New life tucked inside your belly – your swollen womb pushing outward the smallest little bit as you rub and smile.
Thinking of who she’ll be one day.
Thinking of whether she’ll have dark or light hair – maybe her eyes will be turned down a bit like your fathers and how she’ll likely have her daddy’s laugh.
You prepare for this day with manic rearranging and this endless need to eat every single piece of everything sat in front of you. Nausea tinged mornings meet sleepy afternoons with the highs and lows of your first trimester.
It’s all quiet still – no one has been introduced to your beautiful news and it feels like you exist in your own little world – just you and her.
The beat of her heart dances out of the speaker and into your overly sensitive ears.
It’s the sound you’ve been waiting for. The plans you’ve made for her, for your family – are all suddenly real and in motion.
The sun shines through your kitchen windows on a beautiful Saturday morning. Your love wraps his arms around your belly and you sway in unison. You feel at ease. As if you’re in a dream. It’s all just so perfect.
Cardboard boxes greet you as you open the door. They’re filled with little things just for her. Tiny diapers and the sweetest night gown.
You know her routine and you’ve been awake and working throughout the morning.
Your body – Still.
Sitting at your desk – responding to e-mails and answering phone calls… you notice it’s been six hours since you woke and after breakfast and your orange juice – her kicks were missed. No flutters turned your mouth upward into a smile.
No kicks even after you poked around your tight belly.
Drinking a quick cup of cold juice and lying down on the sofa – just like you read in that book your mom gave you.
Five minutes pass – and then ten.
Your belly is still.
You dial the number to the doctor’s office a kind voice answers and asks you to please hold.
The music is happy and almost makes you feel like being on this call means everything is ok.
As long as the phone is in your hand, your baby is ok.
the line clicks and you are met with the reception- questions and quick answers follow with an appointment for later int he afternoon. A bit of relief as you’ve held your breathe front he moment you laid down and can’t seem to catch your balance as your world spins out of control. You go into your bedroom to gather a couple of things before leaving and you pass her bassinet. It is still so far away – but you couldn’t wait to make a little space just for her. A place to lay down her things and daydream about your baby and what she’ll be like. muslin swaddles trapped over the side and a little teddy bear that your mom got her at the head.
It’s waiting for her tiny frame and you weep. You just weep.
There’s this something you’re feeling. Like when you get a bad feeling about something and it won’t leave. maybe like when you are in the car with someone and they’re driving too fast.
You just want to get out.
Bending over your growing belly, you put your shoes on your puffy feet.
Here we go.
Arriving to the building you’ve spent so much time in – preparing for the birth of your sweet girl is tinged with worry and panic. Your mind races and makes up scenarios in your mind to ease your fears, but you know in your gut.
Waiting is torture as you look around at the bellies of the women around you. You wonder if anyone else feels like you do.
You’re called into the room with the ultrasound machine and you sigh a breath of relief. Just waiting to see the tiny flicker on the screen. Just waiting for that relief.
Your doctor steps into the room with a smile and a cautious sense of optimism. She spreads the gel on your belly and begins to look for your baby.
Her hands first and then her round little belly appear. You are both in this race to find the sound you are so desperate to hear.
Nothing. There’s nothing.
The screen is still and there is no sound but one heartbeat. Your own.
Your doctor puts her hand on your forehead and sweeps your bangs away from your face. She tells you she’s sorry and you should have someone come meet you – to help you get home.
The appointment is made for induction and you can feel your hope and spirit fade away.
Knowing this life, this possibility in your swollen belly is over before it even began is enough to leave you crumpled up on the floor.
Your chest is heavy and you can’t breathe.
The world around you doesn’t matter anymore.
It’s just you and your self. Your mind.
The induction is like a hazy dream as you are coached and poked. Your belly softens as she is born and there is only silence as she is carried over to the bed where she’ll lay until she’s taken away.
They ask you if you’d like to hold her and your head instinctively shakes no.
It”s almost like you are still holding on to this vision of the ending you had planned for. Not this. This isn’t how it was supposed to go.
If you hold her, it’s real. She’s really no more. Just a memory of what you’d had the sixteen weeks before.
This love and sadness you feel as you look toward the plastic bed that holds your sweet girl is shattering it all. Everything you’d hoped for.
You call your nurse in and she quickly walks through the door.
“I want to hold her”
She brings you your baby and you see her – the little babe you’d hoped for.
She is so tiny and pink, she looks peaceful and as if she’s asleep.
Born sleeping they say and it’s true. After this moment your mind and your heart are at peace in knowing she is here and this is it.
This is your beginning and your end all at once.
She is your baby and your are her mother – always.
Miscarriage affects 1 in 4 women.You are not a statistic.
You are a mother.
The mother of a baby whose life began and ended in your womb.
The connection that grew in that time was real.
The way you felt about your child was real and it deserves to be said.
Your grief is real and expressing how you feel to the ones that love you – can help aid in your healing.
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This piece is a work of fiction
Written by: Katherine Emrick