Grandparents knew, close friends knew, and worst of all, my kids knew. Should I have waited more than a millisecond to tell my kids I was pregnant? Probably, but the joy, you guys. I couldn’t contain the joy. I didn’t want to.
When my husband and I decided to sit down and share the big news with our kids last week, we were greeted with opposing reactions. BooBoo (6) was elated, jumping up and down and already talking to the baby about all the things they would do. Boy Wonder, 10, met the news with reservation. I expected as much. He’s older. He knows – at least in part – what a new baby brings. After a little quick math in his head regarding the number of family members versus bedrooms, he had concerns. Where would the baby sleep? Would he need to move downstairs? Would I have enough time for him? I decided to give him a few days to work out his emotions before we’d talk about it again, but sadly I never got that chance. Six days after learning I was pregnant, my baby was gone.
Thursday brought spotting – a sight no pregnant woman ever wants to see. I cried a lot that day, prayed a lot that day, and stayed in bed. My kids knew something was very wrong, as Mom doesn’t make a habit of crying and keeping her feet up. Understandably worried, they approached my bedside in tears.
“I’m OK, you guys. I’m just worried about the baby. I need to go to the doctor tomorrow to make sure it’s OK,” I sobbed. “How come you think something’s wrong with her?” asked BooBoo. “Her”- oh gosh, I thought it was a “her” too. “Sometimes mommies just know,” I explained.
The following day, Friday, I was ordered to the lab for an HCG quantifying test to determine whether my pregnancy hormone levels were multiplying as they should in a healthy pregnancy. Saturday came and with it brought obvious signs of miscarriage. This was happening. This was ending. There was no question, no doubt. There were only tears. So many tears. “I’m just so sad” were the only words I could bring myself to say out loud. The kids knew something serious and terrible was happening and as much as I wanted to answer their questions and envelop them in my loving arms, I didn’t. I couldn’t.
I could hear them whispering, “Mom’s still sad about the baby because she’s sick,” Boo said. “Yeah, I know,” Boy Wonder answered.
The long day wore on in silence and as it began to come to a close I heard a timid knock on my bedroom door. “Come in,” I answered. Two precious boys shuffled inside, heads down. Oh my heart. How do I do this? How do I tell them? How do I comfort them?
“Boys, I have some really sad news. Our baby is gone,” I said.
“Where did she go?” asked BooBoo.
“To heaven,” I answered.
“Why?” BooBoo asked.
“Because sometimes it happens and we don’t always know why. God wanted us to have a healthy baby and for whatever reason He decided to call her home,” I said.
“But that’s not fair!” he protested, “I really wanted to be a big brother!”
“I know,” I said. “What you don’t know is that I lost a baby before you were born, [BooBoo]. It was the saddest and hardest thing that ever happened to me, but God gave me you a few months later. I still feel sad when I think about the baby I lost, but I got so very lucky with you. Sometimes the biggest blessings come from loss.”
“What, Mom? You did?” asked Boy Wonder.
Tears streamed down his face – a face of a young man who fully understood. “Oh my gosh, Mom. I’m so sorry. I feel so sorry for you. I’m sorry I didn’t act excited about the baby because now I just feel really sad.” “Me too, Mommy,” echoed BooBoo, “I miss my baby.”
“I miss her too, you guys and it’s OK to be sad for as long as you need to,” I mustered.
Boy Wonder crawled in bed with me and just let me hold him – something he never lets me do. BooBoo crawled in the other side and began petting my head. There were no more words after that. We just laid there.
I wanted so much to toss off the covers and suggest we go somewhere, out in the daylight for frozen yogurt or anywhere that would take their mind off the loss, but my body was heavy. Too heavy with sorrow and confusion. The children eventually retreated to their rooms and all I could feel was thankful the weight of staying in bed had lifted off of them.
They didn’t go back to half-existing through their daily living like I have. They laugh and play and joke and grin, but in the midst of full living, they stop long enough to give me long, unexpected hugs. “Yes to all of this,” I remind myself until the tears fall once again.
For now, I go on living, taking breaks when waves of disappointment crash over me. Like today when the receptionist at the OB/GYN office offered me a pamphlet on genetic testing for the State of California. She didn’t know.
There are moments when I’m doing OK, really OK. Moments when I remind myself that chemical pregnancies happen, and that they don’t necessarily mean I can’t carry a pregnancy. The water retreats long enough for me to stand back up and continue walking until the next wave comes like that delivered box of maternity clothing I hastily ordered online because it was such a good deal – and knocks me down again.
Every day that passes my legs get a little stronger, but I know this journey of the heart is a forever one. There will be days that I’ll lay down and let the water nearly drown me and days when I swim because I want to.
Today, as I write this, I paddle in shallow water; for now I’ve run out of tears.
I’d love nothing more than to “give back” the sibling I lost to my children, but out of respect for my delicate heart, I wait and I wonder.