For All Who Have Experienced the Death of a Child Before Birth

     This post is dedicated to all who have lived through the death of a child before birth. Experiencing the loss of a precious life at any stage of development is a grief that is difficult to put to words. Three of my children died before they were born. I still miss them.
     I wrote the following letters to honor my daughter April and her husband Dallan. Their daughter Catherine Grace recently died before she was born. The deep, profound love of a mother and father for their child is perhaps the most divine love we experience in this life.
     To my precious granddaughter Catherine Grace - oh how I look forward to resurrection morning when I will be able to see you and hold you in my arms.

Dear Child,
     It’s been only a day since I lost you. Yesterday I had such plans for you and now today you are gone and where you are I cannot go. You were the answer to your parents’ prayers. We’ve waited so long for you. You should have seen the look in your father’s eyes when I told him you were coming. We were so happy. We told everyone you were on your way.
     Each morning when I woke, I would stroke my palm across the place where you were growing. Even morning sickness reassured me of your presence. Whenever I went somewhere, I knew you were with me. It made me feel complete. I could never get over the miracle of you.
     Then something happened that I didn’t expect. I went to my regular doctor appointment and they couldn’t find your heartbeat. The doctor looked and listened and brought in technicians and ultrasound experts. They tried and tried again - nothing. I stared up at the ceiling in disbelief and wept. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that you were really dead. I thought this must be a mistake. This can’t be happening.
     The next day I went to the hospital and they gave me something to help you come. The delivery was slow and measured giving your father and me time to think about how much we loved you and would miss you. Then you were born. Even though your spirit was not inside your body, I knew you were there with me. 
     Sudden unexpected complications after your delivery required quick action by the doctor. The placenta that nourished you didn’t want to let go. The pain was unbearable. Part of me refused to let go. I looked over at you alone in the bassinet and sobbed for me and for you.
     Then the doctors and nurses left us alone and your father and I held you. You were snuggled up in a soft flannel blanket. We held each other as we held you - our perfect tiny butterfly not quite ready to emerge from the cocoon with tightly wrapped wings never to open in this life. You looked so small, so beautiful and perfect. We finally had our little girl

I will never forget you. You are my precious daughter. You have been part of me. I miss you. I don’t see life in the same way since I lost you. I walk softer now. Life is more fragile, more precious.

   I thank God for the time we had together. I love you. Though I am no longer able to hold you in my arms, I will always hold you in my heart.

Your Mother

Dear Child,
     We waited so long for you to come. When I found out you were on your way, I wanted to tell everyone the good news. The day your mother told me, I felt this lightness in my step - like I was younger and starting out again. I liked to call your mother to find out how she was feeling. She always said she was fine. 
     My life seemed to count for more. Your mother and I planned the rest of our life differently because you would be in it. I wanted to take good care of myself and stay healthy because you would need a dad who could get up at night with you as a newborn and later, teach you how to walk and ride a bike and maybe even play basketball on the back court.
     We began looking for a car-seat, crib and stroller because we gave away all our baby things. We started planning the nursery. After four boys in a row we were silently hoping for a girl. After your brother died and your mother’s miscarriage, we had pretty much given up hoping for you. But then it happened – our late in life miracle, our gift. 

     But then you died. 

     When your mother called me from the doctor’s office, I rushed home to be with her. I wanted to reach out and stop time - force the moment to come back when you were still alive. When we were at the hospital, your mother was in so much pain. I wanted to stop what was happening but I couldn’t. 
     I don’t understand why this had to happen. We waited so long for you. Now our house feels too big and too quiet without you. I have so many questions. I’m learning to be patient as I wait for answers.
     I didn’t carry you inside of me, but you are part of me. Whenever I took your mother in my arms, you were there too. Perhaps someday I will know all the answers. But for now, I choose to trust God and wait. You will always be our gift – our precious miracle.

     Now I ask,“Please God, help me say good-buy when I never had the chance to say hello.”

Your Father

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