Dear My Baby That Never Was,
If you had survived to full term and beyond, you would have had a big brother called Caspar. He was thrilled that you were coming. We all were.
You started to grow in my belly when Caspar was 2, 14 months after we had decided that he should have a new brother or sister. I was worried you weren’t coming, but there you were, a little beam of hope that meant life would change all over again and our family would be complete. I never felt you kick, but late at night, before sleep, I would feel my uterus stretching. Tiny pains, barely there but enough to know that you were. Exactly how it had been with Caspar. I didn’t even know I had wanted him until he was there, making room in my belly to grow, getting comfortable, safe within his mama.
I knew I wanted you and yet it was different. I knew I would love you. I didn’t yet, but I knew I would. With Caspar, somehow, at that stage I knew I loved him already but was absolutely petrified. I didn’t have that fear with you. It was as if all my worries around trying to conceive had melted away. You were there inside. I didn’t need to worry anymore. I was pregnant. You were there. I was looking after you. Except I wasn’t. Not as well as I could have been. I made mistakes.
My cousin, Tom, was killed the day I started to lose you. That night, with grief, I threw two glasses of wine down my neck. Deep down, despite reassurances, I knew I was losing you too, and I couldn’t cope.
And I know I couldn’t have changed things. But at my most vulnerable, I find myself thinking “what if?”. What if I hadn’t had the wine? What if Tom hadn’t died? What if I had succumbed to my body telling me it was tired, instead of fighting it, running around trying to do a million things? Would you still be here, either out in the world or safe wrapped in my bursting belly? Common sense tells me the answer, but there will always be that niggling doubt. I will always wonder what could have been.
I am sad that I couldn’t protect you. I am sad that I couldn’t keep you alive. I was your mummy. That was my job.
We found out you were in there on 19th February. I immediately drove to Julian’s work with the test in my handbag to tell him. It wasn’t like when we found out I was pregnant with Caspar and I sat on his lap on the toilet and cried. He was so excited. I was, too. You were so wanted.
We started to lose you on 1st April. It was a horrible joke. Tom had been hit by a car at 10pm the previous night. I had missed the calls and texts as I’d been sleeping. He was on life support. I kept getting twinges and they were painful. It didn’t feel right but nobody thought anything of it as I wasn’t bleeding. Julian said I was just being paranoid. I called the doctor, he said you were ok because I wasn’t bleeding.
Tom’s life support was turned off around 10am.
I planted some white heather in the park for Tom, through the cramps and the pain, through the tears of all the loss.
I tried to remember what the doctor had said, but I knew you were gone, and a few days later, the loss of you started to manifest in bleeding. Worse pain. Almost 12 weeks since you came, just a couple of months since I knew of your existence, and now you were leaving me. Just a tiny heartbeat, then you were gone.
I could barely feel anything. I was numb. It was too much. I couldn’t even cry for you. There was Tom’s funeral. Family telling me they were sorry for my loss when it wasn’t even relevant. We were there for Tom; a Baby That Never Was meant nothing. I couldn’t allow you to mean anything. It was all too much.
But of course, you meant something. You meant the one thing I had wanted so desperately. I am forever grateful to Caspar, for surprising us and showing me how much I wanted, no, needed, to be a mother. And I am forever grateful to you for proving that I could be pregnant again. For giving me hope. For taking all the worry away and allowing me to feel excited, even if just for a few short weeks.
I know regrets are futile, especially ones you can’t control, but today would have been your due date, and I wish we had been waiting to meet you. Or had already met you; Caspar was 9 days early, but then he has always been impatient. Maybe you would have been too. Maybe you’d whinge if I didn’t cook your scrambled eggs fast enough, or if I didn’t drop everything right now to come and see a worm in the garden, or destroy your Duplo tower out of frustration because you just can’t build it fast enough, like him.
I don’t know who you would have been, and I think a part of me will always wonder.
It has taken months to allow myself to grieve for you. For so long I felt guilty. My baby cousin Tom was a real, living person. He was my aunt’s baby and he was cruelly taken from her at just 16 years old. I still feel that my grief can never compare to hers. I still know it can’t. But I have learnt that it’s a different grief, and it’s still valid, regardless of and separate from the tragedy of Tom’s death.
Before you, I never understood the lonely grief of miscarriage. I never understood how you can grieve for someone you never knew, for something that never was but could have been. I do now. Because it isn’t just a bunch of cells. It isn’t just a tiny heartbeat. It’s hope. You were my hope. You were going to be my baby. I haven’t felt hopeful in the same way since, and I don’t know if I will feel that sort of carefree, simple hope again if we do conceive another baby. I would be too scared to give in to it in case the baby went away like you did. But I am grateful that you brought that kind of hope to me, if only for a short time.
I imagine you somewhere, floating around the ether, maybe like one of those cherub heads with no bodies, just wings. That’s you, right there. Tom is looking after you, wherever you both are. You’re looking after each other. I still think about you, but I’d like to close this chapter. I can’t keep carrying around the sadness. I know that you were never real but you are always in my heart.
Happy due date little one. Wish you were here.
All my love,
Your Mummy, if only for a few weeks in utero