I don't want to write this letter. But I feel like I need to. If for no other reason than it somehow proves that you existed; even if only for a very short time.
First of all, I want you to know you were loved. And wanted. From the get-go. Your father and I had discussed trying to expand our family in 2014 and - BAM! - I discovered I was pregnant in January. I was in denial for about a week, even though I suspected what was really going on. Finally, I got around to taking a test, and all my suspicions were confirmed. Still, it seemed surreal, so I went out and bought another test just in case the first one was the first false positive in the history of ever. I told your daddy the next day. The morning I took THIS picture, actually.
|Dash Down Greenville with your daddy on March 15th.|
I ran three races with you: Too Cold to Hold 10 mile, The Hot Chocolate 15K and, finally, the Dash Down Greenville 5K on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day. I was tapering my running, and had plans to stop altogether once I started my second trimester. During each race, I closely monitored my heart rate (as did your father). During the Too Cold to Hold, your dad even turned to me and remarked how much he loved running with "just the three of us". We hadn't told anyone yet, and you were just our little secret.
|The only pictures |
we have (or will
ever have) of you.
After we left the doctor's office, we stopped at Carter's and picked up two BIG BROTHER shirts for Banner. Your father was beaming. He couldn't wait to share the news.
We told our family that you were on your way that weekend by dressing Banner up in one of his new shirts and waiting for someone to notice. No one did. We had to point it out to each of them separately. Everyone was so happy. Gran cried and Pa-Pa Mint couldn't wait to trumpet the news all over town. You were a marvelous little ray of sunshine and hope amid a lot of family drama and illness this long, cold winter.
The only place I held back my excitement about you was around friends that have been trying to get pregnant, and have not yet been successful. I wanted to be sensitive to their struggles. I had at least one friend cry when I told her. It was hard, I'm not going to lie. And part of me was a little embarrassed. Not because of you, sweet angel, but because you happened so quickly and easily for us at a time when so many others were struggling.
Your father and I went to your twelve week appointment on Monday, March 24th. We were so excited to hear your little heartbeat again. Everything seemed fine. No signs at all that anything was wrong.
We chatted with the doctor about when we could determine your gender. Your father was hoping it would be at our appointment in April, but I knew I wouldn't get another sonogram until between 16-20 weeks. At our April appointment, I would be closer to 15.5...missing the minimum of 16 weeks by days. We laughed, we joked, we listened about our doctor's recent trip to Israel. They did a test to check for whatever they check for that can cause membrane rupture and premature labor. Then, the doctor came over to listen for the heartbeat. 7 out of 10 times they can't find it because the baby is too close to the mother's veins/arteries. Plus, I quipped that I had just eaten Tex Mex for lunch. There was a lot of noise in my abdomen, none of it was yours. The doctor said I was one of the "lucky ones", because "they had to hear or see the heartbeat at every appointment". I got dressed and we waited to be called across the hall.
I think I was the only one at this point that suspected anything was amiss. The doctor never had any trouble finding Banner's heartbeat during any of my prenatal visits back in 2011. Of course, your dad chalked it up to my usual sense of catastrophism. I wanted so desperately to believe him.
I knew in the first second of the sonogram that all my very worst fears were being realized. It was simply too quiet. Normally, they plug you in, and the dark room is instantly filled with the rapid whoosh, whoosh of a tiny, little heartbeat. But there was nothing but silence. And worse, nothing on the screen was moving. You...my baby...weren't moving.
Still, I hoped I was wrong, and asked, "Is everything okay"?
The sonogram tech's answer? A simple, sad, "No".
You died around 8 weeks, 5 days. Right around the same time I last posted on this blog. "Bob" the amaryllis bloomed beautifully that day. He had another bloom that peaked earlier this week. In some weird, cosmic sense, I'd like to believe that one bloom was for you and the other was for your dad and me. Like the plant knew what was really going on.
The doctor was insistent that I didn't do anything wrong. Over and over he told me it wasn't the running or the probiotics. The only way I could have "done this" was by breaking my pelvis in a car crash, and the likely culprit is something as simple as bad chromosomes. Still, I blame myself. I can't help it. And I am so, so, so very sorry.
Pharrell's "Happy" was on the radio when we left the doctor's office Monday afternoon.
Since my body wasn't letting go on its own, the doctor said we needed to do a D&C. But, because of scheduling, they originally didn't think this could happen until Thursday morning. At first, I thought this would give me time to come to grips with everything and let it all sink in. But, by Tuesday morning, I was a wreck. Part of me didn't want to let you go, but the other part knew that I couldn't begin the process of...I dunno...wherever we go from here?...while you were still inside me.
Unbeknownst to me, my mother called my GYN, who is also a family friend, and she called me. She then called my OBGYN and somehow got the D&C bumped up to Wednesday morning.
So, yesterday, your father drove us to Baylor Surgical. We arrived just before 6 AM. The procedure was scheduled for 7:30.
For some reason, the hardest part of this for me was knowing that you were going to be removed from, taken to the lab to be studied and tested and then declared "medical waste" and thrown away. I mean, rationally, I get it. The you that was there was tiny. And it had been awhile since your little heart stopped beating. The doctor wasn't even sure they'd be able to find what used to be you in with everything else. But still. I wanted you to be acknowledged somehow. I wanted you to know that are loved, and were loved for every second of the (exactly) 12 weeks you spent inside me. I know you never grew to be much more than a collection of cells, but our hopes and dreams for you were infinitely large.
Pharrell's "Happy" was playing just before the nurse led me back to the operating room for the procedure.
I couldn't stop crying. Just as everything was starting to get hazy from the anesthesia, I asked my doctor to tell you that I loved you. It was stupid, I know. And I doubt he actually did it. It was just that - in the last few moments before the anesthesia took effect and I fell asleep - it occurred to me that he was the last and possibly only person that would see whatever tiny part of you that there ever was. The last thing I remember was him holding my hand and saying that he would. And, then...nothing.
I awoke 45 minutes later. It was over. You were gone. Forever.
I've cried more in the last three days than I think I have in my entire life. The more I try to move forward, the more I find I can't move at all. I have no appetite. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. I know I'm depressed. I'm all achy from the D&C but refuse to take anything because it somehow makes me feel better to feel pain on the outside for a change. I know that sounds crazy and masochistic, but it is what it is. Tomorrow, I'm making myself go to work. I don't know if I'll make it all day or not, but I have to get out of the house. I have to try.
Really the idea of seeing people scares me the most. I don't want to see "sad eyes" looking at me. I don't want to hear that I can try again. I don't want people to tell me "it wasn't meant to be" and that "everything happens for a reason". Because I already get it. I know that nature isn't going to let something develop that has no chance of survival. That's why things like this happen, and why they (generally) happen early. Statistically, I'm aware that this shouldn't happen after already having a healthy baby two years ago, and the chances of miscarriage are lower still after hearing an otherwise strong and healthy heartbeat during that initial sonogram back in February. Still, it happens. And it has happened to people I know. Heck, even my maternal grandmother had a miscarriage between her first and second child (she went on to have three more healthy babies). But in this case, all the knowing in the world isn't helping me right now. I just want to go back to this time last week when everything - as I knew it - was right and fine with the world, and I was looking forward to my 12 week appointment and hearing your heartbeat again.
|Banner proudly brought this to me in bed on Wednesday after my D&C.|
Of course, the greatest sources of comfort and joy right now are your father and big brother, Banner. Banner isn't a snuggler at all, but in the last three days he has piled up in bed, read me books and watched Finding Nemo at my side. He knows something is wrong. On Monday evening, he put all his trains in timeout. When your daddy asked him why, Banner said, "Because they are sad".
Breaks my heart.
|Thomas in timeout.|
And your father. What would I ever do without your father? You were his baby, too, after all. In all this grief and sadness, he has been the strong one. He has picked up your brother from school, run errands and taken care of me. And that hasn't been easy - especially not with me sobbing quietly from the bedroom for days on end.
So, yes, I am counting my blessings. I know how lucky I am to have to have my boys. Many women never get to experience motherhood, and I have a healthy toddler running amuck just down the hall. Some women are not able to get pregnant at all, and - so far - I've been able to get pregnant pretty easily. But none of that changes how I will wish from now until the end of time that I got to meet you, see your face and be your mom.
Faith has always been a very private thing for me. I believe in God. I believe in Heaven. I go to church. Heck, I've taught Sunday School before. Granted, I haven't gone regularly since your brother was born, but not because my faith has faltered. I like going to church. I like the music, the history, the symbolism. I believe you are in Heaven now. I know God has another mission for you, and part of me even thinks it is you - not DJs overplaying it on the radio - that keeps that d@mn "Happy" song playing wherever I go. Because I know you are fine, and it is just taking me a little while to get used to the fact that I'll have to wait a lifetime to meet you and see your face.
(For that matter, I've also had to stop watching TV shows with commercials because I keep seeing trailers for the new movie Heaven Is For Real, and I simply can't take it right now.)
Just know that you are loved, wanted and greatly missed down here on Earth. They may have been brief, but your 12 weeks inside me mattered and affected us all. And your father and I will never, ever forget you.