Tag Archive | pregnancy loss

To the One Who Isn’t Here

Dear Baby-of-Long-Ago,

Sometimes I feel you. Not so much in the ethereal, mystical, magical way of smelling the random scent of lavender or feeling a gentle breeze blow through a room with closed windows and knowing it’s you. That’s only happened once or twice, when seeing a rainbow or a butterfly in the most unexpected places, and even then I don’t know if it was you or my hoping it was you. I’m not sure the dead come back to us like that, or if they leave us whom they love alone so that we can move on in peace.

So it’s not you I feel precisely, but the absence of you. The ever-constant, gentle (and sometimes less-gentle, more raw, stinging, pinching, punching, painful) knowing you are not here. You are not, and never will be again, here. In this very place. With me. With us. Your family.

I go about my day just as I did before your short stay here on earth, except now I have two living little ones to look after, and I am more tired, busy, and cranky and happy all at once. I don’t light your candle every night anymore or cry for you every day. And yet, your not-here-ness is here, drifting silently and invisibly around me, humming in my ear like a mosquito at times, fluttering through my thoughts like a hummingbird at others, and rattling me like an earthquake when things go really badly. These days I feel free, mostly, and yet I am still somehow never quite free of you. Which is okay, because your memory doesn’t hurt me all the time now, and on most days there is a sweet nostalgia in thinking of you, the baby who has stayed a baby to me, the baby who never got to grow up and forever remains as small and precious as a tadpole.

There is something unique and uniquely painful about losing a barely-there baby. It does not take long for people to feel justified in forgetting. And they start to expect you to forget, too. And with time, you do. Not entirely and not forever, but there are minutes and then hours and then maybe even days when you don’t think of your loss and what was and what could have been, and you start feeling guilty for that. I feel guilty for that and find myself grasping at moments, trying to prove I haven’t moved on, haven’t betrayed you, because that somehow means I’m the mom I want to be. The one you deserve.

But the truth is, no matter how often or how little you cross my thoughts, I will never move on, not fully. There is a part of me, the old, pre-miscarriage me, who lives with you in the past. And unlike everyone around me who doesn’t remember anything about you and your time here unless I forcefully bring it to their attention, you are always on my mind during the “remembering days” — the anniversaries of the day when I learned of your conception, and of your goneness, and of course I couldn’t forget your due date if I tried.¬† But your memory comes to me at other times, too. I am reminded of your absence most when I watch your sisters for too long. They bring me such joy. Across years, I have seen their personalities evolve and unfold. I held them in their immediate, wet, oh-so-real newness and, with awe and some heartache, watched as they have each grown into a bigger, more independent, strikingly beautiful version of those babies they once were. And now there is another baby on the way and, God willing, I will get to experience that with him too. But for you, I have none of that. I did not just lose a baby, but years and years of feeling your soft weight enfolded in my arms in a hug, and watching your eyes widen under the same long lashes as you discover the world around you, and seeing all the ways you change and stay the same as decades tick by. You never got your chance to become anything and it makes me sad for you and sad for me because there is so much more than a kidney bean-sized embryo that I lost.

I often think of you as the Baby-Who-Almost-Was, but even when I do, I know there is no truth in that name. Because there is no “almost” about the place you had here. You were. You existed. And in my past, and my memories, and the empty space in my heart that no amount of babies or love can fill, you still do. You were. You are. In some ways, even if it’s only in the hole that you left behind, you still live amongst us.

So you’re not forgotten. I don’t always remember, but I can’t forget. I won’t and I don’t want to. There’s not much I can give you now with me here and you in some not-here place, with me solid and alive and you a wisp-of-smoke ghost in my life, but I can promise you that I love you still and I won’t forget you and I won’t try to. You are still, and forever, mine.

And maybe that’s the best way to be.

With big love,

Your Mama

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Back Home

Well, it’s CD8 and we’re back home…or at least, the place we call “home” but that doesn’t yet actually feel like Home, two years after moving here.

It was a good trip, but not easy. Between the conversation with my sis, Trisha’s sad news, the Clomid I was taking, and my daughter being the Tantrum Queen, I was a bit of an emotional wreck. There were plenty of meltdowns and I’m not proud to say that they weren’t all from Cupcake. Really, I was ready to come home nearly as soon as we got there and, by the time we finally did return last night, I was spent. Physically and emotionally spent in every possible way.

Still, it was nice to spend time with my mama and let our little girl see so many people whom she hadn’t in a year or more. And we went to the wedding of a family friend. A boy whom I have known all his life (him being five years younger than me) finally married his sweetheart of ten years. Weddings always make me cry, not only because it is always so beautiful to see love at its truest, purest, and most innocent (for who knows what all the tough years ahead will bring?), but also because I am reminded of my own wedding, how lucky I am to have married my best friend, and how much harder I want to try to do and be even better for him. I think I love going to weddings exactly for that reason: it breathes new life into our relationship and devotion to each other.

There was one moment at the wedding, though, that really made me ache. As I watched the groom dance with his mother for the Mother/Son dance, and they laughed and looked so at ease, I thought to myself, I will never have that with my Teddy Graham. I have always believed that our TG was a boy and, while I will never really know, I feel a constant loss over losing all possible boyness in my life — even the possibility of ever having a[nother] boy. I will never get to dance with Teddy and I may never get a Mother/Son dance at all. This thought was enough to make the tears fall while I watched the Mother of the Groom dance with her son, and enough to make them continue to fall into the night.

Then yesterday, before hitting the road, we met a friend for lunch. She’s a rather new friend whom I’ve known less than two years and she is expecting her second child. In fact, she is due one week and one day before my own lost due date…an “accident baby” they hadn’t planned on so soon. Ugh. The only thing that gives me any solace is that I know she, too, understands the pain of miscarriage. She had one six months before conceiving her first living child. And when I went through my own loss, she was there through e-mail and text, encouraging, comforting and praying for me. When she asked if we could meet for lunch, I had mixed feelings. I purposely hadn‘t contacted her since arriving in Idaho so that I could avoid having lunch with a pregnant belly at the table. But I’m not good at saying no, and mercifully, it was easier than anticipated. I still knew, as I looked at her swollen tummy, that mine would probably have been around the same size. I still wish it was me, of course. But it didn’t cut me to my core. I didn’t have to escape to the bathroom for a good cry. It was okay. Which gives me hope that maybe, some day, I will be able to handle seeing my sister with such grace and calm as well. Or maybe it will always burn my heart. Maybe the unfairness of it all will never escape me. Maybe.

So that was our short trip. Which felt so long. It was a mix of bitter and sweet. I shed a lot of tears. But the first week of this cycle was gone in a flash and for that, I am grateful. Up next: my birthday. Tomorrow! And then wait-wait-waiting — all ending with a heavy dose of disappointment or a mix of unimaginable joy and fear. And then more waiting beyond that.

Ugh.

My whole life is a series of waits, I’m afraid.

The Book of Life

Hi, friends.

For all of you out there who have angel babies who died while in utero, I wanted to share this link:

http://innocents.com/shrine.asp

It’s for The Shrine of the Holy Innocents, where you can have your unborn child’s name entered in The Book of Life at no charge. They will also send you a certificate stating this if you’d like. The Church of Holy Innocents, where the shrine is located, can be found in New York City and you can visit the shrine if you’re ever in town, too.

While I lost our Teddy Graham early in my pregnancy, I still consider him as much my child as my living daughter is. It is very validating to know that someone, somewhere, thinks of my child as having lived and that he is remembered and prayed for daily, along with so many other lost little babies. Not much brings me peace on this difficult road…but this does.