I woke that morning with no indication of a problem. Still fresh on my heart were the warm feelings left from telling our parents the night before that we were expecting our second baby. Only a few months into our life in Peru, it felt like roots, like we had established our place enough to send out new shoots of life, grounding our family in new soil with new blooms to show for it. It felt like victory and familiar territory, a refreshing sensation after the strained months of crisp newness surrounding us. We had a kid already. Having a kid was old news. We could handle this, no problem.
I had never been to a Peruvian hospital before. It was the least of my concerns. Our care was sufficient, the accommodations kind enough. But the bleeding continued and the shot failed to stop it. Later that afternoon an ultrasound confirmed the emptiness I felt. Desperate to flee what I felt was the scene of no crime, we left as soon as we could. Eager to embrace my child but too emotional to face her yet, we chose to walk to our friends’ home, not far from our own, not far from the hospital. My husband held my hand as we made our way, fragile and raw, toward the only child we could hold. After a few blocks, I turned to him and voiced the words haunting my heart “We lost the baby.”
In that moment, I fought and accepted and let myself be torn through by the truth of what the day had held. The tears that I had barely kept at bay released themselves in a torrent. News and new life gave way to pain and sorrow and loss. I am a mother who lost her child. I will always be a mother who lost her child. I have three children with names, known faces, laughs and favorites. I have one whose would-be birthstone I wear around my neck on the days the pain weighs heavy and my heart needs permission to remember without swimming in sadness.
And now, I jump at the chance to walk with others. I can honestly say, “I know. I understand that you are terrified and heartbroken right now.” There are very few situations that I can speak to with experience and authority and understanding, and now - years later, two more children later, having survived the moment of letting my loss be a forever part of me - I can stand strong in this gap for others, determined that no one should find themselves here, alone.