Exactly two years ago I found out I was pregnant. I kept the positive pregnancy test in the bathroom cabinet and glanced at it multiple times a day, imagining what this new child would be like. I held Plum — who was 18 months at the time — and nursed her, giddy that I would get to do this again with another baby in just nine months. The kids got to share the news with our parents and tell them that they were going to be grandparents again!
As autumn passed I spent every moment thinking about how big the family would be by this season next year. I planned out Halloween costumes. I pondered how our two kids would play with the new baby and how they would all get along.
Then, on an otherwise normal November morning a couple weeks after Halloween, I woke up with some pain. It felt like my monthly cramps and headache. I went to the bathroom and noticed the blood spots. Dread sank in. I was stunned. I panicked. I waited. I wished and willed for the bleeding to go away. I tensed all my muscles, I crossed my legs, and I pretended not to feel the wetness. Stop. Stop. Please stop.
It didn’t stop. I was losing my child.
A couple hours went by and the bleeding was gushing now. As I was actively miscarrying, I held the pieces of uterine lining in my hands, desperately searching for the little seed that was supposed to be my baby. I wanted to see her. I wanted to hold her. I just wanted to tell her that I loved her.
I never found her. She was too small. And I just kept bleeding. Going to the bathroom and seeing all the remnants of my uterus purging my baby in the toilet was horrifying, traumatic, and sickeningly irreverent. That little seed was a hope. That seed was a creation. Now she is being flushed through disgusting pipes like sewage. I was so angry. I felt like a failure, and all the constant blood was a reminder that I had failed and that my hope was gone. I just wanted the bleeding and pain to end.
And then it was over.
Suddenly I wanted it back again. Now there was no evidence at all. It was over. She was just gone, as if she had never been.
I was completely lost. I was a shell of myself. When I was alone, I bawled. When I was with friends, I bawled. Gut-wrenching, dry heaving, sobbing, wailing. At night after the kids went to bed, I would turn on a movie and stare at it to drown out whatever you call it when your heart is so full of pain that thinking doesn’t work anymore. A month passed. Then two. Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went.
I tried to make sense of my world. There must have been something very wrong with the baby. Or maybe there is something very wrong with me. Oh my god, did I just fail at my last chance for another child? Peter will never love me again if I can’t have any more children.
I remember somebody saying something like this: “that seed, the creation, that spirit — it got everything it needed in this life, and then it moved on.”
I latched onto this thought like a child to its mother. It is honoring; it is respectful. The little being that worked and labored in my belly for those weeks had not failed, but rather had achieved her purpose valiantly and quickly. Those cells formed a spirit — in whatever sense you want to think of a spirit — with her own journey, just like my other children, and the fact that her journey was shorter than I wanted does not make it less incredible and valuable. She knew it was time to go. I am grateful to have been part of her journey.