I could not wish for a better person for my first guest post, though I do certainly wish for better circumstances. I won’t ask you to enjoy this post, dear reader, but these words are important nonetheless. You read my story “Grief” here is my wife’s story.
There’s a whole world, a whole life, that only exists in my dreams.
This isn’t me being poetic. This isn’t a metaphor. There is actually a whole life that only exists in my dreams.
We decided to name him/her Alex.
On October 17, 2017, my husband Ben and I went to an OBGYN checkup appointment for our 13-week-old fetus. We had already been to the 8-week appointment and had an ultrasound and seen our little baby and heard its little heartbeat. I lived for that heartbeat.
I had no doubt that I was going to hear it again that day. Our OBGYN came into the room and commented on my husband’s level of tiredness. Being on rotating shift work does that to you.
Then she proceeded to ask me questions about how I was feeling: Any bleeding? No. Morning sickness starting to go away? Yes! Any cramping? Nope. Any questions? Nope.
So then she got out the doppler that lets us hear the little nugget’s
heartbeat. I got a protective sheet put into the waistline of my
leggings by the doctor. She put the gel on my lower stomach and
started to move the doppler around to find the heartbeat. 15 seconds went by. “Hmm.” I hear a slight bum bum bum bum. “That’s your heartbeat. Maybe it’s down below your pelvic bone.” Another 10 seconds pass. “I’m going to go get the portable ultrasound machine. Not because I’m worried, but I know that every second that passes for you is worried torture.”
So she leaves and comes back 2 minutes later with the portable ultrasound. Something falls off of it as she wheels it into the room. It’s a screw. My husband and I make a joke about hopefully that’s not important. The doctor makes a joke about it hopefully not falling apart while she’s using it. I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. It’s pounding, hard and fast. I get more gel put on my belly. She begins to move the ultrasound probe around on my stomach.
Her face changes. She says “there’s your baby.” I feel my
stomach unknot. “But that’s where the heartbeat should be, and there’s not one.” I feel my stomach knot up again. I feel like I might throw up. That can’t be right.
“I’m so sorry. This is not your fault. There’s nothing you could have done. Knowing sooner wouldn’t have mattered. There’s nothing you could have done to prevent this from happening.”
Except deciding to have a baby, I thought.
She wipes off the gel from my stomach. She pulls the protective sheet from my leggings. She grabs the tissues and hands them to me.
I realize that I’m crying and my husband has gotten up and is holding my hand. The doctor leaves to give us some time. I sob. I cry and cry. I try to form words but they don’t come. I think of the other women that I’m surrounding by that are seeing their little ones again and their little ones still have heartbeats and I think about how it’s not fair.
But I still try to cry softly, for them. I don’t know how much time as
passed but now the doctor is back and she’s talking about our options.
I try to listen through my fog of grief. I hear something about letting it happen naturally. I hear something about medication. And I hear something about a surgical procedure where I go to sleep and then
it’s over. Sleep sounds good. I want to go to sleep and not wake up
until it’s over. I don’t tell the doctor this yet. I hear my husband
say we’ll call when we have a decision. I’m grateful he’s here. Now I
don’t have to tell him that our baby is dead. I just have to tell my
five-year-old. I’m crying again. Maybe I never stopped. We go out the
back way. I get a bottle of water while we’re leaving. Holding it
helps somehow. I don’t remember much about the drive home. Just crying and talking to my husband. Telling him I want to do the D&C. Telling him I don’t want to have to tell anyone. Telling him we need to go and pick up my kid so I can hold her and never let her go. Him doing all of these things and more.
I have these dreams now that I can’t get away from. I dream about
attending the graduation of a no longer little boy. I yell “Yay Alex!
We love you!” My husband is there holding my hand. My daughter is
there, too, but older and cheering for Alex too. We take a family
picture of the four of us.
I dream about a little girl. I dream about rocking her to sleep. I dream about my daughter helping me feed her bottles.
I dream about a teenage boy. I dream about him asking me how to ask out this girl that he really likes but gets really nervous around. I tell him that he’s a catch and gorgeous and that he should just be himself and there won’t be a way for her to not like him back.
I dream about a college girl who comes home for the weekends with her load of laundry. Her and my husband get into arguments about molecular physics and I sit and watch them with a smile in the corner of my mouth.
I dream about a little boy starting school and my daughter, five years his elder, holding his hand as she helps walk him to his kindergarten classroom, telling him that he’s got this and kindergarten is great because you get naps and learn to read and have recess. I smile at their exchange and think about how lucky I am.
I dream about our little family of four moving to Florida after my husband is officially out of the Navy. I dream of both of my kids walking into their new house, happy to be home and near family
that can help me out with my two handfuls but knowing I wouldn’t
change a thing. I dream of being blissfully happy.
And then I wake up. And I remember what happened, but not really
remembering because I never forgot, because how could I forget.
I have an entire life that only exists in my dreams. My greatest wish
is that it didn’t only exist in my dreams. But the universe is not a
Here’s where the emotional platitude about how everything happens for a reason should be. But I don’t have one of those. There’s not a reason for this. A miscarriage is not reasonable or fair.
I know my grief will lessen. I know that I won’t wake up crying every
day. I know that I’ll be able to talk about this miscarriage eventually without my voice shaking. I know that life will go on. But won’t ever happen is me forgetting. I won’t ever forget this. I won’t ever forget that look on the doctor’s face. I won’t ever forget my husband’s hand on mine. I won’t ever forget having to tell my daughter that her little nugget died. I won’t ever stop having an entire life that only exists in my dreams