Usually, when you are put on bed rest during pregnancy, you are hoping to save the baby from early delivery. But there was no saving my baby. I was 14 weeks along and had begun breaking the exciting news that my new husband and I were expecting our first baby. Most people thought it was insane. Our little baby would be the exclamation point on our newly combined family of nine children—five from his previous relationships and four from mine. But we hoped a bouncing baby girl—we were so sure “she” was a “she” that we named her Sophia—would bring everyone together, harmoniously.

I had been hemorrhaging off and on for several days. My midwife recommended I continue to “allow nature to take its course” and rest in bed while my body processed out the miscarriage. While my body worked to discard the tiniest of humans.

I was a working professional, leading a nonprofit and planning a large, regional event. The event was just two weeks away and I was scheduled to receive a city proclamation, on behalf of my organization’s work within the community, during a city council meeting. A city official had botched the previous years’ delivery of the honorary document, and I had let my disappointment be known, so they were expecting my presence this year.

I sat in the audience, a little shaky, waiting to be called upon. The bed rest earlier in the day had helped slow the bleeding. I had assured my husband I was okay. I tried to be brave, to not worry that I may begin hemorrhaging again, to avoid thinking of the baby. This was an important event. I was losing the baby; I wasn’t going to lose this, too.

My name was called and I was invited to speak. As I presented to the council members and a packed room of attendees, I focused on smoothing out my jittery voice, on breathing slowly in and out, on calming the booming heartbeat in my head, on presenting with confidence . . . and pulling from those deep regions of courage I knew I had in me. I then listened as the proclamation was read aloud, once again focusing on my breathing, my heartbeat, calming those nerves. I thought of the tiny dead baby inside of me, the heartbreak, the impossible task of combining a melting pot family, the death of an idealistic dream. As I looked out at the council members, as I felt the presence of a full chamber room behind me, tears burned the corners of my eyes and I wondered . . . If they only knew.

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