(Image courtesy Star Legacy Foundation)
October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, but the entire month of October is devoted to Infant Loss Remembrance.
James and I are blessed, honored, and grateful to be the parents of five adult sons and three beautiful daughters-in-law (as well as two grandchildren!)
But not a day goes by that I don’t think about those seven precious babies we lost through miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. This month, we remember in a special way these seven little souls (and intercessors) in heaven.
Here are some of my reflections on pregnancy loss:
Among Women Podcast Episode 89 (Pat Gohn interviewed me about miscarriage and pregnancy loss)
Five Little Souls in Heaven (This article was written 27 years ago and published in the Nazareth Journal)
Difficult Anniversaries/Responsible Parenthood
One of the themes of my first novel, Emily’s Hope, is pregnancy loss.
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 less-than-one-pound baby boy to his mother. Jason held onto 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
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.
Excerpt copyright 2005 Ellen Gable (End of excerpt.)
Here is a list of Catholic novels that have miscarriage/baby loss as a theme.
A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer
The Rose and the Sword by Gina Marinello-Sweeney
Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk
If you have lost a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or infant death, please click the link at my website “Baby Loss” for resources and helpful links.
In memory of our seven little souls in heaven:
Baby Hrkach Twins (June 1986)
Baby Hrkach (February 1991)
Baby Hrkach (June 1991)
Mary Elizabeth Hrkach (June 1993)
Seth Hrkach (April 1998)
Lucy Hrkach (March 2006)