For two months, every time I woke up in the middle of the night, I made sure to drink water. I had read somewhere how important it is to avoid dehydration in the first trimester. Apparently, your blood volume increases significantly when you are pregnant. I kept picturing that water conservation sketch from Sesame Street - the one where the fish in the pond is losing water, and he calls the boy who is inside the house to ask him to turn off the faucet while he’s brushing his teeth - remember that one? In my imagination, our baby was like a tiny fish, and I wanted to give her all the life-giving fluid she needed.
While we were both up, I talked to her, knowing her ears had yet to be fully formed. Knowing I might never get to meet her. Knowing that she was this tiny miracle of a soul whose future I had no control over. It was strange, beautiful, and short-lived. But in that span of time, everything I did revolved around her. What I ate. When I ate. How long I spent in the garden with the sun beating down on my back. I readily gave in to naps, assuming she was asking me to slow down, and that I should listen.
We don’t talk about miscarriage much. It’s a strange grief - too small to bury in a coffin - but strong enough to break your heart. We planted sunflowers. They are already growing, but she is not. I would be “showing” by now, finally able to wear that dress I bought that hugs my belly. I still find myself caressing my stomach, in moments of forgetfulness.
It’s been a few weeks since we lost her. I find those midnight trips to the bathroom so empty now. For a short while, even having to get up to pee at night seemed to have a higher purpose. Isn’t that strange? I was a vessel, and she was the boss. I walked through Target to grab some dog food the other day. I passed through the craft section, the one with crisp journals and poster boards and pretty tape. It broke me. A reminder of all the things I was so excited to show her. An imagined future, now fiction.
Love is always a risk. I think about trying again. About the disappointment of negative pregnancy tests. Evan’s face when I ran through the rain to the church to tell him we were pregnant. That drop in the pit of my stomach when I realized I was bleeding. The mountains and slopes of hope.
Then I think about when Evan and I first started talking. I was still in so much pain from my divorce. He was still healing from the loss of his wife. “We should take this very slow,” I kept telling myself, and him. “Whatever you need. I’m not going anywhere,” he would tell me. And I believe he would have waited years for me.
But my plan of waiting, of exhausting every single question, and doing everything I could to avoid the risk of future pain dissolved in a matter of months. He was it. That was clear. And we didn’t want to wait to be happy. And in a way, we didn’t want to wait to be sad either, if it meant being sad, together.
Listen to this sketch