I was doing some much needed cleaning in my home office today. I had stacks of paper and stuff everywhere and it was really getting out of hand. Somewhere between the dozens of recipes I’ve printed out but never tried and the numerous To Do lists, I came across something I didn’t even remember having.
It was dated January 22, 2008 and it was the first and only sonogram picture from when I was six weeks pregnant with my little bean, one of the two that didn’t make it. It’s the only sonogram picture I have of her because the next time I saw the OB/GYN at twelve weeks, she told me the heart had stopped and my baby had died. She was kind enough not to take pictures this time around.
Through testing, we later learned that our baby girl had a chromosome disorder called Trisomy 15, and from what I’ve read, most babies with Trisomy 15 don’t make it. But even though the baby had died, she refused to let go of my womb. I guessed she was very comfortable in her surroundings and not ready to move on. Quite honestly, neither was I.
On the morning I learned the bad news, I was in the middle of a big project at work so I couldn’t take the day off. I had to drive straight to the office and work through the day while I pushed my emotions deep inside to hide them from the world. Then a few days later, I went to the hospital for another sonogram, where I could still see the baby clearly, and I then had a D&C to take her out.
That night was the Jewish Sabbath so I lit a candle in her honor and secretly named her Scarlet, a name I’d chosen for one of the many babies I’d planned to have. I had decided one day when I was on the playground in elementary school that I wanted five children when I grew up. I even went as far as using a stick to write the names I’d give these five children in the dirt. This was obviously before I knew something like infertility even existed. My childhood mind just believed if I wanted it, it would come true.
I’m not sure why but I didn’t tell anyone that I’d named the baby. I figured my hubbie would freak out at a gone-with-the-wind-style name like Scarlet and a little piece of me wanted this secret to be something shared only between me and Scarlet.
The pain of losing Scarlet has mostly passed, although I do still light a candle for her each Shabbos … I call it my “hope” candle. But finding her sonogram picture brought back a lot of memories that made me both sad and happy. Sad to remember the loss. Happy that I still have a small piece of her.
Since tonight brings in Shabbos once more, I’ll be thinking of Scarlet when I light her candle and hoping that her little soul landed in a happy place. Shabbat Shalom.
By Mama Michele, Barefoot & Pregnant
Photo courtesy of Barefoot and Pregnant