Friday, August 6, 2010

Remembering the power of one small life

For the past few days I've been looking at the numbers on the calendar, growing more and more introspective as we inched closer to August 6. It was twelve years ago today that I learned that the baby I was carrying, my second baby, had died eleven weeks into my pregnancy.

With a mother's intuition, I had known something was wrong during that pregnancy from a couple of weeks before. The day Dennis and I -- with Noah in tow -- went to the midwife for my regular check up, I didn't even take the little tape recorder with me to capture the sound of baby's heartbeat, so convinced was I that I would hear only silence. I went back for the recorder only after Dennis insisted. But somehow I knew. Because when you are a mother sometimes you just know things about your children, even when there is no logical reason you should, even when they are still growing inside you.

When we went for the ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage, we saw the perfect form of our baby up on the screen. I remember Dennis looking so happy, thinking everything was OK after all, and me pointing out that the heart was still. No blinking blip. No more life.

With that same mother's intuition, no matter how busy or stressed I am, no matter how many other things I seem to forget as I drive my other three children to and fro, I never forget this anniversary. It is imprinted on my heart. As the date nears, I feel a stillness settling in, a quiet place amid the chaos reserved just for this baby, the one I never to got hold, the one I call Grace.

Two years ago, when I posted about this day, I talked about how Grace had shaped our family by her absence rather than her presence. I am very much aware of the fact that life would be very different had she lived. She managed to leave her mark on us, even without taking a breath. She lingers here, not only in my heart but around the edges of our lives -- especially the lives of our two girls who followed her. I know them because I did not know Grace. What a sorrowful and yet beautiful impact she had on us.

So thank you, baby, for all that you were and all that you have given us without ever setting foot on this earth. The power of one small life.


Fran said...

Oh Mary, I am sitting here weeping. What an experience. And what - well, what grace it takes to share it you have, both this year and in 2008.

God bless you and your family. My prayers for you all and for Grace.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Mary, I know at some point you shared with me that you'd lost a baby too, but I'd forgotten that commonality. And I'd forgotten that our losses happened about the same time in pregnancy. I never got to see the perfectly formed baby though; the ultrasound screen was turned away. I knew too, though. I was willing away those thoughts, but I just knew. It was very painful, but I have been able to view it very similarly to the way you have. Interestingly, the baby that followed is our Elizabeth Grace, so there's another connection. She knows, because I've told her many times, that I would not have her if Gabriel had lived. Nor the other two who followed her. I love how you wrote about this experience. I have, too, but this was so poignantly stated. Beautiful. May is when Gabriel comes most strongly to my mind and heart. I consider May 2 his birthday in heaven. May you continue to grow in faith by Grace's absence, as we have by Gabriel's. Gabriel and Grace...that has a nice ring to it. :)

Karen E. said...

Oh, Mary, what a beautiful post. I have shared that same pain many times and even had a partial molar pregnancy with one of my losses as well. All of our babies have indeed changed and enriched our lives, as devastating as the losses were.

I look forward to the day we'll meet Grace and Gabriel and my whole gang. :)

Thanks for this beautiful post.

Mary DeTurris Poust said...

Thank you all for your comments, your prayers and your sisterhood.