It’s national pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, and suddenly the world mourns for all the babies gone too soon, like you. In a few short weeks a new cause will plague the internet, and you and all the angels will become a distant memory again.
But not for me.
We loved you before we even knew you existed. You were a dream come true. From the moment of conception you were real. You mattered. I was lucky to be your mom. I devoted my entire body to nourishing you, and I was blessed.
The first time I saw you on an ultrasound my eyes filled with tears. My heart melted as I watched the gentle flicker of your heart beating intensely. You looked like a little gummy bear. My gummy bear.
You were my third child, and I started growing quickly. I cherished my tiny bump. I stocked my closet with my maternity clothes and looked in the mirror with pride. I could hardly wait for you to grow big enough to show the world.
I saw you again at ten weeks. Boy, had you grown. You were bouncing off my uterine walls and I chuckled. You were just like your brother; you couldn’t hold still for a moment. You were going to fit right in.
Oh sweet baby; you truly stole my heart.
Somehow in my heart I just knew you were a girl. I was planning your nursery and highlighting names in the baby books. Daddy and I had a few names on the list, but Charlotte Ann was quickly making it’s way to the top. I felt your first wiggles was overjoyed. Jubilant.
I was nearly 14 weeks pregnant when we went in for another ultrasound. Something felt off the days before, but pregnancy is unpredictable and I assumed it was just part of the job. I was smiling ear to ear, eagerly awaiting another peek inside, at you. The cold gel hit my tummy and I stared ahead at the large screen on the wall.
I knew instantly.Our clamoring technician was suddenly silent. Your once flickering chest lay still.
You were in the arms of Jesus, and I was empty.
I don’t remember the rest of the appointment. I’m sure Daddy and I heard condolences and talked about what to expect delivering you at home, but all I felt was loss.
I had failed you. My only charge was to keep you safe and strong. Somehow I lost you. As the blood poured from my forced miscarriage I sobbed. I pleaded with God, PLEASE, give me my daughter back. I racked my brain desperate to understand where I went wrong.
But, I still don’t know. I hemorrhaged over the next few hours, but I refused to go back to the hospital. I knew they’d do surgery, and I needed to hold you.
I needed to bury you, and mourn you.
And I did. By the time you finally made your appearance I could hardly crawl. I was so weak. Somehow holding you in the palm of my hand gave me a tiny bit of peace.
I told you how much I loved you, and tucked you into a tiny box lined with the softest blanket we could find. Daddy dug a hole in the most beautiful spot we could find, and together we prayed over the freshly moved dirt. We held each other close. It all felt so surreal.
Only a few days before we were planning your life. We never expected to lay you to rest.
And that was it, the end of my sweet baby girl. We were blanketed in love by everyone for a few weeks. I heard so many painful stories of other moms still missing their own angels, and my heart ached for them as well.
Life stands still for no one, and eventually everyone moved on. You were all but forgotten.
But I haven’t forgotten you, sweet Charlotte. There’s a part of my heart that was buried with you. I miss you every single day. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think, “I wonder what life would have been like if Charlotte would have made it Earthside.”
I wonder what you who you would have looked like. I wonder what color eyes I’d stare into. I wonder what first your first word would have been and what songs you’d like me to sing for you. I won’t watch you grow. I won’t see your first smiles or hear your deepest laughs. I won’t ever wipe your tears or patch an owie. I won’t watch you get married and raise a family, and I desperately wonder what that would have been like.
My heart will never heal. You are not forgotten, sweet Charlotte, and you are loved more than you can begin to imagine.
Until we meet again,
I am 1 in 4.