Guest Blog Post: Little Pink Line by Colleen Mallen

colleenphotoBaby A, you made your presence known just five days after being made. I couldn’t wait two weeks to see if my suspicions were true; I only managed to wait nine days. Your dad was away on a trip. I took a pregnancy test, saw the slightest pink line and ran out to Rite Aid and spent $40 on more pregnancy tests.  One more test, one more pink line, and I knew it was true. You were true, you were real. You were making me sick and tired—but of course, happy. I wanted you, your dad wanted you, and so many friends and family wanted you.

For the first time ever, your dad was cleaning the cat box (he wouldn’t let me to go near it). He was grabbing heavy packages from my arms. He was rubbing my belly and said he could see you. We were scouring real estate websites looking for a home, keeping in mind the school districts. We wanted a place big enough for your grandparents to stay so they could take care of you when I went back to work. I was pinning ocean-themed nursery photos I found online. We were ready to plan our lives around you. Your dad was wondering how he would fit in surfing, and I was wondering if I would fit in Pilates again.

I was reading books, thinking about the rest of the pregnancy, planning your birth. Your grandparents would love you so much and so would your uncles and your aunt. You would be the first grandchild.

I was planning my maternity leave. If we stayed at our place, I would walk the dog with you several times a day. We would get out and enjoy the fresh air. All the neighbors who happily greeted the dog and me would include you in their greetings. On good days, maybe we would walk to Balboa Park and explore a museum. I wanted to learn how to carry you in a baby carrier. You would be our buddy. We knew you’d love the ocean too. We’d go and watch your dad surf. When you were old enough, we would teach you how to swim, and you would get a surfboard at maybe age three or four.

I went to the first medical appointment alone. The doctor reviewed my chart and said there were some concerns in regards to the pregnancy. I didn’t have the happy first appointment experience I anticipated. Your dad came to the second appointment. We were mostly excited but nervous too, which is normal. The nurse warned us the doctor would be very quiet during the ultrasound. She said he probably wouldn’t say anything but not to worry, he’d call us into his office after and explain everything. The doctor did ask a few questions during the ultrasound. Your dad looked over the doctor’s shoulder at the sonogram machine. I never saw that first sonogram. It wasn’t a belly one, and it lasted 15 uncomfortable minutes. The doctor never pulled us into his office to explain anything. He simply said maybe it was too early to see anything, and we ought to take another look next week. I couldn’t think of anything else to ask at the time. Your dad just asked, “So, we come back next week?” That was it.

I called the doctor the next day to tell him, “I know there were a lot of unknowns, but I think there may be answers to some things.” I asked, “Was there a baby inside the uterus?”

“There was a sac inside the uterus, but I can’t say it was a baby,” he said.

“Was there a heartbeat? What was it?” I asked.

“I heard something but I can’t say it was a heartbeat,” he said.

I was sitting in my car in a parking lot during my lunch break. I looked down at my belly and asked myself…had it been growing? I hadn’t felt nauseated, my breasts no longer hurt, my bras were no longer tight, I no longer felt like dying when I smelled cigarette smoke. I didn’t want to vomit when I smelled eggs. I wasn’t as sensitive to the heat. Why hadn’t I noticed all this?

That weekend was our first wedding anniversary. We attended a co-worker’s wedding. We sat with my staff, I drank water, toasted with sparkling cider and hoped with all my heart I would not get a sign that you were gone. I pleaded with my body to let us have that weekend together.

It was one week after the first ultrasound when we returned for the second visit. The doctor looked at the sonogram machine and turned it toward me. Both your dad and I looked at the fuzzy screen. There was a little sac, but there was nothing inside of it. It was black.

I didn’t feel much. I wasn’t shocked. I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel. This time, the doctor led us into his office.  I don’t remember much of what he said. I recal he said he was sorry, and I was grateful he was being human. We had to decide what to do.

Baby A, I don’t know much about you, but I do know that I loved you, and I still love you. When somebody casually asks me when we are having children, I’ll feel you in you in my belly, I’ll feel the sadness, I’ll feel the happiness, and I’ll feel your tiny life. Your tiny life made a big impact on my life and on your dad’s. Your tiny life filled my heart and broke my heart. Your tiny life is real, and I grieve for you. My heart aches. My body is reacting to you no longer being alive. I feel the pain, and I hate the pain, but it is all I have left of you. I am going to have a procedure next week. I keep thinking I’ll feel better when that is done, when you are no longer inside of me. But I don’t know if I will.

Thank you for making me a mom, I will always count you as my first child. I love you, I miss you, and I mourn you.

Love always,


colleeenboatAbout Colleen…I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I work for the state health department and have a master’s in public health. I’m passionate about women’s health, animal rights and prevention. I’m newly married, and my husband and I love living in San Diego with our cat and dog. I like to hike, cook, read and write. I enjoy most things related to the ocean- sailing, surfing, snorkeling, surfing (badly), stand-up paddle boarding, practicing yoga and putting them together with stand-up paddle yoga. 

(Note: Colleen was 39 when this happened.)




Tags: , , , ,

  1. One Response to “Guest Blog Post: Little Pink Line by Colleen Mallen”

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that your future will include a baby or babies if that is your wish. I did not think I could get pregnant (7 years without birth control). When I was 42 I got a little pink line. At my first sonogram we were looking at the peanut that would eventually grow into my daughter. Then I saw a black circle on the monitor. “What is that?” I asked, knowing the answer. I wish my daughter’s twin had been allowed to join her here on Earth. Best wishes for you Colleen.

    By Teresa Arnold Mayorga on Dec 7, 2015