*Trigger warning: miscarriage*
Today would have been your first birthday. One whole year around the sun with you, if we had made it that far. It’s always the milestones that hit me the hardest. Your due date and your first birthday have now both knocked me a little sideways.
I’ve found myself a wreck leading up to this date. My heart knew it was looming perhaps before my brain did. I haven’t been handling life’s stressors well at all lately and I think this date has a lot to do with that.
I spend a lot of my time wondering who you’d be. What you would look like. What your laugh would have sounded like. Would you have my eyes? My temperament? Your older sister’s determination? Would you hate the car as much as your sisters? Would you be walking, talking, saying “mama” and “dada” with a purpose now? What would you have accomplished in your lifetime?
But with all the wonderments, I can’t help but remember the pain. The day I lost you. The heartache. The blood I couldn’t seem to will to stop. It’s hard to look back and not blame myself for losing you. There’s no explanation. For as many people who say, “it’s not your fault.” There’s not a single one that can prove it’s not.
You see, I didn’t know I was pregnant with you when your sister swallowed a screw. I didn’t know I was pregnant with you when we had to have x-rays done and I stood holding your scared older sister’s hand, reassuring her during a scary event. If I had known, would you still be here? If I had stepped out, and not been exposed to the radiation, would I have gotten to know your sweet face? I don’t know. But wondering if that fateful day is what ended up being the beginning of our end together keeps me up more nights than I’d like to admit.
I hope you know I never wanted it to be this way. If I had any control of keeping you growing inside of my body so that I could hold you in my arms, I would have done it. I would have done anything it took to keep you safe.
Clearly, this day brings up a lot of emotions for me. Guilt for not being able to carry you to term. Sadness for never getting to see your face. Heartache for what could have been. But also, gratitude? If it weren’t for you, little one, I wouldn’t know my sweet Meredith’s face. And now that I have her, I cannot imagine my life without her in it. But then there’s the guilt for feeling those feelings of gratitude. Like I shouldn’t be able to look at something so heartbreaking and awful that includes the loss of my child and feel gratitude. Does that make sense? Maybe not. Or maybe it does but only to people who have rainbow babies of their own.
This day is hard and sad and filled with what ifs. I don’t know how to celebrate you properly or if I’m doing your little life justice, but tonight I will sing you happy birthday. I will probably sob my way through it. I will blow out a candle and make a wish that you know the depth of my love for you. I will snuggle the babies I am able to hold in my arms extra hard- the babies I have the privilege of knowing because of my losses, and I will allow myself to think of the babies I can only hold in my heart.
Happy first, little one. Thank you for picking me to be your mom, even if it was far too brief.