This morning, I was pregnant.
This afternoon, I am not.
The last time I could say that, I had a baby to hold. A crying, red-faced, tiny being that I instinctively comforted and rocked.
This time, I’m the one who is crying. I am the red-faced, fragile person in need of comfort.
My arms are empty. My womb, created to hold delicate life until it’s ready for this harsh world, has failed.
The doctor, in an attempt to help me remove emotion from the loss of life inside me, has explained everything to me using textbook terms and medical vernacular. I understand his reasoning, but does he understand that the coldness and sterility of his words make my emotions feel invalid?
Are my emotions invalid?
The doctor and nurses have prepared me for all the physical symptoms I can expect in the coming days and weeks. Although my mind and my heart know that the baby that was a part of me will never be next to me, my body still does not. In a day or two, my milk will come in. My tiny baby bump will still be there. All signs will point to the arrival of our bundle of joy, but there will be no joy.
The words “not compatible with life” will forever haunt me–at least that’s the way it feels in this moment. The happiness of pregnancy will never feel quite the same after the excruciating sadness I’ve endured.
Three hours after my transition from pregnant to mourning, I lay in my hospital gown and I feel numb. How can I go home to my little boy? How can I look him in the eyes, and not feel an intense sense of loss and sadness, knowing what could have been?
How can I ever be the happy mother to him that I was before this loss?
My hospital room is in the Labor & Delivery wing of this hospital. Every baby’s cry is like a twist to the knife in my gut. Right now I don’t want to hear the happiness of new families. Right now I need silence. I need to scream. I need to hit a pillow and cry out in anger.
So I sob into my husband’s chest. I yell obscenities and shake uncontrollably. I ask why, over and over, and collapse into him with the full weight of my grief. He strokes my hair and softly shushes me, the way I shush our son when he can’t control himself; the way true, unwavering love causes us to comfort a person.
This is his loss, too. Knowing that he is feeling what I am, but remaining so stoic and steady in his devotion has made me fall even harder in love with this man. His eyes are sunken, his eyes glossy, but he looks down at my tear-stained face and smiles at me. I quietly thank God for giving me this strong, resilient man, and for the first time in two days my prayer doesn’t include a demand for reason.
This is the moment I realize that although this seems like an impossible storm to survive, I will. We will.
Our family will never be quite the same, but we will survive.
Although we have not gained a family member, our family will still grow.