The Baby I Never Got To Meet

Shandi-lee Cox
Flickr, Shandi-lee Cox

I had the gift holding you every second that your heart was beating, until the moment it stopped. I fell in love with you when you were forming in my womb, and now I hold you in my heart instead of my arms. You were just too perfect, too beautiful for this earth, and now you’re an angel instead.

It’s been over a year now since my miscarriage and I can tell you it was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with and the biggest heartbreak I’ve experienced in my life. Up until recently I haven’t talked in-depth about what happened, and although I don’t think anyone is ever ready to talk about losing a baby, I’m hoping if I start now, I can get some type of closure. Deep down in my heart I think she was a girl, so throughout all of this I will refer to her as a she. I’m thinking maybe it could be therapeutic for me to tell people about what happened instead of just repressing those memories, and maybe it will help those who went through the same thing. So here it goes…

I remember the night before I went into work was when it occurred to me that I might be pregnant. I hadn’t missed my period, but a couple of little things set me off. I was irritable, tired, over emotional (more so then usual) and I noticed my breasts were really sore. I thought about the last time my boyfriend and I did the deed and realized that it could be possible that I was pregnant. I kept my suspicions to myself and left for work a little earlier than normal so I could pick up a pregnancy test. I couldn’t wait another minute without knowing for sure. I had never thought I was pregnant before and in the back of my mind I kept telling myself I was over-reacting and that I was probably going to get my period the next day. I had an app on my phone that let me know when my period was going to come, but I had noticed a trend in the last few months, I usually got it a little earlier than the app predicted. This time my period wasn’t early.

I locked myself in the staff bathroom took the test, and then placed it on top of the toilet paper dispenser. While I waited, I checked my phone, gussied up in the mirror a little and stood by the door, away from the test, waiting three to five minutes before finally walking over to peek at the test.

Phew.

There was only one line. I felt a bit of relief for about a second. Then I felt a little disappointed in me, because in my gut I had really thought I was pregnant. How could I have been wrong? Maybe I don’t know my body as well as I…

Wait…

Is that another line? Is that a very faded second line showing up?

Oh my god… no it can’t be? There’s no way that is a second line. I better check the instructions again. Even a faded line meant that you’re pregnant.

I leaned over and looked at that test as closely as I possibly could, staring hard at the second line that I thought I might be imagining. Nope. It’s real. That is a second line. Definitely pregnant.

Wait, holy shit. I’m PREGNANT. This is real. This is not a dream. I am pregnant. There is a baby starting to grow inside of me.

I think this is where I started to say what I was thinking out loud.

“Oh my god. Holy shit. No. No…no…no..”

I leaned up against the door and started to cry. I was scared. Then I laughed. The biggest smile stretched across my face.

I thought to myself “Wow, this is amazing. I’m pregnant. I’m actually pregnant.”

When my boyfriend picked me up from work later that day, I gave him the news.

“What are we going to do?” I said.

“Well I assume were going to have a baby?” He replied simply.

Looking back now, we were quite blissful in the first week. I don’t think we really thought about the gravity of the situation. We decided to wait a little bit before telling anyone. We were both afraid of what his parents would think, and that they’d be disappointed in us for not being more careful, and we wanted a little bit of time for ourselves to just process this information.

After a week or so we ended up telling them, and it was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders, but that’s when the reality hit and we realized this was going to be difficult for us and we needed to start preparing ourselves, and make some big changes in our lives.

For the next few weeks, my boyfriend and I had the absolute worst arguments and the stress just kept building more and more to the point where I thought I was going to break. Which is what I believe happens most of the time with unplanned pregnancy. You fight because you’re worried, scared, unprepared and you don’t know what the next step should be or which direction you wanted to go in. I couldn’t imagine getting an abortion, and that was something my boyfriend knew from the get-go.

Going about my daily life was not easy anymore. It was the only thing I could think about. It got to the point where most of my day consisted of me crying. I cried in the morning. I cried during work. I cried when I got home and had to face the music and argue some more about what we were going to do, and how and when. I was more emotionally drained then I had ever been before. I felt like my heart was being broken, over and over, every time we’d argue, but these were things we needed to figure out.

Incredibly, we found out my boyfriend’s brother and his girlfriend was also pregnant. Their baby was even due the same month as ours! My boyfriend’s parents were going to be grandparents for the first time, twice in the same month. We were happy for them, and it made me personally feel a little better, knowing that we weren’t alone. This lightened things up a little for everyone, and it was getting easier to breathe again.

I noticed a little bit of blood, but I heard that spotting is something common that happens in pregnancies, and not to worry too much about it. I tried not to worry, but it started getting a little heavier, and I wasn’t taking my chances. I went to the hospital and they did an ultrasound. I was only about seven weeks pregnant and she was so small that she was barely visible on the ultrasound, but she was there. They turned the monitor towards me so I could see her for the first time. A tiny little grey tadpole shaped thing surrounded by a black circle. So small, but definitely there.

“Do you see that tiny dot flashing there? That’s the heart-beat.”

I smiled and relief washed over me. She was okay…

The ultrasound technician told me I hadn’t miscarried, but the heart rate was really slow. She said she couldn’t say whether the pregnancy was going to carry through or not. She would not reassure me, which left me sitting there with a bad feeling in my gut. Finally I got to speak to a doctor who reassured me the baby was fine, and the fact that I felt sick, was a good thing. The baby was doing what she was supposed to. My hormone levels were great, the bleeding should stop, and he would write me a prescription for morning sickness since I felt so sick to my stomach. I picked up the prescription for morning sickness, but for the next week the bleeding continued.

I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. It reached its worst on this one day…the day I lost her. I tried to sleep in the recliner instead of in my bed because I’m a belly sleeper, but that only caused me more discomfort. I had the cold sweats. I thought I was getting the flu. I felt like I was going to throw up, but every time I leaned over the toilet, I only dry heaved. Nothing came out. I was shaking so vigorously that I decided to have a shower. I thought it would make me feel better and get rid of the cramping I was having. I knew that cramps meant a miscarriage, but the doctor sounded so sure…

Why would he tell me everything was okay, if it wasn’t? He should know what he’s talking about, right? I was in denial for the entire shower but the bleeding continued.

I’m not miscarrying…my baby is okay

I placed my hand on my belly and caressed it gently while the hot water eased the cramping. I leaned against the wall and just let the water fall. Part of me knew I was miscarrying. I couldn’t be so naive to think this was normal. You weren’t supposed to bleed this much while pregnant, regardless of what the doctor says. However I let what the doctor said drown out the little voice in the back of my head telling me I was having a miscarriage. I closed my eyes and prayed that the pain would just stop so I could stop worrying about my little one. I needed to know she was okay.

But I wasn’t okay.

I continued telling myself I wasn’t having a miscarriage.

But I was.

The next morning I told my boyfriend I was afraid I was miscarrying and that I really wasn’t feeling well. He didn’t say much, just that he hoped that I would start to feel better soon, and that maybe it was just morning sickness. I could tell that he was worried, but he isn’t the type of person to really show emotions like that.

I went to the hospital again; this time they wouldn’t let me see the monitor. They wouldn’t let me see my little grey tadpole. I had to wait about two weeks to get in to see my doctor. He would tell me the results of my ultrasound this time. In the meantime I had no idea if I was still pregnant or not.

My boyfriend and I attended his cousins wedding where we announced our pregnancy to his extended family. I was still lightly bleeding. I look back on this now and know we should have waited a bit longer to announce it, but I think because I was in denial, and hoped that the baby was fine, we announced it anyway. It would have made things easier if we hadn’t of said anything.

When the bleeding finally did stop, I noticed I felt different. I was not so much in denial anymore, though I put my fears and doubts in the back of my mind, and tried to stay positive. There was no way God would let me experience something so seriously, deeply heart-breaking. No, he would not let this happen to me. It wasn’t fair. Though, I couldn’t help thinking that all of this was happening because of how sad I had been for the past few weeks. That maybe the stress I had been going through made the baby leave my womb…

That this was all my fault because I couldn’t stay strong enough when the times got rough. At that point I started to wonder if I hadn’t known I was pregnant and was able to stay stress free for that important chunk of time where it’s crucial to be healthy to prevent miscarriage, would she have made it? Part of me does believe the answer is yes. I know stress is bad for you and the baby, I remember just how stressed I was, and how terrible that must have been on the baby… I’ll never forgive myself for not being the strong mother she needed me to be.

I called my doctors office before my appointment because I couldn’t and wouldn’t wait another day without knowing if I was still pregnant or not. I asked the secretary if she had my results. She did. I asked her nicely, did I miscarry? She asked me to give her a moment, and I waited a few minutes. When she returned she told me she would tell me my results over the phone, but that she really wasn’t supposed to. She asked me to please not tell the doctor that she told me, and I reassured her that I would not tell him, and that I really appreciated her helping me out.

“You did miscarry hun.”

I instantly felt my throat tighten. I knew it.

“Okay.” I said.

“I’m sorry…” She said, and she did sound genuinely sorry.

“Thanks for telling me.” I replied.

I instantly broke down into tears when I hung up the phone. I sat hunched over crying with my face between my knees for probably an hour before I heard someone walk through the front door. What’s worse is I had to tell everyone that I had just told I was pregnant, that I’d lost the baby.

And the look on my boyfriends face when I told him…I’ll never forget it.

I was depressed for a long while after. I didn’t feel like myself for a very long time. It was the worst day of my life, finding out I’d lost her before I even had the chance to get to know her. It was my first pregnancy. I never got to hear her first cry. I never would get to look her in the eyes, and tell her that I love her. Or him…if he was a boy.

I never got to see the look on my boyfriends face when he looked at her…or him for the first time. She would always be remembered as the little grey blip with the tiny flashing slow heart beat. I didn’t even get the picture of the ultrasound to remember her by.

April 14th, her due date, would be just a normal day instead of my baby’s birth-date.

It was my first pregnancy, and my first loss. The most heart wrenching thing I’d ever experienced.

But after all of this, I learned a few things.

I learned to be strong, for me. And for those who need me. That just because something happens that changes my potential path, doesn’t mean I can’t still do all the things I want to someday, later. To stay strong when it’s most important to, because you never know what will happen, and ‘it might just be a bad day, not a bad life’.

I learned that life is a miracle. It’s all out of our control, whether someone lives or dies and we need to realize how amazing it is how babies are made. Cherish every moment you live, and be thankful for every second you have with your loved ones. You never know how long you will have with them, and every moment is as important as the last. Even if you only have about eight weeks with them.

I learned that time really does heal, but the sadness never goes away. I’m not hurting anymore, but I will always remember the baby that I never got to hold, or kiss goodnight. I feel better now then I did months ago, but I’ll never stop being sad about miscarrying and that’s alright.

I learned to empathize a lot better than before I’d experienced this. Going through something like this opens your eyes to the world around you. You realize bad things happen and you may never know what someone has gone through, or what someone is going through. It’s taught me to be a little more compassionate with people because you have no way of knowing if they too are hurting inside.

Most of all though, it’s taught me to appreciate the things that do go right in my life.

Like when my boyfriend completed college and we moved out together into our first little house.

Like when the next time I was in the hospital, it was a few months after my miscarriage. This time when the ultrasound showed me a baby the heart-rate was not slow, the flashing light was bigger, and faster and she looked less like a tadpole and more like a fetus!

And instead of April 14th being a sad day to remember because it could have been my first baby’s birthday, it had a different significance. I would be during my second pregnancy and this baby would be about fourteen weeks along!

And I finally got to meet in person the lady who told me I’d miscarried over the phone. This time when she told me something she wasn’t supposed to over the phone, it was that my baby’s gender was female. Again I broke down into tears as soon as I hung up, but this time it was because I was so overjoyed. I was having a girl!

And like how when it came around to fall in 2014, I gave birth to my first daughter. She is absolutely beautiful, and twelve weeks old now. In fall of 2013 I miscarried. This fall, I was given the best gift a woman can ever receive. My rainbow baby! I will never forget how amazing it is that I have a beautiful, healthy little girl, and how precious human life is.

This time around everything seemed to fall into place. With the support and love from family, we got through it and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s like it was meant to happen the way it did because if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have this cute little blonde haired-blue eyed- pale skinned princess who smiles at me every morning and makes everything in life worth it.

And as for the baby that’s now in heaven. You’ll always be my favourite “What if” TC mark

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