Two years ago tomorrow DH drove us wordlessly in the winter morning gloom, rain ricocheting off the car with an unrelenting ping, ping, ping. We parked on a street adjacent to the surgery center and waited until the last possible moment to go in. Sad as the world is round at not being able to fix our broken baby, we came down from our house on the hill to the hospital, came down from the lofty aspirations of parents to be, came down to an unthinkable, brutal place where all the outcomes were the same, and we could only say when or how. We came to the hospital in deep despair, but also in hope. We would curtail our baby's suffering by doing what we did that day. And we would reach out and grab hard at a shard of the dream that we might be able to go on, to try again, to have a healthy child someday. When it was time we got out of the car and trudged into the surgery center. The rain fell and fell, pooling in the streets where it drained down the storm sewers back to the sea.
Many women who end pregnancies when they discover something is profoundly wrong carry a picture of a healed, whole version of their children in their minds. They think of themselves as having delivered their babies from affliction, and see them as perfected now. This strikes me as lovely. But for better or worse, I have never been able to separate out the Trisomy 18 from the rest of my child. It was in every single cell, indivisible from the rest of the baby. It's just who she was. Yet while the trisomy changed so many things, the one thing it never muddied was my love for the baby. I loved her the same before we knew there was a problem as I did when I got the amnio results. I loved her the same when I scheduled the termination, and after. I loved her no differently than I loved my living children when they swam in my belly. At first this was a source of pain, the sameness of the love. But over the years the knowledge of it changed into a source of solace. I can live with what happened because I feel my motives in what I chose were good ones. And maybe that's the most grace and healing one can hope for in the end, when it comes to the death of a child.
Love you, baby girl. Miss you, too. Always.