I was supposed to have a baby today.

Nine months ago, I watched as two pink lines formed in the small but life-changing window of a pregnancy test. I was going to have a baby! Right then, I think I felt my very body come to life, along with that of the tiny one inside of me.

I checked my calendar, quickly estimating my due date. I was going to have an autumn baby! I could almost smell the cool fall air and feel my baby’s warmth against my skin.

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After that, I Googled “Due Date Calculator” and typed in the date of my last period and the average length of my monthly cycle, and clicked the button that exclaimed Get the Date!

It was today’s date that popped up on the screen.

A few weeks later, I went to my first prenatal appointment where my due date was confirmed. I had an ultrasound, and my doctor pointed out the flutter of my baby’s heart. “Congratulations,” she said, her face expressing genuine joy.

I looked forward to today, anticipating the birth of the child I was already so in love with. I circled the date on my calendar in permanent marker and began counting down the weeks until I would meet my baby.

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Another doctor’s appointment came and went without concern. “Everything is right on track,” my doctor said. At my next appointment, I would find out if my baby was a boy or a girl. I couldn’t wait!

But that next appointment never came.

Instead, I found myself in the ER, bleeding, crying, and scared. In an instant, everything about my pregnancy went from normal to of utmost concern.

My body was no longer handling pregnancy like it should. My water had broken and I was going into labor much too soon. “There’s nothing we can do,” the doctor told me, her face expressing regret at having to inform me of that awful truth.

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The contractions came quickly, powering through my body. I could hardly stand.

After a nurse escorted me to a room in Labor and Delivery, the doctor confirmed that my baby was coming. And that it was happening quickly.

“But I’m supposed to be pregnant for 20 more weeks!” I almost screamed. Except the tears and tremors and a crumbling heart made it impossible for me to verbalize much of anything.

Within minutes, my baby was born. Still. As in dead. He was gone before he even arrived in this world.

“I’m so sorry,” the doctor said, her hand wrapped tightly around mine.

That’s when I stopped looking forward to today and started dreading it. My due date was still approaching but my baby was already gone.

For months, I’ve continued counting the weeks, never forgetting that I should be pregnant and always painfully aware that I’m not.

Forty weeks. That’s how many weeks pregnant I should be. But there is no anticipation for the unfolding of this day. There is only grief.

Because I was supposed to have a baby today, but instead I just have empty arms. A broken heart. And a longing for my child that I can’t imagine will ever go away.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.