MY babies? Part 3
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
I don't know about you but I have a tendency to feel guilty for sharing too much or inconveniencing other people. I would rather shove my pain down inside than burden other people with it. Learning to talk about it and let my feelings out has been a long process. Writing them down in a journal is much easier for me. Sharing my feelings with the public is especially risky! However, realizing that just because others have experienced things that I think are horrific and can't imagine myself ever going through doesn't mean that what I did experience doesn't count as a reason to grieve. I hope that if you've experienced any kind of loss that you will find someone to talk to, respond at the end of this post, or write your feelings in a journal and pray about them. God hears even when you think He is not there. He catches every tear in a bottle.. With that thought, I'll continue my story.
I chose to give birth to my baby naturally. My doctor inserted laminaria to stretch my cervix and scheduled my induction for January 8, 1998. My body went into labor on it's own on January 7th. I will always remember, because the 7th is also my mother-in-law's birthday and my grandparents' anniversary. Maybe this was God's way of giving me something positive to think about every year. I don't know..
During that long week of waiting, I went to a Hallmark store with my mother who had come to stay with us. She bought a beautiful angel figurine holding up a baby as if carrying him to heaven. I keep it on my dresser, and it still means more than words can express.
The difference between this labor and delivery and those of my other live, healthy babies, is THAT - that this baby was already dead and there was no sweet anticipation of a reward for 5 months of bed rest, help from so many ladies from two churches, and my childbirth pains. The kindness and compassion of the nurses who assisted me, and my husband's quiet, steady comfort and strength carried me through. Having a shower to stand and sob through the pains felt like floods of warm tears washing over me from God Himself. Our baby's body was partially born feet first in the shower. My nurse and my sweet, understanding husband helped me walk back to the delivery bed, ready to catch his dead son in case he were to fall on the way. He only told me the baby was coming so that I wouldn't be more upset, but I already knew the unspeakable sight my husband must have had from his point of view.
I had been warned ahead of time that David - the name we chose for our still-born son - would not look "normal" because he had already been dead for a week. When he was born and placed in my arms, it was like holding a tiny doll, only his body was limp, soft, and his very thin skin was red. His mouth was open and his eyes closed forever. I can't describe it any better than the letter I wrote to little David in my journal on January 9, 1998, two days after his delivery.
"Later on I thought of you in the hospital. Your little body was formed so perfectly right down to every fingernail and toenail. You even had hair starting to grow on your head and your mouth looked just like Daddy's. As we looked at you wrapped in a tiny blanket with a little white cap on your head, I held your head inside the palm of my hand and put your whole hand on the pad of my thumb. Daddy said you would have been a big boy and he kissed the top of your head so gently as if he didn't want to wake you from your peaceful sleep. I thought that I would be angry and inconsolable but as I looked at you, instead of your body I saw YOU, a beautiful baby, laughing and playing with the angels in Heaven, and I felt as if I could just reach up and touch you. (I still remember feeling as if he was hovering right by the left side of my head and wanted to turn and SEE him and touch him, but didn't dare to try.)
As I was trying to plan the song for us all to sing when we bury you, I heard your voice again: "Just sing the song you always sing every night to your brothers. It is simple just like me". I realized that this song, Jesus Loves Me, was telling me all along that ALL children belong to Jesus. We may be a mother or a father, but that is a privilege that God has given us - to take care of HIS children and make a better world. Though I feel like MY baby was taken from me, you were never mine at all, and neither are your brothers. Everything on this earth is temporary, even our loved ones. Everyone has a time on earth, and a purpose, and when we have served our purpose it's time to go home. Little David, I know you had a purpose like everyone else, but it will take some time for me to fully understand it. I am sad that you are not here for me to care for but I am overjoyed to know that I will never have to worry about where you are. Keep on playing with the Angels and watch for us. Someday soon, we'll all be there to join you, where there will be no more tears. Only eternal happiness. I love you, Sweetie-pie. Love, Mommy."
Now, twenty one years later, I can't give a definitive answer as to WHY this happened to me. But I know I am certainly not the only one to have lost a baby. After my experience I learned that several friends had also lost babies at different stages. None of our experiences were exactly the same, but knowing we were not alone was huge in our individual healing processes. A few other friends also suffered with similar issues of low progesterone. Because of my story one of them talked to her Dr. and was able to save her pregnancy with his prescription of progesterone suppositories. I can't find anything but joy over the thought that a sweet friend, who has been waiting for 11 years to get pregnant after a miscarriage and a full-term baby that died only a few hours later, might finally get to have another chance! Had I not been though the horrible experience of a still birth myself, I would have nothing tangible to share with my friend.
I was given a poem by a friend who had also experienced the loss of a baby a year or so earlier. This was a sweet comfort during my grief-stricken time. I also wrote my own poem. I think many of the most beautiful poems, stories, and hymns are written by people whose hearts are heavy with the pain of terrible loss. Without those losses, maybe some people in the world would be less understanding and compassionate. Not that my poem qualifies as "great", but it is a reflection of my feelings and how the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. I'm so thankful to have been given that gift of comfort that I've decided to share it below, in case it can comfort someone else.
In reflection, 21 years later, I can say that life is downright hard and seems totally unfair at times. It might feel like God has left or doesn't care when you lose someone you love. The truth is that He is there all the way through, working in ways we can't physically see. He works in our hearts to heal and strengthen us for the future. He prepares us for things we never thought possible. Maybe if I hadn't experienced the losses I did, I might not have even considered foster care and adoption...
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5&6
January 8, 1998
Dear, sweet little David,
How I miss you so.
My tummy feels so empty now
why did you have to go?
I heard your little voice today:
"Mommy, don't be sad,
I'm playing with the angels now,
I'm safe, so please be glad...
Sing the song you always sing
to my brothers and I each night
then whenever you feel lonely
you'll remember I'm with Christ"
(song: Jesus Loves Me)
I sang that song so many times
but never heard the words:
"little ones to HIM belong"
now they pierce like swords.
Your body was formed so perfectly
ten fingers and ten toes
each hand and foot my thumb-print size
I longed to watch them grow.
I held your head inside my palm
and looked at your peaceful face,
you had fallen asleep so cozy
like you knew you were in the best place.
Daddy said you had his mouth
and you would have been a big boy.
He kissed you on the top of your head -
our sadness mixed with pure joy.
Five long months of waiting
while Christian women came to help me
I prayed that you'd be born full term
but it just wasn't meant to be.
I try to figure out what went wrong
but we may never know;
"little ones to HIM belong"...
I think it was just your time to go.
I was angry that Jesus took you from me
after such a very short time
but I keep hearing that reminder
that you were never mine.
So even though my arms are empty
I'll always have you in my heart
and I'll keep telling your brothers
that of our family you're a part.
For some day soon our Savior
will come down to take us home
if we be like you - a little child -
before our time is done.
Little David, even though I cry
I'm so blessed to have been your mother.
My tears of loss are also joy
because you are in Heaven FOREVER.
So keep playing with the angels
as I see you in my heart
and watch for us all to join you
where I know our whole family will never part.
I love you, Sweetie-Pie.