I went back and forth a bit about whether to put this out online. I've decided to go with it for a couple of reasons. The primary one is that the subject is something that seems like it may happen to people more than may be apparent -- it's not a casual conversation, so you often don't know that you don't know. In my case, feeling a bit lonely and apart from the world for a while when it happened, learning that I was not maybe as singular as I felt was comforting. (I wasn't completely lonely anyway; I had M and especially Una, ...but.) A secondary reason was that I had started to tell some people, notably at my high school reunion last summer, that I was pregnant. Anyone remembering that bit of information amid the whirl of talk and smiling faces might eventually start to wonder what was happening with that.
What happened, about a week after the reunion, was that I had a miscarriage, at about 11 weeks along.
It wasn't completely unexpected. I'd gone to the ER with some bleeding on July 13, a month to the day beforehand. Diagnosis: subchorionic hematoma, which means bleeding where the placenta attaches to the uterine wall. Often, apparently, it goes away on its own, but sometimes it doesn't, the placenta slowly detaches, and there is not really anything anyone can do about it except for me to rest as much as possible and not lift anything heavy, like a 1-year-old daughter.
It was a bit reckless to tell people I was pregnant with this hanging over me, especially since bleeding had continued now and then, off and on, but I think it was partly an attempt at magical thinking: if I say it, it will work out. But: no.
I'm OK now, and have been for most of the time since. Certainly physically: the doctor did not seem at all concerned about future possibilities. No one appears to know what causes subchorionic hematomas; they just happen sometimes. No indication of any underlying difficulty. It was also very helpful to already have Una, and know for sure that my body is capable of doing this thing.
Every now and then I do still think about the person who briefly could have been. It was not far enough along for us to know whether "he" or "she". I wish we'd gotten the chance to know that person...
...except, I'm pregnant again, due in August, and I'm now entering the second trimester with no apparent problems so far. Now, if all goes according to hope, we will get our "second" child, and this one would almost certainly never have existed if the other had survived. Once this one (whose pseudonym here will probably be Deuce) arrives, we will be so glad to have him or her, and not be able to imagine life without. But we will still visit the burial place, and tell Una and future child(ren) of the existence of the missing one.
There is a name we use. But that, I am going to keep between us.