Today is hard and it always will be. There are too many difficult anniversaries for it not to be.

Ten years ago, I miscarried a baby.

Three years ago our youngest, Luke, coded in the NICU and had to be resuscitated. And so began the most tenuous 24 hours of his sweet life. We lost him and God brought him back.

This morning, after having a horrible night of sleep – my heart kept thinking of all that was unsettling – I jumped in the shower hoping that I could begin the day clean. In more ways than one. And then it happened. I started sobbing. There was no provocation, the tears just bubbled over. I dried them, got out of the shower and prayed the “Come Holy Spirit” prayer. It’s been with me all day.

Any mother who suffers loss – miscarriage, stillbirth, infant, toddler, teen or grown adult – shares the same sentiment. Your heart is forever changed and your perspective permanently altered. I no longer judge other mothers as harshly. Perhaps the loss of that day will never, ever, really leave me. Ten years ago, when I miscarried, I still remember the details. A friend  was driving by and stopped to say, “Hi.” I told her we were heading out for my first ultrasound. She gave me a thumbs up and told me to have a great visit. The rest of the morning comes to me on a highlight reel.

Signing in at the OB/GYN’s desk, feeling excited.

Changing into the gown and heading to the ultrasound room.

Scott holding my hand. Smiling.

The tech, ever so quietly, looking on the screen.

Me, glancing at the darkness, searching for a heartbeat. (Why the hell wasn’t she saying, “Oh, look, there’s the heartbeat. Do you see it?”)

The “click” as she turned of the monitor and told me to head to the room to wait for the OB.

Dr. Teter’s sweet voice and kind eyes as he said, “It looks like we have a sad situation, here. You’ve miscarried.”

My eyes filling with tears.

His reassuring pat on my shoulder.

The card in my hand and the promise to call if I decided to have a D&C rather than letting the miscarriage happen naturally.

Scott and I walked to the car – I can’t remember – and headed home. I kept expecting the doctor’s office to call and say they’d made a horrible mistake. The ultrasound tech was new, maybe, and had read the results wrong. Then, we walked in the door and I just fell into Scott’s arms and sobbed. Big, loud, ugly tears. I’m fairly certain I ruined his shirt, what with all the nose blowing, tears falling and hands beating his chest as I cried out, “no, no, NO!”

Then I felt it, Will had toddled into the kitchen and was grabbing at my leg. He was just 18 months old and his eyes looked confused. There was love tugging at my leg, begging to be held. So there the three of us stood, holding one another, crying. As I look back on that moment it feels like someone else’s life. Another woman. I now see her with an eye of a mom who’s been through hell and back. She had no idea what was to come. She didn’t know that she’d suffer a year of secondary infertility. She didn’t know that God would bless her with four more beautiful babies. She didn’t know one would be a preemie and he would change her life.

She felt pain and anger and disbelief.

Today, she feels gratitude, love and peace.

Our son’s Godfather came over to the house that first night and cried with us. I still remember seeing his tears, come one right after the other, as he heard the news. What a touching moment of vulnerability. His love for our family was genuine and the pain just as real. Another priest came over for our weekly “ER” night of Thursday TV. That was so healing, mostly because it felt so normal. The next day, we ventured to his office and he bestowed a blessing upon us. The following weekend, we gave our Pre-Cana talk to engaged couples, as planned. And, two weeks later Scott and I both attended a Cursillo weekend. Life continued and God gave us just what we needed when we felt like the world was falling apart.

It was weeks before I attended Mass. Seeing pregnant moms was just too much to bear. I avoided our friends who were pregnant. I stopped going to baby showers. I almost threw the computer screen through the window when my untimely “Babycenter” email arrived with details of our “pregnancy this week.”

I’ve learned so much in the last decade as a mom. My goodness gracious, I’ve learned a lifetime of lessons and I know God has more to teach me.

If you’ve suffered loss, I’d like to share one thing a priest said to me during those first weeks that was incredibly healing. I told him I was angry and really ticked off that God would do something so cruel. Yet, I felt sad for feeling angry, as if I was less of a Christian mom for doing so. His reply?

“Go ahead and get mad at God, I’m pretty sure he can take it.”

Thus, began a beautiful, real and honest relationship with my Maker. May those words, a wonderful book called “From Sorrow to Serenity” and the lyrics to “Glory Baby” be comforting to you. They certainly were for me.

Glory Baby Lyrics

Glory baby, you slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened dear
You disappeared on us baby, baby

Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we’re home with you
Until we’re home with you

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

Sweet little baby, it’s hard to understand it
‘Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing, and we know we’re stronger people
Through the growing, and in knowing
All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would
Just like he said he would

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know
All you’ll ever know

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Yeah, you’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

6 Comments

  1. MrsEWP on September 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    This little poem by Alice Cary reminds me to keep an eye toward heaven whenever the old grief unexpectedly erupts. . .

    Even for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief,
    death cannot long divide,
    for is it not as if the rose that climbed my garden wall bloomed on the other side.

  2. Nicole on September 28, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Oh Kathryn… I’m so sorry. As a woman who’s suffered years of infertility and loss, I can relate in so many ways… Just the other night I was reflecting back on our multiple miscarriages (four that we know of)… and the one in particular that was the hardest for me… We’d seen our baby’s heartbeat – all was well. And at almost 10 weeks, it stopped. It was on April 21st, 2010. I’ll NEVER forget that date – it is seared in my mind. But I also rejoice in what God has done in the past 18 months – giving us two babies to celebrate! I still remember your loss well…and praying for you all. And I will also never forget that you called all those months ago when you learned of what had happened to us. Know that I’m hugging you in my heart! Love you sweet friend!

  3. 7 Quick Takes (Vol. 6) & QOTW: September 28, 2012 on September 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

    […] I decided it was time to lighten things up a bit. I told y’all September might by dicey. Yesterday proved it was.— 2 —I know I promised a post this week about Luke’s rockstar birthday party. […]

  4. Molly on September 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Kathryn –

    Thank you for this. I too endured a miscarriage. It was ultimately the dimize of my marriage (TMI here) because I thought I had failed. It took a lot of therapy for me to realize that I had to leave it in God’s hands. However, we lived in Indy at the time and Ben was driving back and forth to Michigan to work. It was a surprise to us that I would get pregnant that quickly, but also stressful because Ben didn’t find work in Indianapolis. I remember how excited his parents were and we were excited too; however, over the coming weeks I felt less and less pregnant. I knew there was something wrong and the doctors wouldn’t see me. Anyway, we went in for my ultrasound and like you, nothing. The hardest part was walking out of the OB’s office when the lady said, “can I schedule your 4 weeks?” I said “no, you need to schedule my D&C.” Hit me in the gut why don’t ya? I cried so many tears those two days and then we decided to head to Michigan for his cousin’s wedding to “Cheer me up.” Well, what we didn’t realize is that most of his family knew I was pregnant, but didn’t know about the miscarriage and his cousin was about ready to have a baby. Anotehr punch in the gut.
    Ultimately, I could never forgive myself for the miscarraige and then started holding it against Ben. It was a very hard time and we couldn’t find our way through. However, the path of God is mysterious and it lead me to Kevin. Our beautfiul children are a gift from what God took away.

    I still tear up thinking of that day in July 2003, when the baby was due on Valentine’s day 2004.

    Hugs my friend.

  5. Ali Workentin on September 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Kathryn thank you for sharing one of the hardest days of your life. I too have walked that path, loosing a little boy at 5 1/2 months into my pregnancy (36 years ago they did not consider it a birth as they would today). And then the joy of delivering twins and having one die at 3 days old and the ANGER and confusion I felt and asking Why would God give me a baby and then take it away?….thank you for sharing and on those anniversary dates (35 and 36 years ago) I still go through each moment as if it was today. May you feel blessed today and again, thanks for sharing a part of you.

  6. Kathryn on October 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I’m really touched by each of your comments. While difficult, there was a beautiful thing that I never imagined, that happened. I found a sorority of women that knew my pain, in a very real way. Thank you for your sweet words. I pray that through your sorrow you find your serenity.

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