October 19, 2015 I lost a baby, a baby that was due on my birthday in May. I believed strongly that the baby was a girl, my son was due on my husband’s birthday and this odd coincidence just felt right. The pregnancy was so different than my first that I convinced myself it was a girl, maybe a little version of me? Maybe she’d love snuggling and cooking with me. I never felt ready to have a girl before but suddenly, I fell in love with the idea of my little May girl, we had tried for this, a May baby, a Spring babe to push in the stroller all Summer while I take my son to the park. She’d be 18 months younger than my son, I loved that. So cute. But also, was I ready to be all about another baby when I was still in love with the little one I had? Maybe he deserved more of me just for him?
I wasn’t having many symptoms but my uterus was 11 weeks, almost “in the clear”. We didn’t hear the heartbeat with the doppler but that was common. My husband and I were flying to Colorado for a wedding, I went to the bathroom in the airport. There was spotting, my heart sank immediately. I turned pale and came back to my husband holding my son. To be honest, neither of us were prepared for this. We were fortunate enough to get pregnant the first time with both and I knew just how lucky that was. I never took a minute of it for granted but I will admit that I was shocked to be pregnant again before my son’s first birthday.
We went to a quick care in Denver to get my first ever and hopefully last ever transvaginal ultrasound. Apparently ultrasound techs can’t tell you anything because they aren’t doctors. So some woman took a zillion photos of the baby inside me, showed me nothing and gave me a poker face worth punching. Then we waited forever for the quick care doctor to come in and tell me that the baby was 6 weeks and there was no heartbeat but that sometimes the baby doesn’t show a heartbeat at 6 weeks. My blood work was anywhere between 6 and 10 weeks and again, my uterus was 11 weeks. So I knew, I knew what was being said. My baby had stopped growing inside of me over a month ago.
I had no idea what is involved in a miscarriage. I thought it was like a major period. I lined my underwear and went to the wedding. I danced out my feelings and tore it up on the dance floor, still not drinking, still holding onto some small scratch of hope, comforted by denial. Later that night, back at the hotel I had real contractions, I lay in the tub of a hotel room in Denver watching my stomach contract and shake. This was no major period. There was no escaping the reality of the situation. There was no crawling into bed and shutting off the lights, my body was actively doing this. I prayed.
“Please God, if this baby’s spirit has any understanding of love please wrap them in mine and tell them that they will always hold a piece of my heart, tell her she’s apart of me even as she leaves.”
That of course made me cry just saying it out loud. That was my good bye, a good bye that I didn’t want.
We managed to make it home from Denver with our almost one year old in tow. I slept in our own bed and woke up to wet sheets, I was soaking. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I went to the bathroom and just sat there on the toilet, stomach contracting, mind numb. Eventually, I felt her leave my body. The next day came more intense, tedious contractions and I felt the placenta leave. That was it. I was empty. She was gone.
I named her Esmé. Pronounced Esa-may. It means loved.
I know women who have had 3 miscarriages, women who have had 2 and still no baby. Women who have tried for years to get pregnant and left depleted of hope. I even know women who birthed stillborns. This was not me, I know I’m lucky, my boy was not even one and yet this miscarriage managed to shake me to the core and reshape my spirit and confidence in my body. Any woman who has endured loss after loss is truly, truly a woman of great strength, character and resiliency and absolutely so deserving of that baby they are fighting for. I think as women and as a culture it’s important to share these things, to open up and bare our hurt and our fears, so we aren’t alone. Miscarriages are extremely common, but saying that really doesn’t make it painless. However, sharing it does make it a less lonely journey. Tell your best friends. Tell your family. I was waiting to tell people about this pregnancy and in the end, it didn’t matter. Tell the people who support you the things they need to know to support you, to carry you through to the next chapter.
Don’t worry about me, I’m in my next chapter. More to come.
So so much love to you,