Mom to Olsby Charlotte
January 11, 2013
My husband and I are high school sweethearts. As kids, we imagined having a daughter one day, and naming her Charlotte. When we finally married 15 years later, we were so excited to start a family. On May 10, 2011, we had our first child, a girl. But we didn’t name her Charlotte. We named her Kira Belle. It was a difficult pregnancy, but the joy of her birth and her presence in our lives make it a million times worth it. When she became 16 months old, we wanted her to have a sibling. Three months later, I was pregnant! My husband made fun of me because I took more than 25 pregnancy tests leading up to the very faint pink line. My heart was overjoyed. The instant I saw that positive pregnancy test, I was deeply in love with my second baby.
We had an ultrasound at 7 weeks and the baby was on the screen, with her heart beating for us to see! My husband and my daughter were there, too. I am so glad I brought my daughter because that would be the only and last time we would see our baby alive. The baby measured small, at 6.5 weeks, but my worries were pushed aside by my doctor since the heartbeat was there. They changed my due date so at what would have been 11 weeks, I went for my second ultrasound with my husband.
I will never forget that day. I had told my doctor my concerns that I had been throwing up much less than with my first pregnancy and that I was worried that baby was continuing to grow small. She told me not to worry, that the baby would be fine. We talked about my birth plan and the 20 week anatomy ultrasound,. At the very end of the visit, she checked for the baby’s heartbeat. The worst words in my life were uttered. “I’m so sorry, I don’t see a heartbeat”. She checked with a Doppler, then a vaginal ultrasound. There, in that cold room, with my legs in stirrups, I saw my baby on the screen. No more blinking heart, no movement. Just a still screen and a still baby. My heart broke into a million pieces in that very second. I knew my baby was gone. So tiny and fragile and gone. My husband and I cried in that room for 45 minutes and I felt like my heart was dying.
We decided to take pills to induce my miscarriage because we wanted to see the baby and bury her. She was very real and we wanted to honor her as much as we could. This was one way we could show love to our baby. While waiting for the contractions and cramps, my husband and I decorated a tiny wooden casket to bury her in, full of pictures of us and words of love. We wrote letters to her, lit candles for her, cried and cried and cried for her. I do not regret one bit of the emotional and physical agony in trying to wait 47 hours to pass her at home, but she never came. It felt like my body was trying so hard to keep her. My body wanted so much to nurture this baby.
I had a D&C several days later and by a small miracle my wonderful doctor was able to retrieve the baby‘s body to give to us. I was able to see her tiny body, and I am grateful. She was beautiful and heartbreaking to see. She is in a close by cemetery that I visit every week and I leave flowers for her and other unborn babies buried there.
When I was pregnant with her, we nicknamed her Olsby for “Our Little Summer Baby”. I know in my heart now that she was a girl. There are signs everywhere that maybe she was meant to be our Charlotte after all. I will always grieve my angel and I will always say that I have two children until God hopefully gives me a third baby I can keep on earth, a rainbow. I will continue to find ways to love her every day. She was real. My baby.
My heart will always yearn for her and I will never be the same. I am trying to enjoy more and more good moments within my bad days and I am hopeful that one day I will be enjoying more bad moments within a good day instead. And though her heart stopped beating, her life necessarily did not. My husband and I have never felt so connected, so in love and so alive–because of her. She lives on in us and her older sister. Her heart will always be beating in our hearts.
Marlo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org