Many pregnant women experience spotting during their first trimester — I’d read that online. When I went to sleep at night and dreamed of the next years of my life, I saw that future life so vividly that I believed those dreams were visions. I’d have my baby at the Mount Sinai hospital in Miami Beach. My parents might not be happy, but that would all melt away in March when the baby would come. We’d all bask in warmth and watch the sunset on the bay that the hospital overlooks. It all was so real and perfect to me.
A week later, I was in the ER, at the hospital where I had planned to have the baby. My husband was there when the doctor told us the fetus had a 50/50 chance of survival. I didn’t know at the time that this was the last time I would see my baby. I finally got my blood test and my ultrasound and a list of other tests. I was speaking to a doctor for the first time about my pregnancy, and it was in an ER.
Back in Minnesota, I sat alone in the ultrasound room of the women’s clinic. My dad was in the lobby. This clinic had nice ultrasound rooms up and down a long, carpeted hallway. When we checked in, they offered us water, candy.
The doctor sighed after looking at the large monitor on the wall in front of us. “So there seems to be no tissue left and just a little blood, so you may be bleeding for just a couple more days.”
But my husband was next to me. Strangely, having him there, holding my hand, was everything I needed to feel hope. We decided then we’d call her Esperanza. A baby, still without a heartbeat, without a gender, without anything but the burning hope and love of her parents. In my heart, in my hopes and in my dreams, I had a full baby, who’d I’d named, who I’d seen so vividly in my mind’s eye. Who would grow up going to the beach, swimming in the waves, and knowing the world was at her feet. The gift of hope I had was this dream.