I was due in June. After having my son Jackson in flu season, I was thrilled about my summer baby plans. “And if it is a girl, I can use all Julia’s summer clothes…” I couldn’t wait.
But as excited as I was, Jackson was even more excited. Since he was two years old, he had been begging for a sibling. And while his baby cousin Julia was filling the role of sibling for him, he wanted “his own baby.” I knew telling him before 12 weeks was risky, but I was so ill during those first months that I felt I had to explain to him what was wrong with mommy. His face lit up with the news and we all set out for the long wait…
At ten weeks, I went for an ultrasound to find out my exact due date. Laying on the ultrasound table I happily chatted away with the technician, not suspecting anything to be wrong with my pregnancy. After twenty minutes of her studying the monitor, I asked “So is my baby alive in there – when are you going to show me the heart beat?”
I said it so casually. I was afraid, but somehow sure that everything was, of course, okay.
“I am so sorry…” she began, “But your baby died about two days ago…”
I burst into tears. “What am I going to tell my son?” I cried. Guilt for telling him so soon crashed down on me. As I cried, half naked on the table with that ridiculous internal ultrasound thing still inside me waiting for the radiologist to come in and confirm it all, the terrible reality that I had really lost my baby began to set in. After I finally could dress and regain a bit of dignity, they left me alone to call my husband. Then I sat in that little room and just cried and cried.
One of the worst experiences of my life was explaining to Jackson that we weren’t going to be having a baby in June. He looked at me confused and said, “No Mommy – we are having a baby. I saw him.” After a few more assurances that no, there was no longer a baby growing in my belly, he seemed to accept it. In the weeks to follow, he would sometimes ask me when we were going to have a new baby. I told him I didn’t know and we would go on with our day. I think he thought about it often.
At first, I was in survival mode, focusing on healing and moving forward. I had to wait for two weeks for the baby to miscarry, and then I had to wait through two more months of bleeding before I finally had a D&C in January.
Now six months later, I am just beginning to have a cycle. I had imagined I would be pregnant again by now, busy planning for another baby. But instead June approaches and I am constantly reminded of the baby I will never meet. With spring seems to come the baby season. Everywhere I go I see bundles of new babies and I can’t help to feel an envious stab of pain.
I thought that the grief would ease over time. Instead I think it has grown. At first people would say to me that they were amazed at how well I was dealing with my miscarriage. I answered back confidently that this was part of being a woman and building a family. “So many women have miscarriages – and many never get to have a child of their own. I have my son. I am just grateful for what I have.”
And I am grateful, but as my “due date” approaches I realize that this will be a loss I will always carry with me. It is a different pain then if I had lost a child I had held, hugged and known. But it still is a real and significant loss.
This June will hurt. When I see a brand new baby, I will turn away quickly and try to hide my tears. I won’t be able to forget that June was supposed to be our month.
Perhaps by next June I will have another baby. Maybe that will dull the pain, and yet maybe not. Just as having my sweet son comforts me and I am so grateful for the gift of him, it doesn’t erase the agony of losing that other little member of our family.