What’s the hardest part?

The hardest part is not knowing why.

We didn’t understand at first what the doctors meant by “the baby apparently stopped growing at 15 weeks”. We had 2 ultrasounds done, one at 16 weeks, another at 17 after a fender-bender to be safe. We saw the flutter of the heartbeat, even saw the baby move. At 20 weeks we were finally going to find out the gender, but somehow she had stopped growing and passed away at 15 weeks. We still don’t understand. But it was made very clear that my baby was dead.

We could deliver or do the D&E. We chose the D&E, thinking neither of us could stand to see our baby’s broken body. But I wanted to hold her and tell her how sorry I was.

The hardest part is holding her.

The morning of my surgery I began cramping. I didn’t know I was going into labor. At 2am I called the doctor for advice, she said to take some Tylenol and see if the pain went away in an hour. I managed to fall back asleep until about 7am. By then it was too late, and I delivered alone in the bathroom at home.

The hardest part is remembering her face.

I got my wish. I held my baby in my hands and told her how sorry I was. I’d wrapped her in tissues and at first tried not to look. When I finally did she was perfect. Her tiny hands cradled her face, shaped like a little baby-doll’s, more beautiful than I could’ve imagined.

I’d carried her for so long after she’d passed that her body had already begun to decay. Her skin was gray, and her eyes…they weren’t there.

Just empty sockets.

I couldn’t look at her anymore. I covered her so my husband wouldn’t see. I didn’t want him to remember her this way.

I don’t want to remember her this way. My beautiful angel, whose face now haunts my dreams.

I keep catching myself thinking “Telling my family and friends one-by-one was the hardest part”, or “delivering her alone” was the hardest part, or “seeing my husband cry” is the hardest part.

What’s the hardest part? It’s a trick question. There is no hardest part. All of these feel like the depths of hell, each one no better or worse just a different type of torture. Continuing to carry her even knowing she was dead was the hardest. So was watching all the people on Facebook post their baby-bump pictures. So was putting away the baby & maternity clothes. So was explaining to coworkers why the tears wouldn’t stop. And that loss of small hope when she’s born and doesn’t cry, and holding her in your hands…

And trying to move forward afterwards, THAT’S the hardest part.

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