Breaking the Silence: Part II

Photo by Nadezhda Moryak from Pexels

Missed Part 1? Click Here.

“I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots…”

Zora Neale Hurston

Except, I was not actually miscarrying. I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.

“An ectopic pregnancy is not a miscarriage. It doesn’t even qualify as a pregnancy loss under “recurrent pregnancy loss” which is one of the criteria that needs to be met before being referred to a fertility specialist.”

– littlesicilianmemoirs.home.blog/2021/12/12/my-pregnancy-losses/

Ectopic pregnancies make up 1-2% of all conceptions. That’s about 1 in 50 pregnancies in the United States. An ectopic pregnancy is an embryo (fertilized egg) that has been implanted outside of the uterus (womb), the normal site for implantation.

In a normal pregnancy, the egg is fertilized by the sperm inside the Fallopian tube. The embryo then travels through the tube and reaches the uterus 3 to 4 days later. However, suppose the Fallopian tube is blocked or damaged and unable to transport the embryo to the uterus.

In that case, the embryo may implant in the lining of the tube, cervix, or ovary, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy.

Since pregnancies that grow outside the uterus cannot develop normally, and because they can cause the organ they are developing in to rupture, medical or surgical treatment is required as soon as possible.

The Fallopian tube (where 95% of ectopics happen) cannot support the growing embryo and, if left untreated, can result in the death of the embryo and the death of the mother. For this reason, ectopic pregnancies are considered medical emergencies.

Ectopics are at the center of the controversial Roe vs. Wade abortion ban. Although treatment for this condition is separate from abortion care, overturning Roe could be dangerous for women experiencing ectopics.

This was the cause of the pain that sent me to the emergency room on November 13, 2020, with my legs in the air and three doctors surrounding my area. (See part one.)


Described as a spontaneous abortion through a miscarriage (although, as we’ve covered earlier, an ectopic is not quite a miscarriage), they treated me with Methotrexate on November 20, 2020. When I went in to get the injection, they directed me to the cancer wing, which further disturbed me. I didn’t know Methotrexate was initially used to treat certain cancers; some derived from placental tissue.

Methotrexate is given as a single dose in the hospital’s cancer wing. It effectively destroys ectopic pregnancy tissue and allows it to be reabsorbed by the body. It can also kill normal pregnancy tissue.

In addition to avoiding pregnancy for at least three months, I couldn’t drink alcohol, have foods that contained folic acid, and I had to stay out of the sun for a week after having the injection.

I also had to have a weekly blood test to confirm my HCG levels (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) were getting lower. I spent so much time in the hospital at the end of 2020 that the doctors knew me by name.

After enduring weeks of HCG tests, I was almost finished with the process.

And then, on September 23, 2020, my mom died.

I flew out to Chicago for the funeral when I was supposed to be resting and finishing my last round of tests.

After the funeral, I returned home to complete a couple of weeks, and then I was done.

Or, so I thought.


In the summer of 2020, I experienced pain in my left foot that turned out to be Plantar Fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis), an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. It is one of the most common forms of heel pain and can usually be treated by simply wearing a better shoe.

But like everything in my life, my case was different.

Instead of going to the emergency room, I figured my insurance could be better spent with a specialist, so I booked an appointment with a Podiatrist, a medical professional specializing in treating disorders of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.

Nothing they did worked. Not the massages or pain medication.

When the pain continued, and I could barely walk on it, they gave me an injection, which I had tried to avoid. The steroid is injected into the most painful part of your plantar fascia, helping ease the pain and keep the inflammation down.

It worked, and I have been pain-free ever since. I also changed my house shoes (wearing those specifically designed for the condition. They were ugly but wearing them helped.) I have also been sticking to a certain kind of shoe, such as New Balances.

But while the injection helped, I believe it contributed to my miscarriage that summer, which happened months before the November ectopic. (This one was an actual miscarriage.)

2022

A year passed, and in February of this year (22), I discovered I was pregnant again. I was hopeful and had scheduled my confirmation appointment.

And then I felt that all too familiar low abdominal pain.

It was excruciating, and I could not wait for the appointment. It started that Friday, subsided the weekend, and on Tuesday, the pain was back and felt worse. I thought that if I was in labor, this is how it must feel. I called my doctor and went in early for the appointment.

Instead of a confirmation of pregnancy, I was sent to emergency surgery. Not only was it another ectopic, but it was worse than the first time.

They needed to remove my right Fallopian tube.

To be continued…

Ransom Note For my Fallopian Tube Back

Photo by cottonbro on pexels

leave
a fresh caesar salad
a bear hug
a tall glass of Merlot
the truth
a 90s R&B CD
four normal periods
prayers
and a handwritten poem
by my bedside
by the next
new moon.


PS: Breaking the Silence part two is up tomorrow. Be sure you have read part one for the backstory.

PPS. I am back on YouTube. Subscribe here. Also, be sure to follow me on Tik Tok to hear more poems. My name there is the same, yecheilyah.

Don’t Forget to Write

Even though I didn’t know much when I published my first book, I am glad I took the leap. Without that first, there would not be a fourteenth. My first book was:

  • Self-Published through Lulu
  • Had a generic cover
  • Was not professionally edited
  • Was not professionally formatted

From the Depths of a Woman’s Heart was a poetry book I published in 2010. It was the first book I ever sold, a collection of poems I had written going back to High School and coming up to the present. Although I had missed the mark in many areas, people still bought it. 

I am not saying to publish an unedited book and slap on a generic cover. That would go against everything I’ve ever written in this series. Ya’ll know I don’t play that. I have since retired that book and a few other books and even republished some books because when you know better, you do better.

I am saying that you just have to write the book at some point, even if you don’t know all the answers. From the Depths laid the foundation for me to get used to the Self-Publishing process, analyze what I did wrong, and improve the next time. My first several books were kind of like a practice run for me to learn and grow.

Nine times out of ten, aspiring authors who express interest in Self-Publishing have not written a book yet. And sadly, many of them spend a lot of time figuring out if Self-Publishing is for them. While there is nothing wrong with this, it can get in the way of writing a book to publish.  

After having written the book, you might even decide that Self-Publishing is not for you, and that’s okay. 


It’s easy to get sucked up in the never-ending sinkhole that is Self-Publishing advice. Everyone has an opinion about how it should be done, and everybody and they mama is an expert.

No wonder writers are confused and overwhelmed with the process.

Let me simplify it for you: 

Start by writing the book.

Before you pull your hair out over how to get your story into the hands of readers, make sure you actually have a story for them to read.

Once you have a completed manuscript, you will better understand the information you need. You can ignore what does not apply and focus on what does. 

Having something written helps you be selective in who you listen to and intentional about the direction you want to go. 

Don’t be so busy researching how to start that you forget that the biggest lessons come from action.

How do you get started with Self-Publishing?

First, write the book.


Need more Indie Author Tips? Check out the archive of posts here.

Breaking the Silence: Part I

Photo by Alina Blumberg from Pexels


“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

Zora Neale Hurston

Friday, November 13, 2020

It felt like I had given birth with nothing to show for it.

I was lying on my back in the emergency department of Wellstar Paulding Emergency Hospital with my legs open, my feet in the stirrups. I prayed the doctors examining and whispering over my vajayjay would hurry up. At first, it was just one doctor, but her face did not do a good job of concealing her concern. I could tell the amount of blood was overwhelming her. She called in someone else, and before I knew it, there were three doctors down there.

“Press down like you are having a bowel movement,” said one of them. She looked like she was in charge, and I was instantly terrified.

“What?”

“Just a little bit. Press down.”

So basically, you are telling me to push. Push what? OMG.

I pressed down until she said stop, and I could see them trying to stop the bleeding. I felt like I was on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.


I was thirteen years old in the summer of 2000, and my dad was sick and dying of cancer. The adults decided we should not witness his last days and sent us to Mississippi with our big sister. (My twin sister Tracey and me are the youngest of my dad’s crew, our other sibling’s already well into adulthood.) Here, at my sister’s house, I had the experience of my first period, and it was not modest or merciful. It came in as if it had been here before and stayed for a full seven days. 

No one had explained menstrual cycles to me, we were not being taught about it in school yet, and my sister was at work. Shocked, I cried as Tracey looked on in astonishment. We were terrified. We knew about it, but we did not fully understand it. My stepmother predicted mine would come soon, and every time she brought it up, I would get upset.

“What you gonna do? Stop it from happening? You gonna be the first woman to not have a period?”

I sat on the edge of her bed, brought my eyebrows together, wrinkled my forehead, and curled my lips up with eyes that said, “Yup.”

In my mind, I really thought I could stop it. That’s because I had no idea why it needed to happen in the first place. 

We eventually found my sister’s pads, but no one had taught us how to put them on, so I stuffed my panties with tissue and waited until my sister got home. 

Sadly, my story is not unique. When it comes to the woman’s body, many topics are considered so taboo they are rarely talked about or spoken of at all. Not even in the home. Sexual intercourse, the vagina, pregnancy, abortion, birth control, and menstrual cycles are topics people shy away from, like some kind of disease, leaving many women to learn through experience. Often, traumatic experiences. 

“I was around 13 when I asked my Aunt about sex because a lot of my friends at school were talking about it. Instantly, she asked why I’m around those kinds of friends and why I would ever ask that kind of question. She went on to tell me that I shouldn’t be having sex until I’m married and mentioned that I shouldn’t have a boyfriend either. I knew for sure that I was never going to come to her again.”

Afia, 18, of Pawtucket, RI

In the Black community, girls are sometimes shamed for even bringing these subjects up. When my stepmother scolded me for being upset about periods, she didn’t know she was setting me up to be ashamed of it. She never talked about how natural it was for women or asked me why the thought of it made me so upset in the first place. 

The teachable moment had passed, and like Afia, I knew I would never come to my stepmother to discuss periods. And, for a long time, I did not even like to say that word. I had developed a deep shame about it.

According to Netflix’s new series, The Principles of Pleasure, one name used to refer to the woman’s external parts back in the day was the Latin term Pudendum, from the verb Pudere, meaning “to make ashamed.”

“…let me know, and we can go get something,” my Aunt said loud enough for us to hear in the other room. 

She drank and played cards as they discussed prom and prom night. Her insinuation that if we planned to have sex, we should let her know “so we can go get something” was the extent of what I assumed was “the talk” about sex and birth control. There was no explanation of what she was even talking about. We were also already having sex by then. Not only did her comment make us ashamed to discuss sex with her at all, but Auntie was a couple of years too late anyway. 

But parents are people too, and “it’s difficult to recreate experiences that were not modeled for us, and many Black parents of today grew up with inaccurate and negative messages about sex,” says Melissa Carnagey, founder of Sex Positive Families, an organization that supports parents in having sexual health talks with their children.

Tracie Gilbert, Ph.D., Training and Technical Assistance Manager at Answer, which publishes Sex, Etc. had this to say about why some Black adults may not talk to their children about sex: 

“Black parents being nervous about talking with their daughters about sex is not only common but historically influenced by the desire to protect them from racism and white supremacist ideas about Black sexuality. Historical tropes about Black people included that they were hypersexual and had loose morals.” 

But this is not exclusive to Black women. All women have experienced similar traumatic experiences surrounding sex, menstrual cycles, and birth control.

These myths could be why some adults (like my Aunt, stepmother, and Afia’s Aunt) avoid the conversation altogether.


Like periods and sex, infertility is another topic many women do not openly talk about. As someone who has struggled with it for years, I hope to break the silence by sharing my experience.

How my menstrual cycle started would set the tone for the future of a tumultuous relationship between me and my reproductive system.

November 13, 2020

“Yes, she’s miscarrying,” said the doctor-in-charge.

To be continued…

Update: Click Here to Read Breaking the Silence Part 2

Writing Self-Care for Indie Authors Part I

As an Indie Author, I understand the pressure of writing and publishing books. Here are some tips to help you stay calm during the storm. I planned on giving several tips at a time. However, our first took up most of the space, so I have to break this down into two parts.

Get Out of Your Immediate Environment

This past weekend was my first time out of the house in a long time. Part of this cabin fever was that I could not go out due to doctor’s orders. I have not publicly spoken about the details yet, but I had an emergency surgery to treat an ectopic pregnancy in February. I won’t go into detail because I have an entire blog series coming about it. I will say that the physical recovery was long, and I found myself getting depressed.

Even after my stitches healed, I knew I was still a mess emotionally. I told my husband I needed to get out of the house. I didn’t care where we went, and it didn’t have to be anywhere far, but I needed to go. And if he didn’t want to go, I was going by myself.

I was being dramatic, but I was also serious.

This was totally my idea. I saw some kids doing it and thought, why not? Lol

We decided to visit Florida (the parts that aren’t too far away from us, like Jackson and St. Augustine). We just packed up and left, and I feel highly refreshed having taken that trip. We took a boat cruise, inhaled the fresh air, walked up 219 stairs of the Lighthouse, went out to dinner, drank wine, and acted like two High School kids with no curfew. This unplanned trip turned into one of our best romantic getaways.

But you do not have to visit another city.

Getting out of your environment can also mean changing where you write. I am notorious for going to the library and Barnes and Noble on a whim. When I get tired of my home office, I go somewhere else to work. I will even go sit at the kitchen table. Even something as simple as that can spark creativity.

Changing where you write is a healthy way of boosting your creative morale when you feel low, and this is not just my opinion.

“A walk in the fresh air and sunshine will release those beautiful endorphins, which boost happiness, and studies have shown that moving your body can even alleviate symptoms of depression. What’s more, physical activity outdoors and “exposure to nature” are known to have positive effects on your mental health.” 

– Katy Cowan

Ernest Hemingway drew inspiration for much of his work from his time in Spain and France. 

Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, moved from the U.K. to the U.S. in his 40s to branch out into screenwriting. 

Mark Twain, who sailed around the coast of the Mediterranean in 1869, wrote in his travelogue Innocents Abroad that travel is “fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

And Alex Haley’s research for Roots took him across the Atlantic. (The book took twelve years to write, but that’s part of tip #2. We’ll dive into not stressing out about the time it’s taking you to finish your book.) 

If you are in a creative funk, consider changing your environment. Traveling is an excellent way to do that. Although I didn’t bring my laptop (or a pen and pad), I still wrote on my phone’s notepad. I now have two new poems and a funny short about a conversation between my stomach, brain, and heart I wrote in my hotel room. It starts with my stomach asking why I ate cold pizza and my brain and heart arguing over whether I was drunk or not.

It is as hilarious as it sounds.

I am already planning my next trip out of the country this time. I am excited at all the creative revelations I’ll gain from it.


Need more Indie Author Tips? Check out the archive of posts here.

He Looked Like a Lifetime Supply

Photo by Collis from Pexels

He looked like a lifetime supply of confidence
black-gold wrapped in a Hershey’s kiss
like his soul had stretched up to the sun
this melanin-plated skin
When he shined, we were all shade
Sweat looked like honey dripping
from his brow
forming sweet golden pools
Look too closely, and he starts to look
like a lightening
his eyes two backpacks full of moon
and we scatter like children
looking for jars big enough
to capture the illumination of his essence
made up not of blood and bone
but stars
He looked like a lifetime supply of monuments
a dark sun-kissed body
full to the brim
with uncompromising
confidence.


The inspiration for this poem is from a poetry prompt I saw on IG on the topic of “He Looked Like a Lifetime Supply.”