It was the day after Easter when the labor cramps kicked in and the thing so many pregnant mothers dread began – I was losing our baby.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Until this year I didn’t know such an awareness month existed. I had no reason to know; I had never experienced such a loss. This year is different. This year there was our Smooch.
Most of you know I am currently pregnant. We’re expecting a son this January. People assume he is our second child, but they don’t know about the little one we lost earlier in the year. They don’t know about our doctor being unable to find baby’s heartbeat. They don’t know about the emergency ultrasound. They don’t know about the blood draws so HCG levels could be measured. They don’t know about the bleeding, the contractions, the guilt, the grief, or the sadness. Why? Because nobody talks about this stuff.
Now, here I am pregnant for a third time and the invitation to worry is strong. Thanks to the loss of Smooch there’s a cloud that stalks this pregnancy experience. That little doppler tool now not only checks for baby’s heartbeat, it increases mine. Until our 20-week ultrasound a large part of me didn’t feel safe anticipating a new child. I have no journal chronicling this pregnancy because I can’t imagine wanting to read it later. It’s not that things are much different physically from the first time around; it’s that they’re wholly different emotionally.
I want to connect with this baby, but it’s so much more difficult than it was with my firstborn. I have to work around the scar of miscarriage.
I was pregnant with Smooch for eleven weeks. For some reason, development did not properly progress and we lost the little life of our second baby. If this is not something you’ve experienced it can be very difficult to understand. So much of it is invisible to those on the outside. There is no funeral, many people didn’t even know there was a pregnancy, and in the midst of it few parents have the energy to put words to the experience. But for those who must walk this road the loss is quite visible. It is tangible. It is felt both emotionally and, at least for the mother, physically. I know the moment I was no longer carrying Smooch. That moment will be with me forever. Likewise, the memory of these lost lives linger with their families. These children deserve to not be kept secret.
My dear friend Lacey started a family necklace for me when I got married. There is a leaf with our anniversary date, a leaf with Phin’s initials and birthdate, and now a tiny heart to represent our Smooch. I look forward to adding a leaf with new initials and a new birthdate this coming January; mostly because it means our baby will be here, but partly because it means we know he was born safely. He made it.
Scratch that – WE made it.