Every few weeks I seem to get a prayer request for a fellow mom who has lost an unborn baby because of miscarriage. Each time I find myself re-living my own experience, and I pray that my St. Lily and all those who make up the Army of Baby Saints will pray for these grieving moms. The loss of every child is a unique experience, but knowing that I was not alone in my suffering brought great comfort when I needed it most. I thought it was time I shared gave back too, and shared about how Lily came to be and left before any of us were able to hold her. This is our story. This is her story.
When we got married, Bob wanted two kids and I wanted three. He used to say we compromised and had three, but then Anna came along so now with four kids we just laugh...
But back in the days before JR and Gracie and Anna, there was just a Mom and a Dad, and a little boy with blond hair and blue eyes. We took our little Anthony with us on an adventure from Arizona to Oregon for a temporary relocation associated with my husband's work. It was a wonderful time away. I always thought I wanted to live where it rained a lot, and I had visions of playing with Anthony at the park every morning while I sipped my coffee wrapped in a lovely wool sweater. I didn't realize the park would always be mushy and muddy and the swings and slides would be wet. But I digress. When we were about 1/2 way through our 10 month stay we decided we should have another baby. Anthony was about 16 months old and I was finishing off my dissertation, eager to graduate and be called Dr. Hackett, if only by my little guy.
As with Anthony, I conceived fairly easily. We only told family about the pregnancy 'in case something happened'. I don't think we really had any idea what that even meant.
But my becoming pregnant corresponded with the death of my grandfather. I remember my mother telling me that she and others in the family were consoled knowing that the circle of life continued. Although we were burying my grandfather, they were preparing to welcome a new baby to the family.
We took a trip to see my husbands grandmother that winter and she too was excited to see my little baby bump (mostly because of all the ice-cream I was eating and the umpire-waisteline of my dress). We attended a wedding while visiting my grandmother and vanity required that I tell people about the pregnancy. I was just 12 weeks along and feeling more like 20 weeks pregnant.
And then it happened.
The day we were scheduled to leave my husband's grandmothers home I woke up bleeding. She assured us that this happens sometimes, but I knew something was wrong. My heart started to crack. I called our temporary OB in Oregon and was told that I could come in the following day. We started to pack for the long trip home. Florida to Oregon, pregnant and bleeding with a toddler in tow. Most of the trip is a blur. When we got 'home' to Oregon we saw the doctors and it was confirmed. I felt really bad for the radiologist. I could tell that this was probably the worst part of his job.
I didn't feel bad for my OB. They were mean and insensitive. They told me to home and I would probably pass the tissue (my baby!!) naturally into the toilet (like she was waste matter). If I needed to move things along, she gave me a prescription for a pill to take to make the process faster (induce labor). She was very careful not to refer to my baby as a BABY or refer to the actual miscarriage as LABOR, but that is what it was. So I labored at home. It was horrible. It was lonely. My physical suffering was nothing compared to my emotional suffering. I was broken and crushed inside.
In the end, I know that Lily's conception, short life inside me, and her tragic death was used by God to bring me closer to him and was the needed spark for my conversion.
But of course I didn't know that at the time. All I knew was the emptiness in my body. There was space where there should have been life. She was gone. And I was left with emptiness. My husband saw the vacancy in me and reached out to his priest. I wasn't Catholic but I also wasn't stable so I jumped at the chance to talk to someone. I found such healing in the Church. They knew my child was a child, not a mass of tissues. They knew the loss of her life was more than the loss of hopes and dreams of a child - it was the loss of a real child. They validated my pain by seeing her for who she was.
I slept a lot, I started reading the bible during those times when I just didn't want to get out of bed. I think I probably prayed but I don't remember that as much. I scrapbooked everything I had about her short life. I wrote bad poetry. I researched the Catholic Church and the reformation to try to figure out why we weren't one Church anymore - and in doing so did it with an open mind. And I healed. Slowly but it worked. A few months later I conceived this guy.
It was a harrowing pregnancy with lots of trips to OB Triage for contractions, a repeat c-section and a brief stay in the NICU, but he is here. I don't think I really 'accepted' the pregnancy until I was pretty close to delivery. I was too scared that something would go wrong. Plenty went wrong but he is a healthy little guy and I have so much to be thankful for. And I think that is when I was finally able to let go of my pain associated with loosing lily. Having JR in my life wouldn't be possible if I also had Lily. Just timing wise it wouldn't work. They would only be 3 months apart in age. So even though all things are possible with God, I look at JR and know that he was uniquely created for this time. His time was now and for that to happen Lily's time had to be short. I am so glad I opened my heart to love him and to heal. I love JR with all my heart, and my love for him soothed the burn in my heart from Lily's loss. He will do great things in this world - he has too - after all his sister gave her life for him to live.
Every journey through loss is different and this is just my journey. If you have suffered loss I pray you find some comfort in my word and experience. I am praying for you and ask my dear St. Lily to pray for us as well.
Thanks for stopping by!