To my Little Bear,
October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It was established on this day in 1988. So, today I remember you.
But that seems so ridiculous. Because I remember you every day. I remember how it felt to learn you existed. I remember how it felt to carry you inside me. And I remember how it felt to know you were gone.
I carried you for such a short time, only 8 weeks. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms, to see your big blue eyes looking up at me, to watch you smile and play with your big brother. It didn’t even occur to me that I might never get to meet you.
On July 11, I went to the doctor. The ultrasound technician squirted that cold jelly on my stomach and started to move the wand around. And there you were! Your heart beat was strong. You were healthy. You were mine. I went home feeling so happy.
The next day, I went to the restroom, and there was so much blood. I just stared because I couldn’t process what I was seeing. I called my doctor in a panic. She assured me that bleeding can happen, and that I should come in the next day to check it out.
She didn’t seem worried. But somehow, I knew. I told your dad the next morning, “I feel empty.” And I did. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t felt your little kicks yet. I knew something was wrong. On July 13th, two days after that first appointment and your dad’s birthday, I went back to the doctor. This time, when the ultrasound technician moved the wand over my womb, she was quiet. This time, when the doctor came in, she told me that you were still there, but your heartbeat was so low that you wouldn’t survive. I was so numb. I couldn’t understand how you were there one day and gone the next.
The next few days were a bit of a whirl. My body couldn’t pass your little body, so I had to have surgery. I hated that because two days later, my body was basically back to normal. As if nothing had happened. As if you never existed. I felt like there should be some kind of visible scar for everyone to see, for everyone to remember you. Everyone else seemed to move on, but I could not.
But I also couldn’t not move on. Your brother needed me to be his mama, too. Your dad needed me to be his wife and his friend. I learned that I was very good at outwardly smiling and doing everything that needed to be done, but inwardly feeling blank and empty because something important was missing. You were missing.
A year after we learned you were gone, we learned that I was carrying your little brother or sister. I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t even excited, not like I was with you and Tom. In fact, I didn’t feel anything except for dread. At 7 weeks, I experienced that same bleeding that signaled something was happening with you. But this time, everything was fine. Your baby brother or sister was healthy and strong.
I’m now 16 weeks along, and I’m just starting to feel excited. I’m just starting to allow myself to picture myself snuggling a new baby; to allow myself to think of your dad’s strong hands holding a tiny baby; to allow myself to imagine Tom smiling and laughing at his brother or sister. I’m starting to believe that everything will be okay.
I don’t know why everything is okay with this little one, but not with you. I don’t know why I’ve been able to see my belly start to grow with this baby, but my belly remained flat with you. I don’t know why I’ve gotten to see this baby several times on an ultrasound already, but only once with you. I’ll never know, at least not in this life.
What I do know is that you know I love you. That you know that I miss you and think of you every day, not just today. That you know that we will always hold a place for you in our family, no matter how many other children we have. And that gives me peace.
Sweet dreams, my tiny saint.