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The Day I Lost My Baby From Miscarriage

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I’ve been a mother for six years, and during that time several loved ones have lost a baby from miscarriage. Some have had as many as three or four. I always felt for them, cried for them and prayed for them, because I knew that hurt would be one that would last a lifetime. But I could not really relate since I got pregnant on the first try with both of my children and never had any complications.

Until the day I lost my baby.

When I found out I was pregnant with my third, my husband and I were over the moon. We had always wanted and planned for three.

I did not have that baby long. I was pregnant, and then one day I just wasn’t anymore. It was like it never existed at all. My first instinct was that it was silly to be upset, because it was early in the pregnancy. I’ve known women who carried their babies nearly into their second trimester and lost them, and that’s much worse. I told myself this over and over, and for an entire day I laid in bed in the fetal position trying to ignore the early symptoms of miscarriage while binge watching Netflix, convincing myself I should not be upset.

The next day was the day I lost my baby. I woke up crying, knowing my baby was gone. I had never — not once — thought about the physical side of miscarriage, until that day. I was having contractions and knew I was in labor, only this time it was with a baby who was already gone. I was bleeding clots and tissue — what would have been my baby and my baby’s home for the next several months. At one point, I contemplated saving it, so I could have something to bury.

The day I lost my baby, I realized it was OK to be sad and to grieve. I’ve always believed life begins at conception, so even though, scientifically, this baby was not much more than the size of a little pea, it was there. And it was my baby.

The day I lost my baby, I named her. I named her Lily because shortly after she was conceived, my husband and I had gone on a lovely canoe trip, and I had picked water lilies from the lake. I was amazed by how beautiful a flower that needed absolutely no maintenance could be — so strong and so pure. After I named her, I knew that this was not a weight I wanted to carry alone. It was just too heavy.

The day I lost my baby, I remembered how I had always despised the way society seemed to look at miscarriage — like it should be some kind of a secret, or embarrassment. I remembered the countless times I had said, “it’s not the mother’s fault, so why do we hide it?”

The day I lost my baby, I knew why. We hide it because it’s hard to talk about. It is such a unique pain to have designated a place in your heart for a baby that is never going to be born. That place doesn’t leave when the baby does. There’s pain in the shock of it all, there’s pain in what could have been, and there’s pain in what will never be. There’s just so much pain. Even so, I felt I needed to stick to my guns. I wanted people to know.

The day I lost my baby, I told my closest friends and family. And with each person I told, I felt the weight become just a tad bit lighter. I didn’t want help, or sympathy or to inflict my pain on others. I didn’t even want to talk about it. I just wanted my baby to be known, loved and remembered. I wanted her to exist to others, because she existed to me.

The day I lost my baby, a loved one told me she never named the babies she miscarried, and then one day the names all just came to her: Rachel, Mary and Tommy. I said those names so many times that day. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason it comforted me. Maybe it was the realization that I’m not alone, and others have felt this inimitable grief. Or maybe it was the idea that they were all in a beautiful place together, and my Lily was not alone. They were the babies we carried, but never in our arms.

The day I lost my baby, I understood. I understood the place in my heart, designated for her, will always be there, empty. A piece of a puzzle that’s lost and cannot ever be replaced. I understood this is a weight that will never be lifted. I understood babies really are miracles, and I should cherish my two children — who they are, and who I get to watch them become — every second of every day. I understood how precious life really is, and how no one is guaranteed any amount of time. I understood an aspect of life that I just didn’t before.

The day I lost my baby, I wished hundreds of times that I could have held her, even if just once. Every baby should be held by its mother, and feel her unconditional love. She didn’t. And that broke my heart.

The day I lost my baby, I knew I’d always see her in the sunset, in the stars, and in every lily. I knew I’d see her in her two brothers, and someday, when they were old enough, I’d tell them about her. And they too, would wonder all the “what if’s” that I do.

On the day I lost my baby, I promised her I would hold her in my heart, until I can hold her in Heaven.

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Thinkstock image by sweetsake

Originally published: October 3, 2017
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