To learn the ways of earth
A mother’s love is waiting there
We call this miracle birth.
When God calls back a tiny soul
And stills a fleeting breath
A Father’s love is waiting there
This too is birth, not death.
When God calls back a tiny soul
And stills a fleeting breath
A Father’s love is waiting there
This too is birth, not death.
One day I got a tattoo.
I lost a baby via miscarriage and wanted a way to memorialize her (him?).
I believe she was a girl and I don’t know why.
Her name would have been Julia.
Julia Lyn Reed
(or Nathan if a boy)
I had nothing left of that tiny baby. After the D&C procedure, I struggled with depression and bouts of rage. I also lost my maternal grandmother just 2 weeks prior to losing my unborn baby. It was a tough season. I was deeply wounded.
I blogged about it often. Just click “All Things Tattoo” in the blue bar at the top to read through some of my struggles with miscarriage, loss, and grief.
Yesterday I was talking to a loved one on the phone. I suggested s/he read the Bible and highlighted a couple of books I thought would be fitting; one in the OT, one in the NT. After hanging up I felt a bit like a hypocrite. I haven’t read my Bible since a few days after Jack was born (FYI : It’s Jack, not Jax! — he is named after my late grandfather who was Jack too). So I meandered into my office and started to pick up my Chronological Bible that I read last year. I hesitated and looked at 2 other Bibles stacked on top of it. One is small, but thick and one is bigger and thinner. They are both NIV. I started to reach for the smaller, thicker one since it was on the top of the stack, but then changed my mind and grabbed the bigger, thinner one. Don’t know why really. I just felt compelled to read that one instead. It was even underneath the other one.
I noticed it had a paper bookmark in it and laid it on my kitchen table under Jack’s bouncer seat. I got interrupted several times before picking it up again. I opened to the page that was bookmarked. Psalms. I remember before we moved to this house I was working on reading the Psalms. I was trying to do my own little personal Bible study. Once we started the move, all was forgotten.
The Psalms I opened to were written by David. They all start out with him agonizing over something and crying out to God. They all end with him praising God regardless of his trial. They are hard Psalms for me to read because it is obvious that David was in agony. However, I am always hit by the fact that he ends these cries to God with praises for God despite his painful and stressful circumstances. He praised God no matter what.
Praise. There is a sacrifice of praise. Praising God through pain is the hardest thing I think I have ever done. I had a million “why” questions. A billion. Why did He let that baby die? Why, God, why? But my faith strengthened and my prayer life grew by leaps and bounds and my blog took off and I kept praising God despite the deep pain I was in. The pit. The lowest. Sadness. Agony. Despair. Yet, praises for the One who created me. Praises mixed with questions, but never did I doubt Him. Never did I turn my back on Him. Ever.
I noticed the paper bookmark was smooth and shiny. I took a closer look and realized it was folded. Jack made a little noise and his bouncer seat jiggled. I smiled as I opened the paper.
And there it was… a folded up, slick piece of paper with three ultrasound images of my Angel Baby.
Beneath my son’s bouncer seat sat my Bible. Inside that Bible was a page marked to Psalms written by David at one of the worst times in his life. That page was marked with three ultrasound pictures of my unborn baby who died and is undoubtedly in Heaven with the God of grace and mercy.
I do have the only pictures of that baby after all. I have them.
And I also have a tattoo. A story. A triumph. A new son.
A new son.
Jaxon would not be here if I hadn’t lost the other baby.
He was conceived 4 months after my loss.
New life. Renewed hope. The love of the Father raining down on His daughter.
And still there’s the promise.
Someday I’ll see my unborn baby in Heaven. And then we will never be separated again.
Sometimes there really is a happy ending.
Thank you Lord for the storms. Thank you Lord for the sun.
Thank you Lord for the Son… and for the son.
I love you! Amen.
In the midst of sheer pain, there was peace.
In the midst of utter heartache, there was comfort.
In the midst of the worst loss of my life, there was love.
Nobody can tell me that the loss of my baby was for nothing. This story — our story — has touched more people than I can count. The amount of traffic to my blog daily (daily!) is astounding in regards to the miscarriage. Women lose babies every single day. It is a silent suffering. Most people don’t know what to say to undo the pain or comfort the grieving Mother. A lot of times what is said seems heartless and inconsiderate.
“It was God’s plan”
“There must have been something wrong with the baby and it is God’s way of making it right”
“These things happen”
On the way to the hospital I was a crying mess, deeply bitter, and on the brink of losing my bearings on reality. I just stared out the window with tears streaming down my face trying to feel as numb and unattached as I could. I didn’t want to feel. I just wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep. I wanted nothing to do with anything. I just wanted to be alone. As I sunk down into the depths of despair I decided to pray. What else could I do?
Lord, I don’t know why this had to happen. But I am going to decide to lean on You. You said I could. I’m going to. I am going to give this — my grief — to You. What You do with it is up to You. But I can’t do this. I can’t be a good wife or Mom under these circumstances. I need You now more than I’ve ever needed You. Help me. Amen.
Believe what you will…
I am here to tell you that no sooner did “amen” leave my silent prayer before I was enveloped in a peace that goes far, far beyond my comprehension. I felt it like a coat had been slipped onto my shaking frame. Can you actually feel peace? I would not have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it for myself.
He was there. He never left my side. He gave me the most precious gift I could have ever asked for at such a time as that. My God, my Jesus, my Savior — He loved on me. He wrapped me in His peace. He carried me through the next few hours and days. He kept me in His peace for as long as I needed Him to.
And when it was time to release me, He did it slowly. He was so gentle. He was so careful. He protected me. He sheltered me.
Then He started to show me how to move on.
I had moments of grief after that. Many of them. I would cry. I would remember. I would again ask God to kiss my baby for me. I promised I would never forget. I even feel like it may have been a girl. That might seem silly to you, but I feel like it was a girl. Julia would have been her name.
I had to physically return to normal before we could try for another baby. Rich didn’t put up a fight. He told me he still didn’t want three children, but that it didn’t matter as much as having another mattered to me. He said he would submit to my decision.
In April of 2008, about the time we had decided we would start the process of adoption, we instead started the process of conception. It worked on the first try. On Mother’s Day 2008 I took a pregnancy test. I was almost 2 weeks late on my cycle.
I am 34 1/2 weeks pregnant. I am not happy that I lost my baby last year. But if I had not lost that child, I would not have this child. I still think about and pray about the baby that I lost. I still look forward to meeting that wee one when it’s my turn to cross over into eternity. My kids know they have a sibling who gets to look into the face of Jesus every day.
I have four kids. Three of them live with me. One lives with Him.
Someday we’ll all be together.
I clung to the chorus of this song
after my loss.
Artist: Seventh Day Slumber
Song: Every Saturday
“I’m barely hanging on
with all these empty feelings.
I’m hurting in so many ways.
And though I can’t begin
to understand the reason,
I still believe that you’re God.”
This post will undoubtedly take on a life of its own. I have wanted, yet not wanted, to write it. Since November turned into December it has been lingering in my mind.
The unanniversary. The unbirthday. The one year mark of a tragedy within my heart.
In August of 2007, I was embarking on a mission. I was preparing our lives to adopt a Chinese baby girl. I had contacted several adoption agencies and whittled it down to three. I called my first choice and was told almost immediately that they would not take our case. Disappointed, but not shaken, I called our second choice. I was given encouraging news. We decided in April of 2008 we would start the process officially, but I was already getting “all my ducks in a row”. People were praying for us and I was seeking out those who had experienced the adoption miracle themselves. We were rolling.
A few weeks later my husband sat me down to tell me that he was not interested in adopting. I don’t remember the exact way he said it, but I do remember feeling like someone had just jerked a rug out from underneath me. What? What did you just say? You’ve been on board with this for 3+ years and you decide to tell me now that you aren’t interested? Not only that, he told me he was perfectly content with the two children we already have and didn’t want three.
Divorce crossed my mind. I won’t lie. It crossed my mind. I decided we were going to need Christian marriage counseling. I was not accepting this. We agreed on three children before we were married. Why the hell did you marry me then? You know I come from a big family. You know I want four children. You know that I compromised and agreed to three because you only wanted two and were willing to compromise and have three. What the hell just happened here and I’m not taking this lying down Mister Reed. We needed help.
In September we heard news that my ailing Grandmother was getting worse. We made the final decision to fly to Arizona at the end of October to see her one last time. She had never met our kids and we were excited to have the opportunity to introduce them to her. It was a somber trip, but worth every minute that we got to spend with our family.
Shortly after we returned life got back into full swing and we were so busy. Rich was preparing to go on a business trip. I was getting ready for the holidays. The kids were just their normal little selves.
Rich left for his trip. I did my thing with our kids. Then one day while driving in the car with both kids I didn’t feel right. I felt sick to my stomach and strangely aware of every smell around me which was making me even sicker. Uh oh. I was familiar with this feeling, but it had been awhile.
Nervously I pulled into the drug store parking lot feeling like a fool for even thinking this and dashed inside with both kids to buy a pregnancy test. Once done I rushed home to check the calendar.
Really? Really. I was late for my cycle. But since August my cycles had been wacko and way off schedule and twice I thought I was pregnant when I was actually only a week late. Maybe this was the same thing. Afterall, I was busy and stressed out and concerned for my marriage and my grandma and other things.
Rich was due to come home on Saturday. I took the test Friday morning. Brianna was with me. She had come into my room early in the morning and I told her Mommy has to go pee on a stick did she want to come too? She said she did and off we went. I was shaking. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought if it’s negative I’ll just bury it in the trashcan and move on. If it’s positive I’ll be so happy, but Rich will be so ???. What? What would he be? Mad? Upset? Would he think I tricked him? Would he feel the same for this child as he does for the ones we planned? What would happen?
All this ran through my mind as I waited the 3 minutes to check the results.
I was so excited. I hugged Brianna and we went to my bed and cuddled. I started planning what I was going to say to Rich the next day. I joked with God that He must like me better than Rich because He answered my prayers for another baby. I didn’t expect it would be a natural birth, but I was happy He decided it for me. Thank you Lord. Thank you. I didn’t have to fight so much for this baby afterall — it was in Your plan all along.
Rich came home. I waited until the kids were in bed for the night and then I told him the news. He felt badly that I was afraid to tell him. He assured me everything was well with him and he would love this child as much as the other two.
A few days later my grandmother died. That was the middle of November. I was happy we had the chance to tell her the news about our baby on the way before she passed. November was a hard month. I would have bouts of depression over my grandmother’s death. I knew it was better for her to have gone on, but it sure was hard when all of the memories came flooding in. I would sometimes just sit and cry for awhile.
Thanksgiving was fun. We met Rich’s family for breakfast at a nice local restaurant near the ocean. We had a great time and our nieces were so excited about the new baby that they were already asking me what names I liked. I remember telling them “if it’s a boy he’ll be Nathan and if it’s a girl she’ll be Julia”. I had already scheduled an ultrasound and was looking forward to it.
December promised to be busy. I was hosting our family’s Christmas dinner again. I started decorating right after Thanksgiving. Actually, I might have started before Thanksgiving. I can’t remember. I just know I was excited and couldn’t wait to start making the house glow with lights. The kids were enchanted. It was a magical time. Rich and I had burried our hatchet weeks before and life just felt like a fairytale to me. I had everything I wanted. Everything.
I went to my ultrasound and saw the baby’s heartbeat. Despite the brownish spotting I was experiencing, everything looked good I was told. My doctor called later that day to tell me that there was a pocket of fluid behind the yolk sac, but even though I’m not out of the woods yet most of the time these things resolve all by themselves. I saw the heartbeat so I was not concerned. A couple days later the spotting stopped and I felt fine.
December 10th I was up on a ladder putting up Christmas tree branches when I felt a little trickle. Hmmm. I went to the bathroom to check and was surprised to see pink. Not much. But definitely pink, not brown. I called the doctor.
December 11th I went in for another ultrasound. Pink can be something or it can be nothing. Red is the one that causes immediate worry. Just a routine ultrasound and we’ll send you on your way. Don’t worry they tell me. Just a routine ultrasound to see what’s going on with the yolk sac and that pocket behind it.
I was as jolly as I could be as I climbed up onto the table, laid down, and exposed my abdomen. The sonographer started with an external scan. I saw the baby. It looked so much bigger and its tummy was all round and bloated looking. Adorable. Sweet little thing I see you.
Wait. Something isn’t right.
Where is the heartbeat? Where is the fetal movement? Oh no. Oh no no no no.
“Honey, we need to go ahead and do an internal scan. Please go undress in the restroom from the waist down.”
Ok – maybe it’s too soon to do an external scan. Maybe. Hope. Fear. Hope. Cold sweat. Push away negative thoughts. Get on with it.
I was less jolly hopping up on the table this time. I put my feet in the stirrups, scooted my bottom to the edge, and waited for her to insert the probe.
Nothing. No heartbeat. No fetal movement. Cold.
Bless her heart she kept trying. She even pushed on my stomach to try to arouse the baby. I knew it was dead. I had seen my fair share of ultrasounds and I knew it. I wished she would just stop. Just stop. It’s gone. Let me leave.
She excused herself from the room while I got dressed. She told me she needed to talk to the doctor. I knew what she needed to do. I got dressed and sat down in the chair next to the table and just stared at the monitor. It was black now, but moments before that it held the final picture of my unborn child. The motionless, peaceful looking sweet tiny baby who I prayed for.
What is happening? Why?
I prayed for that baby! I prayed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You answered my prayer. Why did you take it from me? WHY???!! I would have taken him or her no matter what — whole, not whole, normal, not normal. Just give it back! Not fair. You are killing me. You are hurting me. Why would You do this? God, where are You now? Where???!!!!
She came back in, told me to drive to the other office and see my doctor, she expressed her sorrow for me, and I walked out of there on numb legs. As I passed through the waiting room I saw a pregnant mom followed by her 3 small children. I smiled at them and gulped the rock mountain that had grown in my throat.
I couldn’t get in my van fast enough. I whipped out my phone, called my husband, and as soon as he said hello I dissolved. I fought back the desire to throw fire at him over the phone. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT YOU DIDN’T WANT THIS BABY ANYWAY ARE YOU HAPPY NOW YOU ASSHOLE. I didn’t say that to him though. I felt it. I didn’t say it. I just cried and heard him tell me he was sorry and that he loved me and what do I want him to do. Call your family and tell them. I am making exactly one more phone call and then I’m not talking about it any more. I’ll see you when I get home from seeing the doctor.
I called my dad. My parents have lost 4 babies via miscarriage. I cried my heart out. He was so tender and loving and he understood like nobody else what I was feeling. He told me he would relay the news to the rest of my family and that he loves me. That day my Dad was my hero. I will never ever ever forget that phone call. Ever. He rescued me in that 5 minute conversation.
I saw the doctor. She told me to be at the hospital the next day so she could perform the D&C. Everything else was a blur. I called my best friend later that night. She has also experienced miscarriage loss. I didn’t have to say a word. She heard me crying when she answered her phone and said “oh my god, Heidi, when?”. She. Just. Knew.
December 12, 2008 was the day of the D&C procedure. That day my unborn, unmoving child was removed from my body. Gone. Empty. Rest in peace.
God please kiss him or her for me. Please tell that baby how much I already loved it. How much I wanted it. Please don’t ever let it forget me until I have the chance to hold it myself on Your side of heaven. Please God. It’s the least You could do.
I lost my grandmother November 13, 2007 and then I lost my baby December 11, 2007. I like to imagine the first person my baby got to see when he or she crossed over was my grandma. I like to imagine she held my baby and told him or her how she’d care for it until I could come myself. It’s probably a fantasy, but it’s how I like to play it out in my mind. It comforts me.
I don’t remember much about last Christmas. I know it was painful. I know I just wanted to get through it. I went ahead with our party plans, but I don’t really remember much about it. I was going through the motions for my children’s sake.
Depression soon followed. Bitterness in my heart towards my husband nagged at me. Anger. Hurt. Frustration. I kept in touch with my doctor. I started to research antidepressants. I was suffering.
I decided to memorialize my baby by getting a tattoo. On February 1, 2008 I did exactly that. You can view “All Things Tattoo” in the blue bar at the top of this page.
Part Two tomorrow.
Remember I told you a reporter from The Tampa Tribune did an interview regarding my Memorial Tattoo? Well here it is – CLICK HERE for the article – my section of the story is last under the heading “A Thought-Out Decision”. He did an excellent job and quoted me perfectly. I am very pleased with the resulting story.
I still pray about that baby. I thank God for him/her and ask Him to let the baby know how much I love him/her still.
I can’t get over how many lives have been touched by that precious, innocent, tiny, short life. It warms my heart that his/her life was not in vain.
So if you look here you’ll see that someone from The Tampa Tribune is interested in my tattoo story. It’s the 2nd comment down. Hi Keith — if you’re reading this. Later this afternoon I’ll speak to him about my decision behind my design.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked to share my story regarding my tattoo for the baby we lost by miscarriage in December. But this is the first one I’ve agreed to do. Why? Because the context in which the story will be written is not meant to exploit or demean what I’ve done. It appears that it will be used to bring awareness to the trend of memorializing our lost loved ones through tattoo art.
The reporter has said, “…the story is about the emergence of this trend. I’ve spoken to some tattoo artists in the area who say memorial tattoos are now about 25 percent of their business. They say people memorialize relatives, friends, even pets. I’m also contacting some local grief counselors to get their take on it as well as people who have had the work done on them. I have calls in to pop culture professors at the University of Florida and South Florida, too. It’s a straightforward piece. I think what you did is unique and pretty much unknown out there, so I’d like to interview you about why you did it and whether it helped you in your grieving process…”
I am not looking forward to the interview. It will bring back unpleasant memories of a loss that shook me to the very core and ripped my heart into pieces. However, I am interested in what will be asked and how my responses will be portrayed.
If the article he writes is posted online at any point I will link it here.
Now I want to say something that I’m serious about. If you are interested in my story for the mere purpose of fattening your pocketbook because you’re writing a book about other people’s lives and their tattoos, count me out. I will not allow my story to bring you supposed fame or supposed fortune. I didn’t do this to make money. I especially didn’t do this to make money for anyone else. Additionally, I will not allow my story to be exploited in any way, shape, or form.
I agreed to do the interview to bring awareness. Period. Lots of women suffer miscarriages. If what I did helps another woman in any way, awesome!
Just thought I’d make that clear and remind you all that I’m serious about plagiarism. My pages are protected. These words are mine and I will not take it lying down if my thoughts, words, emotions, etc. are used as your own. Quote me, link me — but do not steal from me.