 4. When my daughter sent me the picture from her first ultrasound I was still in Jamaica on an extended visit. After offering congratulations and the usual questions such as when, what the sex, etc., I remarked to her “Your baby is going to get here by mid-July.” I just knew.
Returning to Canada in April was not my first choice. I really wanted to remain in Jamaica, the land of my birth. The actualities on the ground were not what I had hoped they would be and something was telling me it was time to leave. News of a grandchild determined where my destination in Canada would be.
Upon arrival, I did my own assessment of my daughter’s pregnancy and her physical movement. I repeated to her, possibly more often than she cared to hear, that the baby was going to be here early. Approaching the end of June, I noticed bodily changes in her that took me straight back to Kyiv in 1986. They also took me back to October 1987 – when she was born and I was experiencing exactly what she was.
History Repeating Itself?
That was when it slowly dawned on me that the stillbirth of my first child was not necessarily due to the Chernobyl accident but my own health deficiencies and the poor medical care that I was receiving as a severely anaemic woman. My daughter is too.
On June 30, Abi, my daughter called me at work around 5:00 p.m. to say she was still feeling poorly and suffering severe leg and lower back pain. Without a second thought, I told her to get dressed, we are going to the hospital. We arrived around 6:00 p.m. and an Intern examined her around 8:30. His diagnosis was that back pain was “a regular occurrence in pregnant women” and he was going to send her home with some Tylenol!
Those who know me, do know that I can and will become dangerously annoyed when my loved ones are threatened. My looks will kill when my intelligence is questioned. The Intern found out as well.
After schooling him on the shared condition between my daughter and me; how it presents itself and what her medical professional since the pregnancy has not done, he ordered a battery of tests and requested a specialist, senior obstetrician/surgeon consult.
Said Senior Doctor confirmed what my Spirit was telling me and what Mahalia, my Kitten and first granddaughter, was desperately trying to communicate all day. It was time to get her out.
Lesson Learned And Disaster Averted
Slumped on the floor outside of the Operating Room, weeping after seeing my granddaughter – all 4lbs 1 ounce of her for the first time – all I wanted was to go see my daughter in recovery. She was wheeled out almost an hour later and her first words to me were “Did you see the baby?”
Several mornings later, changing my granddaughter’s diaper as she fussed my heart sang. The cycle has broken.
Death is not something I fear. Not anymore. The death of my first child and the many transitions that I have had the honour of being present for in two hospitals in Alberta have taught me that this is a circle – the circle of Life.
Five years later, my second granddaughter arrived in August. No issues. Regular procedure. On-time. And, a healthy eater!
Once the lesson is learned, history will not be repeated.
A disaster has great potential to teach you if you are willing to feel your fear, observe and learn. Follow us on our social media platforms to get our daily insights on how to do just that. We are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Be Blessed. Be A Blessing,