Mom to a baby lost July 2012
This July, I lost a baby. This was my third baby, the one I had carefully planned for and looked forward to for months before conceiving. For the last month before trying to conceive, I took my vitamins, stopped drinking caffeine and even alcohol. But I got extremely sick right at ovulation, and I’m pretty sure that’s what affected the baby.
I was fortunate to be with my entire family in California when I miscarried, and so losing the baby was not as scary for me as it would have been if I’d been on my farm. I’d known the baby was gone for almost a month by the time my body decided to let it go, so that month was very hard on me. When I look back over the summer, I can see the implosion that started to happen in the gardens as I turned my heart away from them. In my head, I imagine the Einstein model for gravitational pull of planets (his General Theory of Relativity); in this picture, space/time curves down and around the power of a planet. I can see, in retrospect, the way the gardens started to fall down into a hole with me for a time.
While I was in that hole, I asked my mother to come and visit me. I’ve not asked so much of her in recent years…I’ve been proud to be standing on my own, proving my level of maturity. Been happy to show her the evidence of what she taught me coming through in how I raise my own children: healthy food, not too much media, home-schooling, music. But in those two months of waiting to lose the baby and then dealing with the loss, I asked my mother to carry a large part of my emotional breakdown. I left the baby’s remains with her to be buried in California, and she did a beautiful job of treating him with respect and love. But being back on the farm, surrounded by urgent farm tasks, I started to fear that this piece of me would leave forever. I needed something tangible to hold onto. So, again, I called my mother and asked her to bring home the now empty childhood jewelry box that she’d transported the baby in. We had recently been doing some major excavating on the farm to build a root cellar–a literal hole to reflect the emotional hole inside me–and we went down in the rain on her last afternoon to scavenge for rocks. Amongst the usual sandstone sunsets and surprising splashes of purple that pepper our rocks here, we found a beautiful headstone with a mountain perfectly carved on it. Then we had a burial ceremony with my husband, two children and mother. This baby, my only conceived here in the mountains, is now—in part–at home in these mountains again.
I’m mostly back out of that hole now, thanks largely to my mother, sister, mother-in-law and amazingly loving husband. But I just learned about Remembrance Day, for all parents who have lost a baby. It is the first time I’ve ever even heard about this day, and now suddenly here it is in my life. These days, I feel marked in the same deep way as when I lost my stepfather in 1995. Death is a real specter in my life, visits me every day, and reminds me how lucky I’ve been so far. And it reminds me that it will inevitably be a part of my life again.
I’m hoping to try again for a third child at the beginning of 2013. I hope to be blessed with a healthy pregnancy this time. The hardest thing for me has been letting go of the idea that I could have done things any differently and maybe kept the baby. As his birth date gets closer and closer, my feeling of loss overwhelms me at times. At those times, having a quiet place I can visit just a few steps from my front door to remember him helps me feel calm again.