TFMR - Termination for medical reasons - Hope's due date
"Today is my due date. Today is the day I was supposed to be bringing my baby girl home, Hope. Today I feel lonely, unacknowledged, I don’t feel like the mother I thought I would be."
Today I should’ve been in labor. In reality, today I started my period. This is the 6th period I’ve had since my baby died and I endured the trauma of TFMR and all of the horrors that accompany it.
Today, I scheduled myself to direct a photoshoot for other people’s little girls. I suppressed the urge to cry multiple times. My belly was bloated from menstruation and not a baby. My partner was unsupportive. He didn’t acknowledge the day despite my sharing of fear and anxiety about how October 9th would make me feel. I received a few texts wishing me well and even flowers for my baby girl, Hope.
Today I feel lonely, unacknowledged, I don’t feel like the mother I thought I would be. Today, I miss my baby. I miss what could have been. Today I wandered around TJ Maxx I saw the newborn Halloween costumes and I heard a newborn cry. It was crippling. I don’t know when I’ll feel like me again, but today I’m hurting. Sharing my story makes my baby feel more real. Tomorrow will be easier, but today is hard. I’m sorry if you’ve ever had to endure the pain of pregnancy or infancy loss and I hope and pray we can heal together.
I have have avoided my due date like the plague. October 9, 2021. On this day, I was supposed to begin a new chapter of my life. I was supposed to relish in the moment of finally becoming a mother. I did not grow up in the traditional sense. A loving, supportive family is not something I ever had the pleasure of experiencing. However, it is something I was determined to create for myself since my childhood. From a very early age, I fantasized about picnics on a red checkered blanket and family vacations to Disney World. Ive never had that, but I told myself, “It’s okay, I’ll create the family I never had, for myself.” Fast forward to 2020… I’m a successful, small business owner, 30 years old and unmarried. I maintained a business, stress, heartache, and a mostly healthy mindset in spite of the turmoil that the pandemic bestowed upon us.
Last January 2021, I became pregnant, unexpectedly. I’ll admit, I was very afraid. My obsessive-compulsive nature didn’t plan for this, I’m not ready…What will the world think? Quickly, I learned none of that mattered. I fell in love with my baby. I grew closer to her dad. He fell in love with her. We would be a family. Following tradition, I waited until I was 12 weeks to tell ANYONE of our exciting news. In the meantime, I bought odds and ends, designed our announcement, I spoke to her, I would rub my belly and hold her in the only way I could. I yearned for the time I would be ready to share my news with the world. I planned the photoshoots, maternity dresses, and baby showers. Almost 4 months later, April 2, 2021, I landed in Florida with my sister… we planned a vacation as we were both pregnant at the time.
I wanted to have a chance to bond. I turned on my phone after the flight to find a voicemail from my obstetrician. I immediately felt my heart drop down to the pit of my stomach. There was possibly a genetic anomaly based on my NIPT blood-work. I remember that moment vividly. I was on an airport shuttle. I asked the driver to let me off because I couldn’t breathe. I sobbed in a McDonald’s parking lot. I was in utter disbelief. How could this happen to me? I’ve been so responsible my entire life, I literally care for people’s children and love them as my own? How could God do this to me? Over the course of the next 3 weeks, I was in complete denial. I read every article on NIPT testing and the possible errors on the internet. I found God again. I prayed. I prayed. And I prayed that my baby girl would be okay.
I went to the best specialists in my state to find a solution…. I saw her on ultrasounds for extended amounts of time while enduring invasive, painful testing. I remember so vividly, one of my last appointments…. She was so active, I could feel her in my belly moving around. I focused on the sonogram to distract me from the pain and watched her doing tumbles in my belly. In my heart, I knew she was okay. Even the doctor said, “That baby is dancing.” Little did she know, her mommy is a professional dancer and she spends her time teaching other little girls how to dance. At that moment, I was convinced my baby would be just fine and I would teach her how to dance. In the meantime, I told everyone close to me I was pregnant in hopes that their prayers and reassurance would make my baby be okay. I chaperoned my dance students to a competition the weekend following that last ultrasound.
In that moment, I knew deep down that these were my last moments with my baby, Hope. That is her name, and I say it proudly. She was my Hope. I rubbed my pronounced belly proudly that day. Not many people knew, but I did. The following Tuesday, my baby died. I won’t go into the gruelling details today, but when I’m ready, I will. On April 20, 2021 Hope gained her angel wings, and I lost a part of me that I will never regain. I’m not telling my story to bring sadness or ask for pity. I’m telling my story because I think it’s time that we normalise the fact that every 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. We need normalise talking about it, because from my experience, it helps. It helps her feel more real to a world that never felt her presence like I did.
It helps to normalise that even though my baby isn’t here, I’m still a mother and I miss the baby that I never got to hold. Losing a baby before he or she comes to fruition should not be taboo. Postpartum depression and postpartum bodies are very real no matter what your circumstances are.
For months after losing my Hope, I cried, I looked at my tummy daily, I felt empty, my linea negra no longer served a purpose aside from adding to my imperfections. My breasts produced milk with no baby to feed. I had nightmares about my trauma, and anxiety about trying again, but I kept going. I found resources and reached out to other women who shared my grief. I am still healing, but I will not give up, and my body is not inadequate.
If you have experienced loss, I encourage that you to talk about your pain and grief. Share your story, believe in your body, and yourself. Grieve and work on healing. There is always a rainbow after the storm, no matter what that rainbow looks like.
Thank you to this mama for sharing her baby Hope with us