And I waited and waited to write that here, because I wanted to say it right. I wanted to write it well. I wanted to really capture it for myself for later, so it doesn’t get shuffled around and dismantled in my own memory, bumping against board meeting dates and grocery lists until it’s just a few little bits of deja vu and a blip in my medical history. I wanted to write it as I felt it, the realities of it, the physical pain, the emotional process, the concerned friends, the crazy dreams. If I couldn’t give this baby its life, our love, and a closet full of hand-me-downs, I at least wanted to hold some space around the short time it was with us. After all, I was the closest person to it. I at least wanted to give it a decently-written story. But I can’t.
Our baby died, and I didn’t know it, and my body stayed pregnant for weeks. And then my body figured it out and a few hard days later, I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
I started spotting the day before my 12 week midwife appointment, and I knew.
The bleeding got heavier the next day, and I knew.
I laid down on the ultrasound table in the dark and held A’s hand, and I knew.
The technician couldn’t find the heartbeat, had to do an internal ultrasound, and I knew.
She told us the baby had died, and I was surprised anyway.
She left us alone for a minute in the dark, next to a bulletin board full of photos of newborn babies, and then led us out the back door instead of through the waiting room, where other women were waiting for happier news.
We met with my midwife directly after that, agreed that my body could handle losing this baby without a hospital D&C (thank goodness), returned home with a bottle of painkillers and cleared our schedules for the rest of the week. Birdy went to daycare as usual for a few days and we stopped bracing for the worst and started to let it pass slowly through our house.
That Tuesday was hard, and the next day horrible. By Thursday I was feeling stronger but not ready to be alone, so we splurged on take-out, cleaned out closets, mopped floors, and made a Goodwill run. We kept our plans to travel to Atlanta for my cousin’s wedding over the weekend, and it was good to celebrate something, to balance again.
Not the right time to have a baby, not the right baby, not something. I don’t know, and I haven’t spent much time wondering. What I do know is that our plans changed, and I’m newly reminded that my plans don’t really belong to me in the first place. That I don’t control very many things after all, and there is relief and comfort in that knowledge. It wasn’t the right time for us to have another baby. If it was, I’d still be pregnant. It’s that simple. Simple, but not easy.