Last month we celebrated two birthdays in my house. I turned 36 and Emma turned two. We should have been celebrating one more, that of my second child, who was due September 22nd.
We lost that baby in March at 11 weeks, just as we thought we were out of the woods. We heard the heartbeat at the 8 week ultrasound, shared the news with our families with Emma proudly marching off the plane on a trip to California wearing a Big Sister t-shirt, and entertained the thought of me and my two children all sharing one birthday.
And yet, I found myself in the Emergency Department at 6am with my husband and 18 month old after waking up to bleeding, being wheeled up to the ultrasound room trying to discern from the tech’s face if my baby still had a heartbeat. The OB resident could not have been kinder as he held my hand and told me that there was nothing I could have done. That it was not my fault. That likely there was something wrong with the baby, who had passed away a few weeks before and was lying there, silently, inside my body.
We did not go to work or daycare that day. Instead, we spent it at the beach, trying to take comfort in the beautiful family we had in front of us, to find joy in the little things, like our dog chasing her ball through the waves, my daughter shrieking in joy while playing in the sand.
I have not shared my story widely, as it was too raw, too scary, too exposing. But October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and I need to acknowledge the child that I’ve lost. The one who should be turning about one month old right about now, being held in my arms instead of my heart.