More To Us Than a Mere Fourteen Weeks of Heartbeat
My husband and I were so excited to learn we were pregnant, and I worked hard to be a good mother and eat all the right things, but for some reason we'll never understand, the tiny child inside me, perhaps no larger than two inches long at fourteen weeks, never made it.
I can vividly remember how hard my nurse midwife was trying to find the infant heartbeat inside me without giving me any facial cues as to how distressed she was becoming. I was on the table with my belly exposed and we were chatting away. I was saying that I was feeling better, less nauseated, having fewer unpleasant symptoms, when she fell silent and stared into the ultrasound monitor. "Hmmm," she muttered to herself. "Let me try it this way." Silence again. Perhaps three or four more minutes elapsed, I can't recall. I held on when she said, "Go ahead and get dressed now, Amy. I'm sending you downtown to where they do higher resolution sonograms." I was so puzzled. Then she said calmly and so nicely, "Is your husband around? I think it would be a good idea to call him, and see if he could meet you there."
Uh-oh. At that point, I got it. I sat up, stared at her, stared at the screen, tried to collect myself, but then I just started to sob. "Could you c-c-c-call him? I don't think I can do that." Her face was so filled with compassion. I recall that as I drove downtown, I turned the radio on for solace and right away Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World" came on. The rest of the afternoon, and the coming days, and the weeks after that were then mostly sad in a way I'd never experienced sadness before.
But it is a wonderful world. And we somehow got through it. Steve and I gathered poems and readings, and had a ceremony during which we buried our pregnancy test indicator in a small grave in the yard. We think about those early years of our marriage very fondly, and we found a way to manage the tremendous sadness by being there for each other. There are many more resources available today for women and couples who've experienced a miscarriage, but I think we did pretty well with it. It feels good to build this memorial. It's been twenty-two years, and I started to cry as I was writing it. This makes the baby exist somehow. Thank you. I am grateful.
Something about the hindsight of sticky baby dust works miracles in dulling the memory of the pain and sadness of miscarriage. I wouldn't trade my baby for a thing. But, as you say, those two miscarriages were very real. And I appreciate your recognizing this.