December 2nd marked four years since the first time I laid eyes on a positive pregnancy test. December 22nd will mark four years since I said goodbye to our first baby, green bean. I only saw that bean’s heartbeat once. I never felt him kick, I never saw him on ultrasound other than a brief moment with a flickering heartbeat but it was still my first fleeting experience of motherhood.
The pain of losing green bean was initially staggering. The months passed, and being a miscarriage survivor defined me as a person and was something I wore on my sleeve. With time, the pain lessened but there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think of the baby I lost. When my due date arrived, I did okay until that evening when I got very, very drunk and cried very, very hard. It was like the pain of my miscarriage had been a physical wound that had become infected and kept festering for months. After my due date had passed, it was as if the wound had finally been cleaned and was beginning to heal.
The heartache of month after month of trying to conceive and failing wore me down all through 2008 and into 2009. And then finally, my daughter came. My Nellie. Suddenly, green bean didn’t cross my mind as much. I still thought about my first babe, mostly during the month of December when he was so fleetingly a part of my life. Sometimes when I saw and heard of other children born in August of 2008 I’d wonder with slight sadness what my first babe would’ve been like. For the most part, I try to live in the moment with my living daughter and enjoy her to the fullest.
The other night, I was looking for something in my closet and came across green bean’s box. We have a Christmas box that contains bean’s ultrasound picture wrapped in a Baby Looney Tunes blanket Josh bought for the baby. A note to green bean and a shirt that I got Josh for Christmas that says “Daddy ‘08” are also tucked inside that box. I sat down on the floor of the closet and opened the box for the first time in a long time. I held the ultrasound picture frame in my hands and studied the photo for several moments. A tiny yolk sac. A little round ball where I remember the heartbeat flickering. A fetal pole. The first and last time I would lay eyes on my babe.
And then a sadness that I hadn’t felt in a while washed over me. I felt tears come to my eyes as I remembered losing my first baby. The physical and emotional pain of the miscarriage. The hopes and dreams I had for that child, gone as quickly as they’d come. I allowed myself to feel sad, even though I know if I hadn’t lost green bean I might not have my Nellie. I always thought that having a living child would make the pain of the miscarriage go away. And while I don’t think about it often, the other night made me realize that it never will go away. There will always be a spot in my mama’s heart for the tiny one that didn’t make it. I will always miss that child and wonder what could have been.
I thank the gods for my sweet daughter, but I will always think about and miss the one that just wasn’t meant to be.