I don’t think either of us had ever wanted anything more than we wanted that heartbeat. We stared at the ultrasound for what seemed like forever looking for something, anything that would show us that our baby was okay. But he wasn’t. And we weren’t either.
This was the beginning of my first miscarriage. I was heartbroken, confused, scared, and had no idea what to expect. This was what so many of my friends had already had to endure. This is what had never crossed my mind after finding out we were pregnant with our third child. This was an abrupt end to all of the hopes and dreams that had already been formed in just 13 weeks of pregnancy. This is the ugly reality of miscarriage.
I had no idea the depth of my love for this child I barely knew.
It hurt. I actually felt my heart break. Only knowing about the child growing inside me for 2 months, you would think it would feel less like losing one of your children. Nope. I lost a child. My child. The youngest sibling of an already proud big brother and big sister. A best friend to a cousin also in utero only 10 weeks apart. A sixth grandchild on one side and an 11th on the other. There are just no words to describe what it feels like to have a precious little life cut short. The baby was real and our love was real, no different than our love for our other littles.
There was a grueling waiting period.
I made the decision to wait and let the baby pass on his own. This is what it felt like- a week of walking around in a world of everyone living their normal lives, while I walked around knowing that inside me was my lifeless child. I consider myself an extreme extrovert but in that week it was like I didn’t know how to interact with people. Fog engulfed my brain, and I checked out completely because how can you do normal and be normal when your body is a walking tomb?? This was the longest week of my life.
The baby has to come out, and then it’s time to say goodbye.
At the end of my long week I shifted my perspective from anticipation and longing for the miscarriage, to soaking up the last bit of time spent with my baby. I realized that as hard as this week had been, even harder would be the process of letting go. I woke up to a gush of fluid and ran to the bathroom. I was lightheaded and on the verge of passing out when I felt the tiny version of the pressure to push you would get during labor. This was exactly like labor, I had the shakes afterward and everything.
Holding my baby was very important to me, so I studied his bitty little fingers and toes, his tiny ribs forming, and his beautiful smile. I took a picture so that I would never ever forget his perfect and precious self. And when it was time to say goodbye, my husband and I buried him together and told him how very much we loved him. We told him all that we wished we could experience with him, and we told him that we would always remember him. We said goodbye to our precious baby, our third child.
The world moves on but you are changed forever.
I remember getting back into normal life. Some days were fine, but some were brutal. The most painful days were ones where we would be in our happiest places, with the people that we loved most, but our child was never brought up. Not a mention, not a word. Like he never existed. It broke my heart the first time it happened, and I know that it wasn’t for a lack of caring. There’s just nothing left to say, I guess.
His memory will be preserved between my husband and myself, and I will be overjoyed at whatever opportunities I have to relive and revive moments with anyone else who desires to join me. I’ll go back to my regular life and rhythm, and from the outside I may seem like I’m doing just fine. But I said goodbye to my baby, and I won’t be the same until I have all of my children in my arms together.
For anyone who has said goodbye to a child, I join you in the grief. I hope that by sharing my experience I have connected with you on the deepest level a stranger can. And for anyone who hasn’t suffered this loss, I have shared this with hopes that you may understand better the depths of the grief. And by understanding better, may you be able to support those in your life that need you in this time. For the babies gone too soon, rest peacefully in the arms of the life-giver.