Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mom to Baby 'Cactus'
Lost to Miscarriage February 10th, 2010
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

My story can be told through a letter I wrote to my baby:

Dear Cactus,
It was a Wednesday. February 10th. We had our very first ultrasound scheduled, and you were supposed to be 12 weeks old. The night before, when I'd gone to the bathroom, there had been just the smallest amount of blood when I wiped - and I was really worried about it. Daddy kept telling me not to worry; that he was sure everything was fine. In any case, we had the ultrasound the next day, so there was no point in running over to the hospital - if something was wrong, we'd find out about it in the morning.

I managed to forget about it, and when I went to the bathroom the next morning, there was no blood - so I stopped worrying.

I was supposed to have school that day, but I'd told my teachers that I had an ultrasound in the morning and I was going to just come in afterward instead of before, as I would have basically had to just turn around and leave right after I got there. So I slept in a little bit, dutifully drank my liter of water an hour and a half before my appointment, and took the bus down to the Hys Centre, where Daddy met me. We sat in the waiting room looking at the little paper they gave us detailing the prices of an ultrasound picture, or a dvd.

Finally they called me back, and had me put on this hospital gown and sit in a little cubicle to wait for my name to get called a second time. By this point I had to pee so bad I was in physical pain; but I sat there, and told myself it would all be worth it when I got to see your little heart beating, and tried to ignore how bad it felt. I waited and waited and waited, and no one came to get me; finally I got fed up and walked out to find a nurse. Turns out they had completely forgotten about your Momma, baby! They get me into the little room and the ultrasound technician squirts some cold gel on my tummy and starts pressing the little device on me. I swear, I thought my bladder was going to literally explode and kill me. It was the most painful thing I'd ever experienced.

I was lying there, grimacing in pain, my toes all crunched up as I waited to see you. The technician said that she couldn't get a clear view of you, and wanted to do a vaginal ultrasound instead. This meant I got to go pee! I booked it into the bathroom and peed for all I was worth. It was like that moment in the movie 'Where The Heart Is,' where Novalee goes into the Walmart bathroom and starts moaning because it feels so good to pee.

But when I wiped, there was blood. More than there had been the night before. My heart flipped over, and butterflies started going in my stomach; when I went back to the room, I told the technician that I was bleeding. She said that it was probably fine, and she got me to lay back down. She had the vaginal ultrasound going for about five minutes, and then said she was going to get your Daddy - so he could see you too - and a doctor because she wasn't qualified to explain the results to me. I remember asking her, jokingly, "There is a baby in there though, right?" She merely repeated that the Doctor would have to tell me. At that point, I think, I realized what was going on; but I didn't want to admit it.

Still, when Daddy came in, I smiled and joked a little bit about how I had this weird camera thing stuck in me. I grabbed his hand and we waited for the doctor to come in. He moved the camera around for a while too, pressing buttons on the keyboard and pointing at the screen occasionally, murmuring to the technician. I was getting more and more nervous by the second; my hand kept getting tighter around Daddy's.

Then the doctor turned to us and said that he had bad news; there was no you. You just weren't there. Your placenta was there, and your amniotic sac was there - but you weren't. You were just...gone. It was like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest and thrown it into a bucket of ice. I couldn't even breathe. Then the doctor said that the bleeding I had had was most likely the beginnings of a miscarriage.

Miscarriage - miscarriage - the word reverberated around in my head like a rubber ball thrown really, really hard in an empty room. And that's when it hit me that you were gone. You were gone, you had died, and I never got to see your face or your heartbeat. I never got to hold you, or sing to you, or kiss your head. I never got to name you. That was when I lost it.

Daddy just hugged me; I think he said he was sorry. My heart was being torn out of my chest; my ribs were being pried apart; I couldn't breathe. I finally managed to choke out that I wanted to go home. I don't really remember leaving the little room or getting dressed, to be honest. Everything got really fuzzy from there on out. I remember getting back down to the car and calling your Grandma, who was vacationing in California at the time, and sobbing out that I'd lost you. She cried on the phone too, and said she was sorry, and she wished there was something that she could do. Which of course, there wasn't, because nothing was going to bring you back to me.

I don't really remember the rest of the day. I know that we went to see Dr. Loiselle, and then we went home; Daddy tells me that I cried in the car the whole way to the doctor's office and the whole way home. I don't remember any of this; I vaguely remember being in the car, and the doctor's office, and later that night lying in bed crushed with pain. It was unthinkable that you were gone. That maybe you'd never even been there.

I felt like I'd failed you; done something to make you vanish. I know that most likely wasn't the case; the doctor explained that you were most likely something called a 'blighted ovum'; which means that you stopped developing around week six and just got reabsorbed back into my body. Once people heard that, they said the cruelest things (without meaning to, of course) - but things like, "Well, it was never a real baby anyway; so you didn't really lose anything" and "Don't you think it's better that it happened now instead of later on? At least you didn't have to deliver a stillborn." You WERE real to me, baby - you are real to me and you always will be. I don't care what anyone says; you were there, you were real, and I loved you as deeply as any mother can love their child.
I finally got home, and I remember sitting on the toilet, just kind of numb, and when I wiped there was a little bit of blood again. Just a tiny bit; it shouldn't have been enough to worry about. It shouldn't have meant that you were gone. I held my stomach tightly and just said "Baby, baby, baby," over and over again, crying so hard I couldn't see straight. I didn't have the strength to move.

How ironic that I should learn of your existence as I sat on the toilet with my pants down, and that your death should become real to me as I was doing the exact same thing.

Three weeks later, you still hadn't come out. My body wanted to keep you inside of me for as long as possible. I finally went for a D&C...and then it was over. I woke up from the anesthesia, and I was cramping so hard that it would have knocked me over if I hadn't already been lying down. I began to bawl as soon as I was conscious, and it took almost an hour for me to calm down. Finally they wheeled me back to my room where Daddy was waiting for me, and I went home. It was over; you were officially gone, no longer a part of me.

I love you baby. I hope that, wherever you are, things are going well for you. I still miss you, and I think about you all the time. Your due date would have been August 21, 2010 - maybe a couple of days sooner because my cycle length is about 25 days instead of 28; so maybe your due date would have been the 18th. My birthday is August 8th, so I was hoping that we could have birthdays really close together, or even on the same day! I would have loved to have you as a birthday present. It would have been the best present I could ever have gotten.
As it is though, I'll have to celebrate my birthday - and all the rest of my birthdays - without you. But even if no one else remembers, and no one else celebrates what might have been YOUR birthday, I promise you that I always will. You will always hold a special place in my heart that no other babies I might have ever will. I love you, and I can't wait for the day when I get to meet you for the first time. I know you're up there, looking down at me, being the best guardian angel anyone could ever want, and I know you'll be just as good of a guardian angel to any brothers or sisters you might have in the future. They'll be lucky to have you watching over them.
I love you,

Melissa blogs at Black Gives Way to Blue
You can contact her at


Amy said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes. Sending big hugs to you. I had two miscarriages and two D&C's so know your pain. Don't give up hope. I almost did but am not 22 weeks pregnant. Stay strong and be the face of hope.

Anonymous said...

You have taken the words right out of my mouth...I had a miscarriage at 6-7 weeks..b/c of a blighted ovum and heard those same cruel quotes all the time as well. I'm so glad you know that you have a baby waiting for you in Heaven. Jesus is taking care of them for you! It wasn't just a "blurb"...or nothing. It was a baby! My body wouldn't "release it" either and I had to have a D&C. Worst thing ever knowing that it was all over-the excitement..the's been 8 years for me, but is as fresh as ever in my mind. My baby will never be forgotten and neither will yours! Sending prayers your way sister!

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