Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Emily's HopeToday is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I have had four miscarriages and three ectopic pregnancies. My novel, Emily’s Hope, is the fictionalized true stories of myself and my great-grandmother, and the story of loss and triumph. This excerpt describes Emily’s loss of baby “Seth.”

“I need to push.” She wanted so desperately not to push, to allow her baby to stay inside of her, and for her to continue to nourish and nurture her child, but her body wouldn’t allow that. She pushed only twice and her small child was born. Emily heard a sound like a kitten crying, then realized that her baby had let out a small, soft, weak cry.

As soon as the umbilical cord was cut, the nurse immediately carried the baby across the room as the pediatric staff attempted to work on their child. Emily and Jason sat quietly, their hearts heavy with emotion. A few minutes later, she felt another contraction and her placenta was delivered. She could hear a nurse referring to “him,” and realized that their child was another boy. After a few minutes, the doctor brought him back, his small form still hidden in the blue hospital blanket. He spoke in a hushed, almost apologetic voice, “There is nothing we can do for him.”

He handed the tiny one-pound baby boy to his mother. Jason held on to Emily’s shoulder and watched as she cradled the smallest baby they had ever seen. He was so perfect and looked identical to their oldest son, Jake. His small body was covered with minute white hairs. He was perfect as he struggled to breathe. He was perfect as he opened his mouth to cry. Emily held her new son as gently as she could. Jason reached over and poured a few drops of water on him and said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Emily could feel the vibration of his tiny heart
beating so fast.

The nurse came in with a Polaroid camera and asked if they wanted her to take a photo of their child. Emily nodded as the nurse took a photo of her and Jason and their tiny son. She gazed in awe at this miniature human being and marveled at the fact that even though he was tiny, he was so perfect. His little hands looked like a doll’s hands. She removed the baby blanket and laid his small, warm body on her chest. She could feel his heart beating rapidly. After several minutes, she wrapped him again in the small blue blanket.

Then, in an instant, he was still. She could feel that his heart had stopped and he wasn’t breathing, but he continued to feel warm and soft. He looked like a sleeping angel.

If you have lost a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or infant death, please click on the link above “Baby Loss” for resources and helpful links.

Copyright 2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach

3 thoughts on “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

  1. God bless you, Ellen. I had no idea of today’s special day of remembrance (outside its being the day of remembering the feast of St. Teresa of Avila). In terms of your “story,” I truly am speechless. That you have survived not one but three ectopic pregnancies, plus have had multiple miscarriages (and natural children, correct?), is a testament to the mighty power of our God, for Whom all things are possible with our prayerful trust and perseverance. Our daughter who dreamed of having 9 children has had four endometriosis surgeries, and no children. Our daughter-in-law miscarried after thirteen weeks. She knew that her baby was in big trouble; through Priests for Life we contacted a surgeon who performed in-utero surgeries; our grandson’s case was inoperable. Because the hospital disposed of the child’s remains, there was no funeral Mass; no burial place. My one consolation is that the child was baptized in his mother’s womb by our tears. It is hard to imagine that this infant is fully mature in the Lord. I pray to him each day. God bless you. Thank you for reaching out to other mothers. Your witness/story is very inspirational, though I am sorry that you and any/all other women have to live the pain that comes from losing their infants.

    • Thank you so much, Bobbie. Yes, we do have five nearly grown sons (ages 16-28). I will keep your daughter and daughter-in-law in prayer and will pray to St. John Paul II for intercession. The journey to motherhood was a very difficult (and dangerous) one for me. In fact, our doctors told us to stop at three children and we discerned that God was calling us to have more (our two youngest sons, now ages 16 and 19). Here’s the post about that difficult decision to continue having children.

      • Thank you, Ellen, for taking time to respond and to share the link to the post about your difficult decision, made as matter of prayerful discernment. God bless you! You and your husband really stepped out in faith. I’m so happy for you that the Lord rewarded you with two more sons–a full basketball team of truly blessed players–cheered on, no doubt, by the seven others already safely heaven-home. That post has left me teary-eyed, as much from joy as from sorrow. Your prayers for all three women–our daughter, daughter-in-law, and me!–are much appreciated. As you illuminated in your decision post, having/not having children has a physical element, but it also has a spiritual one. It’s the spiritual one that needs much healing, at least in my case. God bless you, and thanks! I’ll be lighting a candle tonight at 7, thinking not only of the babies, but of you. Thank you! I wish there were more I could do to manifest testimony for our grandson. For a couple of years, I made a donation on his “into-eternity-birthday” in his honor to a crisis pregnancy center. Your post/this day reminds me I need to get back to that practice. Thank you.

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