A long Holy Saturday

A long Holy Saturday January 2, 2014

Last night, I was cold and couldn’t sleep, so I snuggled up against my husband, who is always warm. When I’m pregnant, I like to press my belly against him so that we can all be warm all together, me and him and the baby.  “Here you go, little guy.  This is your daddy.  You will like him.”  Then, last night, I remembered that there is no baby.

There is no wild anguish here. I’m just tired, and bewildered.  I was so busy for those seven weeks, I sometimes forgot I was even pregnant, even though we wanted, tried for a baby. I hadn’t gotten around to even looking up what the little one was up to, week to week.  But I worked deliberately to make him real, when I remembered he was real:  I asked God to bless him.  I thanked God for him. I talked to him, and gave him a little happy pat when I remembered he was there.

Here is the thing that really hurts. I never saw the baby. I don’t know where he went.  I lost track of his body as I bled, and now he is gone.  Those are the worst nightmares:  the wave comes, the darkness falls, the crowd sweeps by, and your child is gone.  Where did he go?  Why didn’t I hold on tighter?  My husband would have gone and dug up the frozen ground to bury the body, but there is nothing to bury.  He has been washed away, and I don’t even know when.  Maybe he died weeks ago, when he was too little to be seen.  Maybe I was happily patting someone who was already gone.

It wouldn’t change anything if I could have buried him. But I wish I could have done it.

I’m trying to hear the voice of the angel — the one who stands waiting outside the tomb to explain the situation, so that when you go to take care of the body and find it gone, you will know that there haven’t been wild animals or grave robbers or some trickery or indignity.  You haven’t lost the body; the body has life.  He is not here, but he is not gone.  Don’t worry!  This is a good thing.  You cannot have his body, but you have not lost him.

I’m in a long Holy Saturday.  A bewildering time.  God promised joy, He promised resurrection, but in the mean time, what are we supposed to do?  It is hard when the ones we love hide from us.  They don’t need our care.

I want the baby to have eternal life.  And I want him back.

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  • guest

    God bless you. I love you and your baby.

  • Dan F.

    Kaitlin and I are praying for you and your family (and littlest one) here in CT. <3

  • Simcha, continued prayers. I’m so, so sorry.

  • I’ve been where you are, and it’s so hard. Many prayers. I’ve heard good things about this book, if you are so inclined: http://www.amazon.com/After-Miscarriage-Catholic-Companion-Healing/dp/0867169974

  • Juliana Bibas

    I’m so so sorry for the pain you feel now. We lost our firstborn son almost seven years ago (it will be seven years next Friday), and I completely understand your pain and bewilderment. We did have a body to bury, but I have so many things I wish we’d done differently. I wish we’d taken more pictures of him, that we’d not been so afraid of his fragile body to clean him up a bit before the photos we did take, so many things. Silly things, really, but nonetheless, they stay with me, all these years later. All I can tell you is that it does get better, with time, but sometimes the pain will catch you fresh at a strange moment and you’re drowning again. If I may recommend a book, Naming the Child is a short read on preterm loss from an Orthodox Christian perspective and it might help you as you grieve your baby.

  • Bonnie G.

    Simcha, my prayers for you and your husband and children. I’m so sorry.

  • anna lisa

    Simcha, we are here in solidarity with you and your family, and share in your grief. It never stops being bewildering. As your heart and mind move slowly over and through the reality of it, you will let go just a little bit more and then more. Your faith will change. In the short run it just hurts. In the long run that wound in your soul will connect more with His wounds. This baby’s life has such profound meaning–a little grave might have consoled your heart more, but it is nothing compared to the un-containability of a soul who resides in God.
    Your baby is still yours.
    He will always be yours.
    Right now, yesterday, the day before that, and for all eternity.

    If you can, try to get outside of the house for a little bit. Seeing the sky above, and the beauty of nature, and one of your sweet little ones skipping and laughing around trees and the water’s edge might help you like it helped me when I was feeling too overwhelmed.

    …sending you love, that isn’t contained by space, earth, time, or borders.

  • Jennifer Hartline

    I pray God holds you tight during your long Holy Saturday. I lost my first baby (lost… I hate that word.) and I still wonder, and wish, and wait with hope to find out who that child is. The fact is, a piece of my heart is already in heaven, waiting for me with Mary, who I hope has been kissing my baby’s face for me. Peace to you and your husband, Simcha.

  • rhtaylor

    I miscarried my 5th pregnancy at about 10 weeks. I searched and searched for that little baby and could not find him or her. That was the most traumatic part. Prayers for you.

  • Michelle

    Simcha, I can only imagine how you must feel. Hugs and prayers.

    I was particularly touched at your thought of “happily patting someone who was already gone”. This past Feb 28, I went in for a routine, mid-pregnancy ultrasound where I found out our sixth child, third son, had died about 10 days before. As I waited to go in for induction, I grappled with the idea I had been carrying a baby who had already died for quite a few days at that point.

    I found comfort praying and asking for Mary’s intercession through it all. I will add you to my intentions. Sadly I have quite a list of moms I pray for that are currently grieving the babies they lost before they could hold and mother them.

    God bless you and I will pray…

  • Christie Martin

    Because of my lost ones, I can’t stand to write much more than this. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

  • praying that you find peace and joy once more. hugs and prayer for you and your family. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Marisa Villa Ashwell

    Praying Simcha, without ceasing. I know. Bewildering and ache. I know.

  • Laurel

    I’m so sorry. God bless you and comfort you and give you all peace.

  • Catholic Mama

    I am so sorry. I know. I wish I didn’t know. But I do. A great friend consoled me with a beautiful vision which I have clung to after our own loss. She told me she could see our little one tugging on the skirts of Our Lady, asking her to intercede for us in that childlike way, where persistence continues and will not accept no for an answer. This brought so much peace, because it gave me something beautiful to hang on to and I knew that my baby was in the care of the best mother ever. It didn’t make the hurt go away, but it brings hope and peace, and an ocean of gratitude for the faith we have been given, which carries with it the hope of not having to say goodbye, but rather a knowledge that we are still together…in a different way. The ache in my heart whenever I learn of a miscarriage is a bit less whenever I imagine those precious babies in her care. God bless you and may your precious little intercessor pray for all of you. May Our Blessed Mother, who knows so well the pain of losing a child, wrap you in her loving mantle.

  • Susan Mathis

    Simcha, I am so sorry for your loss. If it will provide you any comfort, please consider the following: At sometime in the future, your little child would have left your body and enter a cold, bright, shocking world. You would have held him in your arms and wrapped in soft blankets. For the first days, and perhaps even weeks of his life, he would have only known the comfort and safety of your body against his. Soon, you would have taken him to church to be baptized, to have him sprinkled with holy water and brought into the kingdom of God.
    You say that you lost sight of his body in the blood you lost. But in another way, please consider that that blood was YOU. Those drops from your body were your most loving arms and softest blankets swaddling him. The first light that he saw was not that of a fallen world but a perfect heavenly light. And the water, the fluid that might have held his little body for nine months, became through the God grace, his baptism waters. The communion that you took before you even knew you were pregnant became his spiritual food.
    You want your baby back. Of course you do. How could you not? But while you grieve for your terrible loss, please remember that your precious baby, during his entire life outside of heaven, knew only warmth and comfort and love. You gave him that, and everything he needed. That is all any mother can do.

    • NurseTammy

      That is quite a nice way of putting it. I care for moms and babies at the time of loss and one thing that helps me stay focused is the understanding that the positive effect that these babies have on the world does not end when they die…if we let them, they change us for the better and we are effective agents for them. I lost my little one at 9 weeks 21 years ago and having her in my life for that period of time changed me. I have now cared for hundreds and hundreds of moms…it was her that allowed the seed God planted in me to come back a hundred fold.

  • woden325

    I offered my rosary before Mass today for you and your family.

  • Anna

    So sorry. I’ve been there twice and neither time was there anything identifiable to bury. My brother and his wife lost their little girl at about 25 weeks and the sight of my baby brother carrying his baby’s tiny coffin just broke my heart, as much as losing my own did. “Where did he go? Why didn’t I hold on tighter?” Yes, I remember when we lost our first feeling so angry at my body because the one thing I wanted it to do – give life to and hold that baby – it seemed to be casting off.
    “They don’t need our care.” Losing ours, one of the hardest things for me was feeling like I should be praying for the little one’s intercession – but I just couldn’t. I wanted to take care of my babies, I couldn’t ask them to take care of me (and, even though we lost our first in 2005, I still usually can’t, even all these years later). Once we had other children, I found it easier to ask the babies to pray for their siblings; siblings are supposed to watch out for each other.
    Anyway, I don’t know if any of this rambling is helpful or anything, but I know I found it comforting somehow that so many other women had gone through the same thing. Not in a misery-loves-company way, but just as something that suddenly I found that so many of the women around me, from my godmother to the neighbor across the street, had been through and could understand and be part of my grief.

  • Blobee

    I wonder if we can have the “baptism of desire” on behalf of a little one who could not desire it for himself? If we believe life begins at conception, then this little soul was complete in the eyes of God. I wonder, since Mommy loves him so, and wishes a baptism so she knows he has eternal life, I wonder, could God not grant such a desire made from love? I wonder.

    • anna lisa

      I can’t even fathom that it would be otherwise, nor do I believe that it depends upon the mother’s love, or her religion.
      “see, I have carved you upon the palm of my hand…your walls are forever before me”
      “and should even your mother forget you, I will never forget you”
      Some stay to do battle on this earth, because they are called to it, and some are permitted to go directly to nestle in the lap of their Abba who *made* them. What parent on this earth can take credit for making a soul? What parent on this earth can even love their child as God does?

      ALL human beings are given salvation *freely*. How could the nature of God, which is *LOVE* itself dictate the shunning of a soul from its very source?

    • Blobee

      Today (Fri. 1/4) I was listening to Relevant Radio in the car, and the show, Go Ask Your Father with Msgr. Swetland was on, and he begins by saying that he wanted to answer an email question about the “baptism of desire.” And the question was whether a baby who dies before it can be baptized can be considered baptized with the baptism of desire if the parents intended to baptize it. And Msgr. Swetland said he consulted with a Systematic Theologian to verify his own thoughts on the matter, and the answer is, yes, the child is considered baptized. He explained that although there is no formal Church declaration on this issue, the theologian he consulted explained that the Church has always recognized catechumens who were to be baptized at the Easter Vigil are baptized with the “baptism of desire” should they die before they can be formally baptized, since their intention was to be baptized after the period of preparation. So, by extension, Msgr. Swetland said, a baby whose parents would have baptized the child is also baptized by the desire of the parents.
      I sat there in the car listening to this, astounded I would just HAPPEN to tune in just as Msgr. was reading the question, and astounded it was this very wonder I voiced above being answered, and one that answers the very heartfelt desire that Simcha voiced, that her child should have eternal life. Rest assured he does, Simcha, he does. God is sure astounding sometimes!
      You can listen to Msgr. Swetland’s show on the Internet, and probably get to Friday’s show in their archive section, if you would like to hear his full answer. God bless you.

  • ABST27

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your anguish. As a mother who lost two souls before they were born, I understand so well your pain. Blessings to you.

  • I wish I knew the right words that would bring you comfort, but I don’t know the right words. I’ve heard some people give the child a name and pray for that child as if they had ‘met’ and seen each other. This way you are referencing a name rather than a pregnancy. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  • Carolyn Perpetua Astfalk

    Simcha, I’m so very sorry. I’ve miscarried three babies, but even when I waited for weeks after lifeless sonograms, my body never “kicked in” so to speak, and I had D&Cs. One minute here, the next minute gone. I long to see and hold my precious babies in heaven one day. Prayers for you and your family.

  • Lisa Tewksbury Sweet

    “I want the baby to have eternal life. And I want him back.”
    Wow. Been there. Been exactly right there.
    Praying for peace for you and Damien.
    God bless..

  • Mary V

    I am so sorry. I have been unplugged the past few days and I didn’t even know to pray. I feel like a bad friend.
    May God bless you, your family, and your blessed little baby.

  • Mary C Donahue

    Praying with you and for you .
    I lost 2 babies.
    It is the time when ,Jesus I trust in You,became real .
    Thank you for sharing your pain . And your little one.
    Please accept my sympathies at your family’s loss.

  • Missy Kampa

    Oh, Simcha. I’m so terribly sorry. I had a D&C less than a week ago. My sweet baby was 12 weeks when she died. I know the pain you are going through, and I am praying for you and your family.

  • Cindy

    So sorry! Grace and peace to you during this hard time.

  • CMerie

    I’m so sorry Simcha. I have lost two babies, and neither time could I find a body. That was so very hard. Praying for you as you grieve. I found that naming the babies helped me heal a little. It at least helped me feel they were real.

  • Naomi Kietzke Young

    I don’t know. I’ll never know. I’m so sad for you. But his body isn’t lost. No more than a wisp of the ash of the martyrs. God will return it to him at the resurrection in its fullest perfection.

    And I can only guess what a stupid, hollow thing that is to say. So I’ll stop. But I’m so sorry.

  • LeMayzing

    We lost our first the same way, Simcha. Our prayers are with you.

  • Tonia Landt James

    I know. We lost ours this fall. I’m sorry, and I’ll remember yours in my prayers when I pray for ours.
    We do love you, and we hurt with you.

  • Ellen

    I’m so sorry for your loss Simcha. The same thing just happened to me (for the first time, I know I’ve been blessed). I was supposed to be almost 10 weeks, but there was nothing on the ultrasound but an empty sac. I don’t know if it was a blighted ovum or the baby just died so early on he was too tiny to see. I also “lost” him in the bleeding. I looked for something, anything that resembled an embryo or even just a sac, but couldn’t find anything. On the one hand, I’m glad I didn’t see a baby with a heartbeat and then later lose him, but on the other it’s so hard to personalize him now that I’m not sure he was ever really there to begin with. You’ll be in my prayers.

  • Doctormom4

    I found out I was pregnant last Christmas Day (2012). I the lost the baby at 6 weeks. It was my second miscarriage (3rd baby I lost). I offered my loss and all of the emotions up to Jesus through Mary as a prayer for any mother out there who needed it– so that a mother would not feel the same pain, or so that a mother would learn to love her child (maybe not abort or maybe come around to the children she has..). It was all I could think to do because I knew the pain I was going to experience (and still do). I felt a little better afterwards, then God also gave me a blessing, without trying (or meaning to), I found out I was pregnant again 6 weeks later. I took a test to see why things had not gone back to normal. It was a new baby and she is now 2 months old. I feel that it was God’s way of saying thank you for placing my trust in him.

  • SmilingAssassin27

    May the Lord comfort you in this difficult time.

  • Peggy Bowes

    Even in your grief, your words are so beautiful. This post brought tears to my eyes. I will pray for you, your family, and your tiny lost baby. May the Blessed Mother hold and comfort you in your grief. I know she will take care of the little baby in heaven.

  • Melissa Hunter-Kilmer

    Simcha, my husband died a month ago, and our first child died 35 years ago. They are both praying for me and their other children/siblings. I have asked them to pray for you. I’ve also asked them to find your baby and hug him or her. I hope that helps you and your family.

  • I am so very sorry. I know that’s not even enough to fill this. There’s nothing I can say. I can and will continue to pray.

  • Jennifer Lamb

    Praying for you, your family, and your beautiful angel – may God grant you peace and hold you in His arms.

  • Claire

    I never got to see any of my babies that I lost. I felt the same way, that being able to see them and say goodbye would have helped immensely. Thankfully I had numerous ultrasounds with my twins so at least I was able to hear their heartbeats and see them moving around, and I have a video and photos of them to cherish. But it sure would have been nice to see them and say goodbye.

  • Annie Tillberg

    God be with you in your grief. May He bring you comfort as you wait in anticipation of Easter morning.

    I’ve walked this road as well and you’ve described it so fully, thank you for sharing.

  • jenny

    Simcha, I read and cry with you …..I felt like crying even louder, louder so can God can hear the pain…..
    Big, big huuuuuuuuug…………….

  • Teresa Grimm

    A friend of mine who lost her 9th or 10th child full term told me after a miscarriage of mine ,that she has this vision of a beautiful country cottage where little children and babies are running,playing, and crawling on the green grass in the sunshine waiting for their parents to come get them. It gave me some peace, remembering that God has a place for them while they wait for us.

    • Teresa Grimm

      When my brother in law recently buried his young daughter, he said at her graveside, (something like) “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. The taking is but apparent and temporary, but the giving is real and eternal.”

  • I am so sorry to hear this. May God bless the little one and give you strength.

  • Susan Windley-Daoust

    Simcha, I’m very sorry. I’ve been away for three days and came here just to check on what happened. I’m so sorry to find this. This is beautifully written and I you’ve gotten great advice and consolation from people who have walked this road. Peace and all good to you today.

  • Jenna

    I’m so sorry. I will pray. God bless you.

  • $1028912

    I know I’ve spoken often about my own miscarriage experience and so you know it could not possibly have been more different from yours (similar only in gestational age), but I hope you believe me when I say I am truly sorry for your family’s loss, and sorry you had to go through it. I wish you peace.

  • $21221057

    It’s been 25 years for me and the deep pain of loss is still there. Like Our Lady we say yes and that means yes to love and the pain that comes with the loss. May Our Lady comfort you as she holds your little one.

  • Sue Kalnasy

    Your beautifully written words captured the ache-in-the-heart that our children leave when they leave us too soon. Our pastor gave us this picture to hold on to: “remember that while Jesus us holding your hand here on earth, he is holding your daughter’s hand in heaven”. Even as you wait to be reunited, you are joined together through our Lord. God bless you and your family.

  • Jess Cathofeminism

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  • BriannaHeldt

    Oh Simcha I am so sorry. And so touched by your beautiful words. I’ve lost two babies to miscarriage over the years and honestly, this is the best thing I’ve ever read on the subject. Thank you, friend.

  • tcstrenge

    God be with you and your family; when I miscarried our baby at 15 weeks, although he only measured a 7week gestation, the Holy Spirit and Blessed Mother gave me the most powerful words to comfort and guide me and my family: Jesus, I trust in you. We miscarried at seven weeks also; we named our babies, we include them in our prayers. I picture Our Lady and our awesome women saints mothering all of our babies.

  • Gina Burns

    I know how you feel. My husband and I lost a baby a few years ago. It was so early that I couldn’t even feel movement yet, but I still miss that little life and I talk to Jaden in heaven. I wish I could have held our baby, but the truth is it was blessing that we were even able to conceive.

  • Marti B

    So sorry. Been there and done that, and it is not easy. Will pray for all of our lost little ones, and for you.

  • Briana

    I am so , so sorry.