Today marks five years since I heard those awful words. “I’m so sorry. Your baby is coming. You need to push.”
I can still hear the tone of the doctor’s voice. See the tears on the nurse’s face. Feel the squeeze of your daddy’s hand on mine as I cried.
This day is never an easy one. I tend to take it easy. Go through your keepsake box. Finger through your photos, your ultrasounds. Hold the seashell that they used to baptize you. Listen to the couple of songs that make me think of you.. all of the things I tend to avoid doing on a daily basis because, even though I don’t cry at every thought of you like I used to, it still hurts like hell.
My pregnancy with you was far from a walk in the park. It started out easy enough.. but that soon changed when the spotting started at work one night. I felt immediate guilt as I had just taken a small sip of sangria. It was a new one that the restaurant that I was waiting tables at had put out, and they wanted us all to try it so that we could sell it. One tiny sip, and twenty minutes later I found myself in the bathroom hating myself.
I went to the doctor’s office the next day. I was still spotting, but a little heavier. They checked me out and everything looked fine. I was put on bed rest for a few days and returned to work. Everything was going well, spotting had stopped. Weeks went by and it was smooth sailing, until it happened again, but even more. This time it was a trip to the hospital. An ultrasound showed a small bleed behind my uterus. “Nothing to worry about”, they assured me. This was fairly common. The next few weeks were a mixture of being on and off bed rest, until I went to the doctor’s for a monthly check up. Something told me to have someone come with me, so I asked your auntie to come along. We made plans to go to the mall after for lunch.
The appointment went fine, but on the way out to the car I felt a large gush of blood. We hurried back in and they had me get undressed. They talked to me and did their best to prepare me for losing you. I thought that this was it. I was in the bathroom for a good 20 minutes trying to clean up in between tears. Thank God I had your auntie there to take care of your big sister. They got me in for an emergency ultrasound and by the grace of God, there you were squirming around, heartbeat strong as ever. This called for a couple of weeks of bedrest – my longest stretch yet. It was difficult but I knew it was necessary.
Eventually things calmed down. I started a new job at a new restaurant that hadn’t even opened yet. Our first week was dedicated to trying all of the foods and learning the ropes. The first day was fine. I was a little crampy throughout the day, but nothing unbearable. I avoided all of the delicious, fruity looking drinks being passed around for us to try, and stuck to the delicious food being served. The second day started and I knew something wasn’t right. My stomach felt like it was being punched repeatedly. I thought that you were disagreeing with something that I ate. By the time I was on the road home, I had to pull over multiple times on the short, 5 minute drive. I didn’t even make it up the stairs. I called your daddy from the parking lot of our apartment complex and said that he needed to drive me to the hospital.
Minutes turned to hours with those cramps coming every 2-3 minutes. They finally got me in for an ultrasound around 10:30 that night.. 5 hours after I showed up. There you were, doing flips and waving at us.. I tried to feel relief but I kept seeing the tech’s face out of the corner of my eye. Something wasn’t right. She excused herself, and while she was gone I felt a pop and a huge gush. She came back in with a doctor and they brought me back to my hospital room, where they checked me and said those dreaded words. I knew it was too soon for you. I tried to prolong it, but I knew there was no point.
You were born and you went to heaven at 11:15pm, weighing less than a pound. 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes. Tears blurred my vision, but I just couldn’t stop staring. I was holding an angel in my arms. My sweet boy.
I was always aware of pregnancy loss, but like many things in life, you just don’t believe it will happen to you until it does. I was now a statistic. A large statistic. 25% of women will experience this in her lifetime.
I do what I can to keep your memory alive. The tattoo on my back. The March of Dimes walks. Your memorial display in our living room. And the daily thoughts of you that cross my mind, wondering who you would have been and what kind of 5th birthday party I would be planning for you this year.
‘Til I see you again, my little man.