Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jennifer's Story: Recognizing the eternal in her miscarried babies

 
Rachel,

Below is a copy of the note I shared with friends and family on Facebook when we lost our second child to miscarriage in 2011. Like you have experienced the response I received from sharing was powerful and overwhelming. Miscarriage is a silent epidemic until you have experienced it yourself, you don't realize it is all around you. So many people need an outlet to grieve, that our culture does not provide us.

Thank you for sharing your loss, to touch and heal others.

Jennifer

Baby Morgan: Our Poppyseed

 
November 10, 2011 at 8:04am
August – Oct 2011

Noah and I had carefully planned this baby – wanting to have another child close in age to our daughter Aurora, and timed to have the same age gap (18 months) as her older brothers have between them. It was so fun to plan the timing carefully, keeping detailed charts and data to maximize the chances of conception. We conceived in just our second month of trying. Because we were charting and keeping track of temperatures, etc., we were able to determine we were pregnant early  – (on the first day of college football season, to be exact).

When the test came back positive, it was very exciting. We started debating names (or rather, I would propose names, and Noah would shoot most of them down, mocking me for my poor taste.) We discussed gender – I felt rather certain this was a boy.  Noah immediately started looking up all the facts he could learn about Baby’s size and growth. He learned our child was the size of a poppyseed at that moment. We started referring to the baby only as “Poppyseed.” We were due in early May 2012, when Aurora would be exactly 18 months old.  Everything was perfect.

I have had complications in previous pregnancies, and we decided to wait awhile before telling our family and friends. At about 8 weeks, I experienced some cramping and quite a bit of spotting, and we feared we had lost the baby.

However, an ultrasound indicated everything appeared to be fine, and we got to see Poppyseed for the first time; the little intricate body and tiny heart beating independently and strong. It never ceases to be miraculous to me to see that tiny, tiny heart beating on its own.

We told our family the same day, sharing the ultrasound photos and telling them all about Poppyseed. Our sons Trevin (6) and Kaden (4) were very excited and loved to propose “helpful” name suggestions (“Thunder Strike” and “Burpy Slurpy”). They talked about Poppyseed all the time.

However, for reasons we do not know, our baby’s little heart stopped beating somewhere along the way.  I began to have alarming symptoms, and a second ultrasound at 11 ½ weeks – by unhappy coincidence on Noah’s birthday – confirmed there was no heart beat and baby had stopped growing some time before.  We lost the baby at home the next day. It was devastating.

It is so hard to know how to properly grieve a child lost in this manner. Most of the people around us did not even know of the child’s existence, and we live in a nation that chooses not even to acknowledge a baby this small as a real life. But the loss is very real to me, to us.

For my part, I want to properly acknowledge my child’s existence, to give the child the honor of a real name, of some recognition. I want to tell people, but I know that puts them in that awkward place of not-knowing-what-to-say. I don’t need them to say anything at all. I just want to share, to acknowledge the child.

We planted a tree (an exotic, gorgeous Chocolate Mimosa silk tree) in a beautiful spot on Noah’s parents’ property. Our sons helped; digging the hole, throwing in the dirt, tamping it down, and lighting a candle to flicker in the wind and misting rain. I look forward to watching the tree grow tall and strong as a lasting memory and special place for us.

We chose a name: Morgan, (although Noah says he will always think of this child only as Poppyseed).  For Noah, the name Morgan is reminiscent of a close friend. For me it is a strong name for boy or girl, and it means “Great Circle.” I like to think of Morgan’s life as a great circle not yet complete. We thought we were waiting to greet this child to life on this earth. Instead, as it turns out, Morgan will wait to greet us to life after this earth.

Most importantly, I want to remember, and not move on as though nothing happened.

I have always believed that life begins at conception and we are eternal beings, whose souls live on after death. I know Morgan’s soul lives on, and that someday we will be reunited. I don’t know what that will look like – I don’t pretend to have that figured out – but I look forward to it. Morgan joins the first baby I lost to miscarriage in 2004, baby Gabriel.  I don’t know how it all works, but I hope they can be together to keep each other company.

My mother shared a book with me about a 4-year-old. boy who had a near-death experience and came back telling his parents about the glimpses he saw of Heaven. He said he was greeted by a sister he never knew he had – with brown hair like his mother’s. His parents had never told him they had lost a child to miscarriage before he was born, and they had never known if the child lost was a boy or girl. The child and his other siblings were blonde like their father, and the mother had always lamented none of the children had her coloring or hair.

That story takes my breath away. It’s so hard to conceive of your child in Heaven when you never got to see or hold them, or even know their gender or hair color. Yet, I know they are there.

The Yoga culture has an amazing word, ‘Namaste,' for which there is no equivalent in English. Namaste (na-ma’-stay) means, roughly: “that which is eternal in me, acknowledges that which is eternal in you.” It’s such a beautiful concept – that you greet someone and take a moment to acknowledge that they are more than a physical being with material accoutrements, and recognize their eternal spirit within.

The word has special meaning to me now, as it hits at the very heart of what I feel for baby Morgan. I never want to forget Morgan’s life, and I want to continue to acknowledge my child’s existence.

Namaste, baby Morgan, our precious little Poppyseed. I see, I acknowledge what is eternal in you.


Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing Poppyseed's story with us. I, too, loved the book "Heaven is for Real." It was a major deciding factor for me in wanting to name all my babies. I hope that your story encourages someone and helps them feel less alone. Rachel

2 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your story, Jennifer. It is very touching.

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  2. Jennifer makes some very valid points about society and the inability to share the grief of a baby so tiny. I just published one of the most terrifying posts of my life when I addressed this issue. So many mothers are pressured to conceal all of their grief because of the misconception regarding miscarriage. A child is a life from the moment it is conceived, but society does not recognize it as a loss. http://operationwife.com/miscarriage-misconception/

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