"Because Angel Lived"
|Angel @ 8 Weeks|
June 2010 - August 2010
It was my 34th birthday – and one I will never forget. I was pregnant with our second child, and my husband and I had an appointment that day to see my OBGYN. I was eager to finally see the baby. At that point, I was only seven weeks pregnant, but that didn’t matter. We had already started cleaning out the guest room to make room for a new crib just brought home from Babies-r-Us. My husband and I had talked about possible names for him or her. At only seven weeks old, this baby was already dearly loved and desperately wanted. However, my ultrasound that day brought devastating news.
The baby’s heart rate was slightly slower than the doctor would have liked to see, and he or she was measuring about four or five days too small. The doctor tried to reassure us that it was probably too early in the pregnancy to determine anything. She guessed I was most likely not seven weeks along – probably less; although, I knew my timing could not be off. I could tell; she was concerned. And after she prescribed some progesterone and asked to see us again in seven days, I knew at that moment we might not ever get to bring our second baby home.
I was a nervous wreck that entire week. I prayed to my Lord Jesus to save the baby. I cried and begged to be spared the loss of a child. While waiting for the days to pass until my next ultrasound, I read everything I could get my hands on about complications in the first trimester of pregnancies. I shouldn’t have done that; my quest for knowledge only brought me more anxiety. And on August 5th, 2010, I saw our precious angel again – this time with a still heart.
I felt lost and alone. The nurse put me in a room down the hall until the doctor could come and talk with me. And so I sat there in shock. And after the doctor came and explained that there could be no way of really knowing why I lost the baby, I cried. Something in me – praise God – had the presence of mind to ask for one of the ultrasound pictures that had just been taken. I’m so glad I did that.
I left the office that day with so many questions racing through my mind. How should I behave? What should I do? What would we tell everyone? How do I grieve? Should I grieve? What had just happened? I was so confused.
After that tragic ultrasound, I scheduled a DNC, but my body took our angel from me the day before we were to have the procedure. It was over. Our second child had come and gone. Upon hearing this, most friends and family responded with statements such as, “It’s normal. Happens all the time to many women” or “I’m sure you’ll get pregnant again soon.” Others tried to reassure me by saying, “It (the miscarriage) was probably a blessing in disguise. There must have been something wrong.” And still others admonished me to trust in God and His perfect will.
Although the above comments may help some women deal with the pain of miscarriage, these attempts to comfort me – surprisingly - only angered me. I wanted to cry out in response, “I don’t want to get pregnant again soon with another baby! I want THIS baby!” Or better yet, “Please don’t tell me the death of my child was a blessing in disguise! Really!?” But even more than that, I wanted to understand how something so horrible, so physically and emotionally painful, could have ever been my loving God’s perfect will for me and my baby. I felt as if I was lost in a terrible blizzard, and I could not find my way out.
My family and friends only wanted to comfort me during my time of grief, and those aforementioned words were all they could think to say. Despite my frustration, I understood the comments after my loss were coming from those who had good intentions. I knew this to be true because before my loss, I had offered up those same condolences to friends of mine who had experienced miscarriages. At that time, I didn’t know how to comfort a woman who had just experienced the loss of a baby. Nothing in our society teaches us how to help a loved one move through the darkness that is pregnancy or infant loss; on the contrary, society encourages baby loss mommas (BLMs) to grieve quickly and quietly while everyone surrounding that poor soul is to never again broach the subject of that loss with the affected person – ever again. Miscarriage…early infant loss…it’s a taboo subject.
After my loss, life continued on as if nothing of any significance had happened. After all, I would be pregnant again soon, right? Time to move on. I slowly realized that is what everyone wanted me to do. They expected it. Move on, Jamie. Don’t talk about it. What’s done is done.
That is when I realized, I couldn’t just move on. My baby had lived. She – as I’ve come to believe the baby was a girl – lived. Angel – as my husband and I named her – lived. And her story – our story – needed to be shared. Ultimately, I knew what I had to do. I needed to share Angel and share what I had learned through my experience…
Because Angel lived, I had a realization that the society in which we live is one that forces the unrealistic expectation of silent grieving upon women when it comes to the loss of a pregnancy to miscarriage or still birth. And so because she lived, I have shared Angel’s story – the story of my loss – on my blog, in my church, and amongst my friends and family. I have shared our story with the hope that perhaps one day women – mothers - won’t feel as if they must hide their grief and thus hide their children which were lost too soon.
Because Angel lived, a voice was born. The voice of a woman who now admonishes fellow grieving women to no longer suffer in silence but to reach out for emotional support and to honor the lives of their beloved children with their own voices. So if you are reading this and have been through the pain of a miscarriage, still birth, or early infant loss, I encourage you to share your grief surrounding your loss, to share your story, and so share your child. In this way, perhaps we can change the current “off-limits” status on this subject to one of “open-discussion.” So that if someone suffers a loss, we – everyone - may know how to best comfort her. So that the mother who has just lost a child can acknowledge her grief and heal more freely. And so that the children lost too soon can be honored and remembered. Because they lived.
Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
This piece was published in the book Because They Lived - a compilation of stories of pregnancy and infant loss put together by Katy Larsen. If you have experienced a loss, please consider buying this book as I believe it will provide you with a way of working through your pain.
Below is a video of me reading the above piece for a project called
|Our memorial at home for Angel's ultrasound pics.|
IMAGES from BLM (baby loss momma) friends!
To honor our Angel...
Click on the picture to go to the blog of the BLM that does this in honor of all our babies...