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About More Voices

Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.

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We Lost One

 
"We lost one." That phrase could mean anything, really. It could refer to a mid-season baseball game. "We lost that one. We'll win the next." It could refer to a personal possession. "I used to have two angola sweaters, but I lost one." Or to a child's hopes for money from the Tooth Fairy. "I had two loose teeth, but I only lost one!"

But when you say it about a baby, a twin, it's enough to silence any sympathizer. 

This week we lost one. A baby. A fetus, really. A bunch of cells that had started to look like a human. Some time in the late first trimester, that little heart--which had beat so clearly on the ultrasounds we'd had early on--ceased to be. That little flicker of movement that we saw on the primitive pictures flickered out. It had hardly a chance to survive in this world we now live in.

To my husband and me, though, it wasn't just a fetus. It was a boy. It was a girl. It was a sister or brother. It was a twin. It was most certainly a baby. Our baby.

Our baby. A concept, really. A fantasy. A dream defined by double strollers, redundant car seats, a new crib matching the one we have from our two older children. Sketches of matching outfits, filling out minivans, food-themed nicknames, proper names, Hebrew names. Brises and baby namings. Blueprints of constant companionship, sharing secrets and unique languages, staging plays and performances of child prodigies, family vacations that we couldn't afford.

We lost one. A dream. A framework. An ideal. Other than some black and white pictures, it wasn't totally real. It was what we made it. Complex, fun, silly, full of life, full of love.

Yet the pain. Oh the pain. Is very. Very. Real.

Rachel Shmuts
Cherry Hill, New Jersey