A Note To My Past Self
I still remember the day my world came to a screeching halt for what seemed like an eternity. I was happily pregnant with my fourth child. I had three high risk but healthy babies so I didn’t think twice about sharing the news to everyone the day those pregnancy tests turned positive. I saw those positive tests and a smile slowly came across my lips as I fell in love instantly with that baby. I was nervous about going from 3 to 4 like any mother would be but I was happy and in love.
I remember how I felt tired during those first few weeks. I remember how I craved Mexican food like I have never craved it before and haven’t since. I remember my need for Reese’s peanut butter cups like I never needed them before. I remember how I was so emotional so early and how our dog began to get extremely protective of me and followed me everywhere. I also remember how at just a few weeks my belly was already starting to bump out a bit to make room.
We were all so happy. The kids were happy. My husband and I were happy. The grandparents were happy and our friends were happy for us. Then one day quite suddenly a family member was rushed to the hospital and things didn’t look good. When it was requested we be there with the kids we didn’t hesitate to pack up quickly late at night and make the drive to be there for this beloved family member.
Emotions were high. Everyone was stressed and things were tense. Not everyone understood the request for our kids to be there by the person in the hospital, but despite misunderstandings, the kids and I stayed. One particular tense night I began having intense stomach pain that kept me up most of the night. I brushed this pain off as some bad gas, but the spotting I had in the morning should have told me differently.
Looking back I know now that’s the day I lost you. It is the day you left us and joined the family that already left this life for the next. I look back and wish I had listened to the signs. I wish I had given myself the opportunity to wrap my arms around my stomach in your last moments and say goodbye. I wish my husband had gotten to say goodbye. I wish my kids could have told you goodbye as well. We loved and still love you so much.
So when I went for my 9-week prenatal appointment just a few weeks later I was still happy. I thought you were healthy, growing, and still on your way. I told the doctor about the light spotting and he had the ultrasound technician squeeze me in to make sure everything was still okay. Another sign I should have seen, but I still thought everything was fine.
It wasn’t till the ultrasound technician suddenly got quiet that I began to realize something was wrong. It was when I saw the ultrasound student suddenly have a heartbroken look in her eyes that I knew something was wrong. When I heard the doctor ask if there was any movement and the ultrasound technician tried to say no so I couldn’t hear then I knew something was wrong. The doctor just looked at the screen and silently nodded before leaving the room. The technician cleaned me up, put away her equipment, and told me to go ahead and get dressed again and the doctor would be in in a few minutes to “talk” with me.
I got dressed and thought about how this had been the first time I hadn’t dragged my husband along to my prenatal appointment. That this was the first time I had been confident enough to go alone. I now feel like this was foolish confidence and I wish I had dragged him along after all. Those moments of waiting seemed to stretch out for eternity and the buzz from the lights in those moments seemed like a deafening roar.
When the doctor came in he shut the door behind him. He sat next to me and began to explain to me what had happened. I don’t remember exactly what was said but I remember he did a good job explaining something so heartbreaking in a heartfelt way. I remember him explaining that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and my first thought at this fact was that it must have been my turn.
I remember him explaining my options. I could wait it out a few weeks and hope things progressed naturally or I could opt for a D & C. He explained the procedure and a few times caught himself from almost saying the word abortion. He tried very hard to avoid that word as he knew that would make the hurt even worse. He remarked how I seemed to be taking the news pretty well.
The thing was I wasn’t taking it well. I was using every ounce of strength to hold back the tears that were trying to get out. I knew if I broke down now that I wouldn’t be able to leave that office on my own two feet that day and I had come alone. I needed to get myself home.
I barely made it out of that office and to our van before breaking down. The damn of emotion broke in that van. Soon I realized I was too upset to drive. So I somehow managed to text my husband and soon himself, the kids, and the church secretary was on their way to pick me up. My husband drove me home in our old green van and the secretary drove the kids behind us.
The rest of that day is a blur. I do remember that our house came to a quiet stillness that could have sapped away the joy of anyone who came in. I remember I spent the rest of that day in bed crying and when I wasn’t crying I was passed out from the exhaustion of crying.
I remember how a week later my body was still trying to nurture my dead child and how I felt like a walking tomb. I had been through a lot in life but this was too much. So I called the doctor and asked for the D&C because I was breaking and I needed to save what was left of me for my other three kids.
If I could go back and talk to myself at that moment in a time when I felt so broken there are a few things I would say:
It’s okay to hurt and not be okay.
It’s okay to mourn your baby even if the world wants you to get over it.
Give your baby a name. It will help you say goodbye.
Go ahead and see a therapist. She’ll help you find the pieces again.
Social media will be hard for a while because Facebook still thinks your pregnant. You will be bombarded with pregnancy ads and posts and each one will break you, but you will be okay.
You will suddenly hate the abortion debate. Both sides will suddenly seem cruel and callous. One side will hear you had a D&C and call you a murderer and the other will try to convince you that your baby’s life didn’t matter. They are both wrong and it’s okay to say something.
This wasn’t your fault. I will say it again this wasn’t your fault.
To make sure you get it…one more time…THIS WASN’T YOUR FAULT.
Thinking of your grandparents holding and caring for your baby will help you through the hard days. It helps to know the baby is in loving arms so picture that every-time you feel like you are going to break into pieces.
Finally, it may seem impossible right now but one day you will feel happy again. You won’t forget your baby, but you will be happy again. It’s just going to take time and that is okay.