PLEASE DO NOT MAINPAGE.
For those of you who are new to GT or haven't read my commenting history, I'm going to warn you now that this story is not happy. These are my memories and feelings about losing a baby with my ex-fiancee before they were born. They were triggered by news that two of my dearest friends just went through a miscarriage. I've never really processed these memories, in large part because I'm afraid that if I do, I'll be broken beyond repair. I'm hoping that by putting it down on paper, it will at least stop the memories from haunting me.
About 5 years ago now, my then-fiancee (now referred to as B) was still in college and I was working several states away. It was hard on us, but we were making it work. We were using protection because, though we wanted children, it was something we wanted in the future, not right away. I went to visit her for a weekend around my birthday and, apparently, our protection failed because she missed her next cycle, took a test, and found out she was pregnant.
I found out about the pregnancy when she called me and told me she was e-mailing me something. That something was a picture of the positive test. She told me she was scared and excited, and so was I. We talked about what that meant for us and our future, and after a long discussion, decided we wanted to keep the pregnancy and would do what we could to make it work.
We saw each other for a bit around the holidays and talked about how we'd make things work. It was decided that she'd try and transfer schools to be up by me, where I had found a good job and would be able to get her on my health insurance. The school up by me was also solid for her program, and if she had the baby in the summer, she'd be ready to go back to school in the fall.
Things were going well, and the initial ultrasound seemed to indicate no issues, so we were ecstatic that we were going to be parents. She came to visit for Valentine's day, and I remember putting my head on her belly and talking to our baby, telling it how much we were looking forward to meeting it and how much we loved it. I was so scared, but so excited, to be a Dad.
Only a month later, however, our world crumbled. B went in for the 20-week ultrasound while I was at work one day. We were both so excited to know what the baby's gender would be and were going to start planning names as soon as she called me with the results. When she called me, though, she was crying, and I immediately knew something was wrong. The baby wasn't developing normally, and if it made it to term, wouldn't survive for long outside of the womb.
We cried together on the phone for a long time, neither one of us wanting to believe that our baby wasn't okay. We hoped beyond hope that maybe the doctors were wrong or that the baby we had both been looking forward to meeting was just messing with us. We didn't want to believe that the baby who we had been planning for, had been excited for and planning on being a family with, was never going to be.
Eventually , the cold hard reality hit us, and we had to make a very hard choice. Did we hope that the doctors were wrong and keep the pregnancy, knowing that the baby inside of B was probably never going to be born, much less have any chance at life? Did we end the pregnancy and, with it, completely end any hope of a healthy, beautiful baby? In the end, we opted to end the pregnancy. Though our hearts desperately wanted to cling onto any hope that the baby would make it, logically, we knew that wasn't going to happen.
I wound up not being able to fly down to be with B when the procedure was done. I still kick myself to this day that I couldn't find a way to be there with her. Part of me thinks that maybe I didn't try hard enough because I didn't want to witness the end of that dream. I hate myself for that and always will.
Things were never the same after that. I wound up being her rock and supporting her through everything. People flocked to support her, but few, if any, asked how I was doing, how I was coping. To those who asked, I said I was as okay as I could be, because I knew B needed the help more than I did. I was lying, though, when I said I was okay — inside, I was screaming and grieving, but couldn't and didn't say anything. I felt awful that I hadn't been there at the end, and maybe this was my way of atoning for my sins.
In the end, I think losing the baby exposed cracks in the relationship that we hadn't seen before. The relationship ultimately came to an end when she cheated on me with a friend of hers on multiple occasions; I found out when she used that information during an argument and said that if I'd been more supportive during the loss of the baby, she never would've cheated on me.
To this day, not a lot of my personal friends know any of this story. Some who have found out were not supportive in the slightest, or thought they were being supportive when their comments only made the pain worse. The following things have all been said to me:
- "It was for the best"
- "It was part of God's plan"
- "You two weren't ready, anyways"
- "Why are you so upset? It's not like you even ever met the baby"
- "It was so long ago, so you should be over this by now"
Some of the people who know, however, have been incredibly kind and supportive, and to them I will be forever grateful. One of my dearest friends, J, found out about it when I was over at her place drinking wine as we were commiserating about a bad day when, out of nowhere, the grief came out of nowhere and sucker punched me. She got up from where she was and just bear-hugged me as I sobbed into her shoulder. She never said a word as the grief that I'd never really processed came gushing out.
When I finished blubbering and it was all out in the open, J looked me dead in the eyes and said something I desperately needed to hear: "I'm so sorry this happened to you, but you need to know this — it wasn't your fault. Losing the baby, her cheating on you? Not your fault." Later on that night, as we were trying to fall asleep, I started crying again, and she held me as we fell asleep. I can never thank J enough for what she said and what she did for me that night.
I'm crying as I'm writing this because I still grieve for the child who I never had the chance to meet. I grieve because I will never get to hold it. I will never get to see that child start to crawl, stand, and walk. Never get to read to it, send it off for its first day at school, see it graduate from high school (and college, if my child had ever wanted to go). I don't regret the decision that was made, but I'll always hate that it had to be made.