I realized, late in the day, that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I want to send a big virtual hug to all of the families that are hurting, today and every day, because of babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. It brings back memories for me of our first miscarriage, a pregnancy conceived in this month in 2012. This is the first October since then that I’ve held my baby boy. Every day, I feel grateful for him and how he has made our family feel whole. Most days, though, I still think about those lost pregnancies, and I feel so much empathy for families who are suffering and waiting for a baby. It’s really, really hard.
Today, I dug back to find this little piece of writing and thought I’d finally share it. I wrote this after my D&C procedure on January 4, 2013. By then, we had known that the pregnancy wasn’t viable for two weeks, and the D&C was needed to finally end the pregnancy. (I wrote more about this miscarriage here and here.) It’s a very strange feeling to be carrying around a non-viable pregnancy for a so long, but it is even stranger to wake up from general anesthesia and feel such complete emptiness.
Come and Gone
Little one, you are gone this morning. All that remains of you is a feeling and a memory, and what I write on this page.
You were conceived in late October, in a cozy state park cabin rented in the off-season. The next morning there was snow on the ground, and the world looked brand new.
You were unexpected fatigue and sore breasts. You were two little blue lines on a pregnancy test, and then another just to be sure. You were the good news we shared.
You were my nausea and aversion to cheese, mushrooms, and leafy greens. You were the return of my linea nigra, stretching from belly button down to groin.
You were my July baby. You were visions of long walks on perfect summer days, of blankets laid out in the grass. We would lie down together to watch leaves wave from tree branches and the clouds drift by above.
You were so real.
But on the ultrasound, you were a smudge of grey without form or movement. You were the doctor’s furrowed brow and the tear on your daddy’s cheek.
You were a clump of cells, inside a set of membranes, in my body that didn’t realize you were already gone. Your heart might never have beat at all. You were already the most you would ever be.
You were an expanse of possibility inside of me that then shriveled away. You were a dream, unraveled to a wisp of thread. I will keep it just the same, wrapped in the more substantive fabric of our lives.
You were a life that was part of my life for a time. Your handful of cells held some of me and some of your father. You were made of our fathers and mothers and theirs before them.
You were a love not proportional to your size, so big it took us off guard. Only in losing you did we see how much of our hearts you had filled.
You have come, and you have gone. You were not quite right for this world. You were our miscarriage.
A science note, because I can’t help it: At the time that I wrote this, I’m not sure if I knew that fetal cells can remain in a mother’s blood and tissues after pregnancy, even one that is lost. So, I guess the first two lines of the piece above aren’t quite accurate. I probably still carry cells from my lost pregnancies in my body, and they may even be part of BabyM as well. That’s a wonderful thought, actually.