“I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.”
That fateful spring day in April 2012 turned my world upside down. We had just entered the second trimester of pregnancy, and were looking forward to seeing our baby and hearing his or her heartbeat for the second time.
The words came crashing down like a ton of bricks. We hadn’t experienced a loss, and to say that we were unprepared would be an understatement.
“Are you sure?” my husband asked.
I am a realist, but my husband is not. He couldn’t accept the nightmare that was playing out before our eyes.
I left that ultrasound room in utter disbelief. I left in despair. And that disbelief and despair vacillated with anger.
It can be difficult for those who have not experienced a loss to comprehend the grief that permeates our being upon learning that our baby has died. It doesn’t seem real. After all, it was only a blip in time.
“It was meant to be.”
“There was probably something chromosomally wrong.”
I had a feeling my baby was a girl. We were going to name her Avery. I saw her heartbeat at 8 weeks old. She would be 4 years old this week.
She was real to me.
These days I find it difficult to keep her memory alive. I never got to hold her. I never got to touch her silky hair. I never got to kiss her soft skin.
I recently began attending a support group for those who have lost babies. It is there that I am able to rekindle her memory. And it is special days like today that I am able to honor her.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day that President Ronald Regan created in 1988. Tonight parents across the globe will light candles at 7:00pm in remembrance of our babies, using #WaveofLight
I will be lighting not one, but three candles tonight. I sometimes forget that I lost three in total, as I tend to focus solely on the one whose heartbeat I saw. However, they are all important, and they and all of the other lost babies deserve to be recognized tonight.
As I light my candles, I will remember those who have lost, those who are in the process of losing, and those who will lose in the future.
I will send peace to those who have struggled, to those who are struggling, and to those who will struggle in the future.
I will support those who have needed it, those who are needing it, and those who will need it in the future.
Together we are stronger.