Little Boy Loved

“The Little Boy Lost” is a simple lyric poem written by William Blake. This poem is part of a larger work entitled Songs of Innocence.

Father! father! where are you going?

O do not walk so fast.

Speak, father, speak to your little boy,

Or else I shall be lost.

The night was dark, no father was there;

The child was wet with dew;

The mire was deep, & the child did weep,

And away the vapor flew.

The Little Boy Lost begins with a boy walking behind his father and asking the father to slow his pace so he does not get lost. In the illustration that accompanies the poem, the child is actually following a dim light (referred to in the poem as a vapor). Night comes and the little boy is lost walking in soggy ground, covered in mud, and weeping as the vapor flies away from him.

 

Little Boy Loved

On Friday, April 15th, I lost my baby at 16 weeks and one day.

I went in for a routine check-up, scheduled every week, due to my high risk status. The tech asked how I was feeling and I responded, telling him I felt better than last week – I think the morning sickness was finally done! He smiled. “That’s a good thing” he said.

I usually looked forward to these appointments. It was always completely amazing to me to hear that tiny, wild little heartbeat… from his chest, from my belly… Today was different though. I was scared.

The past couple of days I’d been uncomfortable, in pain. That was part of my struggle. With the fibromyalgia, I’m not sure how much pain I’m in… every physical sensation in heightened and sometimes when someone does something as simple as lightly pat my back, I end up in tears. I didn’t want to go in over every little ache and pain… it was probably nothing.

I had experienced some cramping but no bleeding or spotting. I was doing everything early. Braxton Hicks (uncommon but not unheard of in the 2nd trimester) contractions made an appearance and I worked myself up over them. Convincing myself this was it. I was going to lose him. I’d felt them last week though and the ultrasound showed he was healthy and even sucking his thumb!

I told myself I was being paranoid. “I’m only thinking this way because there were so many complications with Tayla’s birth”. Before that, I had an ectopic pregnancy. For the first time, I’m realizing infertility is more than just being able to get pregnant.

Take deep breaths and “enjoy everything that comes along with new life, including morning sickness, excessive tiredness, kicking and sometimes cramping” I told myself.

I had felt him moving, even though I thought it was too soon for me to be feeling anything. Since I am diabetic, he was swimming in sugar and was already big boy. “It’s possible” the doctor assured me. Sometimes, I imagined his tiny foot, sliding along the inside of my belly, like a blind man feeling and exploring his way along the walls of his house.

I tried to smile as I stared at the tech, waiting for him to point to my baby and say “There he his. See? Looking good!” I studied this man’s face and saw his concentrated expression fall into a frown. “What’s wrong, is he hiding from you?” I asked. “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.”

I took a deep breath and remained calm. “Are you sure? This happened once before, with my daughter and she’ll be 13 in May.”

“I’m sorry” was all he could say.

“I want someone else to look” I said.

He didn’t argue or try to talk me out of it. He just nodded and quietly left the room.

I put my hands to the sides of my swollen stomach and said “Noah, I know you don’t know all the rules yet but a big one is showing up on the monitor, with a heartbeat. I’m your mother and you have to listen to me. It’s kind of the law…”

My tech returned with my doctor who took over the Doppler, sliding it through the cold gel before confirming what I’d already been told.

“Not only that but there is a small leak in …” I didn’t turn to look. His words felt far away and I kept my focus straight ahead and nodded.

We’d named him Noah David and although he wasn’t planned, he was a very wanted and special surprise.

How could this have happened? I asked myself over and over again despite knowing how many factors there were and how they worked against me. I made it so far… I was out of the first trimester, as if that were some sort of guarantee.

I hadn’t wanted to tell people about the pregnancy. Not family or friends, not even my husband. I didn’t want to have to tell people… in case he didn’t make it.

I’m so grateful I shared the news of his presence & elated to have everyone share in the joy of possibilities.

The whole experience has been surreal. I didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was 12 weeks… Already done with the first trimester!?!? Then, consulting with doctors and forming a plan. Four weeks of checkups, bloodwork, ultrasounds… finding out his due date was to be my grandma’s birthday. I heard his heartbeat and felt him stir. He had a name and a face…

As I left my last appointment, I got into my car and promptly drove into a wall. I immediately remembered the nurse telling me not to drive… I was in such a fog. I slept a lot and laid amidst a pile of “I’m sorry”s, thinking/feeling nothing.

It didn’t seem real. Any of it. And I think that was what was playing a major role in “healing process”. If I didn’t cry, it wasn’t real. Yesterday my sister sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers… “Words cannot express the hurt I feel for the loss of Noah. Hope these will bring some beauty into your world at such a time of sadness. I love you with all my heart.” And the tears finally came. It wasn’t on the heels of finding out the news… it was unexpected. It was so very personal. It was knowing I wasn’t alone… (even though I know I’m not alone- my head and heart don’t always agree) and there was no pressure to respond. Just someone sharing in my grief.

It’s been almost a week and a half since he left. I needed time to process before sharing the news. I was dreading this post, as I’d hoped (and expected) to bring you all along on the journey.

I still plan on doing that. Writing about the grieving process, how the three of us (husband & daughter) are dealing with it, maybe making a memory box for the ultrasound pictures… That’s how I will get through.

And maybe that was part of the lesson he taught me. I can be with my emotions and not numb out. I had more than a couple of thoughts of drowning my sorrows in alcohol. I desperately wanted an escape. I blamed myself for not going to the doctor sooner. Not bothering the clinic with every. single. hiccup. This was my fault and I should be ashamed.

“That’s bullshit” said a woman whom I haven’t known very long but already consider a friend. She has her own issues with pregnancy & loss and blogs about it. She is working to take the stigma out of it…it’s working.

Noah, I love and miss you and will continue to do so until we meet.

 

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