A Reader Shares Her Story in Honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

In honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, a reader was kind and courageous enough to share her story with Hoboken Girl in hopes to provide comfort and encourage others to know that they are not alone. Many people have difficulty sharing their experiences of loss, but Megha wants to normalize the conversation around it, specifically infant loss. This is Megha Patel’s story.

infant loss awareness story

On January 24th, Megha and her husband Sahajanand found out that they were expecting their first baby. “My TTC journey has been a six-year journey, the first four years trying to convince my husband to start a family and the last two and half years of actually trying,” Megha told Hoboken Girl.

After not being able to conceive naturally, they opted for fertility {IUI} assistance. “The countless injections and 6:00AM bloodwork and ultrasound appointments were totally worth it when we read ‘pregnant’ — God had finally answered our prayers and we were truly blessed to start our journey as a family of three,” she said.

Her pregnancy progressed successfully and well into the end of Megha’s first trimester they were told that they were going to have a little girl. But, life took a turn soon after.

“Working as a physical therapist, I ended up contracting COVID. On April 3rd, I had every possible symptom related to the disease, the worst one being high fevers that lasted for weeks. At this point, in-person doctor visits were not accessible to me due to my fevers. So my over-the-phone conversations with my OB resulted in being advised to continue taking Tylenol around the clock and continue monitoring my symptoms,” she explains.

On Easter Sunday, Megha wound up in the Emergency Department as her symptoms worsened with her resting heart rate being in the 140s. The ultrasound showed that the baby was doing okay.  She says, “I kept thinking that we were trying to survive for each other.”

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to do anything more for her in the Emergency Department, so Megha was sent home. During the last week of April, her respiratory symptoms began to worsen. “Thankfully my husband who is a respiratory therapist pulled me through this one. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would have survived. Most nights I was home alone as he was out battling the COVID storm at work. He is one of the bravest humans I know. The stress of working and taking care of his pregnant wife sick with COVID couldn’t have been easy,” Megha shares.

Just a few weeks later on May 5th, Megha and her husband heard the words that no soon-to-be parents would ever want to hear. “There are some things that are of concern,” her maternal-fetal doctor told them. “She diagnosed me with Intrauterine Growth Restriction {IUGR} due to placental insufficiency. I walked out of that visit in tears and in complete shock. Why us?”

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Their plan going forward was to watch and wait to see if things would change within the next two weeks. Megha told us, “These two weeks felt like an eternity and I felt so helpless. I did a lot of research and read countless peer-reviewed articles on IUGR and placenta insufficiency in hopes to reverse it. The reality was that there wasn’t a real cure in my case.”

Like any other expecting parents would, Megha and her husband sought out a second opinion and reached out to university hospitals like UPenn and John Hopkins to see if they would take her case, but between COVID travel restrictions, they were not able to do so.

“Emotionally I was drained and of course the thought of why ‘me,’ kept running through my mind. Was this all COVID related, I thought to myself?”

The follow-up scans unveiled that the blood supply from Megha to the baby was being further depleted, but she wasn’t ready to give up just yet. The couple decided to go for a third opinion in New York City, but to no avail, Megha and her husband seemed to be out of options. “That’s when it hit me that our baby girl’s odds were stacked against her. She was literally fighting for us. She was fighting to survive.”

Simultaneously, Megha started to become preeclamptic and the chances of the blood flow reversing from the cord to herself were also increasing. She was told that the only way for her preeclampsia not to worsen was to give birth.

infant loss awareness story

“My husband and I had to make a very very tough decision at this point. He said to me ‘I’m not ready to lose you. We will have another chance at this, I promise.’ I totally understood where he was coming from, but I still wanted to keep fighting, because she was definitely still fighting for us,” Megha said. “I didn’t choose myself over her nor did I choose this path because of preeclampsia. We chose this path because it was irreversible.”

On May 27th, Megha was admitted for induced termination. “I was in labor for 14 hours with epidural and all. Our angel Nidhi S. Patel was born on May 28th at 8:51AM. She was beautiful and perfect. We held her lifeless body so tight for those few hours.”

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“Life after the loss was a blur. The days passed with tears and medication. Getting out of bed seemed impossible. Postpartum depression is real and really scary. I still feel anger, guilt, and numbness. Just because I find the courage to pull myself together doesn’t mean I’m okay. Sometimes struggling to just be ‘okay’ is hard.”

Coping

Megha and her husband are finding ways to cope with the loss of their baby, together. “Are we trying to find the strength for each other? Yes. We are struggling with our own individual pain but we are trying to heal this pain one day at a time. Our healing will take time but we will get there. We’re not a family of three yet, but we will be stronger than ever before,” she told us.

infant loss awareness story

“The picture above was taken on 10/1/20, which would have been my due date, so we choose to spread Nidhi’s ashes on this day, letting her live in eternal peace, says Megha”

“To our family and friends, we thank you for your love, support, and strength for getting us through our darkest days. We couldn’t have done it without you all. Every call and text helped us in our healing. To our daughter, Nidhi {which translates to ‘treasure’}, Mom, and Dad love you very much, and thank you for choosing us to be your guardians.”

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Written by:

Victoria is HG's Editorial Assistant. She is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square, and Jersey City. Through playing softball in town for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, Hoboken Fire Museum/Hoboken Historical Museum, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting, or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.