I’ve been gone for a while from writing here, which honestly can only mean one thing: life is good. I find myself heading to write when things are darker for me. This blog has seen a lot of my downs, from losing my job to postpartum depression. Moments I needed to share to feel a bit more heard. While I’ve since left my business behind and have been at my dream job for nearly two years, I’m back on here for a minute. Because while my life has been truly, utterly, perfect for some time now, it’s a bit difficult these days.
We are so blessed, so it’s only fair we are have been dealt with a bit of heartache.
I found out I was pregnant on January 19th, 2020. We had only been trying since November, but I had been feeling symptoms for a full week and a half and was so excited. I knew I was pregnant. I wasted so much money by taking a pregnancy test EVERY SINGLE DAY until one came back positive. My symptoms were there, loud and clear. The nausea, my inability to stay awake past 8pm – I knew something was brewing.
After two in home positive pregnancy tests, we went to the doctor’s office when I was 6 weeks. We did a sonogram where I saw you, for the first and only time, inside a yolk sac. You were just a little fetal pole, and the tech said it’s a rule not to give copies of the ultrasounds to anyone until there is a heartbeat. I’d come back in 10 days and see you again, this time for real. You’d be a sour patch kid like your sister when I first saw her, and when they would connect the sonogram machine to the flat screen TV they’d turn the volume up on your heartbeat. Your dad and I would smile through happy tears, and we’d squeeze hands. We’d be so excited. We’d get to take your picture home, share it all to our families and a few weeks later we’d post it all over social media with captions like “party of four coming soon!” or “got a little secret”!
I felt every cramp that week. Then suddenly, every symptom I had disappear. I kept trying to make myself think I was tired, or my breasts were more sore, but I knew. My nausea was gone, and I could burn the midnight oil again. You were leaving me.
I texted everyone before heading in for our follow up appointment. It’s heartbeat day!
Only it wasn’t. There was no heartbeat.
No new development.
The fetal pole was gone.
You were gone.
I was 8 weeks by then. The doctor asked us to indulge him – maybe we got the dates wrong, maybe I was only 5 weeks along and the last thing he would ever want to do is to move too quickly on a healthy pregnancy. So we waited. That night I cried harder than I ever knew I could.
The first feeling I felt was embarrassed.
Completely overcome with shame.
We told a lot of people. I was so excited to be pregnant, so excited to be growing our family that I shouted it from the rooftops. We told our friends in person – I even have the reactions on video. I didn’t get to have a big announcement collage of videos with my first, but I wanted to have the fun memories of telling our friends and family with our second. I told my whole office since I couldn’t keep my morning sickness from them. I told my best friends. Our parents. I would have to un-tell everyone now.
I called my therapist, who gave me a free pass on all the coping mechanisms I thought I should be avoiding. She told me to bury myself in work and Netflix and not to label my behavior as healthy or unhealthy. My job was to get to the next appointment without letting my brain take me somewhere dark. I buried myself in work, coming home every night only to dissolve into tears and be rocked to sleep by my husband.
At nine weeks, it was confirmed. Our doctor was sweet, but we had the proof. You were gone. I didn’t cry – I was prepared for this and immediately chose a D and C so we could quickly move on with as little pain and in a place I’d feel the safest (a hospital with my doctor). On the drive home I played Ariana Grande and Mariah Carey and we sang along to Hamilton. I had tears as we texted friends and family the news, but I wasn’t ready to feel your loss yet. We had dinner with family and played dress up with Ivy and I buried myself in crappy phone games and tv shows and refused to cry.
The next evening, after family had left and the toddler birthday parties had finally come to a close was when it finally happened. I couldn’t stop sobbing.
The hard kind, with the tears you choke on.
The pain in my heart grew to a lump in my throat to uncontrollable whats-going-on-in-my-body pain.
I could taste it in me and feel it envelop me entirely.
The days leading up to the appointment lasted seemingly forever. I’d feel the sting of not feeling you anymore every time I got dressed, or in random moments in a meeting. Sometimes the pain would stab me in the chest. You were gone, and there was nothing I could do. I could always do something. Not this time.
The OR was so cold. I was rolled in on a gurney without my glasses. I couldn’t see anything, I just remember the overhead surgical lights: three huge circles with lights inside that looked like snowflakes to my naked eyes. I then remembered immediately how I felt going into the OR for my c-section. That mix of fear and excitement and how I wanted to remember every moment in the first place I’d meet my new baby. This OR I wanted to forget completely. There was no excitement here. No payoff. Just fear, mixed with the pain of a new, deep loneliness. I wondered what other heartache happened in this room.
As I was transferred to the operating table, I had waves of tears come and go. My doctor rubbed my hand, and eventually wiped tears from my eyes. His were the only warm hands – the nurses were all so cold from the room. The anesthesiologist told me this was a safe space. I could cry. This was hard.
So I cried.
Then I slept.
I woke up an hour later.
Miscarriage grief is unique. And yet, they are so common that until having to go through it, too much gets assumed. Like every part of my motherhood story, until I experienced it on my own, I had absolutely no idea.
It’s dawn the morning after they took what was left of you away from me. The blue city sunrise subtly peers through the blinds, and I feel you for the first time in weeks. This time, you’re really leaving me, and I know you’re not coming back. I feel your spirit kiss me goodbye, gently granting me permission to wake up and start my real first day without you. And as the sunrise continues and the blue light gives way to brighter rays, with time, with tears, and with heartache forever etched on my heart, I promise that I will. I will start my day today, and every day, with a silent memory of you.