Always in My Heart
Written By: Jennifer L. Roche
In Loving Memory of My
Daughter, My First Love
Staring blindly outside, I peered through the rain drenched windows. The torrential downpour was the perfect accompaniment for the events unfolding in my ER room. My body was numb, devoid of any emotional sensations. I felt dead inside. In too much shock from the verdict delivered by the ER doctor, my eyes were too dry for tears. My baby, joy of my life, was gone. I felt every ounce of happiness drain from my body, as these words were uttered. Each syllable stung sharply at me, as it was repeated incessantly in my mind. This couldn’t be happening! This wasn’t real! The heartache forming inside of me confirmed that this was indeed happening. My worst nightmare was coming true. I was a tangled web of emotions. Every stage of the grieving process was experienced simultaneously. Anger over my loss, was paramount in this emotional turmoil. Following closely on anger’s heels was intense longing and sadness over “what could have been” if life had taken a different path. Denial reared its defiant head, piercing through thoughts; refusing to accept this was happening.
“Your baby will be fine when you awake from this nightmare,” denial reasoned.
Finally, acceptance coupled with disbelief settled upon my aching heart. My first love was truly gone, before we had ever met face to face. The internal struggle over how to feel, what to do with my life, and where to go from here, consumed my thoughts. As I lay motionless on the emergency room bed, the quiet words spoken between the doctor and nurses bustling about sounded like irritating bees buzzing around my head. I wanted them all to disappear. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts and memories, which were now flashing through my mind; scenes from a movie that I knew, yet couldn’t quite grasp its premise. My heart hurting with pain and longing; feeling happiness slowly scraped out of my soul from emotions sharp like knives. This resulted in me feeling as though my insides were being shredded into a million pieces.
Suddenly, felt my husband’s comforting hand on my shoulder. Turning towards him, the pain and sadness I was trying to conceal, was clearly reflected in his eyes. I shrugged his hand off. I didn’t want to be touched. I felt a million miles away from the world, not capable of connecting with anyone except my lost child. My own wish was to have my baby back. I already missed the feelings shared through our special bond, one which had intensified with each passing day, throughout my eighteen weeks of pregnancy. The connection to my first love was instrumental to my daily being. Our eternal bond, I craved with all my might; yearning to recreate the special closeness between my baby and me one last time. When deprived of this sacred connection, I was an open link, with no other half to securely seal me together. The sole inhabitant, of a space once occupied by two entities, left behind, a product of cruel fate. The sense of singularity I felt that day, laying on the hospital gurney, white sheets pulled tightly over me, was the emptiest I’ve ever felt. My fists clenched, preventing any emotions from escaping my countenance. My womb was vacant; no sweet child would be calling me mommy anytime soon. How could I bring myself to divulge this tragic news to others? Awkward encounters with smiling acquaintances would ensue. Their smiles masking sympathy harbored for the childless mother. Refusing to deal with fake fronts from outsiders, the only way to avoid dealing with these situations was to get my baby back. Then I could feel whole again, and feel something in general. However, this was not a choice available to me. I would have to move forward alone.
Curling my knees to my chest for comfort, my thoughts wandered back to the ultrasound I had received only a month prior. Wistfully I recalled, with a tinge of sadness, how my husband and I had shared this amazing experience. We were entranced by the tiny, turning, twisting, and image on the monitor before us. I had exclaimed proudly, that this was definitely my child, because it couldn’t sit still for two seconds. Once I saw my baby’s emerging image appear on the ultrasound screen, I was consumed with love. Intense, passionate, unlike any love I’d ever felt before. The immediate, unconditional love I felt upon viewing my child’s image, surprised me. I had only discovered I was expecting a few days ago.
Feelings emanating from the core of my being, led me to believe that what I was experiencing was true and real. This instant love, so pure, and untainted, for the miracle inside of me, deserved nothing less than unquestionable love. The appearance of my future baby’s image, gave confirmation to the life growing inside of me. I fell utterly and completely in love, with a child known only through representations on a monitor. I remembered fondly, the pictures we received from that first ultrasound, depicting my first love for the first time. Extensively, I had inspected each little limb, marveling over the precious gift that had been bestowed on my husband and me.
I had purchased a special memory box to preserve the treasures of our child’s journey, collected from womb to world. It was in this chest that I had safely tucked the ultrasound photographs. I knew these photographs would be wonderful memories to share with my first born someday. One particular image shows our baby’s tiny arm raised, almost as if in greeting. The instant I saw my child communicating with me through these photographs, was when I knew the connection between the two of us had truly begun. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to look at those images of my first love again. The pain and longing for “what would have been” overwhelms me to this day.
The first time my husband and I heard our unborn child’s heartbeat, it filled the room with its strong, true, pure, beats. We were in awe of the steady, powerful sound. The continuous whoosh projected from inside my body, while listening to our child’s heartbeat, reassured me that our child was being protected, and produced a comforting, familiar sound for my ears. That tiny heartbeat, beating with purpose, resulted in me falling further in love with the child growing inside of me. This feeling of pure joy could never be matched as long as I lived.
All of those experiences seemed as if they happened a lifetime ago. As if they belonged with the memories for another person’s life, and I was just an outsider observing. Questions swirled about in my mind that fateful day, as it continued to dawn on me that my precious love was forever lost.
“How did this happen?”
“Why was this happening?”
“Was I to blame for the loss of my first love?”
Racked with waves of guilt, I walked dejectedly from the hospital emergency room. As we drove away, it occurred to me, this had been my last chance to view my first love’s image. Never would I know my baby as anything more than a grainy image on a screen. Recalling with anguish, my mindset upon arrival at the maternity ER that morning, hopeful that everything would be fine with my baby. I had been euphorically happy about expecting for the first time. With great anticipation, I was looking forward to the ultrasound, scheduled in three days, where our baby’s gender would be revealed. I was ecstatic wondering if the life growing inside of me was a boy or girl. Unfortunately, I had awoken the morning of the day that would now forever haunt my dreams, knowing instantly something didn’t feel right. We drove to the emergency room, and now were driving back home in disbelief, over the outcome of the situation. Each mile we drove, taking me further from my first love forever. My body, feeling like an empty shell. Loneliness and pining over the loss of my first love consumed me. Why did I lose my baby; my shining star of happiness?
Thinking again of my upcoming appointment, I thought sadly to myself, “there‘s no need for that appointment now!”
Never would I get to experience joy in knowing that I soon would have a daughter or son to dote over. Losing my first love devastated me to my core. How could I continue to live my life? Nothing about this situation seemed fair. Life wasn’t fair.
The following days and months were some of the hardest I’ve ever encountered in my life. Tears finally allowed themselves to form, and it felt as if they would never cease. My body was racked with heaving sobs, for a love I would never know. I was heartbroken, separated from my first love, unable to find solace. The thought of becoming a mother to my baby had made me so happy; nothing else in the world seemed to matter. This baby had been my first chance to experience the unconditional love created from the bond between mother and child. No love eclipses the pure, sweet, love possessed for your first child. If that love is suddenly ripped away, the person left behind is lost; left with a yearning for the child they never knew. You are denied the opportunity to memorize every feature of that sweet baby face. Your arms are left empty and cold, unable to feel the warmth that emanates from a baby powder-scented body as it snuggles close for comfort. The longing you feel losing your first born, can be compared to the love that binds two star-crossed lovers together, only to be torn apart tragically. The hero or heroine loses their one true love, only to spend the rest of their days wishing time away, so they may be reunited with their forever love one day. The same holds true for a mother who loses her baby. The longing will always be in your heart, tugging at your heart strings, no matter how many years lapse. Lost love becomes ingrained in your mind and soul. Days, months, years, even decades will not dull the yearning to be reunited with your baby.
After a month had passed, my doctor called to inform me that my baby had been a girl. While part of me wanted to know the gender of my child, hearing these results seemed to give everything a sense of finality. On a positive note, knowing the results allowed me to see my baby as a person not just “that baby I’d lost.” I had a daughter. This knowledge manifested itself into a different type of longing for my baby girl. I started imagining one scenario after another featuring all the mother-daughter activities we would have done together. I decided to write a note to my daughter, attached to two pink balloons bearing her name, included a picture of my husband and myself, and attached an angel pin to guard over her. When we released the balloons, they sailed straight into the sky disappearing into the clouds. It was beautiful. I was able to send my first love a gift from her mother and father, and I know she must have caught those floating balloons, since they flew unhindered into the clouds. This ritual helped me feel a little better about losing my sweet child. Now I had a guardian angel to watch over me every day. That thought alone helped me survive the toughest days of my life. When one loses their first love, their child, they don’t lose just a baby. They lose all the hopes, plans, and dreams created for that child. These future plans are started the moment a woman discovers she is expecting. All your future plans for this child disappear within seconds once your first love is lost, but the thoughts left behind linger for a lifetime. Gifts you purchased for your baby cause extreme pain, seeing them lying unused. You picture your first love playing gleefully with the toys chosen especially for them. The cute little outfits hang unworn in a closet. Constant reminders of what was suppose to have been. Holidays and the due date of your first baby are no longer a cause for celebration. Instead, they now serve as moments in the year when you feel the loss of your first love more intensely than ever. You had pictured yourself, your husband, and your new baby together, enjoying these special days. Those scenarios have been rewritten for you. Although conscious that your child will always be part of your life through memories, the urge to hold them just once, can devastate even the strongest of women. This life changing experience is one that affects a person’s entire being. Their first love disappears into thin air, never to be united with you in this lifetime. Like the sweetest of true love stories, you will meet again someday, but the time between then and now, seems to form a never-ending path. The longing for your first love will last forever, due to the unbreakable bond created at conception. This connection is sealed for eternity, the moment a mother first sees her baby’s form on the first ultrasound. Love spans a lifetime, and will never be diminished, but separation from your first love, requires all your strength to make it through every day without your first love.
Moving on with my life, after being separated from my first love, was an uphill battle. Everyone continued with their daily lives, yet I struggled with my loss, experiencing constant heartache and survivor’s guilt. Sometimes, when listening to the radio, I’d hear a song which might mention the word baby. Before I knew it, I would find myself dissolving into tears over that song. A dull throbbing sensation could be felt in the pit of my stomach, the same throbbing felt that fateful day in the emergency room, when I learned my child was gone. Initially, I didn’t understand why this was happening. I was a strong, independent person. Why was I acting so weak, falling apart constantly? Why couldn’t I pull myself together? The reason I struggled so intensely with my child’s loss, was because this child had become an integral part of me for eighteen weeks. Now with her gone, a piece of me was gone as well. The first love formed between a mother and her unborn child is sacred, innocent, and pure. This connection forever changes your life. You can never return to the person you were before the loss of your first love. It is impossible.
While my daughter may have only been part of my family for eighteen weeks, these are eighteen weeks that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I pledged to keep her memory alive, to celebrate her brief life, no matter how much time had passed. I was meant to remain behind, to live for both of us, and honor the brief time she was in my life. The loss of my first love, helped open my eyes to how fragile and fleeting life can be. I realized that I needed to live each moment to the fullest, spending it with those I loved most, before it was too late.
I needed to make my life meaningful by doing things that brought me joy. Much like the joy my first love had given me, through the bond we formed, I needed to find a way to spread joy to others. I wanted the opportunity to create something that would prove to be my legacy. I wished to inspire future generations by leaving behind an important piece of myself, to provide insight for others. With these ideals in mind, I chose to follow my lifelong passion; becoming a writer. Writing was the creative outlet I turned to, during some of the toughest times in my life. My writing would be my legacy for future generations.
I created my writing company, naming it Rainbows of Happiness LLC. The inspiration for the company’s name derived from the fact, that ever since my first born had passed; colorful, vibrant, rainbows started appearing directly across from my home. Sometimes I’d even witness the appearance of a double rainbow. The ironic timing of these rainbows makes me believe this is my baby girl’s way of letting me know she is okay. The appearance of these rainbows makes me feel as if I didn’t lose my first love forever. Rainbows help me realize that our bond is strong and never-ending. When I see rainbows, my strength is renewed, making me feel I am strong enough to survive any hard times in life. The rainbow is a magnificent gift of nature, never seeming to reveal its end. This makes the rainbow look as if it is connecting sky to Earth, in a never-ending path. This endless path emulates the forever bond I have, and will always have, with my first love, my baby girl, my true rainbow of happiness.
Using the concept of the rainbow’s endless path of beauty, I began creating my writing legacy. With inspiration stemming from my love for my baby girl, and the rainbow’s natural beauty for creative motivation, I couldn’t lose. Since my first love had helped me realize how brief our existence is, I knew I had to follow my own rainbow of happiness in life. The sudden appearance of multiple rainbows forming during this specific time in my life, gives me reassurance that my first love seems to approve of my new path in life.
As I continue my journey through life, I may be lucky enough to become a mother several times over. However, no matter how many children join my world, my baby girl is, and will always be, my first love, my first born. True love like this never fades. It grows stronger and more vibrant with each passing day, like the colors in the rainbow. A mother’s love for her first born has no emotional equivalent in this world. My daughter is my first love, my forever love. Nothing in the world will ever change that. I have been made richer as a result of this experience. The loss of first love is one I hope others do not have to endure in their lifetime. Yet, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the experience of forming my forever bond with my daughter for the world. The loss of my first love made me the person I am today, and for that I will always be eternally grateful.
Copyright Rainbows of Happiness LLC 2013