I recently miscarried a child that I wanted very, very much. I went to the doctor last Wednesday and the doctor told me she couldn’t find a heartbeat, and the baby looked a little “under-developed.” About three weeks under-developed to be exact. She wanted to do a follow-up to be sure, so right after my appointment with her I went and picked up my husband and went back for another ultrasound. Same result. Two days later, I went in for another appointment. My pregnancy hormones had dropped off the chart, the baby had no heartbeat, and had been nesting in my belly lifeless for about three weeks. Three weeks?! Hello body, any sort of signal would have been nice. I had no signs of miscarriage, problems with the pregnancy, health, nothing. Low and behold, a part of me was literally dying inside and I didn’t even know.
Sometimes women miscarry after only knowing they were pregnant a few days, maybe only a few weeks… I knew for two months and was on the brink of my second trimester, the “safe zone”. After we heard the heartbeat, strong and healthy, my doctor told me I only had about a 4% risk of miscarriage. That’s a risk that seemed minimal. Women hear that all the time and go about with planning their nursery decorating, nesting, baby showers and on to anticipating labor. But only a week after we heard that strong healthy heartbeat, it ceased to exist. It was just gone.
I’m going to get a tattoo today for my baby. Some people say that I shouldn’t, it will only depress me and remind me of the loss. I just tell them that everyone heals differently, and this is something I need to do. One of the hardest things to do when you lose a baby is to stay positive and think about future pregnancies, your family growing someday, not getting lost in a cycle of depression or blame. I don’t blame myself. I don’t blame anyone.
It’s been hard to not hate on my doctor, currently due in April, or the nurse I saw when I went to get my D&C, who is 38 and finally able to go full term after two miscarriages. It’s hard not to sneer at other pregnant women because they’ll be able to keep their babies. But I just try to think that there’s a good chance they might have had a very similar experience to mine. If I hadn’t lost this baby, it would have been our second. We have a little pale red-headed two year old, named Amara, keeping us busy right now, and I know when the time is right she will make an excellent older sister.
Although my fresh new ink will remind me of the disaster that came from this pregnancy, I know that it’s a reminder I want to bear. This whole experience has been a true test of who I am as a woman, independently and in my relationships. My tattoo will remind me that I’m allowed to be at peace with the situation, and the baby is in a better place, free from illness and disease (which likely caused the loss in the first place). My tattoo will remind me that my husband and I have a strong relationship, and that he is there for me no matter what the trials before us. It will remind me of when I first found out I was pregnant, hearing the heartbeat the first time, and seeing the little body on the ultrasound.
Although it makes my heart ache and my eyes tear up every time I read this, I hope that someday I find the anonymous author so that I may thank her for writing it. The poem is true for SO many people out there. It’s hard to explain why it helps to read it over and over. It’s a consolation, a bandage. I hope that wherever my never-to-be born baby is, he or she is safe from harm.
A prayer for Baby
Never to have known you, but to have loved you
Never to have held you, the way mothers do.
With you I bury my hopes and dreams
For an unknown child I’d never seen.
But also I bury the love in my heart,
And the sadness of knowing that we must part.
And I pray to God to do for you,
All the things that I would like to do.
And to keep my baby safe from harm,
To laugh and frolic in springtime’s arms.
There are good things to come from this, I just have to look deep inside for them. Every cloud has a silver lining, I just have to be willing to step out from the umbrella, risk my makeup and hair getting sopping wet, and look up to find it… it’s there. It just has to be.