October is a month chock-full of promoting public awareness to causes, like breast cancer, and pregnancy/infant loss. For me, this month is all about the 31st. Halloween. My own personal dark day.
Some of you who have followed my blog from the get-go know that I suffered from the loss of my first child, and of course that has given me a different perspective on the two adorable little miracles that I do have. But on Halloween, there is only one thing that I think about. Elizabeth.
I worked at a gas station as an assistant manager for several years and my husband and I were excitedly awaiting the arrival of our first sweet baby seven years ago today. She had been growing in me for 34 weeks and golly was she an active baby. From the time I would wake up in the morning until I went to bed, she would be kicking me like she was in a marathon. That Halloween I was scheduled to work of course, assistant managers get the WORST hours. So at 3:45 am I clocked in an started my morning rounds. We made donuts at this station and I would always eat one in the morning to wake my sunshine up and get her going, but this morning she didn’t wake. It didn’t occur to me at that point that she wouldn’t ever wake again.
By 8:00 am that morning I was in a state of panic, I left the station and drove to the hospital. When I entered the doors, I still wasn’t thinking the worst, I really wasn’t thinking at all. The nurse who first searched for her heartbeat tried to be lighthearted, but after 15 minutes of searching and no result, she called in the ultrasound specialist. He did the very best he could to break the news to me gently. But there is no gentle way to say your child is gone. That you won’t get to see her smile. Laugh. Grow up. At that moment, a part of me died too.
In the decade that I have spent with my husband the only time I ever saw him cry was when he walked into that hospital room. He had to be called out of a meeting at work to come and just looking at my face was enough to tell him, and he was broken too. My mom was actually the first one to get to me, she was a rock through the whole experience and I will never forget that.
It is bad enough to learn that your child is gone from you, but the worst part came next. Yes, there is a worse part. I was 34 weeks along, so it wasn’t like I could miscarry like many in their first term which is bad enough. They were going to have to induce me. I had to experience true labor without the blessing that comes from the worst pain in a woman’s life. I spent the next two days in labor.
Just after midnight on November 2nd I gave birth to my little baby girl. My angel. And for two sweet hours I got to hold her. I got to say goodbye. There was literally nothing wrong with her. After everything was said and done, I never got an explanation as to why she was no longer with me. There was no one to blame. She just wasn’t here anymore.
It has been seven years and it still feels like yesterday. There is no end to my grief. I will always want my time with her back and I will always wish that I could have seen her grow up. I was lucky though, I got to experience life and pregnancy again and I have two wonderful children. Sometimes that makes it worse, because I KNOW every little thing that I am missing with her. And my sweet babies don’t get a chance to know their sibling until we meet again on the other side.
We celebrate Halloween just like most families do, costumes and candy and fun. But for me, I am just a shell for a day. One day a year I am in my dark place hiding in my sadness. No one would know it walking by me on the street, but I am not really there, I am swimming in the memories of a short time that I had with my first special child.