August 8th, 2011.
7 years ago today.
That was supposed to be one of the happiest days and now each year I dread it.
Not many people know that I was actually pregnant once. And I'm not talking about after our IVF transfer when we were 'pregnant until proven otherwise' either. We have been so open about our struggles the past few years that you'd think I'd have no trouble spilling my guts on the internet anymore. (Maybe I should learn to reign that in a bit...probably not.) Even after all we've shared, this is still something I feel so vulnerable typing out and hitting 'post' on.
It was an afternoon in December of 2010. I was laying on the couch in my apartment watching TV before I had to head to work that night. I'd been feeling kind of dizzy and nauseous for the past week or so but didnt think much of it. I was a college kid working bar hours while running on minimum sleep, fast food and Diet Coke. Throw in the fact I'd had PCOS since high school so missing a period was never something I'd even bat an eye at. Being pregnant was NOWHERE near my radar. But for some reason, that afternoon alone in my apartment, something possessed me to take a test.
Plain as the nose on my face. Holy #$*%@÷>!
I immediately sent a picture to my friend asking if that looked like a positive test to her. Honestly. It may as well have been a flashing neon sign that yelled "PREGNANT". I called Joe and amidst panicked hyperventilating blurted out "I just took a pregnancy test and it says positive". Poor kid almost crashed his car.
We went to First Choice Clinic the next day. I met with a nurse to discuss what we should do next, and she took me back for an ultrasound. They figured I was around 6 weeks and told me it would probably be too early to detect a heartbeat but they'd look. Joe was brought in and she asked, "See that tiny flicker? That's baby's heartbeat!".
I'm not even quite sure if this whole thing had sunk in yet and to be honest, the next few days are still a blur, like a puzzle with pieces missing so the picture isn't quite clear. I remember driving home being in total disbelief as to what was happening. I remember family coming for Joe's college graduation and trying to keep this a secret while I felt miserable. I remember going to a family wedding and telling my cousin I was pregnant but not anyone else. I remember lying in bed when we were at Joe's home for Christmas bawling my eyes out because 'this wasn't who I was brought up to be and I didn't know what to do'.
But what I do vividly remember every detail of is going back to the clinic after Christmas for the next ultrasound appointment. I remember being in there by myself with just the nurse as she looked around for much longer than the first ultrasound not saying a thing. I remember her calling in another nurse and them talking in hushed tones. I remember her saying "I'm so sorry, but I cant find a heartbeat". I remember going to the main clinic to meet with a doctor to confirm there was no longer a heartbeat, going home in total shock as to what had transpired over the past few weeks, crying uncontrollably, calling my mom and having to tell my parents what had been happening, waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the actual miscarriage to happen. I remember missing the first day of classes that semester because I was curled up in bed in intense pain miscarrying my baby and having to somehow explain a 'medical situation' to my professors as to why I missed the first few days of class. I remember with crystal clarity the dream I had of a dark-haired little boy swinging on a swingset under a dark blue star-filled sky, never actually calling me mama...but just knowing.
It's often something I look back on and it seems like a lost foggy dream. The kind you wake up from and vaguely remember the details. But then something happens, someone says something, I see a child that is the same age our kid should be, and it all comes flooding back to me. Every detail. Especially the heartbreak.
Each year when a living child's birthday rolls around there are parties, and presents, and cards, and birthday greetings. But what do you do when there was never a happy birthday to celebrate? It's hard when people don't even know there was a life to be remembered, to be celebrated. But the truth is I had a child. There WAS a life to be celebrated, a child that was so loved even if they were only here for a short time, a life that changed mine in unimaginable ways even though I never met them.
I promise you know someone else who has gone through the nightmare of miscarriage. And if that happens to be you, I see you, mama. I know you wonder what they look like or what they would have been like. If they would have liked dinosaurs or dresses. Maybe they would have liked reading with mom or maybe going fishing with dad would have been their favorite thing in the whole world. I wonder if our kiddos would have been friends...maybe they are.
You were so loved, little one. You changed our lives and I can't wait to meet you and your siblings someday.
Happy Birthday 💔💚