Ten years ago today I awoke before the sun and realized that the horrible labor pains I'd had the night before had stopped long enough to let me fall asleep. I wondered what that could mean. Could the baby be okay? Perhaps I wasn't miscarrying after all. Maybe everything would be fine.
Two days before I had gone to the emergency room with my then boyfriend (now husband) with fear in my heart. I'd been spotting and was terrified that I would lose the pregnancy. The ultrasound revealed a small little bean, moving a bit, heart beating strong. I felt such an immediate rush of emotion. Suddenly all the fears I'd had dissolved. I would figure out a way to tell my dad. I would still graduate from college. Everything would work out."Just please, please God, let everything work out." I kept praying this over and over.
The next day however, the spotting became bleeding, and the pains began. I felt horrible guilt for any of the moments of doubt I'd experienced when we had first realized I was pregnant. How many times had I wished this wasn't happening to me? Was this God's answer? I felt horrible. What kind of mother would ever wish her child away? It had been exactly one month since that first pregnancy test had come up positive. I was 12 weeks along according to the ultrasound at the hospital.
At first I had been in shock. I asked my boyfriend what we should do. He said he would do whatever I wanted. I answered, "I guess we are going to have a baby." Then, for the next few weeks I spent my spare time looking for information online about pregnancy. I'd never even taken a pregnancy test before in my life, until that first, instantly positive test. It definitely was unexpected. I was not sure when I'd last had a period. I was using birth control pills, but sometimes would purposefully skip the week of placebo pills if having a period would pose an inconvenience. Clearly I'd screwed something up along the way. As time went on, I grew more and more attached to the idea of new life. Not just new life, but new life created with the person I loved. It was surreal. Here I was, walking around campus; on the outside I looked like every other student...but inside I held a secret. A life was growing within me. I lay in bed at night, resting my hand against my abdomen, wondering when I would feel different. And perhaps that should have been a clue, but at the time I had no idea. I had no symptoms at all. I only took the test because when I realized I couldn't recall my last period, I realized it might have been as far back as November.
When I realized I was now bleeding and having labor pains, I did my best to hide it from my family. I was home for the week, on spring break. I had been working a lot, but was off that day. My sister asked me if I had been crying and I lied and said I was just having a bad period. Then as the night grew later, the pains grew worse. Finally I felt like I couldn't go on without telling someone what I was going through. I went to my dad's room and stood in the door. I couldn't get the words to come out, but when he looked up and saw the tears flowing he must have known it was not good. I eventually sputtered, "I didn't know how to tell you this. I have to tell you but you'll be disappointed in me. I am pregnant. But I'm having a miscarriage." My dad has never been one to condone premarital sex or anything, but more than anything I was terrified of disappointing him. I was always trying to do my best and not disappoint anyone. But once I had gotten the words out any disappointment he had felt was a mystery to me. He suggested I take a warm bath or lay down and try to relax. Nothing really helped, but eventually I cried myself to sleep, praying that the pains would stop and I would still be pregnant.
When I woke up though, I felt nothing. There was just an uncertain emptiness. I had no idea that the emptiness was more than just an emotion. When I went to the bathroom to investigate I found all the evidence I needed. I wept again. I wept for the baby who would never grow up. I wept for the baby who would never read books, climb trees, write to Santa, rest against my breast, or breath softly as they fell asleep. I would never hold that baby again. I had never felt as sad I did in that moment.
I was fortunate enough to be pregnant again in a ridiculously short amount of time, and I had a very healthy baby boy that November. But every year, on March 7th, I think of the child I lost. I think it's bittersweet; knowing had this child lived, I wouldn't have my sweet son. But the pain is still there. The hurt, the sadness, have never left me; though the ache is not as strong as it once felt. I will always wonder who this sweet being was, and why their stay on this earth was so brief.