Dearest Little One,
Where do I begin? We were just getting used to the idea of you. Just starting to be excited and make plans and adjust our schedule for the next nine months. There was even a photo session pending so we could announce your presence to the world. We only had a few short weeks where life carried on as normal. We went to baseball games, enjoyed the spring sunshine, had play dates and doctor appointments. We started shopping for a bigger car, a new crib and car seat, bunk beds for your sisters. We started to make room in our life for you, to fit you snugly in between the four of us…tucked right in the middle as the fifth member of the family.
And then, just like that, the family of five went back to a family of four. Just like that, you were gone.
It all happened so fast, the pain, the dizziness, the phone call to the doctor, the ER tests, the nurses coming in and out, the needles, the anesthesia, the prayers. I had forty-five minutes to say goodbye to you and all I could whisper between sobs was “I’m sorry baby.” There was so much more I wanted to say to you while you were right here on this earth with me, alive in my womb, nestled under my heartbeat, but I just couldn’t find the words.
I wanted to tell you that your Daddy and I were so excited to meet you and that you have two beautiful older sisters who were going to love you and kiss you and squeeze you so much. I wanted to tell you that you were a gift and a blessing and that you mattered. That your life was precious and important and that none of this was your fault. I wanted to tell you that there are so many people here who love you and who would have been excitedly waiting to meet you but that now they were praying for you and for me instead. I wanted to tell you how we would miss watching you grow up, we would miss watching you interact with your siblings and being a part of our family. Daddy will never get to share a Runza sandwich with you and Mommy will never get to watch you ride a pony. Your sisters will never know what it’s like to have YOU as a playmate and a friend.
I wanted to tell you not to be scared, that God would take care of you, that I had prayed for your guardian angel to take you to Heaven, that you would open your eyes to a brand new beautiful world, much more beautiful than this one and that soon you would be so happy. I wanted to let you know that just because you have to go, does not mean we don’t want you or we don’t love you. There was just nothing you could do, we could do, or the doctors could do to save you.You were not going to survive but there was a way to save your Momma and that way meant that you only had forty-five minutes left on this earth.
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It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just how things work sometimes, the human body is a complex and intricate creation but certain systems or processes can malfunction and this was one of those irreversible situations. And although there is nothing I could do, I am still sorry that my body did not receive you correctly and did not help you to settle into a secure home. I am sorry that the doctors had to remove you, when you were just getting adjusted, in order to save me. I would have died along with you if I didn’t have the surgery and then I would have left your daddy and sisters without me. And they still need me. But you don’t need me, at least not in the same way anymore. So I can let you go.
You have a Father to take care of you who loves you so much more than I ever could. After all, he created you, he brought you into being, and He has designed a place for you that no one else can take. You are an irreversible person, there is no one just like you and God has a perfect plan for you in eternity, even if you were only on earth for a few short weeks. You probably know all that by now and much more.
I hope you are completely content, completely happy now and that you know how loved you are, both in Heaven and on earth. We will always miss you and love you and wish you were here. We will always feel that there is a gap in our family that only you fill. Your sisters may go on to have more siblings eventually but there will always be a spot where you are supposed to be. You made our baby a big sister, and now she is the “baby” again here on earth, but you will always be our one and only third child.
You probably know more about us than we know about you. We don’t know if you were a boy or girl or what features or personality you would have. We don’t know what your voice or your laugh sounds like or what you would have grown up to be. But I can imagine what you would look like when I see your sisters running around, blue eyes sparkling, soft curls bouncing. I can picture you when I see your little cousin, born just two days before you were lost. The birth of one life, the ending of another. I will so miss getting to know you and feel you growing inside of me. You were not even big enough for me to feel your movement yet but your existence has certainly been felt.
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Your life here is already written, it was very very short, but while it lasted it was very sweet. We barely knew you and yet a piece of us goes with you. You have touched us, there is something missing now that you are gone. There is an empty space in my womb where you should have been still safely snuggled. I wish you could remain with us here and that everything was going to be fine.But it was not meant to be.
It still all seems little blurry and a little hard to believe. The shock of losing a baby after just realizing there is a baby on the way makes the whole experience a bit surreal. I have to remind myself that this actually happened and it wasn’t somehow just all a bad dream. I have to remind myself that we have a child that was here and is now gone. It is an experience I had hoped I would never have to go through, yet now I can at least share in the grief that many other mommies and daddies go through during the loss of their little ones. God has given you to us and now He has taken you back to Himself and we will do our best to accept it. This was not in my plan, this sorrow was not something I signed up for, but suffering happens in our fallen world and God has a plan for us and for you that we may not understand until we meet again. “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD” (1 Samuel 27-28).
Relate Post: To all my friends who have lost babies.
In the meantime, I hope you watch over us, your heartbroken mommy and daddy and your big sisters, who are still too young to really know what happened. But I will make sure they know about you as they grow up. We will think of you when we pray and when we see your page in our scrapbook and your name framed on our wall. We will think of you when your death anniversary comes again each year and when we visit your grave. We will think of you when the song “Austin” comes on the radio or when your namesake’s feast day is next on the calendar. We will think of you when your due date comes and goes without you being here. You were “too beautiful for earth” and so we must let you fly away.While you are enjoying the bliss of paradise, remember to pray for us and that we will always love you, our little Austin Mercy.
Your heartbroken momma
Related Reflection – I wrote this a year before experiencing the grief of losing a baby. How true and how comforting to me this reflection is today:
Life is heartbreaking. Not only do we lose people that we know and love but we lose people we have yet to meet. Anyone who has lost a baby through miscarriage, a stillborn, or shortly after delivery know what this is like.
The unimaginable grief of a mother having to bury a child who she has barely begun to feel alive inside of her, the gut-wrenching sadness of a father waiting to hear that heartbeat where there is only silence. It is a tragedy enough that children are lost who are not known or wanted but to have a child taken too soon who was loved and encountered even for a few weeks of morning sickness or the first few months of fluttering movement is so terrible for those who loved and encountered. There is no way to explain this pain away, no way to regain the life that was lost in this world which is why we hope that child has gone to God, has gone onto a better life than we can now imagine.
As the Martha and Mary biblical story illustrates, one sister chooses the better part of being at the feet of Jesus and listening attentively to him while the other sister hurried around completing the tasks and duties of the house.
Is it not too far of a stretch to believe that these children transferred so quickly from this world to the next are following in the path of Mary? While the rest of us scurry around our lives, completing the many duties of the day and barely stopping to catch our breath, these children have received a first class express ticket into paradise; they are welcomed to sit at the feet of God as he gathers them “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37).
They have chosen or rather been given the better part. So to all of those who mourn their little ones today, I hope they can take comfort that their little ones have gone on ahead, they are playing happily with the angels, and the better part will not be ever taken away from them.