We expect so much from our bodies. I mean, if I get sick, I expect my body to do its part in fighting off the germ that’s invaded it. I expect my lungs to suck in and breathe without me consciously thinking about it. I expect my skin to stay in place as long as I’m careful not to peel it off by running into sharp objects or tripping down stairs. I expect my heart to beat.

I expect a heartbeat.

As a woman I expect even more. I expected, as a teenager, that at some point I might actually grow a pair of boobs. I expect that once a month I’ll turn into the poster child for every man’s idea of PMS. I expect these things because of my sex. Because I’m a woman. Because that’s how women are made.

I expect to be a partner in the creation of life. I expect to provide a safe, nurturing environment for that baby to grow. I expect to be capable of carrying a child. Because I’m a woman, and women get pregnant and have babies.

Logic has nothing to do with expectations. Not one damn thing. The fact that there are women who physically will never be able to become pregnant is irrelevant…because at some point they had these same exact expectations. The fact that there are women who have lost every child they carried does not matter here…because they carried the same beliefs and confidence in their body at some point.

We expect from our bodies.

I expect a heartbeat.

And so when our body fails us, and when something deviants from the “plan” we had in mind, it becomes difficult not to blame the machine. Logic takes another back seat. Common sense goes out the window, and you’re left in a hospital gown, in a tiny room that every one keeps using as a storage closet, with your underwear around your ankles and hands all over you as you are poked and prodded and stuck and photographed in the most invasive of ways just so five hours later the doctor can come in and tell you

There’s no heartbeat.

And so they give you shots and lists of things to do and everyone keeps giving you the mantra:

It happened early…there was probably something wrong with the development.

It’s nothing you did.

It’s not your fault.

You can try again.

And I listen to their chorus of logic and common sense as I watch the man, the protector in my life, the one who is always there to fix everything, and I watch as he realizes he can’t fix it and he can’t make it better and he can’t protect me because it’s in my body

And there’s no heartbeat.

I have to watch everything else break around me and everyone keeps asking:

How is she?

How are they doing?

What’d the doctor say?

I can answer that. She’s in pain, physical pain. She’s in the middle of a process that can last for weeks and it hurts. As if the mind needs to be challenged further, the body must prove its endurance to pain. They? They, as in my husband and I? We’re hurt. We’re dodging people and making each other laugh, because that’s what we do. We laugh to cover it up and we mourn when its dark and no one is around to hear us. What’d the doctor say?

There’s no heartbeat.

We expect so much from our bodies, and when it fails us it becomes the traitor. It becomes this thing we are fighting against.We let in a little hope to strengthen our resolve and then battle against something we can’t even begin to understand because logic is gone and hope can be false. It can be cruel. It can show up when the woman refuses to turn to the screen and show you the picture. When she ignores your questions even though you’re lying there naked save for a thin little blanket while she pushes a machine inside you. Hope is there telling you its okay. It’s there when the doctor comes in and she was so friendly before and she thought she saw it. She thought she saw the flutter but she wasn’t sure and she asked for more tests and she sent you to that bitch who wouldn’t answer you questions…and hope was there right up until she said it and you knew it was over.

And you knew the world shifted because he couldn’t even stand up.

And there was no heartbeat.

49 responses to “Heartbeat”

  1. Your words alone cut right through me. I am sorry for your pain and your loss – but even as I write that, it seems such a small stupid thought of no consequence, because it certainly will not give you your heartbeat back and that’s what you probably want most. So instead, I’m sending love and hugs from my home to yours, and just letting you know that we will be praying for healing and comfort – for both you and your husband. My tears are your tears.


  2. I am sending my love to you both. I am so sorry. I know how those words feel and exactly what that bitch is like when she wont answer your questions. ❤ you guys.


  3. I’m so sorry, Laura. I’ve been so barely on WordPress for the last week, I missed out on these posts and just read my way backwards to understand what was happening. Even using the word “understand” in that sentence is such a cop out. Some things we will never understand… I’m hoping you and your family are able to find comfort in each other, and peace. Again, so very sorry 😦


    • Thanks Aussa. We will be okay. We’re a strong bunch over here. I hope you had a good trip. You were visiting your brother, right?


        • When is family ever not involved with weirdness and chaos?

          The husband and I certainly are on the same page. I’m fighting the battle of getting everyone else around us to understand. We’ve chosen to due this in a natural way, letting my body do as it knows best. For some reason, just about everyone I know doesn’t agree with this and feels the need to tell me.

          I promised Santa I would try to keep my temper for Christmas. I promised.

          I am getting so much coal this year.


          • Nah, no coal for you my dear! I won’t allow it.
            People need to mind their own business… The last thing anyone needs is someone making them feel guilty or like they need to second guess their own decisions.

            Santa knows. Just look at all the movies where people doubt whether he can really pull it all off in one night.


  4. I don’t know what’s worse…having got this far, or not having got this far. Not that there’s any way of comparing pain, and loss is loss is loss is forever pain. I’m sorry you know this one. ❤


    • Everyone’s pain is their own, and because of that, it is the worst there is. There is no way to compare pain. I hate that saying, “to walk in someone else’s shoes”. It’s an impossible request. I can only walk in mine, and hope that along my path I find others who can support me, hold me up, and guard me along the way, as I do the same for them.


  5. Honesty is powerful, even more so in the hands of a someone who knows how to use words. That you have the ability to craft something out of pain is a gift, and it’s a poor consolation, but think of the women and men who go through pain and have nowhere to put it.


    • I am thankful every day that I have some where to “put” myself. This was a horrible time for my family, and while I stayed silent through most of it, writing gave me the outlet I needed to express myself.


    • Thank you, hun. -Hugs- There really aren’t words that make it better, but this was another of those “moments” that define someone. Loss has a powerful way of doing that.


    • I was going to say exactly the same thing: I did not breathe once. Darling girl… you are so, so brave. And I’m glad you feel so deeply, even when it hurts, because the world needs more people who feel like that, who care. I’m wishing you all the best, and some smooth sailing in your very near future.


  6. I don’t like this weekend.

    I just wanted to say that somewhere, and here felt like a good place. It’s out, but no-one will see it, and you’ll understand.


  7. I saw, it Laura and Lizzi. I’m here and I saw it. This weekend.

    And I want to cry for both of you.

    And for myself, who wanted to give my son a sibling. And I tried and I tried and…my body failed me. I failed him.
    And everyone tells me, be grateful for one. And I AM, I really am.

    But still. I wasn’t finished yet. My family wasn’t finished. I was greedy. I wanted another.
    This post did me in.

    Your use of repetition is such a strong literary device here, it’s plain to see what an accomplished writer you are. I’m really in awe of you.


    • *hugs* Dangit gurl, it was supposed not to be seen. But I know you understand, and I’m sorry that you have this hurt too.

      I will reiterate, though, it’s not about FAILURE. Truly. Because failure implies that you somehow did something wrong, or were insufficient or not good enough or not capable enough…and above all else, I must believe that this kind of thing has nothing to do with FAULT.

      It just *is*.

      It’s a sucky part of the broken world we live in, and it stinks, but also it’s something which Good can come out of, even from that pain, because we can use it to connect to others and share their burdens, and so in a way even this can be redeemed.


  8. I struggled through this one. Not because I know the pain of this loss. I don’t. But because I never know how to say I’m sorry. Those words are so small for something so big and so painful. You wrote this beautifully, if that’s appropriate. I read through it twice and still, all I have is I’m sorry. Truly and completely.


    • Thank you. -Hugs- Sometimes there just aren’t words that feel “right”, but knowing that you have read this and taken the journey with me through my words is enough.


  9. […] It is two weeks from the anniversary of the day I lost you and I have been so completely swallowed up in the excitement of new life that I have not thought of you in months. I have pushed back the brief memory – static images in grey scale on a monitor, the thump, thump, thump of a tiny heartbeat. […]


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