Monday, May 13, 2013

Our December Baby

I was looking out the window a few days ago at the pink spring trees in the neighbor's yard. And I thought about how they will wither and go soon, replaced by hardier leaves and blown away by summer breezes. Come December, no one will remember them.

I don't want that to be my baby. I know I rarely post on this blog. For some reason it feels like for that reason, I shouldn't be allowed so write about something so personal.

But I need to share about my December baby. I was due December 14, 2013.

On April 7, I took a positive pregnancy test. I was elated. We had wanted babies close together. My heart rejoiced.

For a month I knew about that baby. We told our family - Erin danced around the kitchen with William in his "Big Brother" t-shirt. My parents cried. Brian's family hugged us. His grandma wondered if it would be a "girl this time."

I felt in my heart that we would have another boy.

Was it presumptuous to tell everyone so early? I don't know. I always knew that a baby is a miracle. I can tell you that I didn't take this baby for granted. I loved it, loved it the whole time.

At first I felt sad that my baby would have a December birthday. I was afraid its birthday would mesh into Christmas, an indistinct blend of celebrations. But then my sisters-in-law - both December babies themselves - told me it's magical to have a birthday that month. And I began to anticipate how exciting it would be to have a baby at the same time that we celebrate Baby Jesus.

When I was pregnant with William, I loved my baby but had no idea how madly I would fall in love with him when he was born. With this baby, I knew. I felt bonded to it immediately. I sang to it when I sang to Will. I would nurse William and think about how I was nourishing both my children at once. I thanked God for those moments, for my baby boy curled around me and another growing inside.

I loved being pregnant with this baby.

So I thought I was about eight weeks, but the doctor thinks I was nine.

On Sunday night, May 5, I began spotting, very lightly.

I had spotted with William at seven weeks. Nothing major, but it's terrifying anyway.

Monday morning, May 6, the spotting resumed. We're still staying with my parents, and I told my mom, "I don't want to do this day." I didn't want to struggle with fear about my baby. I scheduled a scan for the next morning. I wanted to go back to bed and sleep until Tuesday.

I didn't want to have to do May 6.

Will had a hard day that day. He fought his naps and flung his food. I was impatient and tired. It's hard to stay positive when everything in you feels like dread.

The spotting would slow down, then grow worse. At some point it became pink, then red. I tried to stay off my feet, but that was pretty much impossible. In the afternoon my mom made me take a nap. I was sure that had stopped the bleeding, until about a half hour after when it started again.

It's a horrible feeling when your body is killing a baby you want so badly, and there's nothing you can do.

In the evening the bleeding grew worse, bright red and heavy. I began cramping. Brian held me and said, "It's going to be okay. It's going to be fine." I told him I didn't know how it could be.

My mom read us stories online about women who had healthy babies after heavy bleeding. I tried to believe in a miracle heartbeat. It had happened to others, it could happen to me.

I laid Will down in his crib at 8:30 PM. At bedtime, he usually nestles in, but Monday night he started to cry. I picked him up and nursed him to sleep... just this once. I sang him a lullaby and wondered if this would be the last time I'd hold my two children. And I'm glad I did that. Ten minutes later, when I stood and bent over to tuck his sleeping body in again, I felt the most of my pregnancy pass. I went to the bathroom and I held it in my hands for a long time. It wasn't a baby.

You know, I don't know if I found the baby. Whatever I found, I wrapped it in a cloth to bury.

We prayed and worshipped together as a family that evening. Before going to sleep, I told Brian what I had passed. He held me and said again, "It could still be fine."

The next morning I woke imagining a flickering heartbeat on that morning's scan. I didn't think there could be hope, but I was determined to hope anyway.

I filled out the paperwork and wrote "suspected miscarriage" on the form under "Reason for visit". Still, the nurse practitioner entered the room and said, "Congratulations!"

I said, "Thanks." I paused. "But I think I lost it."

I told her what had happened the night before. She jotted down the important details, cramping and clots. She left the room while I prepared for the scan. As I waited on the table, my lower half wrapped in paper, I prayed, "Please, God, just help me hold it together."

She turned on the machine. I watched the ceiling. After a few moments, she said, "Okay... I think that's your uterus." I glanced over and saw the void. There was nothing. I fixed my eyes back onto the ceiling. When she said she was sorry, I said okay. And I did, I held it together.

She wrote me a prescription to visit the fetal imaging center to confirm everything was gone. She drew my blood and instructed me to come back in a week for another blood draw. I'll probably go, but I don't know. Everything seems to be happening normally.

I checked out and walked out to the parking lot and climbed into the truck and stopped holding it together.

I don't understand God's plan - I know there is one - but I just don't understand it and I suppose I never will. I wanted my baby, I still do, and I still find myself planning for it and hoping it will make it. That's illogical, I know. I just don't understand. I suppose it's what a million women wonder. Why is it that the baby I want so badly doesn't make it, and other people have babies they don't want? Or abort babies they don't want?

So it's getting easier each day. Nights are the hardest, because I'm tired at the end of the day and because I lost the baby on a Monday night. And I think, who else will be having a December baby? How will I not be bitter? And I know it wasn't my fault, but I still feel like it is. I feel like I let everyone down... Brian and Will and our families and the baby. And I know that someday I'll be the only one who remembers my baby, and I also know that someday I'll get over it and that feels horrible too, like I'm going to forget my baby along with everyone else. And I keep remembering the night of May 6 and remembering that panicked feeling of horror and grief when I saw those clots... and it just comes back.

So it just sucks. And my heart absolutely breaks for the women who've endured this without a living child to hold and be comforted by.

But I can be practical, too. I'm thankful for the timing. I'm thankful that I wasn't farther along. I'm thankful it happened on its own. I'm thankful for Brian and William and friends and family and hope.

I thought Mother's Day would be very difficult. On May 6 I had tried to distract myself by getting online, and I'd seen a giant banner ad on a website: "What do you want for Mother's Day?" And I'd prayed, please, God, all I want is a healthy pregnancy. But God gave me perspective and grace on Mother's Day. That morning I held Will in bed and felt tremendous gratitude. I am a mother, and that is enough.

On Mother's Day, Brian gave me a beautiful white azalea tree to remember the baby. It's an indoor plant, and if you take care of it it will bloom for a long, long time. I'll be able to look at it, even when the spring flowers are gone outside, and think of my December baby, and know that somewhere that Flower is blooming and praising God.

I loved being pregnant with you, Little One. You were eagerly anticipated and loved. If the love I had for you, and the love your Daddy had for you, and all the love our families had for you, could have given you life on the earth you would have lived here for a thousand years. But God had a different plan for you. I don't understand it and I miss you terribly - and will always miss you. But I believe in my heart you will recognize me in Heaven. 

All my love,
your momma



  1. I am so sorry for your loss. And although your loss will get easier with time, you will always have a baby in heaven and you will always remember your second child. Thoughts and prayers for you.

  2. glad to see you writing about it - writing is good for you. You are strong. Hang in there. We are all thinking of you.

  3. I love you, my beautiful and special friend :)