I saw you for the first and last time today. You were small, the size of a dime on the black and white screen. It was the first visual proof I had that you were real after weeks of only getting the levels of hormones in my blood. I tricked myself into thinking I could see your heart beat when the nurse moved the camera this way and that in my uterus. But that would be impossible. You never got big enough to grow a heart.
I had been so looking forward to this moment, the moment I’d first get to see you, since the glorious morning I learned of your existence. I’d convinced myself it was another wasted month, and was entirely expecting another depressed morning after another negative test. Instead, it said, “Pregnant,” clear as day. I gasped and raced down the stairs to your dad. “Look!” I choked through the tears. He smiled and hugged me tight and we laughed and cried and couldn’t believe it. You made us so happy, Baby.
I spent the next week smiling to myself with the knowledge you were inside of me. I found myself resting my hand on my belly, protectively. Everything I ate and did was in service of making you stronger. You were too small for me to feel you, but I could feel my body changing around you. My ab muscles ached where my womb was stretching and my breasts grew heavy and full.
We narrowed down the list of names we started two years ago. We thought about whether we should start clipping diaper coupons and stock up now. We argued about whether we should turn the office or the guest room into your room.
We couldn’t wait to tell our parents and friends. You were so wanted, Baby. I imagined them shrieking and weeping with joy when we shared the happy news. I wanted to spill the beans right away, but I also wanted to be careful about telling them too soon. My HCG (the pregnancy hormone) was low to begin with and continued to have a very slow rise. I had blood draws every few days—to the point where I had bruises on the insides of my arms—and every time I expected the doctor to call and say the level had finally doubled like it was supposed to and I could stop worrying.
Instead they called me on Tuesday to say they thought it might be an ectopic pregnancy. There was still a chance it could proceed normally, they said, and I clung to that hope for dear life. They called me Thursday and told me I would definitely miscarry. The grief was…is… almost overwhelming. We had imagined a whole, wonderful future for you. We already loved you so much, Baby.
There are some who don’t understand this consuming sadness. We never got to hold you in our arms, never got to talk to you or read to you or sing to you, never got to kiss your little head, and to them that means we should chalk it up to a loss and move on. But that doesn’t change the fact that you changed me, changed us, in the short time your cells were dividing.
I’ll always be grateful to you, Baby, because I got to be your mom, even if it was only for a little bit. No matter what comes afterward, you’ll always be my first(never)born.