I wake up in the middle of the night feeling the familiar twinge of cramping. I visit the restroom and notice that the cramping increases, so I start the bath water to dull the pain so I can return to sleep. I find myself praying what might be the fourth essential prayer—please (yes, this might fit under “help”). Please let me go into labor. Please let me go into labor. PLEASE let me go into labor. These stops and starts feel like a rollercoaster, the ups and downs forming a new life rhythm.
Cramps come with fresh red blood and I think this time things will happen. Then the cramps even out and the blood slows and turns brown. A sense of normalcy hits for a few days, and then the cramping begins anew.
People routinely apologize for this, but in a strange way it just feels like life. Last night as I prayed my “please” prayer, I began wondering if I should set an end date. Allyn and I have a tentative plan in mind for if the miscarriage does not occur naturally before a certain date.
This weekend was hard—this holiday of celebration and remembrance. I’ve begun wondering how many shadow fathers there are—these dads of miscarried or stillborn babies, many of whom have never shared their stories. How many sit quietly wishing for a card with tiny footprints or zany ties worn out of love for the fashion-unfortunate child. If you know one of these fathers, wish him a Happy Father’s Day. Let him know that you remember he is a dad.
Author’s note: This is the fifteenth post in a series on pregnancy loss/miscarriage. Read the first post, “First ultrasound,” here.