This year at Easter Sunday mass, I was flooded with memories of my first miscarriage. My miscarriage began on Holy Saturday of 2011, and at Easter Sunday mass the next day, I couldn’t bear the sound of the joyful church bells ringing. It was just too much—I quickly scooped up my toddler and ran out of church, acting like she was too loud to stay in mass. I hid downstairs in the parish center and sobbed, unable to choke out a single “Alleluia” in celebration of Christ’s Resurrection.
About a week after my miscarriage, I wrote the following healing words. They still bring me comfort. The Holy Spirit keeps nudging me to share these words with others. I think it well help me find closure. My baby will be remembered.
April 23, 2011
April 22nd was a wonderful day. I nibbled on crackers, hoping to settle my stomach. Morning sickness? That made me laugh. This pregnancy was no different from my other seven. At five weeks pregnant, the all-day sickness was starting.
Evening though I dreaded the throwing up in my future, I welcomed it. It seemed like a sign that my baby, as surprising as it was to have growing inside of me, was thriving. My tiny little baby the size of a sesame seed!
From the moment I suspected I was pregnant, I was excited. I thought about baby names, wondering if it was a boy or girl. Would she have dark hair and chubby cheeks? Another spitting image of his daddy, or would I finally get another child that looked like me? Maybe she’d be sweet and loving. Most likely, he’d be stubborn and feisty.
My due date was Christmas day, and it felt like God was sending me the most wonderful, miraculous Christmas gift. I was so thankful that God was helping me create another little person to join our family. I could almost feel my baby’s soft skin as we snuggled and rocked.
April 22nd was a wonderful day.
April 23rd was not.
The Saturday morning started out like any other. All seven kids were relaxing, and my husband was reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. Scrambled and boiled eggs for everyone, just like every morning at our house. I snuck a handful of crackers to calm my stomach—I had been nauseous the whole night before.
And then it happened. I went upstairs to shower, and the spotting began. I prayed. I begged. I told God how much I wanted this baby. I rested in bed, taking deep shaky breaths in hopes of stopping the cramping I felt. Maybe this would be like my sixth pregnancy, when I had a little scare in the beginning but ended up with a beautiful little boy.
As the day went on, I knew I was losing my baby. I felt numb even as I sobbed. I desperately hoped it was twins. Maybe I only had to lose one baby. Maybe I still had one growing inside of me. For a short time, the cramping was excruciating. I was surprised that a miscarriage at five weeks would be so painful, but at least the pain made me feel something.
On April 22nd, I felt full of new life.
On April 23rd, I felt empty.
Despite the queasiness I had felt only a few hours earlier, I no longer had the slightest trace of it. I tried to think of smells to make me feel queasy. Tuna fish. Boiled eggs. Roast cooking in the crock pot. How could that flushed, hot, nauseous “pregnant” feeling disappear so quickly?
Soon my emptiness turned into grief. My arms ached to hold my child. I felt grateful I hadn’t lost one of my older children, but it seemed so unfair to lose a child I’d never met. We would never nurse to sleep, snuggle and say prayers at bedtime, or read Hop On Pop for the millionth time together. I asked God for closure and healing.
On April 22nd, I fell asleep dreaming about my baby.
On April 23rd, I cried myself to sleep.
Days later, God blessed me with a vivid vision. In my daydream, my son was standing before me. He wasn’t a baby, he was a young man. It seemed like he had dark hair, but I couldn’t see his face. He was standing, looking at me, and I saw the shape of his body against a dazzlingly bright white background.
His name was Graham Isaac. He didn’t tell me his name, I just felt it. He never spoke to me, but I told him several things. I told him I loved him and was sorry he wasn’t with me anymore. Tears streamed down my face as I told him all the things I wished we could experience together. Pushing him on the swing. My heart melting when he said “I wuv you.” Fighting back laughter the first time he got sassy with me. His Baptism, First Communion, and all the important “firsts.” Holding his children or maybe watching him become a priest.
As suddenly as it started, the vision was over. I no longer felt empty! I am so thankful to God for giving me this vision. I felt loved, and I was so happy to have met my son. I don’t remember hugging Graham, but I felt very close to him and loved by him!
My vision seemed powerful and vivid at the time, but my memory of it is already fading. It has only been one week. What if two months from now, I don’t remember it at all? Does this mean it wasn’t real?
Call me crazy, but every morning, I tell Graham that I love and miss him. I ask him to pray for me, his daddy, and his brothers and sisters. It helps me not forget him. What if, as time goes by, I forget to ask him to pray with me?
At night is when the tears come. At first, my pillow was soaked as I cried myself to sleep. Now, only a few tears fall silently. I even pray for another baby. For some reason, I feel like I am abandoning Graham because I want another child. My brain tells me that I am healing, but my heart feels like I am forgetting him. But how can I forget someone I never had a chance to know?
Mother Mary understands the piercing pain of losing her son. Should I feel guilty that her pain brings me comfort? Why can’t I rejoice in this suffering, knowing that the pain will make me more Christ-like?
What about my son? Doesn’t he wish I could hold him and take care of him? Doesn’t he want to play with his brothers and sisters? If heaven is only full of happiness, how can he be happy if he misses us?
I have so many unanswered questions. My Catholic faith is what I lean on. Because I believe in the Communion of Saints, I know Graham and I have a connection that transcends life and death. He is in heaven praying for me every day!
My son Graham is—not was—a complete and total person, one of God’s precious souls, even though he only grew to the size of a sesame seed on earth. Although I can’t be the mother I wanted to be for him, he has his Blessed Mother holding him for eternity. Someday, when my earthly life is complete, I will spend forever getting to know my son. I feel such peace and joy knowing that Graham is surrounded by God’s love.
On April 22nd, I looked forward to holding my baby.
On April 23rd, Jesus held him for me.