At the end of summer, Joe and I were thrilled to discover that we were expecting another baby. We visited the doctor, saw and heard a heartbeat, made plans, managed morning sickness, told our girls, and began sharing our news with friends and family.
Sadly, six weeks ago on October 26, my doctor confirmed what we suspected— that I was having a miscarriage. Even though I’m terrible at deciphering sonograms, I could tell right away that the baby wasn’t moving and wasn’t alive anymore. At nearly 12 weeks along, we were heartbroken. I’ve felt all the textbook feelings you have when experiencing a loss: sad, guilty, and then guilty about feeling sad because we have already been blessed with three AMAZING, happy, healthy kids whom we love beyond measure. But maybe that’s what makes this loss difficult. Although we never got to meet this baby, we do know he or she would have been absolutely adored by all of us.
I’ve erased doctor appointments, a due date, and weekly countdown. I’ve watched the beginnings of a baby bump fade away over the past few weeks. And I’ve had to “untell” our news over and over again. Still, my heart is still following the timeline of a pregnancy that isn’t. I had imagined I would be visibly pregnant and on my way to feeling baby kicks this December. We would be making space again in our house for an infant, configuring a 4th carseat into our vehicle, and coming up with an absurd list of baby names. Except we’re not.
I wanted to write this post for a few reasons. The first is to acknowledge that this baby existed, was loved, and still is loved. I feel like pretending this never happened would actually be more difficult than facing this loss head-on and accepting that this is part of our story.
I also want to acknowledge all of you moms and dads who have experienced any degree of loss before. It just sucks. By pure luck, I had previously been so fortunate to have uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries and have avoided this type of heartbreak. If this has ever happened to you in any way, shape or form, consider yourself hugged tightly by me right this instant.
Lastly, I want to express thanks from the bottom of our hearts to our families who have let us lean on them last month. That support and love has been invaluable and immensely appreciated! Thank you to my mom who let me just sit and cry incoherently on the phone. Thank you to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who babysat for us while we were in the hospital and also made us so much food that I did not have to cook for an entire week. Thank you to all for the flowers, messages, and meals. I’ve never felt “love thy neighbor” more than when I had neighbors check in on us (and one who whisked me away for coffee and a pedicure!)
I’ve been doing my best to keep my head and my hands busy (hence my last couple of blog posts). This has included wallpapering our bathroom, decorating our house for the holidays, creating and writing out our Christmas cards, attending family get-togethers, scheduling more photo sessions, going to the gym, organizing closets, donating toys and clothes, etc.
I wish I could package up my grief nice and neatly in a blog post or memory box and revisit it on my own terms, but as I’ve learned that’s not how grief works. You can’t wish it away, exercise it away, or organize it away. It resurfaces at will, triggered randomly (like by the girls saying “I wish the baby was still growing… I wish Ares could still be a big brother.”). However, I’m finding that comfort comes from smooshing my face against our joyful 18-month-old’s cheeks and making him giggle. I’m finding joy comes by watching the girls experience the holiday season. And I’ve felt love and reassurance just by being hugged by Joe.
I am doing ok and we are doing ok. I just needed to get this out of my heart and put it out here.
Ironically, the biggest heartbreak of my life, was not just my dad passing away five and a half years ago, but the fact that he would never meet his grandchildren here on earth. I know my love for my dad and his love for me somehow transcends space and time. Over the years, Cece (who was only two when he died) has observed how much I love and miss him over time. This year she even requested a framed photo of her grandpa as one of her Christmas gifts.
I’ve been comforted by the fact that maybe my dad and this baby have found each other in heaven along with our grandparents and all of the other angels we know.
And maybe someday, I’ll find them too.