My face actually hurt. All of the talking, smiling, and laughing confirming my good news had taken a toll on my cheek muscles. The early afternoon’s ultrasound started the workout….I was having a girl. I spent the remainder of the day spreading my news to anyone who would listen.
Over the next month or so, we dreamed and imagined. We bought pink.
I gathered some crayons, a coloring book, a bowl of crackers, and my two year old and headed out for a routine doctor’s visit. I was almost twenty four weeks along and by this point, I pretty much knew the drill. Check weight, blood pressure, baby’s heartbeat, and make the next appointment. All boxes were checked until we reached the heartbeat one. Hmmm, couldn’t find it with the Doppler, let’s take a look on the ultrasound. It sounded reasonable to me until the doctor collected my purse and toddler bag for me. Something struck me by his gesture.
His next sentence was one that I have replayed in my mind thousands of times. For months, it entered my mind as soon as my head hit the pillow. I’ve wished it away with all my strength. It changed my life.
“This isn’t good.” No heartbeat.
And in that moment, the real workout began. “No! But she’s my girl! I already love her,” I begged as if my pleas could alter the results. Mentally, emotionally, I fought with all my might, kicking away the idea that my baby could have died.
My doctor attempted to calm me and finally did when he motioned in the direction of my two year old. There he sat, high up on a barstool, head down, feet swinging back and forth. He knew. Not the details, but the hurt. I suppose it’s what caused him the next day to sweetly rub my belly and say, “I kiss the baby.” I suppose it’s what led him to pull down the hallway door and shower curtain while I was in the hospital. Unexplainable hurt. It’s what led my five year old to sob in wonder when his daddy told him he wouldn’t meet his little sister. Our family was shattered.
Physically, my body was spent. A tear-streaked face, sleepless nights, and the pain of a c-section challenged me. Having already been through two c-sections, I knew the best therapy was walking. I sat. No diapers to change, no cries to be calmed. I sat. And hurt.
My arms literally ached.
Eventually, the physical pain eased, but the ultimate throbbing remained. I spent months envious of each day’s first thirty seconds….the time before I remembered. The time before I lifted it all again and hauled it with me. Some mornings I packed it routinely-- the hurt, the sadness, the shame, the longing. Other days I could hardly lift it all, not having the strength to lug it one more moment. The love, the memory, the grief for a one pound baby was the heaviest weight I ever had to bear.
*This post is part of the series, "Kelsey's Story." The series begins with the post titled, "Marge." Thanks for reading.