My baby, Manzanita Stardust, “Ziggy”, quietly died in utero. It was like one day she was alive and the next, she just wasn’t. We went to see her at around 10 weeks, saw her little heart beating and felt the excitement of her presence – then when we went back at around 14 weeks, she was just… gone.
Nothing in my life had adequately prepared me for the pain of losing Ziggy. Nothing. That blindsided me like the proverbial freight train – it just whacked me down and flat out, pressed the living breath right out of me.
I went through a week of waiting through ripping pain, curled in fetal position, unable to sleep, night after night, simply washed up in writhe-worthy pain. Pain. Pain. More Pain. Pain of the misoprostol, pain from the cramping, pain from the drawn out “labor” of trying to pass the baby who had already died. Pain from my heart – why did I lose her? Pain from my soul – was it ME? It was ME, wasn’t it? I didn’t protect her well enough from all the stress in my life, my body failed me and I was a deeply wounded person.
My first-born, Micah, saved me then – in all that pain, he’d wrap his little body around me, and just lie still. He’d hold me. This small proof that somehow, in some way, I too could create living perfection.
When Ziggy finally passed out of me, I gathered her tiny body and put it in a beautiful hand-carved Japanese box that I had had for years. I placed her body on paper, love letters to her, letters of apology to her, and prayers for her lined the areas around the box. And then, in the cold, hazy fog of a Bay Area dawn, I buried her in her tiny box under a tree.
I probably broke a million laws in doing so.
But I needed to bury her in a place that was beautiful, needed to feel that she was cocooned by the trees, by nature around her, that her tiny self would return to the earth.
I said goodbye to Ziggy.
Goodbye to the child whose death actively contributed to Moxie’s life.
I stood there and prayed for my child that I’ll only meet when we are reunited in the next world, and felt my heart just about explode from gratitude for Moxie.
I can’t shake the feeling that somehow Ziggy came and left so I would accept Moxie. So that I would choose to keep her despite her prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.
But I won’t know until I can ask her.