In this memoir, a romance novelist recounts the most painful experience in her life: the loss of a baby who lived but a few hours after his premature birth.
Castille (Make It Reign, 2018, etc.), whom readers meet in the book as Renee Johnson, learned she was seven to eight weeks pregnant when she visited her doctor’s office two weeks after having a Pap smear performed. It was a routine test, but she had been bleeding ever since the procedure. A few days later, the bleeding became more severe, and her best friend, Miah Hunter, brought her to the emergency room, where the doctor determined she had suffered “a threatened miscarriage.” Still, the baby appeared to be fine, with a strong heartbeat. This was the beginning of what would be a harrowing and traumatic time. The bleeding continued, and her pregnancy hormone level was dropping, plus she was losing amniotic fluid. The medical professionals kept track of the symptoms, but apparently did not know what was causing them. Nonetheless, the author was determined to give the tiny fetus a chance to make it. The mother of three daughters, she was estranged from her husband and had custody only of her youngest child, Leigh. Her home was already bursting at the seams—she was housing her sister, Katherine, and her two children, and Hunter was also living with her. The memoir, written in the style—and with the drama—of a novel, vividly portrays the stress and chaos of the author’s path through this unexpected, high-risk pregnancy. Here, she wants to raise an issue she claims the doctors’ seemed determined to ignore: “There is nothing that anyone, anywhere can tell me to convince me that the Pap smear I had the day before I began bleeding and never stopped, was not a trigger in a series of events that eventually led to” the loss of the baby. Despite occasionally careless prose—“He sauntered into the room, still wearing the surgical scrubs and poufy had he had dawned to perform another C-Section earlier”—the narrative is compelling.
A heartfelt cautionary tale for women of child-bearing age.