Wednesday August 26th
She hasn’t moved all afternoon. I’m used to her kicking throughout the day, especially when I have something sweet. I start to cry uncontrollably; I feel like I can’t breathe.
Maybe she’s just sleeping, and insha’Allah she’ll wake up later, when I lay down.
I start crying my eyes out. I knew. My husband calms me down and convinces me to get some sleep; we would go to the hospital first thing in the morning.
Although it’s not something I was conscious of, my views on having a family were very ‘American.’ I wanted to finish school, work for a year or two, and then maybe I would think about it. It took the better part of my first trimester to get over the fact that I was pregnant. I thought I had my life planned out. I thought I knew what I wanted.
Thursday August 27th
I immediately got up and followed the midwife into the ward. She asks me what is wrong. I tell her that the baby hasn’t kicked for 24 hours. Without taking her eyes off my record she tells me to have some cold water.
“That always gets them going.”
I wait five minutes and still, nothing. The midwife tells me to have a seat; she will call me. I remembered Mom telling me that when she was having my brother he slept for twenty-four hours straight and scared her to death. She’s probably just sleeping.
Insha’Allah nothing bad will come out of this. I’m probably just panicking for no reason. Insha’Allah there is nothing to worry about.
My name is called, and a senior midwife ushers me into an examination room. She begins to search for the heartbeat. In the adjacent room I can hear someone hooked up to a monitor; a constant little heartbeat echoes in the ward. At that point in time, there was no sound more beloved to me than hearing my baby’s heart.
She searches for about four minutes. My eyes began to swell with tears as I follow her instructions to breathe in and then out.
She turns to me and asks how long it’s been since I felt the kicking. When I tell her, she asks why I hadn’t come in yesterday. I begin to tell her that I figured… She abruptly cuts me off, saying: “With a baby we don’t figure – we don’t take chances.”
She asks me to wait there and leaves the room. I begin to cry again. Now, all I want to know is that my baby is alive. I’m supposed to be a mommy. I’ve mentally prepared myself for this. This is the most important job I will ever have.
I am escorted into the exact room I had been in just two weeks ago. In fact, the same technician that handled my five-month sonogram greets me. I am sure, but I am hoping with all my heart that I’m wrong.
In a matter of seconds and with a few clicks of the scanner, she confirms the thought that has been haunting me for the last day and a half.
“I’m so sorry, love.”
I started sniffling and try to hold back tears. “What happens now?”
We are taken to a small empty room with a window and two chairs. We sit quietly and after I cry some more, I call my Mom and tell her the news. She is distraught, in sheer disbelief. I feel her pain; she is helpless, all the way across the Atlantic.
“You’re a Mom, and no one can take that away from you.”
Her words resonate in my mind. I sit still, and stare out the window.
Sunday August 30th
Sajdah M. Othman was delivered at five and a half months; she weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces. She was small and still. There was a peace about her. I held her for a little under fifteen minutes, and then she was whisked away by the midwife.
All the insha’Allahs in every other sentence. Every other thought. Muslims tend to sprinkle their conversation with religious words, but it wasn’t like that. I knew of the story in Surat Al-Kahf, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not say it, and revelation was withheld for a little while. The verse was sent down as a reminder to say “insha’Allah” so I was adamant on remembering to say it. I hadn’t, however, fully internalized what it meant. Not until now.
This was my reminder that Allah has ultimate control over our affairs. We can try and plan and make decisions to the best of our abilities. In the end, it is Allah that wills it or not. Insha’Allah isn’t some magic word, that when said, things have to occur. It means exactly what it says: “If Allah wills it.”
This is what He willed.
I accept that.
I considered calling this post ‘Losing Sajdah,’ but when I thought about it in its proper context, she is one of the only things saved for the hereafter, while most else in this world is to be lost.