That day lives in my mind like it was yesterday. Yes time has made it easier, although this is the first time in 13 years I’ve talked at any length about it. Only a couple of times have I maybe shared a few words or sentences here and there when someone else had a similar story. But I can feel the gut punch deep inside without even trying to think. I was at my normal prenatal visit when the look on the doctor’s face showed some concern as she looked for the heartbeat. She mentioned our baby was just probably “hiding” and pulled out the ultrasound machine, but my heart and head were already jumping to a conclusion. When she focused in on the baby, she wasn’t stretched out and moving around as she had been. She was laying still in the bottom of my belly. Her heart wasn’t beating anymore, but mine was banging off the office walls it seemed. One more week and she would’ve lived outside the prenatal safe-spot I had been carrying her in. We had waited over half-way through our pregnancy to tell family and friends. But we had loved her for much longer. And just like that, she was no longer the hope my arms would hold in a short time.
Our boys were leaving on a National Soccer Tournament and so we chose to carry on for a few days until they were on the road with another family. With six kiddos already in tow, there was a lot to put in place. During those few days, I carried her with all the love of a momma knowing she may not be alive, but she was still mine for a couple more days. The day came when we would walk the saddest walk I ever experienced. I clearly thought, as I made my way down the hospital corridor, that I could’ve kept her forever. I didn’t want to give her up and hand her little body over to anyone where I would never see her on earth again. I was induced that morning and labor was slow and quiet. She was born without a sound of her own while my sobs filled the hospital room. She was wrapped and blanketed just as if she was older and bigger. A group of women made handmade blankets for just this occasion and touched my heart without even knowing me. The hospital offered a wonderful photographer to take pictures of her for us, but I couldn’t bring myself to freeze this heart crushing moment even in a photo. I was afraid of feeling this way forever.
As my husband fell asleep beside us, I remember wondering if I’d ever be the same. If we would ever be the same. If life would be bearable. I worked hard on a plan for her burial, refusing to leave her with the hospital where she might remain for months until they do their free mass burial of such infants. I knew she was whole in Jesus arms, but my heart and mind were not. Not for a long time. The weeks ahead were the loneliest weeks of my entire life. No matter how much support and how much love surrounds you, I am convinced birthing a stillborn is one of the loneliest feelings on the planet. After a couple months of moving through the motions of life, I joined a grief support group. I walked away sadder than ever. They all had a lifetime of stories to tell about their loved one. I did not. I had only months of reassuring movement inside and then a day of looking into this baby’s face that would never cry or coo. The doctors did not assure me there’d be another baby. In fact, I was old enough, they assured me there would probably not be another. I couldn’t believe it would end like this. It wasn’t till a couple years had gone by, when we were surprised at age 41 with a baby girl, that healing came. A then 18 months later with twins to thoroughly occupy our minds and hearts.
Today, I finally decided to revisit the depths of emotions I felt back then. It was 13 years ago today she lay in our arms as peaceful as could be, never knowing the anguish of our hearts. But I chose to share the story for one reason only. Please understand, babies born early are as real as those who are born on their expected birthday alive and well. Her long little fingers and toes were perfect. Her little eyes closed, her body perfectly formed. She was real.
Every day in this land, babies even farther along than Meghan are aborted cruelly and as mechanically as if they were not human or special to begin with. You have a chance to put an end to these barbaric practices. I have shared my heartbreak for one reason, and one reason only. Go vote ProLife! They are real babies! I’ve seen with my own eyes! I’ve held with my own hands! I’ve cried with every tear in my body and I’ve silently loved in my heart. I really don’t care what ever else is on your agenda. But babies are the most vulnerable of all our civilization. If you can’t stand up for them, just sit down please. I’m afraid you just don’t understand.