Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I don’t even think I knew it existed before this year. But this year, I can’t stop thinking about it. On March 15, Kevin and I had a positive pregnancy test. Overjoyed doesn’t come close to describing how we felt. We told our immediate families two days later, St. Patrick’s Day; we gave our parents cards we made with a message in Irish on the outside and the translation, “Congratulations, you’re going to be grandparents,” on the inside. On Easter Sunday, we shared our news with our extended families with eggs we’d decorated saying “Baby Brotzman Coming Nov. 2015.”
Nothing could have made me happier. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, we nicknamed the baby Pantalaimon*, after a character in one of my favorite book series.
On April 2, the last day of school before Spring Break, I was rear-ended in the parking lot, and after I experienced some spotting that evening, the doctor asked me to come in for an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay. The next day was Good Friday. Kevin came with me to the appointment, and I’m so glad he did. The ultrasound showed our baby was smaller than expected. The doctor told us there was about a 50% chance I would miscarry. They would repeat the ultrasound in a week. We decided to go ahead and tell our families as we planned, and it was wonderful. We also asked for prayers. I spent my break anxious as I’ve ever been, terrified I’d lose the baby.
The following week, we had the ultrasound, and there was still no fetal pole. Our baby had stopped growing, and miscarriage was inevitable. We went home, heartbroken and devastated.
Next Tuesday will be six months since I miscarried. One month from tomorrow should have been my due date. It has been harder than I could have imagined. It’s not all bad, but I shed tears pretty regularly. I have fought depression, sought counseling, and tried my damnedest to take as good care of myself as possible.
One of the most difficult things has been having to pretend everything is fine, to act like my world didn’t turn upside downand smack me in the face. Very few people knew I was pregnant, not even all of our closest friends, and so very few people know that I lost the baby. Of those who do know, many have told me they’ve experienced the same. So many people. Did you know it’s one in five pregnancies? I certainly didn’t. I am telling my story now, because I know I am not the only one, even though I have often felt so alone. I am telling my story now, because I know how desperately I have needed to hear others’. I am telling my story now because it isn’t something to be ashamed of, despite what the whispers or the silence surrounding miscarriage tell us. I am telling my story now, because though Pantalaimon did not make it into this world, Pan is forever in my heart and my mind, and my soul. And I need people to know.
*In the books, Pantalaimon can take the form of any animal, though he finally settles as a pine marten. This is a picture of a pine marten. If you did not squeal with the cute, I don’t know that we can be friends.