A tattoo to remember our sweet baby Angel Sumilang by.
“I’m a little nervous about this appointment.” I told my husband as I dropped him off to a meeting. He assured me everything was ok and kissed me goodbye. Thirty minutes later, I watched as my midwife started the ultrasound machine and held my breath as she moved the wand around my lower abdomen. “There it is!” She said as she found the baby. “Looks good.” Then, silence for an eternal two minutes as she probed for a better glance. At that moment, my world began to unravel. The intuition I’ve been trying to suppress resurfaced. The baby looked really small. There was no movement. No flicker in the chest. Only stillness in the darkness of my womb.
I became 1 in 4. I had a miscarriage.
The moments, days, and nights of navigating through the fog has been a nightmare: a collection of disjointed moments rather than smooth chronology. I’m functioning, going through the motions albeit feeling like this is not real life. Like any minute now, I’d wake up to a thriving baby in my belly and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief to my husband. But the ache in my heart reminds me that this is very real. It’s my heart holding out hope that the mind knows most likely will not be met.
The grief comes in waves. There are moments of calm and clarity followed by unrelenting blows I find myself drowning in, specially when I least expect it. Like sitting down to be seen at the tattoo parlor. Instantly, my eyes diverted to three beautiful ultrasound photos on the wall proudly showing a healthy, magnificent baby. A floodgate of tears ravaged through me long before the needle touched my skin. Or at the mall when a very pregnant mama walks past. I hold my breath and close my eyes trying my best to keep whatever bad luck I am carrying within me in fear of infecting her. Because no one should go through a miscarriage. No one.
“Whoever thought forever would be severed by the sharp knife of a short life.”
Most mornings, I lay in bed before my boys wake up and hope they sleep in a little longer to delay starting my day. I’ve forgotten how to breathe. I’m here but I’m not. Then, I feel a little hand on my leg or hear the voice of this vibrant boy I have earth-side and I am grounded momentarily. He watched as I sobbed on a chair that first day. My husband was holding me in an attempt to comfort and Apollo cried pushing his dad away to get to me. He was confused and worried about this state he’s never seen his mama in. I realized he needs me to be ok. So I spend my days showering him with love, honoring commitments and meeting deadlines. Because despite the internal apocalypse I am facing, the rest of the world continues to spin.
During nap-times and moonlit nights, I break all over again. It’s hardest during the quiet of night. The silence taunts that only one heartbeat remains in my vessel instead of two. I sob. I scream. I whisper “I love you’s” and “I’m sorry’s” to the baby I’ve fallen for but will never meet.
A quote I found fitting from Joy in the Morning WY on Etsy.
Your heart only ever beat under mine.
I don’t know why I had to give my sweet child back so soon. I have to believe that God’s plans are better than my dreams. But despite the brief time we occupied the same space, that little soul was, is, and will always be my baby. Regardless of the absence here on Earth, we were made into a family of four.
Right now, it hurts. Everything hurts, even in places I never thought possible. My body, along with my heart, has failed to get the memo of the loss. I’ve chosen to let my body pass the baby naturally so playing the waiting game has been torture. The heightened smell, the food aversions, the extreme fatigue – they all serve as cruel reminders of what was once and no longer is.
If I could turn back time.
It was only three weeks ago when I shared our pregnancy announcement. Only three weeks ago when the promise of having two beautiful children was within our grasps. A friend asked if I would share early again if we happen to conceive in the future. At this moment, I am uncertain. There was feeling of invincibility, confidence, and hope that I approached my pregnancies with. Facing this loss has dimmed that light and allowed fear to take root. I learned to be afraid of the word miscarriage. But had I not shared, then we would’ve been the only ones aware of our sweet Angel’s presence. The idea of that seems wrong and isolating.
The support from friends and family has been instrumental in helping carry me through. My biggest fear is that I will be the only one to ever remember our little Angel. I hope that doesn’t become the case.
When words fail.
I know there are those who are unsure how to approach or console someone going through a miscarriage. Because of societal norms of keeping pregnancies a secret before 12 weeks when losses occur the most, many of those who suffer through it don’t talk about it. I understand the uncertainty of what to say: I was one of those people. From someone so fresh from a loss, there are things you should avoid saying like:
stop crying, you’ll be fine
everything happens for a reason
maybe you shouldn’t have done this or that
maybe you should’ve (not) eaten this or that
you’ll have more babies when the time is right
at least it was early
There is no proper measurement of love grown in correlation to the amount of weeks a baby’s heart beats. A miscarriage is something that happens to a woman, not something she caused. There is no good reason to lose a child. Don’t minimize the pain. Life is life. Loss is loss.
Instead, allow them the grace to grieve. Tell them to be gentle with themselves. Or say nothing at all.