“ In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see. ..” The loss of a child is one of the deep sorrows carried quietly in many hearts. When I went to the hospital to give birth to my angel baby the nurse took me by the hands and told me that from this experience my life will never be the same – she couldn’t have been more right.
An experience so intimate, emotional, and sacred can’t help but change lives. It started out like a normal pregnancy: nausea, cravings, exhaustion, and all of the planning, hoping, and dreaming that comes with a new baby. All of this changed for our little family when we received a call from the doctor, after a brief ultrasound, informing us that our baby wasn’t going to live.
At first we were in complete disbelief and shock, we spent a sleepless night crying and praying for a miracle. After a thorough 3 hour ultrasound I could see for myself her little feet kicking, her hands rubbing her face, and her little under developed heart struggling to beat regularly. Under all of the emotion I felt a quiet impression that I was now living sacred time. I felt that I had the privilege to provide a body and a home for my baby girl and I didn’t want her last few weeks, days, or hours here on earth to be filled with feelings of sorrow.
My entire pregnancy changed, suddenly I felt grateful to be nauseous, and I took the time to just enjoy the little kicks, heartburn, and most importantly her spirit. I wanted her to know me and that I loved her. Each day I worked to feel joy. I ate my favorite foods, and exposed her to my favorite music and books. Mostly I just tried my best to laugh, sing, and genuinely be happy.
The hardest thing I have ever had to do was to hand my baby girl’s lifeless body to the nurse and know that I would never see her again. When I left the hospital I felt like a hallow shell and that my heart and spirit were broken. The idea of coming home and trying to go back to “normal” life seemed virtually impossible.
When people are truly grieving it is extremely difficult for family and friends to know exactly what to do. I saw my closest friends, neighbors, and even my own family members struggle to know what to do, what to say, and how to help. I will never forget when a neighbor came by my home and brought me a small package. Inside she had made a beautiful white angel dress. At the time I had never heard of an angel dress, but as I sat there and held that dress I was completely overwhelmed by the love that this tiny dress represented. For me it was a physical reminder that my baby’s life mattered and that I was loved, supported, and remembered.
My life will never be the same again, and I don’t want it to be. From my despair and disappointment I have learned how to comfort, how to grieve, and how to love more fully. My heart is more tender now, more grateful for the little things, and somehow stronger than before. I have learned that God sends angels in the form of friends, neighbors, family, and especially little babies. Truly it is the small acts of generosity, service and love that make all the difference in times of need and in life.