I knew it was bad in the first seconds I laid eyes on it. There was nofetal pole, no heartbeat. Nothing. A shock clenched my stomach. I was supposed to be at 10 weeks...the little one hadn't even survived past the first month. My body was clinging to the fertilized egg desperately, trying to imbue life into something that was never meant to be.
There was an RH shot, and then I couldn't dam the hot tears. It was only weeks away from my second trimester, I had spent nearly the entire summer investing in my little girl, without the charm to keep her.
Shaking, doctor's orders in hand, I had to schedule another sonogram to make sure my body had expelled everything. Red-faced, whimpering, all eyes in that fucking waiting room on me. Did these people really have to bear witness? The door closed behind me. My sobs could not support me down the hallway.
At home I screamed. Screamed and screamed and screamed. I screamed until I had nothing left to give. I just lapsed into staring. My first little one. My only. Torn from our lives while a bottomless sorrow swallowed me inside to out. This was my first love, my first heart break. My world turned sunshine to black.
I allowed a natural miscarriage over a DNC, and I owned that pain. It was hers, mine. I would take it for her. I would take it all. I bled for days. On the last day my extended family took a 5 mile hike along the Grand Sable dunes in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. My husband found a fist-sized rock in Lake Superior. The icy waters had worn away the rock's rough edges, revealing a thin red line in its face. It looked like a childishly-drawn heart. He carried it on the return journey, up the shore, over the miles of dunes, and out of the woods. It was our love, a token, a gesture of support. A reminder of our little lost bean. We brought it home and it sits on my nightstand still.
Looking at it I remember not all journeys begin expectedly.