Friday, October 14, 2011
Pregnancy Loss in the Eyes of a Child
I still remember that early Fall day that I got off the bus. My dad was video recording my older sister and I as we came down our long driveway. We knew something was up. They sat us down on the couch and after some guessing finally told us we were going to be big sisters. My mom was pregnant! This is something I dreamed of for a very long time. I wanted a baby brother...badly.
I was 6.
Not too long ago I actually ran across that video at my parent's house and it brought me to tears remembering how excited I was for that baby.
I don't remember how much time passed, but one day I remember my mom was in tears when she came to pick my sister and I up from daycare. On the short drive home, she told us that the doctor couldn't find the baby's heartbeat.
For a long time I was in denial. I prayed and dreamed that somehow by my mom's next appointment that baby would be alive.
It never happened. Instead I was awaken one night, 3 days before my 7th birthday, by my dad telling us to get up. We were heading to the hospital. Ingrained in my mind is my mom on our laundry room floor with blood everywhere. The trip into town was painful for not only her, but also my sister and I, who had no idea what was happening to my mom.
I thought she was dying. In the midst of the realization that my baby "brother" had died, I thought my mom was dying too. They dropped us off at a co-worker of my mom's house. I couldn't sleep. I could only cry. One of the teenage daughters took me in her arms and rocked me in their living room. I still remember the time on the VCR clock flashing 12:27 before I finally drifted off to sleep in her arms.
In the days that followed, I vaguely remember learning that my mom almost died (looking back and figuring out dates she was somewhere around 18 weeks pregnant by the time her body actually tried to miscarry). Most of all I had so many questions I wanted to ask, but no one wanted to give me the answers. I wanted to name him. I wanted to know if they knew for sure it was a him. I wanted to know if they saw him.
But there were no answers. I don't blame my parents for that at all. They were grieving just as my sister and I were.
Eventually I was so worried about my mom still dying and so hurt by the loss of my baby "brother", that I made myself sick with a bladder infection. I never wanted to go to school for fear my mom would die while I was gone and when I was there I spent a good majority of the time crying. I felt that maybe if I had behaved better, or had not been so loud with my sister, the baby would have lived.
Thinking back to that day in my 7 year old mind brings back a lot of emotions and many, many tears even today.
For those of you who have lost a baby, whether in pregnancy or after, know that I am thinking of you tomorrow on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I share a sliver of understanding what that must be like. Know that your child(ren) are not forgotten and that they are loved. Many hugs and prayers from this big sister of one who was lost.