I saw you in the waiting room first. Maybe even before you saw me.
You were sitting to my right. I noticed you because your partner was sitting next to you and I haven't seen a man in the waiting room since before covid. Something that has been hard honestly. Having a support person at baby appointments, whether it be your husband, boyfriend, mom, dad, whomever, is comforting.
Looking back though, seeing you with someone should have told me that you were there for a very important appointment. But I missed it.
See I wasn't really paying attention either. I was too busy taking a photo of the 28 week ultrasound photo I had just received to send to my husband. He wanted to know if everything was okay.
Looking back, I assume you were watching me. I'm sorry, I didn't know. I feel terrible about it.
Minutes later you were called back to ultrasound while I worried about how much weight I had gained in the last 4 weeks. I went onto have my appointment and that was that.
Except, I saw you again, an hour later.
I was driving out of the parking lot, a bit frustrated that my appointment had taken so long, when I saw you hunched over in your husband's arms. He was holding you up as if your legs couldn't hold you. Tears were running down your face. The look of anguish one that I recognized.
It was the look of loss.
And I knew instantly. I knew exactly what had just happened and my own guilt and grief returned instantly.
I was you ten years ago. 27 years old. This was me, so proud of my baby bump, hours before my ultrasound. My husband and I were so excited, so anxious for our first child.
We had already heard the heartbeat at an earlier appointment so we walked into the clinic talking about names and Little League Baseball. My second trimester had brought a feeling of comfort. But I will also admit, we knew nothing of loss either. Today, I call it 'blissfully unaware.'
When the ultrasound tech turned the screen away I knew. When the doctor came in and said there was no longer a heartbeat it was real. He tried to reassure us that this just happens. And that we could try again. But I refused to listen.
When they sat me in the waiting room with the happy pregnant women, like I was moments prior, I found it hard to even speak.
I felt empty and numb. I felt like a failure. I felt alone. I felt broken. I felt like no one could help me or possibly understand what I was going through.
Even today, so many years later, it is hard for me to truly describe the feeling of a loss of a baby that I already loved. And I want to be clear, that was my baby, even though I never held him or her in my arms.
I don't know your story or if I ever will. But please know, you are not alone. There are so many of us that understand the emotional pain and grief of losing a baby. Lean on us. Let us help you through this.
And know that what you are feeling, the pain, the grief, the anger, it's all very real and valid. Some may say it's not. I remember the sting of their words 10 years later telling me all the things that are told to women who miscarry.
The loss of my first baby changed me. And I still think about it today. How old she or he would be? What she or he would have looked like? And those feelings are valid.
This will change you too friend. In more ways than one. But know that with all the bad and the hard comes a strength and an armor that many of us have. We may not show it every day, but it's here, underneath our clothes, binding us all together. And we are here for you. Just reach out.
Give yourself time and grace to get through this. I am sorry. And I understand.