On Love and Loss

I found out around the time of our Christmas vacation that I was pregnant again. Hence the long absence of blogging around the new year. I blame pregnancy exhaustion and hormones. So many hormones! This pregnancy turned out to be the complete opposite of my first. I didn’t feel an immediate connection to this baby, in fact there were days I forgot completely that I was creating another human. For that I blamed the other human I had already created; she kept me so busy I didn’t have time to dwell on the good news.
But at the first appointment we found that the fetus had no heartbeat and displayed no movement. And while I was supposed to be 10 weeks along, baby only measured at 7 weeks and 1 day. I had what they called – a “silent miscarriage.”
Part of me had expected this outcome. On the day I clutched my positive pregnancy test, I also had a very high, hard to break fever.  Such a high fever can cause neural defects. When my OB broke the news I found myself silently nodding my head in agreement. It made sense. The crazy surge of hormonal meltdowns last week, the skin breakouts and the extreme bloating. All my body’s way of giving one last try at saving the baby. No such luck; it just wasn’t meant to be. So imagine my cool-headed, hard logic surprise when at the mention of a D&C tears started leaking from my eyes.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I knew it was a possibility but I was certainly not prepared. We settled on a second confirmation ultrasound before scheduling the D&C. It was driving home that I realized what I was dreading the most; telling the man I love that our future was changing again. That my body somehow failed me us and the visions of two kids running around had suddenly vanished.

For a long time, I just wanted to get back to normal. I felt relieved at first. I continually told myself I was happier that I was no longer pregnant and that we really “dodged a bullet.” I was annoyed when my friends, my family… the people I care so deeply about kept checking in with me to see if I was okay. I was dressed and put together, I wasn’t sobbing in the evenings, I was moving on and felt like they were holding me back.
In reality, I was holding myself back. I was smack dab in the first few stages of grieving. Denial, anger, bargaining… you know the rest. I turned to wine to self soothe my hidden regrets and buried anger. If I wasn’t going to be pregnant I could at least drink. I tried to drown my “what-if’s”  in bottles of Chardonnay. And then one day it finally happened; the tears came.
I was laying on the floor playing with Emerson. I was voicing nonsensical thoughts while she rummaged around in the masses of toys spewed across the living room rug. Emmie was quiet, as is her way, but lately she’s been dabbling in speaking more. When she looked up from what she was doing and quietly stated, “baby.” I propped myself up on my elbows.
“A baby? Did you hear a baby crying? Is one of your baby dolls tired? Where is this baby you speak of?”
Then time stood still. She smiled a big grin and scooted over to me, lifted my shirt exposing my pale stomach and laid her ear on my belly. “Baby,” she said again using her little cold hand to pat my soft tummy.
I felt it. The icy shatter of my heart breaking. It hit me like a wave of winter air, a chill that steals the breathe right from your lungs.
“Mommy doesn’t have a  baby in her belly anymore, honey.” I heard the whisper leave my lips before I realized that I was speaking.  I held my breathe as I watched her face mimic the maze of emotions I was lost in. First, confusion with little furrowed brows and a slight tilt of her head, and then as she processed the words a sad little pout sprouted from her lips and the tiniest quiver danced across her chin.
“Does it make you sad that mommy doesn’t have a baby in her belly anymore?” I asked,  my voice still barely audible. The world fell silent around us. Another chin quiver and wide, sad eyes locked onto mine and Emerson solemnly nodded yes. Yes, it made her sad.
I didn’t bother to wipe away the hot tears now streaming down my face. “It makes me sad too darling. It makes me very sad too.” I scooped her little body in my arms and breathed her in. There we sat tangled up in each other’s arms and each other’s sadness. But most importantly we sat there huddled together engulfed in love.
In time my broken heart will fully heal. Until then, I’ll drink up every moment with Emerson. The smirks and laughs. The way she gleefully runs down the street doing her best to keep up with the big kids. Or how she throws her arms around my neck and squeezes so tightly I can do nothing to hold my laughter in. I’ll study how the light bounces off her golden hair and listen to her breathe when she snuggles close.  I’ll dry her tears when she scraps her knee again and hold her hand to keep her safe. And in time, perhaps, there will be a moment where I can watch Emmie’s face light up when we tell her she’ll be a big sister.

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