So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds, and wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.
On October 3rd, 2008, I found out he was alive inside of me.
I was surprised.
I sent my husband this photograph in an email with the subject line, “Ready to rumble?”
The body of the email said, “Here comes the fear, do-do-do-do….”
I was scared.
But also, I was cautiously happy.
Before long, I was full of hope. And dreams. And the future.
My last pregnancy had ended in miscarriage at 5 weeks.
On October 18th, 2008, I had morning sickness for the first time. I have never been so happy to feel so sick.
I turned my arms within and held my baby a little closer, starting to believe I could hold on to that sweetness forever.
On November 10th, 2008, I saw him on a fuzzy, mini-ultrasound.
I saw his heart beating. And that was it. I Believed. He could make it.
We called him Fuzzball.
I thought one day I would be rubbing his head, calling him that.
I began showing. It felt glorious.
On November 24th, 2008, I heard his heart beating. It was vigorous.
In spirit, I jumped over the moon, grabbed a star, and brought it back to earth with me. It glowed inside of me.
Up until the end, I thought he was a girl. Maybe that is because, at a time when I felt like I was filled with snips and snails, he filled me with sugar instead. And spice.
And everything nice.
On December 9th, 2008 I found out he had died.
Everything nice scattered in the wind so quickly.
I saw him on a high quality ultrasound that day. He looked beautiful to me. I wish I could see him again.
I was too shaken up to ask for a print of the image. I regret that so much.
I have a pile of things – a pregnancy test, papers, armbands, photographs. They’re just material things. They are cold. They do not kick me in the stomach. They will never smile at me or hug my neck. But I look at them; I touch them.
I think of him.
On December 16th, 2008, people I hardly knew removed him from my body by way of a cold, surgical procedure. His body was sent for testing.
He was considered biological material.
Biological material. He did not have a name then. He was labeled “the product of conception.” They cultured his cells in a lab.
Davin had Trisomy 13.
I could write a whole essay on this alone, but that will come later.
I wanted to find a boy’s name I liked that meant “Hope.”
Even though I feel very little of it right now, I wanted to name him after the thing I thought I had lost forever, but which he gave me in surplus, even for such a brief time, without receiving anything in return.
And which, I know, will return in time. In part because he taught me that it’s okay to hope again even after you think it’s impossible.
Even if it hurts. Because it tells you that you are alive. And that you want to keep living. And that you believe that each day can be new if you can just let that come back to you.
Instead, we named him Davin, which means “Beloved.”
Forever he will be.
I miss him so.
Ok, so. Since I’ve started talking about the death of this baby, I’ve been letting myself vomit all these emotions and feelings I’ve had onto The Internet. That’s infinitely cool and wonderful for me, personally, and you have all been so supportive. And I’ve been really glad of that. But I’ve also felt just a little, teeny bit uncomfortable, because some of you have said things that I feel give me far too much credit. Like that I’m really strong, or handling things with grace, etc.
And while I am incredibly touched by the kindness and love in those kinds of comments and messages, I have to be honest and tell you that I am really, really not strong or graceful. I’m just emotional and mouthy.
I let all these things flow because I’m weak, and needy, and insecure and unsure and I’m searching for meaning and grasping at anything that might make me feel better.
And I really have to do exactly what I always say I do (be honest and real here), or I’ll be a total asshole. Yes, I let myself be really emotional, and I am sharing with you guys these big, fat, weepy, sentimental thoughts I’ve been having.
I haven’t really typed any of the ugly yet.
Oh.Mah.Gah, the ugly feelings. The ugly, ugly thoughts I have. To be sure, I’m experiencing plenty of anger, shock, and bitterness. I am, by no means, immune to The Big Fat Ugly side of this whole thing.
In fact, I’m an Expert at The Big Fat Ugly.
The Oh So Not Strong OR Graceful Moments of late:
- On Thursdays they show shots of babies born that day, at a local hospital (the one at which Braden was born), on TV. I saw this the Thursday after finding out Fuzzball was dead, and busted out crying, snotting all over the couch, in a heap. When John came over to comfort me, I had the gall to wipe away my tears and tell him I was crying because those babies were so damn ugly. (Graceful much?)
- I was reading blog posts about ordinary things this past week… and seeing people complain about… regular stuff, and gee, that is normal and that is what we all do, yes? But right now, I am rolling in and out of The Ugly, Bitter Phase. I have been biting my fingers not to say things on these blog posts like, “Oh, Really? You’re upset b/c you’re leaking vaginally after you gave birth to a healthy baby? F YOU. I’m wearing pads and leaking after having my dead baby scraped out of me. Go hug your baby and shut up.” (And really, all apologies, b/c the post was great, there was nothing wrong with it at ALL. It’s just ME right now. I HATE feeling this way.)
- Braden has been really “2” this past week. More than once I have just covered my face and ears and just started breathing really hard, instead of responding when he was freaking out about something. As if he doesn’t need me. As if I’M the child here. I don’t know what I’d do if John wasn’t home right now. (Strong? Hah.)
- I completely, totally, insanely lost it and shrieked at John about his french fry selection when he brought dinner home one night. Then I refused to sit anywhere near him for at least the next 10 minutes to teach him a lesson. Later, I realized what a douchebag I had been. FRENCH FRIES. Ugh.
- I really, really, really, really, really, REALLY cannot handle people saying ANYTHING to me about God right now. This includes how I should feel about/towards Him, how I should be reacting Faithwise, what He has planned for the future, or why He let this happen, etc. I know people don’t know WHAT to say at a time like this, and are just trying to help… but in all honesty (that’s what I’m trying to do here) I am PISSED OFF. I am REALLY REALLY hurt and REALLY REALLY mad right now. Please just let me be mad and hurt right now. I have a right to feel this way. I don’t know how long it will take before I work it out. But I AM SAD, MAD, AND CONFUSED.
For the record, I have not resented anyone else for being pregnant right now – or for actually having healthy babies. Seeing complaints about issues surrounding pregnancy/birth makes me twitch a little, yes. But there is no actual resentment.
Mostly, I just feel sorrow when I think about the ladies I was supposed to “have a baby” with.
Like her (the first baby I lost would have been close to the one she’s about to have).
And look at all these ladies on my Pregnancy Roundup. I had so many plans to do fun things for them, celebrations and updates and photos and… well, I just can’t do it now. I can’t make myself do it anymore, and that makes me all kinds of Angry.
It’s the Big Fat Ugly.
Late at night on Sunday, December 7th, I wrote this article, for Deep South Moms Blog, about what it feels like to face the holiday season with the first instance of the due date of my miscarried baby looming. When I miscarried back in April, I knew Christmas Eve would never be the same. That is when that first lost baby was due.
As I wrote the piece, I was reflecting on how far I’ve come since those first few days after losing the baby back in April. The utter hopelessness. The anger. The confusion and pain. I realized that the pain is so deep, it’s as if it will never go away completely… but over time, it somehow becomes easier to live with, and serves to remind me to be more thankful of the loved ones I still have in my life.
It has been almost 8 months since that first miscarriage, and I was just feeling like I had come out on the other side of the deepest of the immediate grief. And I knew that it was in part due to the passage of time, and the love and kindness of family and friends. In part it has been due to my being lucky enough to be able to write about my feelings and emotions here, and receive support from all of you. (Have I said thank you? Really. Thank you so much.)
I was feeling something I haven’t felt for awhile.
But what’s really bitter now is that a large part of my renewed hope came from the fact that I had a new life within me. A life that was crossing into the second trimester of a pregnancy that I had not even expected, but that I was starting to believe was meant to help me heal.
I spent weeks upon weeks feeling tense. I spent almost 3 months checking my underwear multiple times a day, and staring at the toilet paper every single time I wiped.
Slowly, so so slowly, the tension had just started to recede.
I had seen and heard his tiny heart beating, quickly, with vigor. He was healthy, and moving. He was ALIVE. He was going to make it, damnit. He really was.
Surely, so so surely, the tension has just started to recede.
I found myself leaving the restroom and realizing, after the fact, that I hadn’t looked at my underwear. I hadn’t checked my toilet paper.
I believed. I wasn’t just saying I believed. I really did.
It felt so good.
And then on Tuesday morning, December 9th, everything fell apart around me (us).
It was as if I’d been walking carefully on a thin sheet of glass suspended over a black abyss for months, but somehow, I’d just started to believe it was cement, and I started tap-dancing. The bottom fell out – the floor exploded, and all I had to grab for as I fell were shards of glass that cut my hands as I dropped into the abyss.
No heartbeat on the fetal doppler for us to hear.
No little, pulsing muscle in his tiny chest for me to see on mini-ultrasound.
My lovely doctor trying so hard over and over to find it. My lovely doctor getting visibly frustrated, upset, but still trying and trying. My lovely doctor giving up and telling me she was so so sorry.
Ohhh, my inability to believe this was happening… and ohhhh, my immense guilt over believing for so long that it would end this way, anyway.
And Oh, my Anger that it actually did.
My hope? Gone.
No heartbeat on a full blown ultrasound.
I stared at the screen, at his tiny body inside of me.
People, he looked beautiful and perfect on that high-tech ultrasound screen. I saw his little body facing me, as if he was looking at me to say goodbye. His tiny little arms and legs were there, framing the perfect little body in the middle.
Framing the perfect, little, middle part, where everything was silent and still.
Not really so perfect at all.
Every night since then, I’ve stayed up late, so late, doing ridiculous things like working on my website redesign. Things that I can blur my mind with. I’ve stayed up until my eyes just couldn’t see straight anymore, until I just couldn’t hold them open anymore, so that when I did lay down in bed, I’d fall right asleep.
I’m not ready for the thoughts that will come in the quiet darkness.
Every morning when I’ve awoken, I’ve had that horrible moment when I realize that, Yes, this reality is my reality. There is still a dead baby in my womb.
And when they take him from me on this Tuesday morning, I don’t know what I’ll have left to do but start to move on.
And that is the saddest thing of all.