To my dear baby,
One night in wintry December you were conceived, in the beautiful love that can only take place in a romance that has weathered years of joys and sorrow. A romance that has ripened and matured until the two lovers are truly one and as comfortable with one another as they are in their own skin.
My first Midwestern winter seemed hostile and strange. My heart has ached for old friends and the life I had before we moved here. When the wintry days got long, too blizzardy and cold to go out I would think about you. I would think about growing round and heavy with child in the sultry days of summer. I would think about the miracle of birth and the sleepy, content feeling of holding my newly born babe to my breast. And I loved you.
We kept our secret as long as we could. My daily afternoon naps and hormonal emotions were giving it away though. I could tell that your two oldest sisters were figuring things out!
Finally we decided to share our exciting news with your brothers and sisters. They were, of course, all excited and, yup, the girls had guessed! Your due date was the day before Isaac’s eleventh birthday and eight days before Moses’s ninth birthday. Since dad’s birthday is also in September they figured for sure they would be getting a brother for their birthday! It was about time, they were thinking, since they already have five sisters!
After a couple weeks we told them they could tell their friends. They all had someone they were waiting to tell. Letters of glad tidings flew off to Grannie and aunties and pen-pals. Almost every day Olivia wrote in her journal in her newly developed six year old hand writing, ” I can’t wait until our new baby is born!”
Isabelle knit you a hat. They made you a Valentines Day card and they prayed for you every single day. They nicknamed you “Cute-cumber.” ( All except Meredith who would furrow her brow and say, “We are not naming our new baby cucumber!”) She thought a new sister named Sabrina would be perfect!
And so the first trimester was drawing to a close. One day as I was leaving for tea with a friend I noticed some spotting. I was a little worried but knew some light spotting in pregnancy is usually fine so I reassured myself and continued on with my day. Still, later I called the midwife and scheduled an appointment for the next day just to be sure.
She said my uterus was definitely full and pregnant but she wasn’t able to find a heartbeat. I so desperately wanted to hear your little heart beating! I so wanted you to be in there and be OK! Still she said that she couldn’t say for sure there was no life there without an ultrasound so I was not completely without hope.
With heavy hearts we left, not wanting to say anything to the other kids just yet, hoping it would be alright after all. But alas, during the night I went into labor. I didn’t know it would be like that. My body did not want to let you go but, I knew I must, that I could not fight against the creator of life.
The next day Daddy stayed home. With heavy hearts we ate our breakfast then gathered the kids around us. We told them that we had some sad news. Our baby had died and I had gone into labor during the night. I wasn’t pregnant any more and there would be no new baby in September after all.
Sweet baby, had God willed that you grew and lived there would have been a wonderful place for you in our family. You already had a place! We would have loved you and cherished you as an heritage of the Lord. We would have showered you with kisses and you would have been snuggled close to someones heart all day.
Just like we did with Meredith and Lucille when they were babies, we would have set the timer so no one hogged you. (Except me, I have hogging rights.) But the rest fair and square, thirty minute turns to lavish you with their love. And you would have blossomed and flourished and been happy here. That was what we wanted but God had something better in mind.
The Proverb says “That hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” We are heart sick. We miss you. Lots of other families in our church community are expecting babies in August and September.I think I will miss you then. Perhaps God will give us a new baby to fill my womb and heart and thoughts but it will not be you. A few short months of existence, a small place in my womb but I will always carry you in my heart.
Last night we all sat down to sing. We started with ” My Shepherd Will Supply My Needs, Jehovah is His Name”. The second verse says, “When I walk through the shades of death, His presence is my stay. One word of His supporting grace drives all my fears away. His hand in sight of all my foes doth still my table spread, My cup with blessings overflows, His oil anoints my head.” (Isaac Watts)
I love this song! It is so gentle and soothing. At first we were all choosing songs of comfort but then they changed to songs of praise. One by one your siblings took turns coming to sit by Daddy or me and weeping. But they kept on choosing songs so we kept singing.
I told them something I had read before. That our lives are like a tapestry that is being woven by God. When we are here on earth we can only see the back of the tapestry and sometimes we can not make out the design. But we must never doubt that God is good even in sorrow for some day we will see the beautifully completed tapestry. And there you will be, baby, a beautiful and bright part of the tapestry of my life.
I know in heaven, in the Kingdom of Love, you have perfect understanding. You would say, “Of course God is good, Mom!” But last night despite my weary, faltering steps I was able to truly believe that He IS good! BY faith I was able to see that “though weeping may endure for a night joy cometh in the morning.” I know that He WILL “turn our mourning into dancing and exchange my spirit of heaviness for garments of praise.”
And so, my darling baby, I loved you in our hello and I love you even more in our good bye. In the spring we will bury your remains under the lilacs. We will love you and miss you then. Even though you have been the secret happy thought of my heart this long, lonely winter it’s Ok to let you go because truly His presence is my stay. The sun will grow warm again, the lilacs will fill the yard with their fragrance and still God will my table spread. Can you imagine, darling baby, that my cup of blessing overflows and His oil anoints my head? All of my love, dear baby. Good bye for now.