In an alternate world, today would be different. It wouldn’t just be a day that I took off work to enjoy Hawaiian living. It would be a day when I was carefully driven to Tripler hospital to give birth to my first child. I imagined using a special water-birthing chamber. It sounded so much calmer than a typical frenetic hospital ward. It would be warm, and peaceful and by the end of the day I’d have a sleeping baby that I could contemplate in its Buddha Zen. Pink cheeks. Ten fingers, ten toes.
We aren’t in an alternate world. We are here. Today. And even though it’s my due date, there is no baby. I lost it months ago.
Its been hard knowing that everything I do right now would be so drastically different in that alternate world. Last week I went to the Big Island for work. I hiked around Volcano National Park and gained over 20,000 steps each day. It was beautiful and amazing and there’s no way I could have done it if I was 9 months pregnant. It’s hard to hold both truths in my mind. Then I remember there is only one truth, the one where that baby, my first, was never destined to be.
I thought about driving up to the North Shore today and buying a lei, then throwing it into the sea. A symbolic goodbye. I took a nap instead.
Part of my apathy is survival. I can’t feel it all again right now. It was too much when it happened. I can’t go through that again. Not today.
In a more hopeful way, I feel I’ve already said goodbye. It happened maybe a month ago.
Right after the miscarriage I commissioned a bracelet stamped with the initials of the baby, had it been a girl. ALY. Amelia Leilani Yaste. Our Aly girl. We never picked a boy name.
I wore it always. It was something that was part of me. That and my wedding band never left my person. I was afraid that without it, I would forget, and do some disservice to the child that would have been. I won’t ever forget though.
Then one day, I was wearing the bracelet, and suddenly I wasn’t. I didn’t take it off. It broke.
I remembered that a friend told me once that when a bracelet breaks off, it’s good luck. I texted her asking if that was true. I didn’t give her the details. She told me that when a bracelet breaks off, it’s a sign of completion or closure.
That same day someone messaged me on Twitter about how an article I’d written about miscarriage gave her courage to write about her own. Her blog was heart wrenching and beautiful in its honesty.
It felt right. I’d spent so many months focusing only on loss. This was an opportunity to move forward. Not to forget. I’ll never forget. But to find a path where I can remember without being totally undone.
When my mom stayed with me after the miscarriage she suggested I should have a mantra. Something I could say to myself to feel better in some way. I never found a mantra, but I did find a prayer.
Please grant me strength and shepherd the spirit of my child.
I don’t know exactly what I believe in. I have a complicated history with faith. But I say this to myself throughout the day, every day.
Somewhere, I’m sure, ALY is safe.