The Day the World Stopped

My story begins a few months back when I found out that I was pregnant. My husband and I were too excited to wait to see if I missed my period, so we took the pregnancy test a couple days early. After the longest two minutes of my life, the best eight letter word I had ever seen popped onto the tiny screen. I was so ecstatic that I was going to have a baby! I even saved the pregnancy test for the baby book. About four weeks later, we got an appointment set up for an ultrasound because we wanted something to show family when we told them the good news. Since I wasn't far along, just over six weeks, we couldn't see much. It was a tiny little thing, not quite humanoid yet, but we could see the heartbeat. That beautiful fast rhythm was like the best part of your favorite song. Telling family was as nerve-wracking as it was exciting. I know I didn't have anything to worry about, but I was still nervous to see how everyone would react. I was most excited to tell my great grandmother and it turned out even better because my mother and sisters were there too. We had the ultrasound in an envelope and my husband ran outside to check the mailbox. It was empty, but that didn't matter. He took out our envelope and we smiled just before reentering the house. When my great grandma took out the picture, she stood there staring at it, trying to figure out what it meant. My younger sister, on the other hand, glanced at it and knew right away. Looking over at me, she asked if it was real. My mom hugged me, but seemed distracted. The whole family was excited and happy for us. After telling my grandmother, she and my mother began making plans for the baby shower almost immediately. Time seemed to drag on forever when we were back at home where my husband was attending college. I wanted to skip to the end, to have my baby already born, to finally see his or her face I have dreamt about since I was a little girl. The next best thing I had to look forward to was another ultrasound, and the start of a small baby bump! My husband and I counted down the days. We were so excited and couldn't wait to see our baby on a little monitor and to know everything was okay. When the time finally came, and the doctor put the cold gel on my stomach, I sat there anxiously waiting. I thought nothing of how long it was taking, but then the doctor said something I'll never forget. “I hate these…I'm so sorry…I'm not seeing a heartbeat.” No heartbeat. At the moment it was as if a freight train had smashed through my life. It took a few seconds for the information to be processed. I didn't want to believe it and thought maybe all she had to do was look harder. I bit down on my lip to keep myself from crying while I listened to her explain what was being seen on the screen. She said, “It's measuring nine weeks and one day.” Everything she was saying seemed so bizarre and unreal. My baby was going to be thirteen weeks the next day, not nine weeks. I blinked my eyes, holding back the tears and wouldn't look my husband in the eye but I could see a blank stare on his face. Afterwards, when we were heading to our car, my husband asked me to not shut myself out, to grieve with him since we were in this together. I could only nod. I wasn't meaning to be so zombified, but I didn't want to breakdown crying. I wanted nothing more than for it all to be a dream. Even after I had the D&C, it still didn't feel quite real, but that was only because I didn't want it to be real. A couple nights later, I couldn't hold it in any longer. I broke down crying right before bedtime. My husband held me as I shook from hysteria. He told me to let it all out, that it was okay to feel this pain. A month later, I found the pregnancy test tucked away and I brought it out to show my husband. He asked if it still said pregnant and I nodded. He shook his head, saying, “That's sad.” We threw it out. After visiting family, we misplaced our ultrasound pictures and have since been unable to find them. I wonder if we ever will. I had always feared I would miscarry. I think most people try not to think about it, but a part of them always wonders if it will happen. And more people have miscarriages than you'd think. But everything happens for a reason, and all you can do is keep trying. Some women have more than one miscarriage, but in the end, they get their baby. As we move on into the future, that pregnancy now feels like a nightmare when I think back on it. Except it wasn't. This was a nightmare that we couldn't wake up from. Thankfully now though, it seems to be coming to an end as we are about to start trying for another child. Part of me will always wonder what could have happened though. What might have been. In loving memory of Baby Burger February 2019 - April 2019

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Alissa Mak

Don't underestimate the power of young minds.

Hong Kong, China