I am waiting for my weekly Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment. I see you sit next to me, quietly. Neither of us say a word but I wish I could. For your sake, I don’t speak. I imagine that anything I would say could be the wrong thing, especially because I am visibly pregnant, nearly 35 weeks. I’m in a positive mental place that I didn’t dare imagine I’d ever be at the beginning of my grief journey through pregnancy loss. Three rainbow pregnancies in, I have the most faith I have ever had in my body’s ability to bring a living baby into this world.
Your coat is still on and you are holding your belly, and I wouldn’t know for sure but I would guess that you are either not pregnant or in your first trimester if you are pregnant. In my peripheral view I notice your tears, sniffles and stares out the window. If I’m making assumptions, I imagine that I was you once. I was here in this waiting room crying, too.
I am called in to my appointment and feel your eyes on my rounded belly as I stand up.
That used to be me, too. After my son was stillborn five years ago, it seemed that pregnant women were magnetically drawn into my world – they were everywhere. I may not have noticed them as much before my loss, but at that time pregnant bellies popped up when I expected them to and especially when I didn’t. How was it that all of these women’s pregnancies continued right in front of my face when mine had suddenly ended? What sweet little movements are they feeling that I stopped feeling? What will their lives be like in the next weeks or months with a living baby’s new life consuming them, as my near future looks empty?
I had come to this hospital from my previous smaller hospital to deliver my son who was no longer living. After he was stillborn, I stayed for six days because my health was in danger. I was given an appointment to return two weeks later for a follow up and a pre-conception meeting with my new, high-risk doctor. The MFM specialist whom I still see today, who has followed me closely, delivered my rainbows, and is scheduled to deliver my last little one.
While waiting to see her for my first appointment post loss, I felt desperate, I was in despair.
I had just finally stopped carrying my son’s memory box everywhere I went. I was still waiting for his ashes that I would eventually wear in a necklace. I saw pregnant women in the waiting room and thought, they’re high risk patients. I should have been considered high risk with my first baby, but we didn’t know.
My new doctor advised me to wait three months before trying to conceive to give my body a chance to physically heal first. She assured me that as her patient, I could come to the hospital any time, day or night. I left that appointment with a feeling of hope and purpose I hadn’t felt since finding out my son had died. I walked out without the tears I came in with.
If I could say something to you in gentleness, the woman who is crying next to me before your MFM appointment, it might be this: I hope that you leave here with hope today, too.
I’m so sorry for whatever it is that has brought you here in sadness. If it was pregnancy loss at any stage, I can say that there is life after. You didn’t deserve for this to happen. It is unfair. It wasn’t your fault. While not everyone gets a rainbow, if that is something you wish for, I truly hope that you can mother a rainbow baby or child in any type of capacity in your lifetime. You deserve health, healing, love, compassion and understanding.