I was six weeks along. There was not yet a gasp and smile at the sound of the heartbeat. There was not yet a tear at the first sight of the bean on the ultrasound. There was not yet a name assigned. There was no cramping. There was just blood.
In the middle of the night I woke up to use the bathroom, and for whatever reason my mind told me to look at the toilet paper, which showed blood. My heart started pounding. I told myself to relax. Spotting happens to a lot of women. I drank a glass of water and laid back down in bed. I tried to go to sleep and not worry. I got back up to check the bleeding, which was hardly there. I text a friend who was in medical school, apologized for it being the middle of the night, and asked for her advice knowing she couldn’t tell me much. I checked my bleeding again, which was barely noticeable. I told myself the baby was fine, that I wouldn’t lose it. That doesn’t happen often, and it certainly won’t happen to me.
Somehow I fell asleep, and woke up a few hours later with a small amount of bleeding still. I decided to go to the emergency room, in case something could be done. My mom took me at sunrise, and my husband stayed at home with our sleeping one year old, as I didn’t want her to think something was wrong. I think not having my husband there was my subconscious trying to persuade me that things would be fine, and there was no need for him to be there.
The on-call ultrasound tech couldn’t say much, but I knew what wasn’t on that screen. My baby. They diagnosed me with a “missed miscarriage.” How can this be happening? I cried, but I don’t think it completely hit me that I was no longer pregnant. I remember on the way home I told my mom I needed some coffee and something to eat. When we got home I just walked inside, ignoring my daughter, husband, nephew and father-in-law playing in the front yard. I spent most of the day crying and laying in bed with my one year old. At one point she even shoved her pacifier in my mouth, as if to say that she didn’t want me to be sad.
I never knew this baby. Was it a boy or girl? Would it have looked like me or my husband? Blue eyes like its big sister? I was only 6 weeks along, and sometimes I felt silly being so upset with this loss. I never knew the baby. Never felt any movement, not even the slightest kick. I had just started getting morning nauseous the day before. How could I be so devastated?
Dr. Seuss wrote, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” That baby was a person living inside of me. I had been growing it for 6 weeks, and dreaming about it for a lifetime. From the time I found out I was pregnant I was already in love. We had been trying for that baby. We wanted another child, a sibling for our daughter.
You may not understand the hurt someone feels when they lose an unborn baby- you may not have even known they were pregnant. A first trimester loss is still a loss. It’s early, but a mother feels love for the baby inside her before anyone else. There are times when I feel that I have to rationalize my feelings about my miscarriages. Sometimes when talking about my losses I preface the conversation with, “Mine were just first trimester losses,” as if that were to change the amount of pain I feel. The feeling that all this sadness and grief that have been completely life changing to me are not justified. This is not acceptable, it shouldn’t be anyway. The feelings of pain and sorrow are just as present in a first trimester loss as one that happens later in pregnancy. The feelings are different with each person and pregnancy, but they are still warranted. I have to remind myself to accept that and acknowledge these feelings, and let myself know that it is reasonable to have these feelings of such grief after a first trimester loss. If we can change our own perceptions of our feelings and how it is normal after losses, maybe soon others will be encouraged through us to grieve properly as well.
To my three unborn babies, who were all first trimester losses, I love you and though it may seem that I minimize your impact on my life sometimes, you are always on my mind and always in my heart along with your Earthside sisters.