Six years ago, I walked into work fairly carefree. I had just had an OB appointment where they had listened to Reagan's heartbeat and told me she was fine. I worked an 8-hour shift treating patients, climbing all over things, bending/squatting/lifting/teaching, doing what I loved with patients I cared for. I had never experienced mommy intuition before, so I kept telling myself I was overreacting. That the nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach was nothing. I guess I wasn't quite convinced because I made a doctor's appointment, but I wouldn't leave work for it and I wouldn't have Andrew come with me.
What happened next I remember like it was yesterday. I remember sitting in the office waiting, rubbing my large belly lovingly, telling myself she was just tired and sleeping. I remember the doctor asking me why I had lost so much weight and scolding me for being concerned about appearances while pregnant - I guess a lot of thin women might get judged like that, but I was kinda pissed at him for the comments he was saying. And I remember thinking this idiot, judgmental doctor doesn't know how to use a doppler, because he seemed to really be struggling with that.
But then I saw his face. I saw the alarm in his eyes. Those eyes still sometimes haunt me. He reached out and touched my arm and said, let's get a quick ultrasound. Except, they kicked out the woman who was in the ultrasound room to get me in. And spoke in hushed voices. And the doctor stayed in there with me, which had certainly never happened before. I remember the exact moment I broke. No words needed to be said, no one needed to explain. I saw Reagan's still chest. No flutter in there, no thumb sucking, no waving, no smiling. My little girl, always so active before, was quiet. The moments after that were a blur - calling my office to get Andrew's office number because he wasn't picking up and smart phones were newish, and I didn't have one. Telling Andrew the horrific news over the phone. Sobbing in the floor of the ultrasound room until Andrew got there. I'm fairly sure they helped me out to the car, though I somehow managed to drive to the specialist office, where I met a doctor who would change our lives, but at the time I just sat there as he tried to explain what was happening.
Oct 30 is my 1st dark day. There have been others since, but it was the first time my world was rocked. I still sometimes have nightmares about the day. And, every year, it my sad day for Reagan. A day where I extend myself a little grace and allow myself to wallow. Because tomorrow, well, tomorrow is her birthday. A cause for celebration! Tomorrow, we do happy things for Reagan, remember those precious moments we had together, teach our kids about Jesus and heaven and remind them that Reagan is happy and complete now. Tomorrow is beautiful. Today may be ugly and dark and hard, but I have tomorrow to look forward to. And, at the very least, I can be so very grateful that, for both Reagan and Lucas, that their birthdays and death days were different, that I can have a day of sadness and a day of celebrating. Because no matter how short their lives, they always deserve being celebrated.