I have decided today to share about a different aspect of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Miscarriage. Something many of you women reading this have had the sadness of experiencing. I experienced it for myself for the first time, this past October 1st. Bear with me though, I am still sorting this one out. For me, miscarriage has been different than the loss of Lilly. I am sharing, not fishing for sympathy, for the same two reasons I wrote about Lilly: in case this helps anyone else out there and as a journal for my family.
Two weeks ago from today, Lilly was joined in heaven by a tiny sibling.
(To my family/relatives - you were completely unaware of this. And perhaps this is a rotten way for you to find out. I am truly sorry for not telling you. Please forgive me. I didn't feel up to verbally saying anything.)
Not really sure how to approach writing this post, I decided that letter format might work best. That is what follows.
To my dear wee baby,
Hello from Mama! I know you must be so happy in heaven with Jesus and your big sister Lilly. But I just wanted you to know how much your family loves you, even though we never got to see each other. But one day we will, and I will try to be patient until then.
I thought you might like to know some more details about your way too brief life on earth.
I first learned of your existence on September 11. That day is known as "9/11" in this country. I felt excited and confused and scared all at once! I'm 44 years old, which doesn't exactly make me a young mama. But I am strong and healthy and had never had a miscarriage before. I have 3 healthy living children. And your sister Lilly - she wasn't even supposed to live. But live she did - for 17 whole months!
Still though, I have had so many friends and relatives that have had miscarriages. So I think that is why I felt scared. That, and the loss of Lilly, have shown me all to well how fragile life is.
Well back to you, my dear. After I found out, I called Daddy at work and told him to mark "May 14, 2015" on his calendar. I told him around that date, he would meet our newest baby. He was so surprised and happy! I told him you were about 5 weeks old.
I told him I didn't want to tell anyone yet. I needed a little time to get used to the idea. And it was fun to have a joyful little secret. Daddy did say though, "Let's not wait too long - I want people to start praying for this baby."
I felt several pregnancy symptoms. My body temperature often shot from hot to cold. I had trouble remembering how to spell words! My moods were a bit crazy - though I managed to hold them in pretty well. For a few days, I woke up with swollen lips and cheeks! I never even knew that was a pregnancy symptom until I googled it. I had my bottles of real ginger ale ready for any upset tummy feelings. But those never came.
It was fun thinking about unpacking tiny baby clothes again. Getting out the newborn sized cloth diapers. I thought about things I wanted to do differently with you, than I had done with your siblings. I secretly thought about how much I wanted a little girl, to dress up in Lilly's clothes. For some reason, I had been dreaming about having a little baby girl before I found out about you. But I also knew, if you were a boy, I would love you just as much!
Two weeks later, Daddy asked me again about announcing you. I told him I would like to have a check up at the birthing center first. Just to verify everything was OK. I admit to still feeling nervous, thinking of another friend's recent miscarriage.
A few days later, I called the birthing center, excited about making the appointment. Strangely though, the person who makes the appointments didn't answer their phone any of the times I called. And I didn't leave a message. I decided I'd try again the next day.
But the next day I began to get really scared. I was starting to bleed. Sure there are women that bleed during pregnancy - I have too. But I started thinking I wasn't really feeling pregnant anymore. I called Daddy and he prayed for you over the phone. Tabby overheard and demanded to know what was going on. I told her and she just stared at me. I asked her to please pray.
What would happen?
God didn't leave me to wonder for long. Mid-morning the next day my bleeding was heavier. Then in the middle of homeschooling Hunter, I got terrible cramps and sharp pains in my back. It was so bad I doubled over and then crawled to the couch to lay down.
Hunter is your most compassionate sibling and he got so worried about me he almost started to cry. "What is wrong Mommy?" he kept asking, clutching my arm. Fear was on his face. Finally I told him about you and that I thought you had died. "That is SO sad Mommy!" He climbed up on the couch by me and put his arms around me and prayed for me and you. He kept saying how much he would like a baby brother or sister.
After about half an hour, I passed you. I felt both panicked ... and full of curiosity. Panicked because I didn't know what to do with you - I knew I didn't want to just throw you away. Curious because I wondered what you looked like, inside the bloody sac. Then I remembered a dear friend who miscarried triplets, and put them in a little bag, and buried them.
A burial. That's what I would do. I got a pretty green washcloth and wrapped you up. But, I admit I studied you closely first. Disappointed though, because I couldn't see you. I wanted to know - were you a boy or girl? I wanted to see your development - not just look at a generic picture of an almost 8 week old baby online. But I couldn't. Hunter wanted to see you too. As he looked he kept saying "This is so sad! Poor baby!"
I wrapped you up. It wasn't enough. I got a nice ribbon and tied that around your washcloth burial wrap.
I took a deep breath and told Hunter and Solomon, "Boys, let's get on our boots. We're going outside to bury this baby." I told Tabby on our way out.
I knew just the place. Lilly's memorial garden.
Another loss. A different loss. This was a real baby. It deserves recognition. And a name. But what do you name your baby when you don't know if was a boy or girl?
I googled 7 week old baby. You were a day less than turning 8 weeks. What did you look like? What size were you? The size of a ... blueberry! A blueberry? How tiny - yet amazing. I learned that you should have had slightly webbed fingers and toes. That you would have been moving around a lot - like a jumping bean! That your liver was working and making large amounts of red blood cells until your bone marrow could form and take over that job. And you looked something like this:
|For source of picture and more details click here|
Nothing much I guess. Miscarriage in our culture tends to be a silent thing for many. Maybe it's because talking about dead babies in general makes so many people uncomfortable. I have encountered several people who, when I say something about Lilly, they seem to be trying so hard to find a way to quickly change the subject or pretend they didn't hear her name. I can see the struggle in their face and imagine they'd like to put their hands over their ears and say "Nah nah nah! I don't hear you!"
Of course I suppose I acted no better, by not really telling anyone about you. That is why I am saying something now.
And now when people ask me how many children I have, I will say "Three at home with me, and TWO in heaven."
I love you my wee baby! You and Lilly give each other hugs and kisses, from me.
P.S. Hey - what do you think of the name "Blueberry?" ;)