An Open Letter to the Love of My Life - Whom I Never Met
Where does a story like this even begin? How do you tell it in a way that someone truly feels the anguish I went through. And then, I remember...any woman who has been through this already knows. And it's for those women...and for myself - that I write this story.
My heart is racing at the idea of sharing my raw emotions to the world.
On April 28, 2017 - I had a miscarriage.
We had just recently found out we were expecting baby number three a week prior. Before we could even adjust to the idea of a third child, it was over...
I awake at 4 a.m. to a spot of blood in my underwear. "It's OK, this can be normal. It happens sometimes," I reason with myself as my heart sinks. No time to worry, I need to get ready for an opening shift.
Once at work I attempt to focus on my tasks. I listen to the stories of co-workers as they vent about their life troubles. Their troubles seem so insignificant as I think about what is happening to my baby, to me. It's not their fault...they have no idea.
I text my two best friends (it's 2 a.m. for them) to beg for some kind of reassurance that all is well...I know it's not.
With every step I take, I can feel a gush of blood...my body rejecting my child. How can this be happening?
I leave work early and head to a local hospital. The process moves quickly, I am checked in, brought to a room, changed into a gown, blood drawn, etc. Then I wait...for 3 hours...I wait. I wait alone, in a gown, in a cold exam room to find out if I have lost my child. I sob, I talk to my baby...making promises, apologizing for being nervous about a third child, swearing I am ready and will be the best mama ever - IF ONLY YOU WILL STAY. Please...just stay.
The doctor walks in to inform me my HCG levels are only at 24 and she is shocked I even got a positive pregnancy test. She gives me a shrug and a frown. She offers me a rhogam shot (my blood is positive, this does not even make sense) and walks out.
In walks an incredibly cheerful nurse, apparently unaware of the circumstances that cause our paths to cross. "Ready to be discharged?" she says cheerfully. "Did I lose the baby?" I ask. "Oh yes, absolutely, sorry about that, but you can go home now." Shock, rage, embarrassment...those are a few things I feel in that moment.
Utterly broken, but ready for the comfort of my husband's arms - I call him for a ride home. The next few hours are a blur. No one ever tells you how painful a miscarriage is. Early labor is my best description. Early labor, but with no beautiful baby at the end as a reward.
I look at the toilet paper every time I use the bathroom, torturing myself with the thought of catching a glimpse of this 8-week-old baby. I Google "What does an 8-week-old fetus look like".
The things I Googled that week are embarrassing. Misdiagnosed miscarriages, vanishing twins, low HCG levels, excessive bleeding and cramping - all with examples of a baby that survived. It was weeks before I could consider accepting I had actually lost a child. After all, I have had two healthy 10-pound babies...my body is capable. This couldn't happen to me - what's wrong with me? A menstrual cycle has a way of forcing you to accept you're no longer pregnant. The emotional trauma of a period after a miscarriage...didn't expect that one. It felt like losing my baby all over again.
All of the stages of grief passed quickly, I am OK. This is silly - MOVE ON! The baby was only 8 weeks old. You barely knew it existed..."IT"...was it a boy or a girl? Naming the baby helps you heal - says my mom. How do you pick a name? How do you honor a baby you never met, never held...never knew. Release balloons? Light a candle? Nothing felt "ENOUGH" for me - nothing would help heal my soul. I chose the name Luca - it means "Bringer of Light". I couldn't even bring myself to say the name for months. Every time I think I am OK, I crack. I want to know this baby - I want my children to know this baby. I want this baby to meet its daddy - to know what an amazing family it has.
My beautiful baby. I am sorry I was scared to be a mama of three. I am sorry we are a loud, crazy family...maybe that scared you away.
I've read many things that I find comforting and maybe you will too. In Buddhist philosophy they believe that the souls of our potential children exist alongside you and wait to "jump in" at the right time - no soul is lost - just waits for a better time if a miscarriage occurs. I hope you are just waiting for the right time.
They also say that even during brief pregnancies the mother and baby exchange cells that live on in each of them forever. So you will forever exist in me, everywhere.
And here is the crazy thing...the day I lost you - April 28 - was the day in 2010 that I found out I was pregnant with your brother, Preston and April 28, 2018 is the due date of our 4th baby we are now expecting.
You will always remind me to live in the moment, to be thankful for what I have - because I may not have it tomorrow. Not a day will pass that I don't think of you, not a day will pass that I don't wish I could hold you in my arms.
To all women who have experienced a miscarriage, a stillbirth or infant loss -
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Anything and everything you feel is normal. Talk to someone - talk to anyone. You are not crazy to feel how you feel - whether that feeling is completely shattered or simply numb. We HAVE to talk about this more, we have to make these conversations, these stories normal. I have never in my life felt so alone as I did during this experience. PLEASE, share your story with me - share it with the world - we need to hear it and you need to tell it.
(This post was originally written on Oct. 3, 2017. It took me months to even write this and over a year to share. We have since had our 4th little guy, Ellis. And still…not a day goes by that I don’t think of my Luca love).