This post is written in the format of a letter to my son.
I think you may know that two years before you were born I lost a baby. That was the most devastating loss I have ever experienced. Even though I only knew about his existence for three days, I already loved him dearly and when the pregnancy had to be terminated because it was not viable my heart was broken.
I can’t even think of the words to describe how I felt. Devastated is the only word that keeps coming to me. Even now, more than 20 years later, I sometimes cry when I think of losing him.
I had seen his heartbeat on the ultrasound. He was real, as real as any baby that has already been born. He was a part of me, literally. And it felt exactly like I had lost a part of myself.
People tell you that you can try again, but that is no comfort at all. Any other baby will not be the baby I lost. As much as I love you – and I do love you more than you can probably imagine – you are not the baby I lost. I love him, too, and I grieve for him.
Intellectually, I understand the physical reality of why the pregnancy could not continue. It was an ectopic pregnancy, in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus, and not only is that unviable for the baby, but also put my life at risk.
And, none of that matters to me. I can remember being in the doctor’s office after finding out the news. I called your dad and just fell apart. I lost it. I couldn’t understand how when they can implant a fetus from a test tube in a uterus, why they couldn’t move my baby from the fallopian tube to the uterus.
Again, intellectually I get that it’s not possible. But when you’re facing losing someone you love so very, very much, you search for every imaginable way to avert that loss.
It all happened so quickly. I’m not sure if that was a blessing or a curse. I like to think it was a blessing. If I had gotten used to the idea of being pregnant and having this baby growing inside me over a period of time and then lost him, I don’t know how I could have withstood it.
I can’t even imagine how people who have a baby that is stillborn or dies shortly after birth can stand it. It’s inconceivable. But they do. I’m sure I would, too, but I can’t imagine surviving a greater pain than the one I felt. I hope that can help you understand how incredibly devastated I was.
And now for the silver lining in all of this. Without this experience, you may never have been born. This pregnancy was not planned. Your dad and I had been going back and forth about having a child and were in a phase of thinking we didn’t want to have a child when I got pregnant.
Having been pregnant with this baby I lost got me off the fence. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind from that point forward that I wanted to have a child. And I am grateful for coming to that understanding about myself.
I believe this pregnancy was divine intervention – a message from the Universe. I came to believe that there was purpose in this loss. And believing in that purpose has helped mitigate the grief.
I still sometimes think about the baby I lost, and sometimes I still feel the grief. But in addition, there is a huge amount of gratitude for the message he brought to me. I wanted to have a child. No doubt, no waffling, no question.
And so you came into my life.