3 Blinking Pixels – To See Love, And To Lose It

I was in bed the other night, somewhere between awake and asleep, my brain bouncing around from place to place, taking some random paths off memory lane. Eventually I found myself wandering down a little used trail into the dark woods, paying a visit to memories of the two pregnancies we lost before we got the Z’s. I don’t think about it much anymore, with nearly 8 years gone by, but I can easily recall the feelings and put myself right back in that place again, when the truth of what was happening hit me – the phone call in the hotel the first time, the radiologist saying she was sorry the second.

3 pixels, blinking white.

I can remember the first time I saw her, in Driver’s Ed the first week of school. When you fall in love in 10th grade, feeling the rush of hormones and magic, you get your first taste of being fully tapped into the mysteries of the universe. Forces larger than you are at work and they spin you around, pull your guts out, and fill your head with notions. We were together, then we were apart, but that magic had worked itself into me. I’d see her again somewhere and my stomach would drop, my heart would race, and my head would spin. I’d want to run away and stop and stare at the same time. We got close again, and I was 16 again, and I’d want to strangle the guy in the car next to us who slowed down to check her out. This is the feeling that gets all the songs sung and poems written, the one that pushes some of us over the edge. You don’t forget it after you’ve felt it.

I grew up, we got married, and then we were going to have a baby. You get reconnected to the mysteries of the universe and once again forces larger than you are at work. It wasn’t exactly the same kick in the gut, but it sure was close. And after a few weeks, you get a chance to see what it looks like.

The tech puts the conductive lotion on her belly, presses the ultrasound device down firmly, and then I’m glued to the monitor and the monochrome images trying to figure out what’s what between the black circles and grey blobs. The tech narrates as she, always a she, manipulates the device and Dena to get the pictures and measurements she needs. Zoom in, zoom in again, move just a bit…there.

3 pixels, blinking white.

That’s the heartbeat. The signal that life and love has taken hold here. This feeling, the feeling of love that overwhelms you, fills you, becomes you – that’s what it looks like. It is three little dots on a monitor that blink white amid the black circles and grey blobs. It is the whole universe, flashing as quick as your racing heart. I can’t tell you what love, the overwhelming, mind-blowing, oh-god-I’m-going-to-die kind of love, may smell like or taste like, but I know exactly what it looks like because I’ve seen it four times.

And I can tell you exactly how it feels when that light is gone.

I’m grateful for the Z’s. I’m thankful for the doctor who helped us figure out what was wrong and fixed it before we had to see the light go out again. I thought I would have to feel the pain of losing that light each and every day, but it hasn’t turned out that way. I haven’t visited this place in a long time and even now, writing about it, I feel sad but at peace. I have two amazing kids and the woman who knocked my universe askew when she was 15, and those three lights shine awfully bright.


(Update: 3/21)

Bloggess, thank you for the feedback and including this link in your post. I am grateful for it, and for all the awesome you bring to the world day in and day out.

  1. Plano Mom said:

    Thank you for bringing back that memory of the 3 pixels. I love this post.

  2. Becca said:

    Thank you so much for posting this. My hubby and I have lost two, this last one at 21 weeks. It brings me some hope that you and your beloved wife have two healthy children.

  3. Anonymous said:

    Thank you for the feedback. Becca, I’m so sorry for your loss.One of the reasons I wrote this is because we don’t really hear much about miscarriage, how often it happens and what it is like when it does, until it happens to you. When we lost the first one suddenly everyone we talked to was saying "oh yes, this happened to me too." It made me wonder how anyone ever managed to get to term, and why didn’t we hear about this before we got pregnant?Unfortunately, our experience made our subsequent pregnancies months of overwhelming anxiety punctuated by moments of sheer terror. But we did get through it, twice, and those blinking pixels and the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the baby’s heartbeat through the ultrasound are what "joy" means to me.

  4. Joe Somuch said:

    wonderful post – found you through the Blogess and it’s made my day to read such a beautiful and eloquent post. Thank you

  5. Cori said:

    Your right, no one tells you. No one can prepare you for the pain of losing the life that was growing inside you. No one tells you how much you will blame yourself every single day and constantly think it was something you must have done wrong. How seeing a baby so soon after will cause you to break down and weep for the loss of life. No one tells you, but they should. Thank you.

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