Sometimes occasional conversations prove to be full of meaning. One day, looking for a home for a stray dog, I messaged a group for mothers with many children. In the morning, just before breakfast, I received a phone call. Although the woman calling was a complete stranger, we spoke for more than an hour. After talking about the dog’s fate, we switched to our children. Mothers can endlessly discuss their pregnancies and the related experiences, including the inexhaustible, unparalleled joy of childbirth. This time, however, we were discussing something that people do not usually share unless they have a strong uncompromising faith in Christ.
“So, Masha, you have recently had a baby? A girl? You are brave. I have two little children as well. We have two parties (laughs). The older ones have already grown up. My husband and I thought that women do not give birth after 30, although I really wanted to. I was on duty at work on New Year’s Eve, and I was so tired that I thought, ‘If only I could go on maternity leave!’ At the same time, I do love my job in a mental hospital and consider it unique. I have been working there all my life and I really cannot complain. Believe it or not, after some time I discovered that I was pregnant.
Interestingly enough, six months after giving birth, I went to see a friend who is a good gynaecologist. First she told me that I had a fibroid and needed surgery, and then she added… that I was pregnant. With tears in her eyes she asked me to go for an abortion. I was thirty-eight, after three C-sections. Fibroids and scar tissue form a dangerous combination that left me with no options. I cannot remember how I left the clinic. I went to another reputable doctor, and he told me the same thing. I was crying. I could not accept that.
Finally, I went to my district gynaecologist. She turned out to be the only doctor who supported me. She told me that despite all their merits the doctors that I had seen did not know God’s will and that one thing was for sure: He was sending me a child. She said, “If the fibroid pushes the baby out, at least you will have tried to give him a chance. At least you won’t have to torture yourself all your life wondering whether it could have been born or not. These thoughts always come sooner or later.”
That doctor was old enough to be my mother. She used to be an operating gynaecologist, but after watching some mothers undergo multiple abortions while others were dreaming of becoming pregnant she stopped operating and became a district therapist.
She was on the phone with me throughout my pregnancy. In the final trimester, I had a pinched sciatic nerve, so I was forced to ride in a wheelchair. My legs were refusing to hold me. Now I see that it was all for the better. After that pinching, all the details began to take shape, coming together one after another. Now I know for sure that the Lord was leading me by the hand in His inscrutable ways.
I started to feel some discomfort, which made me nervous, so I decided to go for an additional ultrasound.
“Well, that’s all right. It happens. Once you give birth, it either goes away or it doesn’t,” the doctor smiled. I love the way some doctors say these things just like that. I was almost offended, but then he said, “Let us have a look. Maybe you do have some pain.” Next he saw that my operation scar had thinned to .3 millimetres. “If it were up to me, I’d have you operated on by tomorrow. Go to the perinatal center immediately, so they can look after you.”
The perinatal clinic was packed with patients from all over the city. They weren’t too happy with my appearance, but finally I was admitted. In the morning my back snapped. It was like a sciatica attack. The pain was not strong, and I would probably not even pay attention to it, but it happened precisely during a doctor’s round. The strict doctor looked at me and asked what was wrong.
“Sciatica, I think.”
“Why is your face turning blue then? Stretcher, quick!”
A second later I was being rolled down the corridor to the intensive care. The worst thing is that at such moments they do not tell you anything.
“Am I going to die, doctor?”
“Wait, we’ll see in a minute.”
That click in the back turned out to be a complete rupture of the uterus. I was 35 weeks pregnant. They helped me within minutes, just the amount of time the baby and I had left. They gave the baby to me. I couldn’t hold her – my hands were tied. But kissed the child and spoke to it. Then I heard: “4 kilograms, 9 on the Apgar scale.”
I was in intensive care for a while. The scar was very large. The fallopian tubes had to be blocked, because the uterus had used its resources completely. The myoma was successfully removed.
On the following day, the baby stopped breathing. It may have been the blood that had gotten into her lungs, I was not sure. All I know is that those days while she was in intensive care were the worst in my life.
Now she is two years old. She and her sister are talkative and smart. I did not breastfeed my elder children – I was too busy with work. Now I am taking my time. I understand that these are my last children. After this it will be their turn to give birth. I also realise that for these children I will eventually become an “aged mother”. Teenagers with the “older parent” syndrome often come to work with us. They are embarrassed and discouraged. Yet, I am ready and not afraid. I know that we can handle it. I am still breastfeeding and I do not get enough sleep, but someday I will erect a monument to these doctors.
Recently I learned that the ultrasound doctor who put me under observation died last year. He was a good man and helped many people.”
Tranlsated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds