In April, we found out that we were expecting Baby #3 at Christmastime. We told the kids right away and Will immediately nicknamed our new baby “Butter.” He also marched into my parent’s house later that day and announced in classic Will fashion, “Mama’s got a baby growing in her!”
We told Will that he would be moving to the big bed and sharing a room with Bridget, and that Butter would sleep in the little room. (“I’m havin’ a sleepover with Bridgie? Every night?”) We told him that Butter would grow and that Mommy’s tummy would get really big. (“Mommy, I think your tummy is already getting SUPER big with Butter in there!”) We asked him if he wanted a baby brother. (“No, I want another baby sister like Bridgie.” Be still my heart, although he did later change his mind on this point.)
We told Bridget about the new baby coming (oblivious) and tried to prep the little Stage 5 clinger for the impending interloper. I told her she was a big sister now and she informed me that, actually, she is a “pincess.”
Three weeks ago, I thought something wasn’t right and called my midwife. She had me come in right away for an ultrasound. The whole way there, I was preparing for the worst and telling myself to keep it together in front of the kids. As soon as she pulled up the screen, I saw my 11 week-old baby rolling around, kicking, waving, and heard a strong, beautiful heartbeat. Until then, I had thought I was having a girl, but when I saw the baby, I immediately thought, “That’s a boy.” Unlike the 8 week ultrasound we’d had just a few weeks prior, this time Butter actually looked like a tiny little baby. The midwife told me that she didn’t think any of my symptoms were related to pregnancy loss, given how healthy and strong the baby looked. I was flooded with relief, texted the husband to let him know that everything was fine, and acquiesced to toddler demands for treats. I took them to the mall for new swimsuits and chocolate chip cookies.
When I woke up the next morning, everything fell apart. I will spare you the gruesome details, but it was terrible. After a nightmarish drive into the midwife’s office, losing consciousness in the elevator, and an ambulance ride to the hospital (while the husband waited for my mother to come pick up the kids), I laid in a hospital bed waiting hours for an ultrasound and then waiting hours more for someone to come to us with the results.
I knew, of course, what they would say. No one loses that much blood and then passes out and everything is just fine. And I’ve had enough ultrasounds to know what they’re supposed to look like, and this one didn’t look like it should. It looked like nothing. My nausea and back ache were gone, evaporated. But until they tell you, you have to hope that somehow, you’re the one in a million, and the doctor will come in and say that she doesn’t know how, it’s a miracle, but your baby is fine.
That, of course, is not what she said. And even though I already knew, hearing the official news that Butter was gone was crushing.
That “goneness” is the hardest part. They tell you, “no evidence of intrauterine pregnancy,” give you their kind condolences and some crappy paper scrubs to wear home, and you just walk out the hospital door with nothing. There is nothing to do. No arrangements to be made. No funeral to attend. No grave to visit. Nothing. Some people never even knew your baby existed. It’s like your baby has evaporated along with the pregnancy symptoms. Gone.
It sounds stupid, but I miss my baby. Even though I never held him or knew what he looked like or what his personality was like, I miss him. Everyday he seems further away, like maybe I was never really pregnant at all. And at the same time, it occurs to me everyday how many weeks I should be now. That the nausea and fatigue should be relenting and the second trimester honeymoon kicking in.
We named our baby Blaise. We had talked about using Blaise as a middle name for a boy or a girl, and since we don’t know if Butter was a boy or girl, it seemed like the right name. Since we called him Butter from the first day we found out about him, we planted buttercups in our backyard in his memory. We miss him and love him and feel his absence from our family everyday.