Is to tell you about the loss of innocence, mine. The innocent ideal that once pg, nine months = baby, the naivete that there is any "safe" point.
Hannah was my second loss. My first one had been so early and so unexpected, I dealt with things somewhat pragmatically. I didn't entertain the thought it would happen again - these things happen. That was what they told me - and at this point in my life, it was easy to believe them. I was told to "get pg again right away - all would be okay" and while my heart ached, I still believed them. Something so sad, so wrong, could not possibly happen again - could it?
I was elated, though hesitant at first. We did the things we had to do to conceive - the charting, the clomid, the timing and we succeeded. I held the secret close - not wishing to tempt fate, waiting to pass the "safe point". And then I was past that and I felt more secure and I divulged my secret, not thinking that I shouldn't, not thinking that all was not going as it should, or wouldn't. I believed, I hoped, I had that confidence that only comes from not knowing otherwise.
During the weeks I was pg, I felt the smallest, sweetest presence - but I never took it to be the baby I was carrying. I often felt as though someone was following me constantly, someone little, and if I turned around quickly enough - I would catch sight of whoever this little someone was. I never did.
The day I lost Hannah was like any other day - I got up, I got dressed. I dressed and fed my toddler. My college friend from out of town visited with her toddler. We enjoyed talking, some games and then we discovered a shared yen for something sweet - for French Toast. So we went to the store. As I walked out of the store back to the car, I felt a gush - an "uh oh" sort of feeling that can't be ignored. When I checked - I was bleeding. I phoned my doctor, was given vague instructions and told to "come in" in the morning. I was so completely unprepared for the night ahead.
As I put my son to bed, I prayed over his head "please no, please no, please no - hold this baby safe." I had no more bleeding from the initial gush and I took that to be a good sign. I went to bed and could not sleep.
Constant pains overtook me. Cramping - regular and hard, contractions. I thought it could not be, I was only 12 weeks, but yet, this felt very similar to the early labor I had had the year before when my son was born. I wandered back and forth from bed to bathroom - contracting, spotting, not understanding fully what was happening - while everyone else slept. During the final hour the pains increased and the pressure became overwhelming. In the bathroom - so very early in the morning, and to my complete shock - I delivered her. My water broke in a small gush of fluid and then there she was. She fit in the palm of my hand and looked like the pictures I had seen of the babies in utero, the ones around 10 weeks. For two weeks she could have been gone and I had no idea - me, who was to be her mother. For all I knew her more than anyone else, I hardly knew her at all. I sat there on the floor of my bathroom stunned, relieved, amazed. Her umbilical cord was so tiny - but it was her little lifeline. Somewhere along that line - her end, or mine, something had gone very wrong. I saved her for the doctor, I went to sleep.
I would like to say my doctor was compassionate and understanding. He was cold and factual. The information he gave me was far less than I needed. He thrust a tri-fold pamphlet on Miscarriage at me, and pointed to the pie graph on the middle page. He said "this is where you fall" and pointed to the wedge marked "Unexplained Causes". Though, I don't think there would have been enough information that would have answered my most pressing question - why? Because I only delivered the fetus, I had to have a d&c for "retained products of conception", the placenta, in this case. I was given the option of being asleep or "awake", I chose asleep. I could not bear the thought of being awake while the rest of my pregnancy was scraped from my insides. I had already been awake when my baby left my body.
The nurse tending me post procedure tried to be compassionate. It was clear, she didn't understand. She meant to be positive and encouraging. She meant well - everyone always meant well. She asked how old I was. When I answered, she replied "Oh, you're young! You could still have a dozen more babies!" I wanted to tell her I didn't want a dozen more babies - I wanted that baby.
The next morning when I woke up - the little presence I had felt for more than two months was gone and all I could do was cry.
My sweet Hannah ~i~ September 20th, 1995