Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Plans change.

Last Monday, I was officially 10 weeks pregnant. On Tuesday, we were set to take ultrasound pics, which we'd send out as fun "surprise!" texts to close friends on Wednesday.

That was the plan. It was a good one.

Instead, on Tuesday afternoon, mid vaginal ultrasound, my doc very matter of factly asked me how far along I was supposed to be. "10 weeks? This-see this? Remember from him? (points to E, who was suddenly being held very closely by my tight-faced husband) This should be full. This is where the heartbeat should be. This sac should be full…see how it's crumpled here at the edge? I'm very sorry." She kept talking. Something about how in this situation she's required to perform the ultrasound again for a colleague, who would confirm that what I thought was a 10 week old fetus was instead a roughly 6 week old non-viable embryo.

Instead, on Wednesday, I wasn't texting photos. I was sitting in a hospital gown, poked full of needles and IVs, in a pre-op room with my husband for 5 and a half hours while they waited for an opening in the OB/GYN surgical suite. Instead of texts of giggles and joy, there were texts to make sure E could be picked up from day care and watched, that the dog could be let out, assurances that I wasn't having a total freakout session.

But I wasn't freaking out. I went into that appointment on Tuesday completely expecting the doctor to tell me there was no heartbeat. I'd had a knot in my stomach all day. I'd had a bad feeling for weeks. It's not something I can explain. Half of me knew I was doing the pessimistic preparation I do before any big announcement-to better prepare me IF. But the other half. just. knew. A week before, I'd silently cried in the shower. I knew this baby was damaged. I struggle every day to be a good mother to a perfectly healthy, wonderful child. Having a second was terrifying enough. Having a baby with special needs? I just didn't think I could do it. Would I be able to do it? Would I consider not having it? I didn't know. But the guilt of even having those thoughts was paralyzing.

It didn't matter. There had been something wrong. My body had done its job. There was no baby.  I'd miscarried.

I've been struggling with how to mourn. I'm not religious. My idea of the soul is very real, but it is something that grows with a person, and dies when they are gone. There are no angels in my world. It was still an embryo. There wasn't even a sex yet. I didn't lose a baby. I lost the very real beginnings—the idea, really—of a baby. And that, I'm realizing, is still a very real loss.

A very, very wise friend put it more beautifully than I ever could. She's been through this twice, which is twice more than I'd wish on anyone. She also has three wonderful, healthy children. And will have another, if her body is kind to her.

And yet through (because of?) her own pain, she held my hand last week. And through our conversations, she made me something beautiful. Here is an excerpt of the most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me.

Those roots, they may have died, but they are not gone. Just as a plant in the earth, they linger, still reaching into parts of us we didn't even know of. Eventually, like any part of the earth, they break down, begin to decompose. A day finally comes when your lost baby is no longer the first thing on your mind. And still, no matter how many years, how many other babies, the memory of this baby, these roots, is forever in you. A tiny piece in the soil of your life.

In memory of a life too short, but no less real. A tiny quilt for a tiny baby, who leaves a big bundle of roots in your life.
A photo of the now-framed quilt.

I didn't realize today was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day when I started writing this. (No, I also did not know that was a thing). Kind of amazing how that sort of thing works out, though. Thank you to all of you who have and will share your stories with me. Miscarriage and lost pregnancies are more common than they should be. They're painful—debilitating—sometimes. But they're something—with the help of our loved ones—we get through. My heart is with you all today.


  1. My mama heart hurts with you, and my thoughts and prayers go out to you Pam. I wish I could bring you a meal and give you a hug. <3 <3 <3

  2. From all mothers, for all time, who have ever experienced miscarriage or infant loss; thank you for sharing your story; your loss; for giving voice to the tragedy, the pain...