Dear baby XY,

Your due date was October 10, 2010. You were a “surprise." Your daddy and I had been married five years but only recently had discussed having a family. When I saw the two blue lines on the test stick, I shrieked. I was shocked, nervous and excited. Most of all, I felt a joy I had never previously experienced. I already loved you deeply, madly, immeasurably. In that moment, thanks to you, I turned into a mommy.

When we heard your heartbeat for the first time, we were giddy. You were really alive! The doctor said everything looked perfect and healthy. We sat in the ultrasound room, radiating with euphoria over your bold, fast, exquisite heartbeat and the flicker of light that was your heart in the center of your tiny blob shape. They told us you were the size of a grape, so we started lovingly referring to you as our grape.

We couldn't help ourselves; we started dreaming and planning for your arrival. We told friends and family. My best friend and mom both sent me a few onesies in the mail. I stared at them in awe imagining you in them in seven months. There was already so much excitement and love for you.

Years before, I had dreamed of a baby boy, about four years old, who looked like his Daddy but had my eyes. He was playing in a sandbox and looked up at me and smiled. He said, “ Hi, Mommy. I'm not going to meet you yet but I can't wait to meet you one day." It was vivid. I knew this was you and it was finally time to meet you. It all felt so meant to be.

Then the bleeding and cramping started. I had a bad feeling—I had not felt as sick in the previous week and my breasts were no longer tender. I have never in my life prayed so hard. I bargained with God. I asked him please to keep you safe and growing inside me. The doctor said it was probably fine and some bleeding was normal but I didn't believe her and instinctively knew something was wrong.

One of the worst days of my life was the day I learned you were gone. I stared at the sonogram technician's face and watched as a frown slowly crept over her lips. My heart fell from my chest through the floor of the office. Your heart was no longer beating and the flash of light was gone. You were gone. I felt like I had been punched. The emptiness and pain was excruciating. You were gone, and I would never be the same.

There was a hole in my heart for months. I was utterly heartbroken. I walked around the busy streets of New York City feeling so alone. All I saw was pregnant women and children, reminders of what I could have had. I blamed myself. I was ashamed that my body let us both down. I never realized how much I wanted you until I lost you. When you were inside me growing, I felt bliss and hope and magic. Now every part of me ached.

To my dear baby XX,

You were conceived six months later. Your due date was May 5, 2011. We were scared but hopeful that this time would be different and we would get to meet you. Only a few weeks in, the all too familiar spotting started again. What followed was a nightmarish month where it looked like you could be saved but the doctors weren't sure. I took progesterone shots every day and laid with my feet up. I cried and I prayed again to God, the Universe, karma, fate and destiny to please, please let you stay with me. I went for a sonogram and blood work every day to check my levels and hear your heartbeat. I felt despair, then hope, then despair again. You were slipping away. Your heartbeat was weak in each sonogram until one day, it was gone.

Weeks later I found out you had been a girl. I imagined us together, skipping down the sidewalk on our way to ballet class, a mommy and her little girl. I wept as I looked through my list of baby names for you. My body failed yet again. I was embarrassed and angry at myself. Women were supposed to be able to have babies, why couldn't I do this? All I wanted in the world was to be your mommy.

We decided to refer to you as baby XY and baby XX, the son and daughter we lost. We didn't get to know you more than your than your gender, and your souls weren't with us for very long, but in that short period you were loved a lifetime.

I wasn't sure if I could go through the heartbreak again, but I couldn't stop thinking about you and all that could have been. So we tried and tried again. Finally, we succeeded. I am now a mommy to two beautiful boys. Motherhood has been everything I hoped for. I still think of you from time to time though, when a due date rolls around, or on a night where I look up and see stars shining in the sky. I imagine you floating through the clouds with angel wings, my heavenly babies whom I never met. You gave me purpose and our experience together made me the mommy I am today. You taught me about trauma and strength and hope. Your little lights stayed with me and helped me forgive myself. You taught me perseverance. Most importantly, you taught me about love.

I will never forget you my sweet baby XY and baby XX. You were not meant to be with me in this world, but you are indelibly a part of me, and always will be.

Azizah is a California bred New Yorker, mommy, wife, actress, producer and musician. You can follow Azizah on her blog, The Artist Mommy.

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