Gone, not forgotten…

Today marks a year exactly from my miscarriage.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of my D&C.

Hope was part of my life for such a brief period of time.  I knew of her existence for less than 30 days, but none of that matters to my heart. To my heart, she was my child, and I am still her mother, and a loss will never change that she was ours.  She was the first child created out of our love and we wanted her desperately and we still grieve her loss.

I refer to her as a she, but the truth is that we will never know, and that is one of the little papercuts on my heart that will never heal.  I wish I knew if I was mourning a daughter, or a son.

There is a box hidden away in a desk drawer that I do not allow myself to take out too frequently.  It has a cd with Hope’s ultrasound pictures in it, cards that congratulated on her conception, cards that tried to help us in our grief and loss, a Christmas ornament for what should have been her first Christmas, and a partially finished baby blanket my mom had started making.  They’re all I have to remind me that Hope was real, that she was mattered, and that my husband and I aren’t the only ones who lost her.

Seeing the new baby cousin was sweet for me because I focused on the joy of holding a new member of our family, and forced myself to NOT think about the fact that he was born within days of when Hope was due.  Every time she came into my mind, I pushed her away.

The sad truth is that while I have moments of grief that are almost overpowering, today would be a thousand times worse if it weren’t for Emby.

I wanted someone to blame for Hope’s loss, and my uterus was the most conveinent target.  I know now that it wasn’t my fault.  Emby proves it.  And in some ways that makes it harder.  Knowing that it was just a bad sperm/egg match, or that my body (which does not do pregnancy well) just couldn’t handle the changes the first time.  And so I am forced to accept it as one of life’s mysteries I will never know–another forever papercut on my heart.

The thing is, Hope deserves better than just sorrow.  She deserves her father’s and my gratitude.

Hope made us really ready to become parents.  Before Hope we had no idea whether we were ready or not.  We just dove in, and when we got pregnant faster than either of us thought possible there was ambivalence.  When we had to decide how hard to fight for Hope, she began to transform us.  When we lost her, we lost her as parents.  And when we made the decision to start trying again, it was with full knowledge of how painful loss really is and we were ready to shoulder and welcome the responsibility that pregnancy could bring.

Hope helped us grow up a bit.  Hope drove home the lesson that being a parent means putting someone else’s life (literally) in your own hands.  We had to decide when we would stop fighting for her, and we fought until she told us she was ready to go.  While both of us had experienced things that were challenging or hard, neither of us had ever had an experience that was so far out of our control and yet were expected to make decisions.  We lost some of our innocence, and naivete with Hope.

Hope drove home the lesson that life isn’t fair or predictable.  She taught us that sometimes all you have are weeks, days, hours, minutes….hell, seconds.  You have to tell someone that they matter because you don’t know how long they’ll be with you.  She taught us that sometimes the odds are just so stacked against you that you are going to lose no matter how much you want to win.

Hope taught us the meaning of courage.  I will confess to begging her to fight, to stay, to grow.  She shocked and amazed me in her last few weeks.  Every time I went to the doctor, I (on some level) expected to hear that she had died inside me.  But instead she’d grow a few days (in a week) or my hormones would go up, or…in those last few days…she developed a heartbeat (far too slow, but still).  She was a fighter.  She fought and fought to stay as long as she could.  She taught us about courage in her fight, and she taught us courage in that we had to tell her that if she needed to leave, she had our permission.

She taught the two atheists that there is something bigger out there.  As much as I want to deny the existence of a God and as little use as I have for organized religion, the truth is that she proved to me that there are bigger things out there.  It just doesn’t seem like coincidence that within hours of being told that she could leave if she had to…that she did.  It feels like she was waiting for us to be ready to let her go…like she loved us too much to leave before we could handle it.  And we loved her too much to force her to stay when she couldn’t.

Buddhists believe that a miscarriage is a soul that is close to achieving Nirvana-they must be loved once more, and then they can achieve Nirvana.  For all that I deny religion and God, part of me desperately hopes thiere is truth to this–that Hope has found some kind of peace and happiness, especially as her greatest gift in some ways is that she paved the way for Emby, who is a source of peace and happiness for us.

Hope, you were perfect to me, and I will ALWAYS love you.  You are my first child and I will ALWAYS miss you.  Never think for a moment that because your father and I have gone on to have other children that you aren’t with us.  When it is time your sister and any other future siblings WILL know about you.

You will not be forgotten.

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Some poems that gave me comfort in my grief are below….

Nobody Knew You

by Jan Cosby

Nobody knew you
“Sorry about the miscarriage dear, but you couldn’t have been very far along.”
…existed.

Nobody knew you
“It’s not as though you lost an actual person.”
…were real

Nobody knew you
“Well it probably wasn’t a viable fetus. It’s all for the best.”
…were perfect.

Nobody knew you
“You can always have another!”
…were unique.

Nobody knew you
“You already have a beautiful child. Be happy!”
…were loved for yourself.

Nobody knew you
…but us.

And we will always remember
…You.

*********************************

Little Footprints by Dorothy Ferguson

How very softly you tiptoed into my world.

Almost silently, only a moment you stayed.

But what an imprint your footprints have left upon my heart.

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