My pediatrician did not know that I lost two babies. It was a timing issue mostly. Quentin has a March birthday, and I wasn’t pregnant yet when we went in for his Well Child visit. By September when it was time to take Theo in for his Well Child visit for his birthday, I had lost Nelle – just two weeks prior. I remember going into that appointment thinking “Do I say something? What would I say? It probably won’t come up.” And it didn’t.
I became pregnant again and lost Iris before Quentin’s Well Child visit the following year. So the pediatrician never knew. We may have had a virus or two that sent me into the office, but I likely would not have been showing enough to spark conversation.
Then there was Autumn. The infant visits are so focused on the baby, and milestones, and vaccines. Ger took her in for her two-month visit and the pediatrician gave a playful push to babies sleeping through the night. She advocates that parents encourage good sleeping habits from an early age. I never minded with Theo or Quentin, and they were wonderful sleepers. But with Autumn… she only wakes up once during the night, but I don’t mind. I’m tired, but not sleep deprived. I want that nursing moment.
Going into the appointment today, I was mentally preparing myself. I knew that the pediatrician would ask about sleeping, and I rehearsed my response. We lost two babies. So I am fine waking up with her.
First it was a check with the nurse to collect vitals. The nurse, of course, made chit-chat. “Do you have any other children?” To which I carefully responded: yes, I have two other children at home. Boys or girls? I have two boys at home. “Oh! So your first girl!” I only hesitated for a moment and then replied “No. We lost two girls. This is my third daughter.” She gave a quick apology, and then congratulated me on having this girl.
Finally. After years of being unable to answer the way that I wanted, I could say the words out loud, to a stranger. No. This is not my first daughter. I have two other daughters, and they will always be my daughters.
The pediatrician came in and did her check of eyes, ears, and limbs. She asked about sleeping, and I told her that Autumn wakes up once per night, around 4:00 am. She said “That’s great! But you know I’m greedy, and I like babies to sleep through the night…” I took a breath and said “Well. We lost two babies, before her. So I’m happy to get up with her, because we waited for so long.” The pediatrician was immediately sympathetic and handed me a tissue to wipe away my tears, telling me how sorry she was and said of course I should get up with Autumn, and to forget what she said about sleeping through the night.
As she washed her hands she said “Did I know that you lost two others?” I said no, and explained with the timing being between my visits with the other two, it had never come up. But we had lost two other girls. She said “Two other girls. Well, then she is extra special. A blessing.”
She peered into Autumn’s little face and said “I’m glad you’re here.”