Years ago, my best tool for working through a difficult time was writing. I did a lot of writing. I feel a pull to come back to it now and it has been helping me immensely. This is heavy. I must include a trigger warning as I bluntly speak of recent pregnancy loss. I’m not really putting this out there for anyone except myself. Although, the more I write on this topic the more I discover needs to be said – and sharing it is what makes this space feel like it is mine. I need that right now. For anyone who can relate, I hope this makes you feel less alone in your journey.
I woke with this song in my head. So appropriate.
It happened again.
Two weeks ago, we went in for my scheduled OB appointment and ultrasound. I was feeling great – I had been gaining weight slowly and steadily, been active every day, eating ridiculously well and I had a bitty bump roundly protruding out my t-shirt. We were without a sitter that morning, so we decided to bring Fox along. He had figured out what was going on a few weeks ago, walking up to Steve (hands on his hips) demanding to know, “What is going on in Mom-mom’s belly?”. Perceptive little bugger. He had spent the last two weeks kissing my belly and saying good morning to the baby. (His baby sister he kept saying, which made us giggle.) So, why not bring him along to see with his own eyes? We had planned on announcing our news to the world as soon as this appointment was out of the way. I was 13 weeks along, after all. All my other friends expecting around the same time as me had already told everyone. We just wanted to see that little bean one more time before telling the world.
Except instead of telling the world that I am having a baby, I am here writing about another loss.
There was no heartbeat. Baby measured small, showing development stopped a couple of weeks earlier. But, my body didn’t recognize the miscarriage. I had no warning. I was completely blindsided.
I made it through the talk with the doctor. Somehow. I headed home, equal parts numb, angry, crushed. Fox cried the entire 30 minute drive, wailing, “Why we are not having a baby anymore?” My heart felt stained with boot prints.
So, I waited in limbo for my body to recognize what happened. For my heart to release its dream of this child.
I keep replaying those minutes over in my head. I knew the baby was gone the moment I saw it on the screen. Before the sonographer said a word. My cruel mind keeps playing how those moments were supposed to play out. Bouncing baby. Strong heartbeat. Little limbs floating. The smile on my son’s face.
That’s what was supposed to happen. My body appeared to believe that so firmly that it wouldn’t cooperate with itself.
After our first loss, my teary eyed husband quietly told me that he believed that this soul just wasn’t ready yet – and they would come back to us when they were.
I love the sound of that, but after three losses, now it feels like these souls were never meant to stay.
Perhaps they come to me because they know how quickly and deeply I will love them. How I cannot resist being attached despite my increasingly tragic history. How desperately I want them to be here and how deep down I can’t help but give them that love no matter how short their time here is.
But, I am selfish.
I don’t want to see a purpose in this.
I am selfish.
I just want my baby.
I am selfish.
This feels unfair.
(To which, I can hear a voice telling me “Life isn’t fair.” Truer words have not been spoken.)
My path is hidden from me. I feel like I could see in my previous losses – somewhere through the tears and pain – what I was to learn. This human experience. This humbling of my mind and body. This complete appreciation of my child standing in front of me. A new understanding that something could have gone wrong, but it didn’t. I always thought calling a baby a “miracle” was a cliche. No. Not anymore.
This pregnancy was incredibly stressful from the start. It began with a daily expectation of loss. My third pregnancy in 7 months. With my recent diagnosis of a genetic blood disorder, I had to give myself an injection in my belly every evening. (I was previously terrified of needles. That’s almost funny now.) It was very hard to keep my chin up at first. But, slowly my optimistic nature crept in and pushed me to stay positive. I couldn’t help it. After my 9 week appointment with the specialist, even she let her optimism show – encouraging me to relax since I was past the riskiest point with my condition. The chances of something else going wrong were really small, she told me.
The closer I got to my second trimester with this pregnancy, I could hear myself whisper, “This is why. This is why you survived and kept going. You are stronger now and look at what is happening. Here is your redemption. Here is your validation. Salvation. Your rainbow. Here is proof that it has all been worth it.”
And then it was torn away. And I was left with nothing. No answers, no reason, no resolution.
Therein lies the true brutality of miscarriage. To the world, this baby is invisible. To you, it is the center of the Universe. Then it is gone – and you alone are left to grieve.
The doctor assured me that I had done everything right. Everything. On paper, I should still be pregnant. It was not possible that this loss was related to my blood disorder. I had done nothing to cause this. It was simply natural selection. In a nutshell, she said, I am just incredibly unlucky.
I’m still processing that. I will be for some time.
I don’t know what our future holds. I know now is a time for healing, physical and emotional, and not a time for making decisions. But, I do know that after three losses in 9 months, I am tired. Exhausted, in fact. Decisions will wait for another day.
I am taking comfort in my husband, my sisters, my parents and my incredible community of friends.
Most of all, I am taking comfort in the vibrance and empathy of my child. The other night, he found me crying and asked me why. I told him I was sad. He said, “Because the baby is not here with us anymore.” I said, “Yes. I’m feeling very sad about that.”. He whispered, “Come to me. Come to me.” and threw his arms around my neck, covering my cheek with kisses. We sat there, somberly and sweetly cuddled, for a few minutes until he hopped back with a huge grin and asked if I wanted to make some art. Who could say no? He cracked some jokes as we worked together and I inevitably found myself smiling, even laughing.
(If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.)
In moments like those, I realize I need to focus on all that I have to keep from drowning in what I have lost.
This is not what I expected for this part of my life. But, it is mine. In time, the process will begin for me to own this experience among the long list of those attached to my identity. The good and the bad. For now, I will cry and I will write and I will do my best to cherish every smile my child pulls from my temporarily sullen face.
The sun will shine again and I will feel it. But, it might feel a little different than it did before. Isn’t that always the way?