A seagull over the Pacific Ocean - Feature
A seagull over the Pacific Ocean (Miranda Hernandez)

9 Feb 2018 – No

I walked into the hospital on the morning on my 41st week of pregnancy, feeling achy and anxious, but never dreaming — it’s still hard to say the words.

The Worst Day and the Power of Tears

I walked into the hospital thinking about the appointment scheduled for the following day, the appointment where we had agreed to talk about being induced. I walked in thinking about the best way to transfer the results of this “routine” testing to my midwives, who worked across town. I walked in thinking about trivialities, and I was blindsided. Nobody tells you that stillbirth is a possibility. I still remember, even while screaming, that I was thinking about the three other women in that testing room, and how I must have been their shocking introduction to the fact that babies die.

And sometimes, when I really need to cry and just can’t get there, I think back to that morning. I think back to that moment — after the nurse had left because she wasn’t allowed to tell me, after the doctor came in so quickly and finally said the words — I think back to that moment when I’m lying on the exam bed, and it all becomes so real. And I see this moment, not from inside, but from out — I am looking down on myself from a distance. I am surrounded and also alone. And the word that I screamed was, “No.”

I have never been afraid of my tears, even in public. I cried when I paused at a kiosk in the mall, and I ran my fingers over an elephant ornament I decided I wanted, even though I don’t put up a tree. There is no shame in finding, on a random Tuesday, that your tide is overflowing, that you’re drowning while still breathing.

Sometimes tears are armor. For a while, I tried to donate my milk. I never made it very far; it’s so much harder than I knew. But the first day I went in to the bank, clutching my insulated bag of translucent bottles, and the coordinator asked for the age of my child, my tears were my protection. I only had to turn my face, and I didn’t have to say anything; she instantly knew.

When leaving my last job, I had to give a speech. And it was important to me, then, to acknowledge what that organization had been to me. It was important to address the enormity of the support I had received, the way that they had bolstered me. And I wonder still if I went too deep, if people were made uncomfortable by my words, but I will never regret my tears.

I have a lot of trouble settling into my new world today. So many things are perfect here (too perfect, maybe?). So many things are easier. I have the freedom I craved to just — be. I spend a lot of time walking and exploring and staring at the waves. I spend a lot of time writing. I am nearly always writing. I have beauty and support and all these things I’ve needed, and something still is always missing. Not just my son, that constant aching, but also my tears. I need and I miss and I love my tears.

And on those days, when I miss him so much that my presence is aching, I think back to that morning, to that day when he and my innocence and I all died. I think back to that morning, and I think of those screams, and that is what allows me to cry. I always want to cry.

Related Posts:

Adrian’s Chronological Story: Adrian’s Story
Miranda’s Chronological Story: 29 June 2017
Topics Page: Grief Positivity
Topics Page: People & Relationships
Resources Page: Safe & Informed Pregnancy Blog
Write Your Grief: The Second Death

Posts written in response to prompts from Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief writing program.
Return to Write Your Grief Homepage

Share this post via:

Sunset on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

2 Jun 2018 – Peace

Title: A Letter to My Fellow Bereaved | overlaid on an image of the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

18 Feb 2018 – I Love You

Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail, Kapaa, Kaua'i, Hawai'i

3 Feb 2018 – The Kindest Thing

Tree branch in California - Feature

5 Feb 2018 – Akhilandeshvari

26 March 2021 – Landscape

19 March 2021 – Where I Live Now

Close up of Miranda and Adrian in the hospital after Adrian's birth. Both of their eyes are closed, and Miranda is holding Adrian's hand

6 Feb 2018 – Regret

Limp hand holding a cell phone

26 Mar 2019 – The Worst Thing that Never Happened

Wide angle view of Miranda standing on a deserted beach in California at sunset. She is wearing a pink kimono fluttering in the breeze (Synch Media)

30 Jan 2018 – The Second Death

Chalk drawings on the sidewalk (Miranda Hernandez)

18 Mar 2018 – Someone Else’s Birthday

Sunlight through the trees, North Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

25 Aug 2018 – Amy Anne

Miranda with Adrian's First Blanket - SQ

2 Feb 2018 – Elephant Onesies

22 March 2021 – Kindness…

Title: My Personal Experience with Grief | overlaid on an image of Miranda in Kaua'i (Luna Kai Photography)

29 Jan 2018 – Grief

Sleeping Giant Trail 1 - Feature

25 Feb 2018 – That Day

31 Jan 2018 – Choice

Birds on the Pacific Coast in California - Feature

22 Feb 2018 – Fuck

Seagulls on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

27 May 2018 – Fairytales

Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Time

North Star Resort - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Flight

27 March 2021 – Community

Julia Pfeiffer Burns Plant1 - Feature

7 Feb 2018 – Tests

Keālia Beach 1 - Feature

8 Feb 2018 – Prickly

Memories (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda on the California coast at sunset (Synch Media)

18 Feb 2018 – Memories

Sunset over Arizona - Feature

12 Feb 2018 – Hard Things

A Letter from the In-Between (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda staring off into the distance (Synch Media)

28 Jul 2018 – A Letter from the In-Between

Sunset over the Pacific 1 - Feature

26 Feb 2018 – Nuclear Bomb Part 2

Lakeside in Incline Village 3

14 Feb 2018 – I love you. Please.

Palm trees over the Pacific Ocean - Feature

7 Feb 2018 – Beauty

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

22 May 2018 – I only write to ghosts. You must be one of them.

Lakeside in Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe, Nevada (Miranda Hernandez)

13 Feb 2018 – The Condition of My Heart

30 March 2021 – The 13th Guest

17 March 2021 – Who I Used to Be

4 April 2021 – Memories Part 2

24 March 2021 – Emulation

21 March 2021 – Does Grief Mourn?

Title: Grief is a Mother, Too | overlaid on an image of Miranda and Elephant on the coast at sunset (Synch Media)

2 Feb 2018 – Grief is a Mother, Too

Miranda on the shore of Lake Tahoe, California (photo used with permission)

23 Aug 2018 – Windows

18 March 2021 – What I Wish You Knew

30 March 2021 – Subsumed Grief

24 March 2021 – The One I Avoided Last Time

20 March 2021 – The Absence of Memory

Sunset over the California desert, with highway signs in the distance (Miranda Hernandez)

1 Feb 2018 – Photos

A Letter to My Belly (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda making a heart on her belly (Synch Media)

24 Feb 2018 – A Letter to My Belly after the Stillbirth of my Firstborn Child

Miranda on the California coast (Synch Media)

21 Jun 2018 – The After

Pinecrest Lake 1 - Feature

26 Feb 2018 – The Nuclear Bomb

Miranda on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

28 May 2018 – Planet Miranda

Matthiola flowers on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

26 Sep 2018 – Dear Grace

Keālia Beach 2 - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Unspoken

31 March 2021 – Clarity

Amy's collar (Miranda Hernandez)

12 Sep 2018 – Three Dishes

The first blanket and baby toy Miranda purchased for Peanut (Miranda Hernandez)

29 Oct 2018 – Baby Things

Miranda on the Pacific Coast 2 - Feature

10 Feb 2018 – This is How I Feel About Life

Explore more of Adrian's Elephant

Scroll to Top