Thank you all so much for your lovely, kind comments on my last post. Reubs and I feel so lucky to have the support of this little community behind us. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve thought long and hard about whether we wanted to share this part of our story, or keep it just for us. Reuben and I like to focus on the positives here, and I am naturally quite reserved when it comes to our privacy and the intimate details of our lives, but the events of the last few months have affected us so profoundly, ommitting them just doesn’t feel right. You see, we lost a baby. Our first baby. And this experience has been the most difficult thing either of us have ever gone through. We are forever changed by it. Given this, I think it would be strange for us to just sweep the events of the last little while under the rug and pretend none of it ever happened.
Had all gone well, right now I would be 15 weeks pregnant. I’d be spreading the good news, waiting to feel my first flutters of movement, reading stories to my growing bump and working on a quilt for our baby. Sadly, that wasn’t meant to be. At our 12 week scan we discovered our first child would never make it to our arms. Our baby’s image flickered onto the screen and we could see his itty bitty head, arms, legs and belly. He looked utterly perfect, but was completely still. Though our little one measured right on track at 12 weeks, his tiny heart had stopped beating.
It’s amazing how much you can love and miss someone you will never have the chance to know. I know that before experiencing this for myself, I never could have imagined the depth of the feelings involved. At times in the last couple of weeks I have felt ridiculous for grieving a life lost so early. I think of women who lose their children at 20 weeks, full term, or after, and my loss feels so incomparable. So insignificant. Then, a few days ago there was a knock at our door, and when I opened it I was surprised to see our midwife standing on the doorstep. She works in the public system and deals with hundreds of pregnant women every year, so I can’t even imagine how many miscarriages she’s witnessed. She doesn’t normally do house calls but when she saw the results of my scan in the system, she felt the need to come to see Reuben and I and check if we were ok. She brought us a bear from The Teddy Love Club and told me so sincerely that she was sorry. This gesture touched me more than I could possibly put into words. It reminded me that this loss is real. It sounds cliche but from the very moment that faint second line appeared on the pregnancy test, something maternal switched inside me. Suddenly nothing in the world mattered more to me than protecting the tiny miracle growing inside me. For a short time Reuben and I were parents of a tiny person, with hopes and dreams for his future. Though people can, and do, go through so much worse, this loss deserves to be grieved.
The days following my scan were the hardest of my life to date. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t sleep. I felt like a failure, I blamed myself, I was angry with my body and I wondered if I had somehow caused our baby to pass. I thought I would never have the strength to carry a child again, as I simply could not risk living through the pain of a second loss. But now that some of the initial haze of grief and guilt has eased, I feel sure that I will. As difficult as the experience of losing our first baby has been, and while there will always be a hole in my heart for the little one that didn’t make it, I wouldn’t take the last few months back for anything in the world. For three months I carried a precious life inside me. I was given a glimpse into the joy and profound love of motherhood. I was shown how much having a family means to me. I was made to see how amazing, strong and capable the human body is. I was taught to better listen to my intuition. And I was reminded of how very, very lucky I am to have the love and support of such a wonderful man. For those lessons I am so grateful. This experience has changed me for the better. I feel stronger, wiser, kinder, more hopeful and more capable of love than I ever knew I could be.
The day we found out I was pregnant we planted a plum tree. It wasn’t an intentionally symbolic thing at the time, but it has since become a tribute to our little one. While Reuben and I will never see our first child grow, we will watch that tree reach for the sky, bloom, and hopefully, prosper. With each season we will be reminded of the one we lost. I carried his body for just 12 short weeks, but we will carry his presence in our hearts forever. Our tiny October baby. Never forgotten. So loved.
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” – A.A. Milne