Flash forward two years, and you'll see an ornery, beautiful, 23-month-old blue-eyed boy named Jude. He is an instigator and a clown, a verbal champion, a hugger, a nudist. He completes our family and is adored by his three older brothers. I wish that present-day Jenny could reach back in time to the ball-field Jenny and tell her, "Relax. Take a few deep breaths and enjoy. He's fine." He's fine. Jude is here now, and worry was never necessary.
Due date: October 23rd. Deeper.
He's a boy. Deeper.
His image on the ultrasound screen. Deeper.
He has all of his vertebrae and fingers and toes. Deeper still.
We gave him a name. Deeper.
"He's going to make it," the doctor said. "He's going to be fine." Deeper.
Fine. Fine. He's going to be fine.
Deeper. Deeper. Deeper.
By the time I was singing "Hey Jude" on my way to the ball fields, I had myself a very deep Jude-sized hole going on inside me, and I was positively aching with it. Don't most moms feel this when longing for their babies? And the instant that he was born and placed onto my chest for my very first Jude hug, every inch of that deep hole was filled. It was utter, instantaneous relief. He has been filling it every day since then. Isn't this what life is for most of us? We create child-sized holes, and then we spend the rest of our days loving the children who perfectly fill those holes.
Beginning with that September afternoon when I saw the word "Pregnant" on the Clearblue stick, Hjarta's hole was there. The only one in the house, I jumped up and down in my bedroom, literally whooping aloud with joy. Deeper.
I knew it just had to be a boy. I only make boys. Deeper.
Due date: May 26th. Deeper.
We shared our joy with our family and friends. Deeper.
Morning sickness and fatigue. Deeper.
We chose a name for him. Deeper.
I loved him harder every week, and that hole got deeper every week.
And then the bleeding began, and the ultrasound revealed that two heartbeats had become only one. There was my heartbeat, one extinguished life, and one invisible, deep hole. When Hjarta flew away, he left a hole that he was never allowed to fill.
And that is what miscarriage feels like. Miscarriage is a hole that you created to be filled, a hole that splits you down to your bones and makes them ache. It's a hole that's shaped exactly like your baby, and it lays waiting until the end of your days for your baby to come fill it. When that baby doesn't come, that hole does not go away.
The hole that was meant for Hjarta to fill has done a lot of things to me over the last three years, but the one constant thing it has always done is make me yearn for him. Jude's life brings me inconceivable joy; he has done everything he can possibly do and been every wonder to me that he can possibly be in his two years. He cannot, however, fill Hjarta's hole. How could I expect him to? Plenty of people do expect this, which explains why I've heard hundreds of times, "Hey, at least you have Jude." The people who expect Jude to be two babies are the ones who least understand my grief, and that's okay. Maybe they aren't meant to understand it. Of course, at least I have Jude. Thank goodness I have Jude.
But I also have an invisible hole that's shaped exactly like Hjarta. And that ache, I know, will be one that won't be filled.