My littlest baby,
I marvel at your name and the conviction I have that you are a boy. I know some mommies of miscarried babies don’t name their little ones because of the uncertainty of the gender. That’s okay. You all have names and identities that one day we’ll know for sure. If I am wrong about you and Avery being a boy and a girl, we’ll all have a big laugh about it in heaven.
Before I became pregnant with you, I had some beautiful girl name in mind, were God to ever bless me with another baby girl. It was perfect. And do you know what? From the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test in July of 2016 that told me you were growing inside me, that girl name slipped from my mind and has never returned. Only one name took its place: Everett. I hoped, I dreamed, I LONGED for you to be the baby boy who would enter our lives on or near April 6, 2017. It scared me, though, that I had a name for you. I wondered if your name came to me so quickly because you’d be leaving me too quickly.
It’s hard for me to write this letter to you, little one! Because, to be honest, I feel like you are that middle child who gets left out. I feel like I don’t think about you enough, talk about you enough, remember you enough. The truth is, I did not let my heart fully hope for you. I almost expected to lose you. And I am sad about that. What help was it at all that I spent my short pregnancy with you just being scared of loss?
When I became pregnant with Avery, there was no reason to suspect I would miscarry her. But in the six months after losing her, I had experienced continued issues with my reproductive system, along with the depression that loomed over my head. I wanted to get pregnant again…but I so desperately did not want to lose another baby.
When I was not pregnant after six months, I began to think another pregnancy was simply not possible for me. I couldn’t look at all the baby stuff that still filled our house. I asked God, “If you want me to have another baby, please just let me get pregnant this cycle. I can’t take this roller coaster any more.” I moved all the baby stuff into our garage, ready to donate it away.
The next day, I found out I was pregnant with you. And though I was so scared to lose you, I moved that baby stuff back in the house. Oh, Everett, how easily we mommies attach the essence of our love to you precious babies! In my mind, the upstairs bedroom was already yours. I pictured rocking you to sleep there. I daydreamed about the day you would be born, and how I would cherish that alone time you and I would get together in the hospital. At the same time, I just felt so afraid.
I called the doctor as soon as I knew I was pregnant. I remember that phone conversation so vividly, sitting in the parking lot of my dentist’s office, of all places. She said, “Would it make you feel better to come in for an early ultrasound?” Yes! Yes it would! We scheduled one for a Wednesday, when I’d be about 6 ½ weeks pregnant with you.
But the spotting started on a Saturday. August 6, 2016. I’d only known about you for ten days. Oh, baby! What ten days of loving a child can do to a mama’s heart!
I knew I could have a little spotting or bleeding and potentially the pregnancy could still continue. I hoped it would. Yet, I almost expected it would not. That night I had woken up to some cramping, and in my heart I still think you probably had already gone to heaven on August 6. I’m sorry, my love. I’m sorry my expectations were so low. I just felt so defeated. I wanted you so badly. I didn’t know how to cope except to expect the worst.
Monday morning, August 8, came, and with it came the bleeding. Your Grammy came to watch your sisters so Daddy could take me to the doctor. You were so little, just six weeks gestation. I knew I probably wouldn’t find you, but oh I didn’t want you to go down the toilet! I wanted to be able to bury you next to your sister, Avery Rose. I asked God to let me find you.
And I felt something. When I looked, there you were, perfect in your gestational sac. Two years ago today, I held you in my hand. My first words were, “Thank you, Jesus,” even though I was so mad at God for not preventing your death. I took you with me to the doctor’s appointment.
We drove to the doctor’s office. My nurse practitioner, Pam, performed the ultrasound. “I’m sorry,” she said. I carefully showed you to her, to confirm I did, in fact, find my baby. She said, “Oh yes, that’s what that is. I can have that tested for you.”
“NO!” I said abruptly. “Oh,” she said in understanding. You weren’t a “that” to be tested. She saw on my face that you were my baby, my beloved baby. She gently asked if she could put you in a sterile cup with some solution. I allowed her to do that.
Then she went to get some paperwork and left Daddy and me alone. I will never forget the moment that followed. As we sat in that cold, silent room, a sound passed through the paper-thin walls. It was the sound from the exam room next door. The sound of a living baby’s heartbeat.
Those are the moments that rip reality in two, and remind me how far from Heaven this fallen existence is. One mommy listened to her beautiful baby’s heart beating, while next door I held my dead baby in a cup.
These are the moments that just wouldn’t happen if we were already home. But we’re not. Death is not natural, not part of God’s plan. Can you believe people said to me that you weren’t “meant to be”? What the heck does that mean? Of course you were meant to be! And your not being here is wrong!
Some people will not understand this, but mamas who’ve experienced this will. I slept in the room that would’ve been yours for almost a week with you beside me there. I didn’t want to let you go! That was our only time on this earth together, sweetheart! I took a picture of you in my hand. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. I knitted the tiniest blue blanket for you. For your casket, I used a little leather box I’d purchased in Benin, West Africa years ago. I wanted something meaningful of mine to always be with you. Five days after you left my body, we buried you next to Avery Rose.
Your sisters Sylvia and Valerie don’t forget about you. They like to count how many boys and how many girls are in our family. Four girls, they say: Mommy, Sylvia, Valerie, and Avery. And three boys: Daddy, Elliot, and you, Everett. My middle heaven baby. My littlest baby.
Your life and loss is such proof to me that miscarried babies are not “failed pregnancies,” “a collection of cells,” or some other dehumanizing term. You are a person, and had my body carried you, you would have grown and had your own personality, hair color, silly laugh, and preferences. Thank you, my beautiful baby, for being a bringer of truth to this world. The truth is: every human life matters, no matter how small.
You are not small to me. You are bigger than life, and SO much bigger than death. Truly, you are already living bigger and brighter than I have yet to. What an important person you are, Everett! What big plans God has for you in His kingdom! He did not create you without a purpose. It’s so silly that we tend to confine God’s plans for a person to this life only. Doesn’t the eternal life to come count for more?
So I cannot wait to get to know you, my child. I can’t wait to know the ins and outs of your smile, your walk, your least favorite foods. I want to hold hands and walk for a hundred years through meadows that don’t end. I want to know why you were meant to have the name you do. Mostly, I just want to be with you. Your absence is a tangible feeling I carry daily.
Know you are loved, my little one. Loved and not forgotten. Loved and dearly missed.