(Trigger warning: miscarriage)
On December 2nd, I took a pregnancy test.
Only about 6 weeks along, I was hesitant but excited. The whole year had been rife with difficulty and some personal, painful experiences. This was a bright spot, no matter how complicated it seemed. It was like waking up and looking out the window to see fresh snow; beautiful, surprising, exciting.
I told Spencer. I told two dear friends. I touched my belly tenderly, a flurry of thoughts already running through my mind.
I bought prenatal vitamins. I kept exercising. I bought a couple pieces of maternity clothes, feeling foolish to be so excited, knowing what could come.
Six days later I started bleeding. Over the weekend I sobbed after every trip to the bathroom. I curled up on the couch, watching melancholy television and staring off into space.
I sat in my therapists office and quietly wept. Feeling stupid for being excited. Heartbroken for the connection I already felt, now lost. “It’s like one of those snow days that starts out exciting, but by the end of the day it’s all melted away”, I explained, grasping at metaphors.
“So you had six days together”, she said softly. “How can you honor that life that was there, each of those six days?”
I sat there, silently nodding, unable to hold back tears and caught off guard by how she validated my grief. No matter how short that life was, it still existed. It still changed me forever. It was still worth honoring.
(Side note to those who have suffered a similar loss: it counts. Oh, love, it counts. It’s ok that it hurts, and terribly so.
You were marked forever, and any life, no matter the brevity, deserves to be celebrated, honored, and grieved when lost. Forgive any ignorant comments you may receive–your story is your own, and you are not alone.)
The next weekend, I had six small dots tattooed on my arm, one for each sweet day.
Spencer wept with me. The dear friends shared our grief in beautiful ways, honoring with us that momentary spark of life.
And with fresh scars on my arm and on my heart, I wrote these words, for the little life that I never got to know:
I wrote this poem in a bathroom
Funny, I found out you lived,
In a room just like this.
I discovered you were fading from me,
In a room just like this.
The test still says “pregnant”
buried in the cluttered drawer.
I marked the days I knew you
with spots on my arm
Though if I talk
of the days I’ll miss you…
down my ribs,
my whole being
would be filled
You marked my life,
my pleading soul.
My heart yearns for you
We had six days little love,
All of them sweet.
Without a thought—
with no hesitation—
I was ready to give you everything:
food from my plate,
clothes from my back,
years from my life.
Six days, Breath.
Though it would’ve only taken one.