I am a wife, sister, daughter, nurse, friend, owner of an insanely spoiled (but adorable) Australian Shepherd, but am I a mother? This is a question that has plagued me since we lost Quinn when I was almost 34 weeks pregnant. To give some background, my husband and I had a normal night at home until we were about to go to bed. I suddenly panicked because I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt her kick. She was always an active baby, especially at night. I felt her kick for the first time at night when I was 14 weeks pregnant. It was so strong that it moved my hand. She would kick me in my ribs and you could see my whole stomach move as she would do her acrobatics. After calling the doctor and doing a kick count for an hour, we were instructed to go to the hospital. The events of the next 36 hours will forever be burned into my brain. As I lay on the stretcher in triage and watched the nurse search for a heartbeat, tears began to fall. For a brief moment she thought she found something but when I looked down at my stomach and saw how deeply she had the monitor pressed in I knew she had to be picking up my heartbeat. In came the resident with the ultrasound, I see our baby flash on the screen. The resident then says I’m going to get the doctor. I knew then that our world was coming crashing in on us. Anytime a doctor says they are going to get another doctor, it isn’t going to end well. The attending physician came in and again performed an ultrasound; again Quinn flashes on the screen. As I stare at the screen I ask the question that I already knew the answer to, is there a heartbeat? The doctor simply says, “I’m so sorry there isn’t.” Nothing in life can ever prepare you for the loss of a child much less the thought of delivering a lifeless baby.
So that brings me back to my original question, am I a mother? I have had many people assure me that I most certainly am. You carried her for 8 months they say. While that is obviously the case, there are times when I don’t feel as such. I am around moms everyday who can talk about their children and show their children’s pictures. They speak of milestones and sleepless nights and those wonderful baby laughs. They get to watch their little ones grow and see how their personality develops. We will never get to experience any of those with Quinn. We got to spend 4 hours with her after I delivered. We held her and dressed her and loved her so fiercely but that was all we got. Those were our moments to be mom and dad to her, the only chance we got to take pictures as a little family of 3. We left the hospital with a cardboard box of memories, but no baby.
In the days and weeks since Quinn left us I have come to the conclusion in regards to my motherhood status, I am but I am not. Right now I have no one to call me mommy. I will always be her mom but for now I have to learn to live with the hole in my heart created by her absence.