i have to add...i wrote this quite some time ago now...with a "to be published" on tomorrow's date.
i have revisited several times, attempting to decide if i need to cancel it. or to edit it. or to make it less. i realize that this is me at my most raw. something i don't share, with my most supportive of friends and family. i'm not sure why i'm choosing to let it post. especially to a crowd (albeit small) of those that i have never met.
then again...maybe that's why it's easier? all of you have shared things with me. i feel safe here. blogging mamas everywhere have created a community across boundaries. a shared sense of worth and heartfelt support from across the world and right next door.
another side of me is even more scared of letting those that are close to me realize how much this still affects me. don't worry about me. i'm ok. this...this writing and outpouring and shedding of tears...it was good for me. it helps to pull these emotions outward, rather than hold them in.
i'm still tentative about hitting "go" on this one. but i'm doing it for me, ultimately.
thanks in advance for holding my hand and catching my tears.
an anniversary of sorts. signifying a date to remember many things.
some of these occurrences have made me extraordinarily happy. giddy beyond measure. these happy things, should far outweigh the difficult-ness that i associate with this day.
however, the joyful things are overshadowed. they were preceded by a could-have-been. the should-have-been that still sends me reeling downward from grief. the could-have-been that creeps up and hits me with what-ifs. the should-have-been that makes me remember that life isn't smooth. the could-have-been that hits me with a dose of reality that i never thought would happen.
my almost baby.
within three months of our wedding, we were pregnant. i found out on the morning of new years day. (i knew two weeks earlier when i could smell what was for lunch in the cafeteria WAY down the hall from my room). husband was returning from a trip that day and i made him a sign hung on the front door that read "happy new years day! love, mommy, jazz, jet and baby". he awoke me from my nap with a smile that i will never forget. i relished in the fact that i was holding a life in myself.
i bought a pregnancy - week by week - book. i read about where we had been, i read about where i was currently...i read ahead to see where we were going. to see what my body was capable of doing. to understand more thoroughly what was going on inside of me. not in a scientific way...but in an astounded manner. my very good friend and i spent long hours discussing the baby's arm and leg buds. we laughed about how she would one day tell my child all about our excitement with arm buds.
i was naive. i skipped over the parts that discussed not telling anyone, in case something were to go wrong. nothing was going to happen. this was all wonder and excitement. things like that happen to far-away people. people i will never know. it's rare. so many babies are born constantly. what could go wrong?
we had a doctor's appointment at 9 weeks. we discussed genetics. we discussed our future. we listened for something. we didn't hear anything...but that's normal, we were told. we discussed due dates...a certain date that is etched in my heart. september 5th.
a few weeks later on february 14th, valentine's day...i got a cold. a nasty cold. i went to the doctor wondering what can i take to ease my symptoms but that are safe for my baby? my everything revolved around my baby. we discussed options, and she decided to take a listen. we still couldn't hear anything. she told me to call my husband and head over to the hospital for an ultrasound. just to make sure we were as far along as we thought we were...ultrasound techs did their thing...but they never made eye contact with me...they didn't say anything to us. it didn't feel right. i was told to wait in a waiting room full of people that i never looked at. i had become so internal at that point, i could not see anyone else. eventually, i was called to the desk to talk on the phone in the middle of that busy room. a doctor told me what i think i already knew.
my baby's heartbeat was gone.
i cried so hard, without any reservations or consideration of the pregnant women all around me. she told me to go home. rest. call in the morning. i had the strength to insist that i needed to see her. i needed to see someone. i needed to discover my options? what can i do to try and change the inevitable? she agreed to see me (even though her hours were long over)...i never thanked her for that - thank you. even though, i had no options. things were over. they had been for a little while. my almost-baby never even had arm buds...that's what i remember thinking.
my life (as i had planned it...) was spiraling out of control. i was utterly and completely broken. my everything was gone. i felt like i had nothing left. i did...i just didn't know it.
the next week was our planned move back home. i wrestled through several days of deep snowfall, waiting for a call from a doctor, two final days at my school, quiet faces that didn't want to say the wrong thing. gifts that were opened and resealed (to remove the baby items). a doctor that would perform my d&c.
i was unfeeling.
i remember that his office was full of german shepherds and motorcycles. i remember that i was by myself. i remember that he told me that it is potentially more common than not. i remember that he told me he would take care of it (not me). i remember that i had to go home and wait. i had to call my friends and family. i started crying before i could utter the words...i lost the baby.
i had to wait with my almost-baby. i had to sit around and think about what could have been. i had to think about how there was something life-less inside of me. and they made me feel that i was waiting to rid myself of it. why the hell wasn't i thinking for myself? i had lost my baby. i had lost what i assumed was my future. i had lost who i was in a single stop of a heartbeat. i thought i just had a cold.
the dilation medication made me lose so much blood and tissue. i had to watch my almost-baby leave my body in pieces. it was absolutely horrendous. eventually i had the surgery. a nurse told me that maybe the baby didn't want to move to minnesota...maybe it decided to stay in virginia. bitch. those words did not support me. many others tried to help by telling me that something was not right...that was nature's way of taking care of things. from a scientific perspective...i understand. from a personal perspective...i would have given anything or endured anything to have my baby back inside of me, with a strong heartbeat. the next day, we finished packing and drove. we moved back home. i was home. i left my baby behind. we had the most amazing of friends help with a middle minnesota winter move because i couldn't lift anything.
a good friend shared a dream that he had before he knew...he was on a boat with the pregnant me, and i was climbing the mast and hanging upside down at the top. a large wave came and i had lost the baby. he called my husband and heard the news. i'm sure he disliked knowing that he knew before he knew.
i cried nightly. i would leave our bed and go to the bathtub in the middle of the night and cry. i felt that everyone thought i should be over it...and so i kept my grief private. i met a nurse midwife as a check up following the surgery and started crying when the feelings resurfaced...she said, "why are you still crying?" i requested to never see her again. at the very least, i knew i was allowed to grieve for some time.
eventually, in early august...i found out i was expecting again. i was happy. but i could not allow myself to get excited. i had my first appointment...and spent the entire day wondering why i felt like i had something to do that day. got to the appointment and when we started discussing prior pregnancies everything resurfaced again. i had a very significant reason for feeling that way. it was september 5th. my almost-baby's due date. she couldn't find a heartbeat...but knowing my history, walked me immediately to an ultrasound machine where she compassionately found my baby and showed me her heart chambers ticking. she let me watch and cry and realize that without the loss...i wouldn't have this one. to this day...i love her for that.
we had just started trying for our second child...i decide that i feel pregnant again. you know that "feeling"? husband left on a trip. i went to target. i bought a test. i was going to wait until the morning. i couldn't. there were two lines...one lighter and one darker. but definitely two lines. i was pregnant. i immediately sent him a text with a picture of a positive pregnancy test. i wondered how i was going to tell belly. i remembered that things can change so quickly. no need to get excited yet. it was september 5th.
so...i have two reasons to cherish september 5th. i first saw belly's hearbeat and i first knew that i was pregnant with coconut. but...my almost-baby will always resurface on this date. and i thank my almost-baby from the bottom of my heart for being selfless enough to give me the opportunity to have my girly-girls. and i hope that my almost-baby knows how much s/he was and is loved.