Writing by Erin Monroe |

The First Loss

There is blood… bright red blood. As it hits the water, tingeing it pink, spreading like a wave over the shore, I begin to shake. I know from all the books that this isn't normal. Brown can be explained away but not fresh blood. My voice falters as I call out to my husband. Sobs spill from my mouth, their sound nearly inhuman. "Call the doctor, please"

They see me right away, ushering me into the ultrasound room. The wand glides across my belly and we see it- the tiny steady flicker of my baby's beating heart. I notice the tech's eyes narrow as she studies the screen. She leaves me to get the doctor and my head swims with fear. He clucks over the screen, pats my shoulder and tells me "We'll have to wait and see."

I am sent home on bed rest.

With rest, the bleeding stems, giving me hope. For several hours my heartbeats it's normal pace as I trace circles on my ever so slightly swollen abdomen. My peace is short lived. Without warning I start gushing. Darkness blanketed us hours before and I find myself splayed out on a gurney in the ER. I'm sobbing but no tears fall... I have cried myself dry. My husband looks small as they wheel me away into ultrasound "No, he may not come."

The screen is turned away from me and the tech won't meet my eyes. I ask questions and she simply says, "You'll have to ask the doctor." I practically leap off the table in anger demanding to know if there is a heartbeat. She must have seen something in my eyes. She turns the screen to face me. There it is, bright and white. Boom boom boom. It is steady but there is something not quite right. It looks like chunks of wet newspaper are swirling around my baby.... I am sent home "We'll have to wait and see."

The next morning I am barely spotting, once again with a wand gliding across my stomach. There is no flicker, no blinking beacon. I dig my fingernails into my flesh, trying to feel something other than dead. "I'm so sorry, put your pants back on."

I sit in an office, blinking slowly, unable to move. I watch large bellies shuffle by. Breathing cuts me like a knife. My husband rounds the corner and stops dead. They had called him to pick me up, knowing I could not drive. I cannot meet his eyes, I feel like I have failed him. Today is Wednesday we are sent home to wait until Friday.

For two days I feel like a walking coffin. My body still clings to the baby, making Friday a necessity. My chart reads "SPONTANEOUS ABORTION" in big red letters... I am on the birthing floor of the hospital. My roommate's swollen belly quivers and undulates under her gown. Everywhere I turn there are signs "Welcome baby" and "We hope you enjoy your birthing experience with us!" My husband puts me back in bed and turns the signs face down, cussing under his breath.

Soon I am sedated, spiraling into my own nightmarish hell. I dream of chasing babies while my doctor scoops and scraps away what remains of my baby. It's over and I am empty.

Erin Monroe is a married Floridian mother of three, she can regularly be found finding herself at oviedochickens.blogspot.com. She can also be found in her art studio churning out collages and paintings, which she occasionally sells through her blog or local art galleries.