From the moment I found out about you growing inside of me you were loved and you were wanted. That’s not to say I wasn’t in shock when I first saw those two lines on the stick, I cried and was a wee bit terrified, but never, not even for a moment, were you unloved or unwanted. By me or your dad. Your dad and I hadn’t been dating for long, about six months, when we discovered we were expecting you, but it didn’t matter much to us. In fact, if anything, you made us realize how much we love each other and want to be together. Just a few weeks old and already you were bringing so much love and happiness into this world.
The month I spent with you I loved to think about the person you would someday be. It was the happiest month I can remember in my life. I always hoped I’d have children, but at age 38 was beginning to lose hope that my future held that fate. Your dad didn’t want kids when I started dating him, in fact we almost broke up over it, but… I decided that maybe it was time to let go of that dream and he decided that maybe it was time to be open to it. I had come to realize that, if forced to choose, I’d rather grow old with someone, laughing and loving, than end up alone chasing something that may only ever mean to be a dream. And your dad is pretty special. In fact, when I found out I was pregnant with you it felt like it was the most right thing I’d ever done in my life. It made me realize that the most important thing I would ever do is choose a father for my children and I had fallen into it so perfectly. Your dad is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met in my life, truly kind through and through. And he’s so patient and observant and thoughtful. And very smart – the kind of dad who would be able to teach you about history and cars and politics and dinosaurs and music and all sorts of cool things. And, he was getting pretty good at his dad jokes so I know you would have perfected the eye roll at a very early age.
Everything changed for him when he found out about you. I’ve never seen him so excited. Sure, he too was terrified, but his face lit up and his eyes sparkled everytime we talked about you. And everytime I would begin to stress out about money, because that’s just a very parent thing to do, he would always calm me down and make life seem so easy once more. That’s one of your dad’s great gifts – he makes things feel possible.
Today is Monday of Labor Day Weekend. The last holiday of the summer here in American culture, even though most kids are already back in school. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been full of all the exciting things people are doing – trips to the lake/river/ocean, camping, barbecues, street fairs. Here in Kansas City the big draws are the American Royal BBQ Contest, the Irish Fest and the Ren Fest. I spent the weekend on bed rest watching all the fun everyone was having, but don’t worry—not for a minute did I want to be anywhere else.
Your dad and I watched a lot of television this weekend. And worried about you, a lot. It started on Thursday with some spotting. Then Friday some mild cramping and more spotting. I tried to remind myself that spotting and cramping can be perfectly normal in the early stages of pregnancy. I was in my ninth week. We were going to the doctor this Wednesday – it was going to be the first time your dad would get to see you on the ultrasound and, the very best part, hear your hearbeat. I messed up at my first appointment, I thought it’d be all paperwork and an initial exam, I didn’t know we’d get to see you. I told your dad he didn’t have to come, otherwise he would have been there. I remember sitting in that darkened room, surrounded by strangers, seeing you for the first time. It was the most special moment of my life. To hear your heartbeat filled me with tears – the ones of pure joy. I’m really sorry your dad missed that moment, trust me he never would have if we’d known.
They say it’s best to wait until after your first trimester (12 weeks) to share the news of your pregnancy with people. The risk of miscarriage is higher in the first trimester and the thought is you wouldn’t want to go tell people you lost the baby after telling them about it. Learning that made me mad – I remember telling people that if I lost my baby I would want to share that too – that I thought it was bullshit that we shame people into experiencing their pain alone. No. I was so filled with joy that I wanted to share it with everyone, right away. And IF the unthinkable were to happen then I would share my grief as well. I guess it’s easy to think that way when you’re so certain it won’t happen to you. And I was. How could it? I could picture you. I talked to you every day. Your dad and I were planning what your room would look like, how we’d raise you, we’d already picked out a daycare and your names. I say names because we didn’t know yet if you were a boy (Hugh Thomas) or a girl (Olivia Margaret), we just knew you were so loved.
And I wouldn’t change that month of knowing and sharing for anything. I’ve never felt so special in my life. Everyone was so genuinely excited for your dad and me. And everyone couldn’t wait to meet you. You would have been welcomed into this world so surrounded by love and hope. Your dad had high hopes that maybe someday you’d cure cancer, I told him I’d be happy if you were just a good human. We need more good humans in this world, and I firmly believe that your dad and I would inevitably raise a very kind and compassionate person – and that is what really changes this world. Kindness and compassion are what we need more of, and I had no doubt in my mind that you would bring so much of that to the lives you touched. Those were the types of dreams I had for you.
And you did, while you were here. We got to see the very best in people each time we shared the news. In a world filled with uncertainty and turmoil, there is one thing I learned to count on – babies bring a lot of love and hope into this world and people embrace that with open arms.
For weeks everytime I went to the bathroom I was nervous to look down. Every now and then at night I woke up with bad dreams that I had lost you. So when the bleeding and cramping got worse I was unconsolable. It was such a Catch-22. I was told to rest and stay calm. But it was so hard to not worry. To not think the worse, all while clinging to hope. Your dad curled up next to me for two days on the couch, comforting me, rubbing my feet, hugging me, kissing me, telling me everything was going to be okay. Giving me hope, giving me love. Even Callie Kitty was concerned. She just wanted to curl up on top of us (she wanted to lay right on top of you, but I wouldn’t let her). She was very protective and loving. She never left our side.
On Sunday morning I woke to pain like I’d never felt before and I knew what was happening. I rubbed my belly where you’d be, told you how much I loved you and said my goodbyes. I woke up your dad and we lay there holding on to each other and crying. And cringing from the pain. Eventually I knew I had to get up and go to the bathroom. I thought I lost you in there and turned hysterical. Your dad called the doctor and he explained what was happening, we were losing you. He told us we could stay home or come in to the ER. He gave us our options but suggested if I wasn’t bleeding too badly that we’d be more comfortable at home. So that’s what I chose. Your dad wanted to go to the hospital and after some time he won. We found out later that you were stuck in my cervix and the pain was making me black out a bit. Your dad was right to go to the hospital, if I kept at it on my own I would have lost too much blood.
I don’t remember much, just pain. The kind of physical pain that rips through you, bringing you in and out of consciousness, but still nothing compared to the pain of my heart breaking, knowing we were losing you. And the pain of seeing your dad putting on such a brave face through his tears and hurt tugged at my already agonized heart reminding me over and over how lucky I am to have him. The doctor told me what I was experiencing was basically labor. It became more manageable with the pain meds they pumped into me. They no longer had to worry about what I was taking as your mother, because you were already lost. I remember looking into your dad’s eyes, his hand on my face, I remember a room full of people. They were encouraging me and telling me when to push and that I was doing so good and that it was almost over. And your dad kept telling me to breathe and telling me how much he loves me and how proud of me he is… It was a surreal experience to give birth, without creating life.
It didn’t take long. We were in and out of the hospital within a few hours. We got back in the car surrounded in our sadness and went home. And now the grieving process begins, and with it the logistics of undoing all we’ve done to prepare for you. My mobile apps popped up this morning telling me all about how you are developing and how big you are because today would have marked the start of week 10. You would have been the size of a strawberry this week. My precious little strawberry, please remember that you were loved, you were wanted, and you will be so very missed. Thank you for giving me the most magical experience of my life.
I love you,