Letter to Baby was written about nine years ago. It was a difficult thing to do; something that was recommended by one of my therapists (there were three over the course of the last ten years). I literally wrote this letter to my first miscarried baby. I don’t know if it really “helped” me or not, but it depicts what I went through over ten years ago. This month and year, November 2013, my first baby should be 10 years old. The story of “Andy” will come later. But at the time of this pregnancy, I was not married and I was living with my parents. I was 23 and in college.
Letter to Baby
I never thought that I would be writing a letter like this, especially to someone who I have never met or seen. In a way it is weird to me, and in another, this is starting to make me feel better already. There are things that I never got the opportunity to tell you. I never got the chance to see you for the first time, and count those tiny toes and fingers. I never had the chance to look into those little eyes and tell you that I am your mother.
I loved being pregnant. I did not have morning sickness, but I did have heart-burn and felt nauseous. I only craved two things–chocolate milk and kool-aid—two things I usually never have on a regular basis. When I first found out I was pregnant I wrote a letter just saying how it’s terrifying and exciting all in the same moment. When I took that pregnancy test I was 100% sure that I was not pregnant and then when I saw those two blue lines I was so scared that I had to sit down. Panic set in. I was thinking to myself, “Oh my God, there is going to be a human being that is going to come out of me…” I started to freak out. I cried.
Earlier that day I told Andy that I was a week late and that I thought I might be pregnant. Andy said that if I was pregnant, that we would work it out together. He eased my mind into thinking that we would handle this together. Once he heard that I was actually pregnant he freaked out. He said that it was not his. That I had cheated on him and that it was someone else’s. He told me to have an abortion. Of course that was not an option. Nothing was going to take you from me. Nothing… except, apparently, me.
The doctors still do not know exactly what happened. Like it was some freak accident or something. “Spontaneous abortion” was what they called it. I really hate that term. I was in a car accident in the beginning of April of 2003. I was eight weeks pregnant at that time. The accident was not my fault though… The car behind me hit me and I, in turn, hit the car in front of me. I was bounced back and forth between the force of both cars. I was the only one out of the four people who went to the emergency room. I called my doctor to let her know, and she said that the impact of the accident would not affect you because you were so small and embedded so far in at that time. You were safe. I went home from the emergency room a little bruised, a little banged up, and not concerned that I would lose you, because I was reassured that you would be ok.
I started to have spotting the day before my birthday, April 19th. I was not concerned at this point, because you always hear about so many women having spotting when they were pregnant (which I now feel is a lie to calm the already hormone induced mom-to-be). It was dark blood—old blood—no need to be concerned… That is what my mom and doctor told me. I had a birthday get-together at my house. All of my friends showed up, and I showed them outfits that I had bought for you. All Winne the Pooh, of course. Another friend of mine was also pregnant at the time. I was two and a half months pregnant, she was four and a half. We actually shared my bed that night because we were both pregnant and my mom, your grandmother, did not think it would be a good idea for us to sleep on the floor. She and I started whispering about the ventures of being pregnant. I asked her if she thought spotting was normal, because this was her second pregnancy. She said that she had never had spotting, but she too had heard that spotting was normal. So, again, I did not have a reason to be concerned.
Over the course of the next few days the spotting got heavier, and it became bright crimson. I went to the doctor and they told me that I had a placenta previa. My placenta was low-lying and you were sitting right on my cervix. I was put on bed rest until the bleeding stopped. There was not much I did during that time. I could not work, so I started sewing a Winnie the Pooh cross-stitch piece for your room. It was going to have your name, birth date, weight and height. I started working on the border first. I really did not get much further than that because it is so time consuming and detailed. Between watching TV, sewing, and reading, I must say, I did get pretty bored. I was trying not to move though, because the more I moved, the more I bled, and the more I bled, the chance of me losing you was greater.
I am not exactly sure when it was that I knew I was going to lose you. I started to have cramping around the beginning of May. The bleeding was still just heavy spotting. Then, one night, I went to bed having excruciating cramping. My stomach hurt so badly and any way that I laid I could not get comfortable. I was just holding my stomach hoping it would stop. Since the beginning of the month I had rationalized that this was normal in a pregnancy, that this was just what pregnant women go through. And then, I had a feeling on what I needed to do. It sort of came in as a rush of confusion, frustration, and being scared as hell. I then prayed to God that if I was not meant to have you, and that you were meant to be in Heaven, then I did not have a problem with him taking you. I just wanted you to be happy. I told God that if you were not going to have a happy life here, then I wanted him to take you. I did, however, tell Him that I still wanted you regardless of whether or not you would be “normal.” You were mine, and I was going to take you any way I could have you. But, if God felt like you were not meant to be here, then it was ok with me to have him take you. I cried during my “I know I don’t come to you often, but this is really important prayers” and I cried at the thought of giving someone permission to take you from me. I cried then in the fear that maybe he would take you just because he didn’t think I would be a fit mother. I felt bad that I was saying it was ok for you to leave me.
Several minutes later, I got up to go to the bathroom. I thought I was finished when all of a sudden, a gush of blood just came out. I started crying again and knew something was really wrong. I was yelling for my mom to help me. I started crying and panicking. A rush of hopelessness came over me and I felt completely and utterly defenseless at that point. All I could do was sit in a chair while my mom woke my dad. I tried to stand up, but between the pain and the blood that was streaming out of me, I was terrified. I told my mom that there had to be blood everywhere, and in fact, there was. Somehow, I managed to stand and my parents took me to the emergency room in my blood-drenched sweatpants. After being in pain for what seemed like forever, they gave me pain medication. They checked for your heartbeat, and when the nurse could not find it, she said not to worry because their machines were older. The doctor who examined me said that I was in the early stages of miscarriage. My mom disagreed with him and said that we did not know that for sure at this point. He seemed agitated that she did not want to acknowledge that a miscarriage could be happening. “Spontaneous abortion.” He left and one particular nurse took care of me. It was determined that after two hours I could go home, and in the morning, at 9:00 A.M., I had an emergency appointment with my doctor.
The appointment came fast, especially since I did not get back from the emergency room until around five in the morning. At 8:00 that morning we drove to the appointment. My dad was making weird comments and lame jokes just to keep from having an uncomfortable silence. When we got there, my dad waited in the car and my mom came up with me. The wait was not long, in fact, I do not even remember having to wait in the waiting room at all. All I remember is that ultrasound. I remember looking at the screen just waiting to see your heart beat. It didn’t beat. I asked the nurse if she saw the heart beat. It took her a few minutes to compose herself and confirm that my worst fear had come true. She didn’t see a heart beat either. I turned my head and started crying. I could not look at the screen any longer. I could not hold back the tears that I had been wanting to let go of for so long. I had to say goodbye to you before I even said hello. Flashbacks of reading to you while you were inside me flew across my head. Doctor Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat felt like a bad memory. I felt like I was in a whirlwind and a cold rush swept over me. The room was so cold. I cried, but at the same time, tried to collect myself. I did not want them to think that I could not handle myself. I did not want anyone to console me. I didn’t want help. I just wanted to sleep.
I felt numb on the drive home. I had taken the second of the two options that I had to “get rid of you.” The first was to just let you pass “naturally” at home. The second, was to have a D&C. The D&C was scheduled the next morning, Tuesday. If it happened before then I was told not to freak out and just relax. Relax. Relax? Were they serious? They wanted me to just flush my baby away. During the day I slept pretty painlessly. They had given me pain medication to help control the cramps. Unfortunately, they had nothing to control the anger, hurt, sadness, and frustration I was feeling. I had to sit there all day with you inside me knowing that you were dead. One part of me was intensely grossed out by that. I had a dead person inside of me. The other part of me didn’t want to let you go. Ever. It was selfish to want to keep you there, where you should be growing and getting stronger. But still, I knew that obviously there you could not stay. I felt like a bad mother for so many reasons. I felt like that privilege had been taken away from me. All in all, it felt like bad dream. Someone please wake me up and tell me I was dreaming.
As the day went on, the cramps became worse. The pain was every few minutes, almost like I was having contractions. I couldn’t lay down, because that intensified the pain. I had to sit still, and hold my stomach in agony. I have never felt pain like this before. The doctors later told me that you were trying to push yourself out. My body was going into labor, trying to get rid of you. The cramping got so bad my mom and grandma took me to the emergency room once again. It took three different nurses and five different attempts to get an IV into me because I was so dehydrated. I was so numb anyway that I didn’t feel the pokes of them trying to get me pain medication. The bleeding had increased, and I was admitted to the hospital. Once in my room, I was told that the D&C couldn’t be done until 11 A.M. the next morning. At 10:00 that night, my mom and grandma left me to sleep since now I was “comfortable” enough to sleep.
I didn’t cry in the hospital. Again, I didn’t want any of the nurses to tell my doctor that I was a “basket case.” I held it all in. My heart had a hole in it the size of a three-month-old fetus and I didn’t cry. All through the night I didn’t sleep. I tried to say my goodbyes to you then. I told you that I loved you. I apologized. Told you that I never meant for this to happen and that the future I saw for you was much brighter than what you got to experience.