Almost 10 months ago, at over 4 months pregnant with our little boy (who we had already decided to name Ash) we went in for a big ultrasound and were lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time watching our little guy try to suck his thumb, kick his legs and generally jump around like a little bean. My husband and I went home giddy and immediately shared our scan of his precious little feet with our friends and parents.
A week later I started to bleed and cramp. I don't feel it is necessary to get into the technical medical details here but within 3 days we knew we would lose our unborn son. Unable to naturally complete the process on my own I was quickly scheduled for surgery. I remember calling my parents, sobbing. My poor father just sat on the end of the phone, trying to understand what was wrong with me, worried that something had happened to Ender or Rich. I couldn't even speak, feeling completely torn from the inside out. Finally I managed to suck in enough breath to tell him that my baby was gone. That little Ash would never be with us. To his credit, my father managed to get me calm enough to speak and then passed the phone to my mother who helped to talk me down until my husband, who was rushing home from work, made it through the door.
There is no pain, none, like losing a baby, even unborn. The medical staff and counselors at Kaiser handled us with kid gloves and offered us no end of help both physically and mentally. But to have the necessary question put to you, before the surgery, of 'Will you be having a funeral and do you need our help with arrangements?' is like having a boulder dropped on you. This was no early miscarriage, this was the death of our son.
We chose to grieve Ash's passing privately, in our own way. Even though we never got to hold him, we will never ever forget him. When I try to imagine what parents of children who pass away either by disease or accident or worse must go through, my mind breaks. I simply cannot even force myself to imagine it. After our own experience it just isn't something that I have the will to envision.
On the day of surgery my husband, who had been desperately trying to take on the role of caretaker, holding us together, laid his hand on my belly and said goodbye a few minutes before I was wheeled into the OR. When I came out we huddled together, got in the car and drove home where I would get a days rest before joining my parents and my brother and his family in Anaheim.
My parents were taking our whole family on a trip to Disneyland, you see. It had been planned for months. My surgery was on the day we were to have left San Fran for Anaheim. We very much considered cancelling but in the end we decided, having been granted my doctor's permission to travel, to fly down and be with my family during the difficult time. While I was not up to snuff physically, it was a godsend to be with them over the next week.
Time has gone on, we've patched up the wounds and have carried on with our lives. But there are still reminders. Like when his due date passed. Or when we see other beautiful, vibrant babies who were born around the same time. To this day I cry in the night. Not all the time, just every now and then. I think of the trees, the sunlight and the breeze and I know that Ash is somewhere out there in the universe and that he knows he is loved.
Our children are our blessings. I know several other women who have not even had the good fortune to get pregnant at all and my heart breaks for them. Some of us miscarry, some of us are infertile or go through the long painful process of invitro. Some of us will adopt and others will use a surrogate. Some of us will be faced with impossible decisions. Some of us will decide to keep trying and others will move on. None of us are perfect and we do what we can.
As for my husband and I - we are trying one more time. We have the strength to give it another shot. I don't know what is going to happen but I know that I will not be alone. If another baby is not meant to be, we are content and secure in our knowledge that our friends, our family and most importantly our son Ender are enough, they are all that we need.
Thus ends my tale from the dark side. Thanks to Project 365 I was able to resolve to get this story published and carry on with the rest of my personal goal which is to post a snippet each day relating to our journey of trying to have a second baby this year. While this three part series has been painful and raw for me to write, further posts will be aimed at the lighter side of trying to conceive and, with enough luck, build a baby. Wish us luck :)
I would like to extend a special thank you to my husband for supporting me through this process and allowing me to share what was obviously a very personal experience for both of us. It has affected him as well as me to relive our loss - he is truly my hero.