Our dearest Baby,
Please know that we love you and wanted you very much. We tried for over a year to have you. I even quit my job so the physical strain wouldn’t continue to keep you from us, despite the impossibility of our budget.
When we found out about you, we were so excited. We wanted to tell everybody. We could have screamed it from the rooftops.
But we couldn’t tell anyone.
Society says that you shouldn’t tell anyone about a pregnancy until the baby is 12 weeks because the risk of miscarriage is so high–from 10-33% of pregnancies depending on the statistics you hear. Not telling is supposed to shield expectant parents from having to tell everyone the bad news if the worst should happen. Actually, it is supposed to save everyone else, because no one wants a reminder that babies can die.
The first month of pregnancy was extremely hard. I was too exhausted and sick to get off the couch. Your Dad worked tirelessly to take care of us, but he could only do so much. The work piled up and so did the bills. And we couldn’t ask for help because we couldn’t tell anybody.
So we waited. At 5 weeks 6 days we went in and saw you for the first time and heard your little heart beat and we cried with joy. This was supposed to dramatically increase our odds, so we told our closest friends and family. They were overjoyed about you too. They even helped with a few meals, which eased some of our burdens.
We went back to the midwife a week later since you were so small the first time. You had grown perfectly and your heart had sped up like it should. We were fearless because we were sure you were a gift from God and that He would keep you safe for us.
Another week later we went back because the midwife wanted to be sure your heartbeat was over 160. It was a perfect 161, you had grown perfectly, and we even got to see you move! All was right with the world.
At 10 weeks 6 days we went back for our next routine appointment. We were excited because we were so close to 12 weeks and being able to announce you to everyone.
Then when we went in, I found out I had started spotting. They got me in for another ultrasound immediately. You were so beautiful. But measured 5 days too small. And your heart wasn’t beating. That is when our world stopped.
Life as we knew it ended. But we couldn’t tell anyone.
Sure, we told those who knew about you. If we didn’t feel badly enough already, we had to feel even worse letting down those we love. Everyone was so disappointed but tried to be sympathetic. No one knew what to say because they haven’t been through it and do not really know of anyone who has–because no one talks about it.
This is the loneliest feeling in the world. Most friends and family seem to avoid us now because it is awkward and we are harbingers of death. Those who never heard about you expect everything to be okay, so we try to act like it. No one really understands.
Even worse was the physical and emotional toll of your passing. I was home alone when you came out. You looked just like I imagined–so tiny and beautiful and perfect. It broke my heart. No one warns you about that part. Then there was the excruciating pain and blood loss and surgery without anesthesia. I will spare you the worst details, but nobody tells you how hard it really is. Because no on talks about it.
Physical recovery will still take a while longer. Again I am useless on the couch and your Dad is trying to do everything. More bills and housework are piling up, and we don’t even get to have you to make it all worthwhile. Your grandparents saved us with a couple meals on the worst days, but mostly we have to survive this alone. Because we can’t tell anyone. And I’m sick of it.
Because the thing is, You Existed. You Lived. You matter and we love you and want everyone to know how important you are to us, even if we won’t see you until Heaven. By not telling anyone, it feels like we are denying you, and I can’t do it anymore.
I’m tired of acting normal and putting on a happy face so it doesn’t bring everyone else down. I’m tired of hiding and trying to survive because society says that is how it should be done. I’m tired of being looked down on for being that weird older childless couple who must be too selfish to want kids. Mostly I am just plain tired and I can’t play that game anymore.
I don’t want sympathy and I’m not looking for handouts. All I really want is a little compassion and understanding. If reading this helps someone else who is dealing with their own loss, then maybe this is worth it. This is so hard. And no one knows. Because no one says anything. But today I am. For better or worse.
Someday, Baby, we will finally get to meet you and hold you. Until then, we have to rest in knowing that you are surrounded and loved by family and friends in Heaven. Until that day, please know that we are missing you.