I slowly watched as the life I thought I would have, slowly slip away one tear at a time.
My life came crashing down when I heard those two words, no heartbeat. No one can prepare you for this moment. There are no words that can be spoken to comfort you. You have to sit there and just take it. I looked around each face and saw their pity in their eyes. At almost 5 months you’re given the false hope that everything will be ok, because you made it passed that 3 month mark, but in my case that 3 month mark was a false sense of security.
I got pregnant when I first met him. It wasn’t my original plan to choose him, but subconsciously I did. At 33 and single you start to realize how little time you have left if you did want to have a child. In this day in age, having a child out of wedlock is accepted, at least more so than decades ago. We had a chemistry I hadn’t had in a long time. It was comfortable and just so damn easy. Hell, if I didn’t know that we had just met, I would have assumed we knew each other for years.
Had I not become pregnant that night, I think he and I might have dated. Maybe we would have made it as a couple, maybe we wouldn’t have, but we will never know because in this short span of 6 months I saw the real him in a crisis and it was not a pretty sight.
I knew I was pregnant, that mothers intuition strong within me. And I knew I wouldn’t be bringing him home one day, but I was going to try my damnedest to try to prevent what my intuition already knew. I told the father right before Easter, which wasn’t good timing on my part, since he was Catholic, but I knew there wasn’t going to be a good time to tell a 27 year old that his life was about to change in as little time as it took to write a text message. He and I had texted each other the week before about us seeing each other soon, which never happened. Which would become the beginning of a lot of broken promises from him. I was trying not to have to text him this news, but his actions prevented that. So I had to do the only other option, which was to text him.
His response was typical for an immature guy. And I expected nothing less than more promises from him and then all of them broken in quick succession. But, I still wanted him! As a relationship coach, he was showing every red flag in the book and still I fell for him. Partly because of our connection and the rest because of Xavier Eliot, our son who I found out was a boy due to a test I was made to have due to extra amniotic fluid around his neck. If I could go back to that day when they found that fluid, I would have told my doctors I didn’t care if that extra fluid meant Down syndrome or another genetic disorder. It wouldn’t have matter to me what my baby had, I would have kept him regardless.
Each ultrasound and each test I had to do, I did alone. The father not wanting to make this “situation” real, so he avoided every aspect of what showed him that it was a reality. As my stomach grew and my heart swelled for the love I had for my unborn child, so did my hope the father would come around. I wanted so badly to see the person I thought I had that first night. But he would never reappear or maybe this was the real him all along?
The day I found out Xavier had passed on was the day I had my 3D/4D scan with my family and friends in attendance. I went to a place my friend worked at and I thank god for that now. I lay on the folded out chair seeing the baby on a huge screen and even I saw the amount of swelling on the screen. My stomach dropping as I think to myself, this doesn’t look right. My friend after what felt like an hour says to me, you need to get checked out, I’m not getting a heartbeat. Survival mode kicked in. My mind racing with so many details and possible movement I thought I had felt over the past few days. Didn’t I just feel him move? Or was that a week ago? 2 weeks? She’s wrong, she has to be wrong. So many thoughts, so many questions that she and even I couldn’t answer.
I called my high risk doctor on call and was instructed to go to labor and delivery at Ohio State University. I immediately knew this wasn’t going to be a welfare check and them tell me something different. I was lucky to have one of my best friends go with me. Had she not gone with me I do not know how that would have gone by myself.
I arrived at Ohio State and recounted the events so far. I must have told my story over and over to each new face I met at the hospital. Even I was getting sick of hearing this story, my story. Every nurse that came in was trying to make small talk and had my friend not been there I probably would have told them where to go with their small talk. I was there for one reason and it was not to hear their stories of how their days were going.
The first doctor came in and tried to find his heartbeat, all the while I’m thinking how hard can it be to find? The longer they made me wait, the longer I had to sit there and deal with something I didn’t want to deal with. The doctor said she needed another set of eyes to make sure and luckily or unluckily the next doctor was quicker. She confirmed he had passed on, most likely a week or two before. And that’s when the tears that had been waiting patiently for this news came out fast and furious.
Of course the first thing I thought of was how I was going to be able to deal with this. And deal with it alone. The next thought I had was about the father, thinking he got his wish. He wished this away and he got it.
I was asked if I wanted to be induced and give birth or if I wanted a D&E which is similar to a D&C, but a little different given how far along I was. I knew if I gave birth, my already raging hormones would double and I didn’t think I could handle seeing him like that. So I opted for the lesser evil in this situation.
Three days later I was scheduled for the removal of Xavier. I felt like a fraud walking around everywhere looking pregnant and honestly the procedure was welcomed so I would stop getting asked how my pregnancy was going. I just had my maintenance man at my complex ask how I was on the same day I found out that I lost Xavier. I don’t know who was more mortified when he asked that question and got my response?
With my basic survival instincts kicked in on overdrive; my mind just wanted this over with. I wanted to go back to February when I was in the best shape of my life and to that moment the father and I met for the first time so I could rewrite that history and choose differently. I prayed to go back and never have met him. I prayed for Xavier to still be kicking me and have that feeling that he was safe again. So many emotions, so many thoughts. Your mind isn’t supposed to compute this many extremes. But in a time like this, that’s all it can do.
I so badly just needed the father, no matter how he felt about me or Xavier, to hold me and let me cry. While I was going through hell, he got to act like nothing had changed. He hadn’t told his family, nor his friends. I had never hated someone so much in my life and at the same time care for him deeply. When you’re pregnant the attachment you can feel for the father is mind boggling, especially in a situation as precarious and confusing as mine was.
It’s been one month since Xavier has passed. The cremation and the picking of the urn and necklaces was completed. The father, being absent from everything else, actually made it to the planning of the cremation. Which surprised me. What surprised me more was that he purchased a necklace for himself. Which I have no doubt will sit in a box in his closet, never to be thought of again.
To my fellow moms out there, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. You are a mother, you just have to wait to hold your baby. But, one day you will hold him and when you do hold him tight and never let go.
The healing begins for me. My heart is broken by this and by the fathers lack of presence and support. My stomach is almost gone and Mother Nature was kind enough to remind me very quickly that I’m no longer pregnant. Because miscarriages and still births are rarely spoken about or written about; I wanted to share my story so other women can see they are not alone. If you need to cry, cry. If you want to yell at God, then yell at him. Do you feel like punching something? Then punch something! Put your anger and frustrations out there to the universe. Because if you don’t, the emotions you feel will come out in other unhealthy ways. Take as much time as you need. There is no timeline for grieving the loss of your baby. I didn’t cry much that first week, instead I put my frustrations into going to the gym, but I still needed a release. And crying was the only way to get it. Even if it meant I would cry for days, it needed to happen. I still feel numb as if this was just a dream, but if this taught me anything about this experience, it is that I love myself enough to make it through this. Even if that means making it through this alone. And especially when the one person who should have been there to hold my hand wasn’t.