I’ve made it through the last several years without really thinking about it much. Maybe because so much has happened since then. Who knows? Not sure why this year has been different. Her due date was February 14. She could have been 10 today.
Three years of wanting a baby had already gone by when my sister called and asked if my husband was home. When I said no, she sighed and said, “I was hoping he’d be there. I’ve got some news.” As gently as she could, she told me she was pregnant again (baby number five) and lovingly asked if I was ok. As much as I was happy for her was as hard as I felt my heart hit the floor. When I could speak, I responded as truthfully as I knew how, “No, but I will be.”
One short month later, much to our surprise and joy, I found out I was pregnant too. Yeah! My sister and I were pregnant at the same time and we were going to have our babies one month apart. How fun is that?! Yeah!!
About a month after receiving my big news, the sis and I decided to fly down to see our folks who had just moved into a new house. The first leg of the flight was a short ride on a really small plane that was a bit of a fear-inducing tumble through the sky. After the plane safely landed and we were waiting in the terminal, my sister suddenly began bleeding profusely. We called an ambulance and got her to a local hospital which didn’t have a freaking sonogram machine. In the end, however, all turned out well. Baby was intact and our husbands showed up at the hospital and took us home.
Literally one week later… my sister went with me to get my first sonogram. I’m so thankful she was there. As I was lying on the table looking at the screen, I could see the form and shadow of the baby so clearly. Oh, look at our beautiful baby. What I didn’t see was a heartbeat.
In my head I began panicking. I don’t see it. Doctor, please show me where the heart beat is. I can’t find it. Please. And then the doctor spoke softly, “I’m sorry, there’s no cardiac motion.”
In that moment, everything came crashing down within me.
How does the heart love someone you’ve never met? only just now saw for the first time on a monitor? never had a chance to hold? never had a chance to know? How can losing something no larger than a peanut, if even that big, create such a large hole?
I already had an appointment scheduled with another doctor who was supposed to take over and follow me through the pregnancy. When I called to tell them, they told me to come in. Another sonogram was done and I was told that the baby had stopped developing several weeks before—sometime shortly after I had heard the heartbeat for the first time. We decided to allow the miscarriage to happen naturally rather than have a D&C.
The doctor I saw that day was amazingly comforting. He took the time to explain that I was in a stage of pregnancy where I could have done nothing to cause, as well as done nothing to stop the miscarriage from happening. I was also at an age when miscarriages tend to happen quite a bit and they’re not sure why. His assurances that I had done nothing to cause the miscarriage helped me a great deal that day and after. It was hard enough to not feel guilty even with his assurances, I can’t imagine not having had those words in my head to help me get through the pain.
Since it took so long to get pregnant the first time, he also set up an appointment for me to see a fertility specialist. The doctor gave me great hope that I would soon be back to his office to have a baby. He, unfortunately, died quite suddenly a few months later. But, I did indeed get back and I am ever grateful to that man for his encouragement that one day it would be so. Without his comfort and assurance in my devastation, I may never have tried again and would have missed out on the two greatest gifts ever given me.
Yes, our girl (just an overwhelming feeling that the baby was a girl) could have been 10 today. No one could have ever convincingly explained to me then, or now even, why God decided to take her, but I’m sure she’s loving being with Him. While I miss her from time to time and wonder what might have been, the pain has subsided to a sweet tender spot in me with the knowledge that one day those tears also will be wiped forever away.
Happy Birthday my sweet Valentine. I look forward to meeting you one day. Enjoy gardening with Grandmommy.