I’ve written a lot about the things I regret, and I feel bad about that. There is so much about Lauren and the pregnancy that I don’t regret, even during the worst parts of it. I want to talk about them too.

I don’t regret not looking at the ultrasounds while the doctors tried to find Lauren’s heartbeat. I could not do it. I knew what I would see, and I couldn’t bear to see her still, quiet form on the screen. I started crying during the doppler. The nurse was very kind to me, and very gentle, as she strapped the doppler device to me. She was calm and unhurried, and I knew she was doing it for my benefit. We heard only silence. She did not pretend that nothing was wrong. She pressed her lips together and adjusted the doppler twice to make sure. The first tears slid down my cheeks into my ears. Her face turned grim, and she had me get up and go behind another curtain to the ultrasound machine. I turned away from the ultrasound machine because I didn’t want to see what I knew we would see. The tears came freely. I put my hand at the top of my belly, and the nurse put her hand over it, her face still grim as she watched the doctor work. I blinked away tears and looked up at her, and there must have been a question in my eyes, a plea for the truth, because she dropped her head in a slow nod. Confirmation of what I feared most. As I started to sob, she turned and went to get Geordie.

I don’t regret delivering my daughter naturally and without pain medication. I felt her as she moved through me, ready to be come into the world. She came peacefully, without harm, and I was there for her every moment, feeling pain beyond what I could have imagined. A C-section was not an option, and though there were times when I wanted it to end and I would have gladly submitted to a major operation, I’m glad I didn’t. Not because of the risks involved, not because of  the length of recovery, but because I felt Lauren make her long-awaited entrance. I felt her as she slid from me, slick and still and quiet. I cherish that moment, the last time I ever felt her. The last time I had physical contact with her.

I don’t regret seeing Lauren after she was born. I worried about what I would think of her and what she would look like. I wanted to remember loving my baby, not being horrified by the sight of her. But seeing her was the greatest moment of that day. She was my daughter, and as soon as I saw her, I knew I would have loved her no matter what she looked like. She was not perfect, but that only made her more beautiful in my eyes. If I had not seen her, I would have wondered about her for my entire life. I would be haunted by an incomplete memory of her. I have seen her face, and it was such a sweet, serene face. My poor, lovely child – she could not have been more wonderful.

I don’t regret not keeping a piece of Lauren’s umbilical cord. It’s the only thing the hospital offered other than the chance to see her. True, it was something of her that I could have and keep, the lifeline between her and me that connected us for nine months. But it didn’t feel right to have something so tangibly hers without having her too. It’s not something I could put on display or share with others or look at with fond memories. I couldn’t take that essential piece of her and not have her with it.

I don’t regret going to the cremation and moving her remains to her urn with Geordie. It was so hard, knowing that this was our daughter and that she truly was gone forever, but it was also the only time I was able to care for her physical body outside of my womb. Geordie and I tended to her, we carried her to rest. We had not had the opportunity to hold her in the hospital, but we held her there and cared for her together. Nor do I regret riding in the car with her in her casket on the way to the funeral home. Geordie held her on his lap, and it became one of those few moments we had together as a family. For a while, we were simply able to be together.

I don’t regret the time I did have with her, the nine months she lived inside me. I did not like being pregnant, but I loved my daughter. I loved what she was and what she would be. I loved that she made us parents, that she was a part of our family. I loved daydreaming about her and planning for her. I loved what she was bringing into our lives and giving to us.

I don’t regret Lauren’s life. She was ours, and I loved her for that. She would become her own person, and I loved her for that too. I loved everything about her. I still do. I love my daughter; I miss her more every day. As difficult as life is without her, though, it would be far more terrible to have never known her, to have never been blessed with her. I knew her for only a short time, and though it was not long enough, I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

I don’t regret being a mother; I don’t regret having a daughter. To have had her only a brief time is better than to never have had her at all.