River. I was just beginning to get hit by the all day nausea that blesses me in all of my pregnancies. Before this, I had been eating 3lb shank steaks as a snack. Obviously, my body was preparing to not eat for a few weeks.That was my belly on March 1, 2010. I was six weeks pregnant with
I wanted to share this photo with everyone. I don't have many from that pregnancy. I just have a couple of belly shots, showing wonderful growth, a picture of my positive pregnancy test and the picture the ultrasound tech gave me of my dead baby. I need to share some sort of photo with you. I need the world to see that she existed. She was real. In this picture, she was snug in my womb, safe and alive. Her growth was causing things in my body to move...making my little belly stick out like that. She caused my breasts to swell and my skin to clear up and glow. She was real. You can see that she was a part of my body then. Everything was hopeful and alive.
I have many anniversaries from that pregnancy. She was conceived in the first week of February - probably the 3rd or the 4th. The test turned positive on February 18th. There is this picture, taken on March 1st. Then there is today. March 13th. Two years ago today was the last day that I saw her alive. I was working and decided to pop the ultrasound probe on my belly. Not a good idea, don't do it. It was a bad pregnancy habit of mine. It wasn't the 1st time I checked for her. I had seen her a couple of times. Alive. Heart beating. March 13th...there she was. She was perfect for a nearly 8 week fetus. She was so much bigger than the last time I had seen her on ultrasound. Growing strong. Her little heart flickered the way it was supposed to. Fast. Regular. Perfect. I counted the beats. She was in the 150's. I felt a sense of relief. I put the probe away, wiped the goo off my belly and shut the machine off. I told myself I wouldn't do another ultrasound until about 20 weeks and I would get it done at the hospital. All was well.
March 15th. I was filled with so much anxiety. I felt a horrid little black rain cloud following me around. I tried to shake it away. I told myself everything was alright, but I couldn't focus on work. I did everything to get my mind off it. I went out for water ice to soothe my nausea. My car broke down. Ah, perhaps that was the anxiety - I sensed car trouble. Miraculously, my car started up again within minutes of calling the tow truck. I went about the rest of my day - dinner, belly dance class, bed.
March 16. I had my first prenatal appointment with my midwife. We discussed my plans. I was feeling super nauseous and even wore sea bands. My midwife was happy that I was so nauseous. I declined the 8 week ultrasound, explaining that I had done my own and that baby was perfection. I went to work that night and things proceeded as normal. I had a sudden wave of feeling very dizzy and very unwell. I told myself it was all normal ... I was even happy as it meant things were working. But, I got this nag. Something was telling me that I needed to check myself with the ultrasound. I tried to push it all down, but it didn't work. The nagging in my brain continued. I gave in and took a peek. We all know the story from here. I stared at that screen for so long, willing that flicker to start up again. I jumped up and down. I jiggled the probe on my belly. I prayed, begged and pleaded in my mind to get the flicker to start up again. But it never did.
March 30th - the follow up ultrasound to confirm what I already knew. A day where I was treated like some subhuman piece of trash without feelings. I'll never get over the way I was treated. Never.
April 1 - the day my midwife called after 8am and said, "it's just as you expected." I finalized my decision then to allow my body to miscarry naturally, knowing that it could take weeks of carrying my dead baby until my body and my heart were ready to let go.
April 18th - the day I finally birthed her into Heaven. My first homebirth, technically.
October 27th - her due date.
It's been two years of frequent spirals downward. This time of year is always hard for me because of the memories. It's hard to escape. I have a bunch of sad anniversaries coming up. I'll deal with them as they come along. Today, I'll remember that moment two years ago when my world was right. When I was standing on the edge of the cliff before starting my depressive free fall. Today I will focus on the memory of her being alive. I will keep that flickering heartbeat forever carved onto my own heart. She was alive.