I have a confession to make. I haven’t been giving you all the full story. Yes, Rosie is really really cute and I take lots of pictures of her. Yes, I love pumpkins and fall. And yes, you can expect extreme Christmas overload starting next month. But there’s so much more I have to share with you, so much more that I want you to know. During all my talk of festive favorites, Rosie stories, and motherhood, I’ve left out two of the biggest pieces of me: my children in Heaven.
James Christopher: 7•25•2014
After about 8 months of marriage, Mike and I decided that we were ready to grow our family. In July of 2014, we found out we were expecting our first baby. We were equally thrilled and scared, and we knew that we were extremely lucky to get pregnant so quickly. I had blood work done right away, scheduled my first prenatal appointment, and started dreaming of all the ways we could tell our friends and family. On Friday of that week, I went to the bathroom to discover tiny drops of blood on my underwear. My heart pounded in my chest and I could barely breathe. I was out to eat and not in the privacy of my home, and did my best to maintain composure. I’m not sure what my face looked like as I walked back to my table, told my friend that I was bleeding and needed to leave, and drove home, crying in panic while trying to call my doctor and my husband.
I was reassured that spotting was normal, to spend the weekend resting, and to go to the hospital if I had cramping or severe bleeding. I went home, laid in bed, and napped through the afternoon. When I woke up, I nervously went to the bathroom. There wasn’t any blood on the pad I had been wearing and I vividly remember the feeling of relief washing over my body. I took a deep breath and prayed with thanksgiving, all will be well.
And then, as I stood up, my heart sank. I started bleeding. It didn’t stop, and I knew. I knew in that moment I went from being an expectant mother to a grieving mother. And nothing in the world prepares a heart for that moment. I yelled for Mike and he knew too.
In a blur we made it to the ER, and there our worst fears were confirmed. “I’m sorry, but your hCg levels indicate a miscarriage.”
No thank you, that’s not what I ordered.
I don’t remember crying at the “official” news, it didn’t seem real. I was numb. It wasn’t fair. We spent our days grieving, not even sure how we were supposed to grieve. And to be honest, we didn’t even comprehend what we had lost. Our first baby was gone and we never experienced what it felt like to be a mother and father. How can a parent mourn their child’s death without ever celebrating their birth? In the chaos of everything, I hadn’t even kept my dear child’s remains.
Every cramp tore me apart. I knew the pains of a mother without ever knowing the joys. I didn’t know how to pray, I didn’t know what good God could bring from this. About two days after the miscarriage, I was still bleeding quite a bit and it was making me bitter and angry. I was ready for it to be done. And then, while sitting in the bathroom, I had the most beautiful words come to me: look at how much life was inside you. It truly took my breath away. Even just after short pregnancy, there was so much life. My body had done its job perfectly to sustain a growing baby, and now it was my immense sacrifice of love to let my body heal and start over.
I was living my cross, God was showing me His Gospel. And then I knew, all will be well.
We named our sweet baby James Christopher, after two great saints who share July 25th as their feast day. He is forever ours, and we are his. Our heart will always break for James, but God shines through the cracks. His little life has been a witness to the world that death that comes early doesn’t come any easier, and our witness to his death has brought comfort to so many others who have experienced their own loss.
St. Zelie Martin once wrote, “we shall find our little ones again up above.” And we will. And all will be well.
To James, my beautiful soul: thank you for making me a mom.
To all of you reading this: thank you for listening. Part 2 for another day.