I am wearing a pink gown, the opening in the front. I am grateful for that small gift--back openings makes me feel so vulnerable and undignified. There is a paper blanket covering my legs. My shaking hands fumble with the thinness. I tear a hole in the thigh. It is not meant to keep me warm, I remind myself. There is a blood stain on it, already. I lean back on the table. There is a skylight over the stirrups. The rain falls like a war drum, hard, without rhythm, but persistent. The wet leaves cover the bottom of the skylight.
Nature keeps falling, water and leaves. Dead things that look alive. I stare at the counter. Purell and ultrasound gel. A pap smear kit, and non-latex gloves. A black bird flies over the building. It looks like a shadow of a happier bird, something predatory, but special. I know the baby is dead before he tells me. I have imagined the baby dead in all the moments I am not actively thinking she might be alive. But I wait for him to say it aloud.
The doctor tells me it looks like a miscarriage. I am twelve weeks pregnant, but with the labwork and the bleeding and the ultrasound without a heartbeat, an empty sac, perhaps, the baby is gone, or was never there. A paradox I may never unravel. My uterus growing and believing, even while I am stunted and cynical.
The doctor convinces me to go for another ultrasound because of the trauma of Lucy's death. He thinks I should see there is no heartbeat again. He said, "Just so you know, deep within you, that we did not make a mistake." And I tell him steadily without tears in my voice that I held my dead baby and I still thought it was a mistake. Her skin was torn and growing colder, and I thought she would live again. I thought there was some system-wide error, that she could still come back, if someone did something other than mourn. I thought I could puff my lungs up, cover her nose and lips, and breathe life back into her, as though the doctors and nurses hadn't quite thought of that yet. "She just needs some air," I wanted to explain. "We just need to remind her to breathe."
Sometimes I still think that perhaps we cremated her too soon.
I watched a hawk chase a raven, diving and attacking. It was a spectacular show above us as we hiked through the woods to a waterfall. We all stopped and gawked. I bent over in the first bangs of unbearable cramping. The ravens have been around me all this month, waiting for the death in me to escape. The ravens swoop low, cross in front of my car, reminding me that I can lose once, lose twice, I could lose them all. It has been an unkindness of omens--dead baby birds on my front steps and ravens, stopping me in the street, daring me to hit them. Maybe I should call the nevermore baby, Raven, the blackness, the hole within me.
I received an email just as I began bleeding. "Your life is beautiful, so beautiful now. Do you appreciate it? I think you do. I appreciate it, but I can't bear it. I have to look away. It is painful how beautiful it is." It is beautiful, even though our daughter died. I made something else out of her death--a life I always wanted to live. I understand if someone can't bear it. Joy reminds me of grief too. Happy reminds me of sad. And besides, two children is something, I get that. Two living children cover the holes where the others were. You'd never notice if you didn't search for the spaces where others were supposed to be, if you didn't read our stances and our smiles. It would be hard not to believe the lies we are telling in our photographed smiles. My dead outnumber my living now, but still two children is not all of your children dead. I do appreciate it.
What I wanted to say, though, is that we still suffer. We have a beautiful life, but we still suffer.
They search my womb and they don't find the baby. The technician says the baby is dead, even though she is not supposed to say it aloud. Words I needed to hear. In moments, I begin the process of miscarriage, passing clots and tissue. As though my body was holding onto her, until someone could speak the truth that she died. The little dot inside of me that was growing once is gone now. The children would ask me how big she is every day. And I would tell them the size of an olive, the size of a lime, the size of a peach. But she was no size, just my womb grew, making space for an unkindness. She is an empty space now. A hole of what could have been.
I thought I could slip under the radar with one more quick baby, like Fate could turn her attention somewhere else for a quick nine months. "The last time. The only time. One chance," I said to my husband. "One more chance at one more child, then nevermore."
photo by Brian Auer.

I know what I know and I still got baby greedy. I still thought somewhere in me that things would end differently. I am not ranking my sadness, but this is a small grief compared to Lucy. Lucy died, and I held her. I felt like I knew her, she was in my womb for 38 weeks nary a thought of life without her. I never imagined her dead in those 38 weeks. But my little raven died and I only ever imagined her dead. (It didn't help the pain.) 
Perching on the fence in my backyard, like the raven, Grief waits for the physical pain to subside to invite himself into our home again. I reacquaint with Grief, another stodgy old raven wearing black. He is silent, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, sitting by my office door, whispering, "Nevermore."
Have you experienced a miscarriage before or after your loss? How did the grief differ? How was it the same? Did the expectation of loss help with the reality of it? If you have only suffered from one loss or none, how do you abide with others in this community who suffer from multiple losses, or who have not suffered from multiple losses? How do you feel Grief stalks you? Like a raven or a hawk?