“There’s no heart beat, I’m sorry.”
What do you say to that, how do you respond to I’m sorry? When everything slows down and you look at your husband and see his face crumble, when you watch dreams he didn’t even realize he had die? You say, “It’s ok.” And it is, but it isn’t. You say, “We’ll be ok,” because you will, but you aren’t. If you are me you stroke a picture on a screen, gently whisper “Goodbye, baby,” and turn it around. You have to be strong. Because there’s no heartbeat. Because you lost it.
Now there are plates full of half eaten food, doorbells and green flashing lights that lead to another “I’m sorry,” to another “I know it’s hard,” to another wisher of strength and love. There are tears in eyes and close hugs but all I want are deep sheets and for it to start. For it to end. Even though the pregnancy is over my job is not done, I have to be strong and be brave.
Sitting in my living room, in the same spot we didn’t hear the heartbeat I say aloud the only real fear I have. “Will it look like a baby?”
My biggest fear was the pain. What was it going to feel like? When we found out the baby was gone, so many people opened up to me about their own loss, invited me to talk about it, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t really ask them what it felt like. “Bad period cramps, maybe.” Was the best I had to go off of but I wanted to know more. I needed to know more. No one could have those answers, I just had to wait. For three days I waited for it to start so it could end. Finally I decided I couldn’t wait anymore and that I had to get back to my normal life, to go back to work. I also stopped taking the Motrin that I had been taking religiously every 8 hours to “stay ahead of the pain” because I felt like it was holding things up. I let it go, I had to. I didn’t walk away from the fear or the pain, but I stopped letting it control me. That night, of course, it started. It was just like labor with my daughter, felt exactly like her contractions, but this time I was alone. I didn’t have to be, but I needed to be. My husband is my partner in every way, when I was broken he helped me put myself back together and he is the biggest source of strength in my life. But this was harder for him than it was for me, and I couldn’t watch him go through it too. I didn’t want to cause him pain and I couldn’t worry about him at that point, I had a job to do.
At first, I decided I didn’t want to see it. I was so scared it would look like a baby, I was far enough along for that, but I wasn’t progressing unless I was in water and after 6 hours of honest, 2-3 minutes apart contractions type of labor, I didn’t have the strength to continue without my “aquadural”. As I filled up the tub for the third and final time I paced through very strong contractions and I knew it was close. Once I got into the water I had two or three more contraction and it was over. The baby was born in the sac so thankfully, I didn’t need to see the baby.
I wrapped it in tissue, something a dear friend suggested days prior in case I had changed my mind, and I woke my husband. “I don’t know what to do with it. It’s over.” I repeated and repeated, I shook and I cried. I was so tired. I was so relieved. That man, he is my hero. After that, he did everything that needed to be done.
We laid it to rest and we grieved, and now we move on.
It’s not over for us. We’ll try again, there is a baby out there waiting for us, I know it. It wasn’t this baby, it wasn’t ours to keep. It’ll forever be a part of our story, but it’s not the final chapter.
Written by M, who hopes her story may help someone else feel not so alone.