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You Would Have Been 10 This Week

A memorial to a life I never knew

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You would have turned 10 this past week.

Every July 9th, I can't help but think of you. You were the first pregnancy I had, even though it was for a short time. You were the result of love and had newlywed parents who were in love and so excited to get pregnant. It had taken me seven months of frustrating negative tests, and one month of fertility treatments to get you. I have to laugh back at that young mom-to-be who naively assumed pregnancy and a healthy baby would just come easily.

Let me start off by saying that I am one of the lucky women who was finally able to conceive after suffering through three heartbreaking and soul shattering miscarriages. I'm the proud mom of beautiful and healthy 8 year old twins and I realize how incredibly blessed I am to have them.

I don't want the memory and meaning of you to get lost in the every day craziness that is life. I want to take a moment and say to the universe that you existed, even if it was too short, and that it was magic.

We got the happy news that I was pregnant on your dad's birthday. I was absolutely elated and your dad was thrilled too. This was my first pregnancy and I nervously awaited the every 48 hour blood results to make sure you were growing as you were supposed to. I clearly remember standing in a long line to vote in the 2004 election, and angrily staring at the back of a voter's Pro-Bush shirt as I shuffled in my shoes, waiting, waiting. The phone finally rang and I ducked into a side room in the church to speak with my fertility nurse when she called with my results, so far, so good!

And I remember her calling me at work and hearing the quiet, concerned voice on the other end of the line. My heart dropped into my stomach, as I immediately blurted out "what's wrong? what's wrong?". I knew instantly by the tone in her voice.

She paused... "I hate making these kind of phone calls."

And so it begun. The dread.

I listened to her on the phone explain how my test results came back. "It's just not normal, honey". She said as sweetly as she could.

I placed my head on my desk, silently sobbing as I listened to her explain the next steps. Follow up blood work, potentially having to remove "the tissue" if my own body didn't expel you in a timely manner. Terms too clinical, too polite, too sincere.

It was the end of the work day and I aimlessly walked out of my office and got in my car. I stared at my puffy red eyes in the mirror and tried to wipe away any evidence of crying. I didn't know what to do. I didn't like the reflection I saw in the mirror. This devastated woman looking back at me was not the same happy girl I'd seen in recent weeks. What happened to the subtle glow of a happy new mom with a secret?

I got home and collapsed on the floor in tears. I had only told your dad and your grandma about you. All of the sudden I wished I had told more people, but wished I hadn't told anyone, wished for anything different. I wanted people to know you were here and were real and existed, but at the same time couldn't bare the pain of having to tell people you were gone.

Over the next two weeks I went in for blood work every morning as the sweet women drawing my blood would whisper excitedly "how is everything going?" or questions like "oh, how far along are you sweetie?!". I smiled and closed my eyes, and remained vague. I couldn't answer them. I couldn't answer myself.

Eventually my body let you go. The cramping, the bleeding, the pain... It seemed to me to be unnecessarily cruel. I went between being purely devastated and completely optimistic that the next time would work. It had to.

After giving my body a month to get back to "normal", I was allowed to try fertility treatments again. Three more months of nothing. I was running out of hope, running out of tries with medication and running on empty. I conceived again with fertility drugs and insemination, and held my breath for the first 7 weeks. Everything was going perfectly. We told people this time, and were "cautiously optimistic", a term I had begun to hate. When we went for the ultrasound that time, my worst fears were confirmed. How could this happen twice in a row? I couldn't wrap my head or my heart around it. Eventually, a third would come and go a few months after as well.

July 9th 2005

December 10th 2005

April 24th 2006

All due dates to come and go without a baby.

But you were my first. My first. The first moment of reality of motherhood. My hopes, dreams, wishes, even if temporarily, came true with you.

As time passes, it's easier to talk about. I never knew your gender, but my gut instinct has always thought you were a boy. Some years I think about getting a blue ballon and sending it up into the sky for you. But then I remember that it's bad for the environment and I probably shouldn't. Sometimes I think, screw it, and want to anyway. I imagine you having a summer time birthday and how awesome it is to have a party outdoors with beautiful weather!

I have wanted to do something to acknowledge you, aside from the small flower I tattooed on your behalf. Three little flowers rest on my ankle as a small memorial to the little ones I'd never get to meet.

I think of you growing up and wonder what you would be like. I picture you with red hair like your sister's. I picture you being serious and intelligent. I imagine you having the same freckles that delicately dance across the bridge of your nose, the same way your brother's do. I imagine that you had your dad's patience and my sense of humor.

Sweet little one, please know that you still hold a place in my heart and you will forever. You made me appreciate any good that has come my way so much more. I don't take things for granted. I realize the beauty in life. When I think of you now I smile and remind myself that I was lucky to have you.

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