Wet Earth

dew

Yesterday we buried our dead baby. This is going to be a sad post, so read on only if you choose to bear witness to a grief that is too often silenced.

For those of you who know my family, my 18 month old son is perfectly fine and healthy. It’s his younger sibling I refer to.

January was a dark month for us. We had our car stolen from in front of our house, retrieved by the police, but returned to us filled with damage and filth. Then, a week or so later, we discovered our growing baby was dead at 11 weeks old in my womb. There was an ambulance ride and a trip to the emergency–I’d lost too much blood too quickly.

I passed through all of this in a quiet horror, a deep sorrow that was accompanied by a strange calm. I think God must have been holding me tightly to himself, rocking me as I entered unbearable loss.

In the hospital, as they wheeled me back from one of my tests, I heard the sound of Brahms’s Lullaby playing over the speakers. Every time a baby is born, the hospital staff plays that song to celebrate a new little one’s arrival.

That was when I wept.

A baby was born just as I received confirmation that mine was dead.

I don’t believe this is morbid. These are hard truths and real things that women–so very many women–have borne in wordless sorrow. I will put mine to words.

We buried our small one yesterday in a patch of mossy wet earth. We wish we could have played with this child, brought along on adventures, tickled, held in our arms. But that is gone and all we have left is love and tears and the hope of seeing this young one face-to-face when this life is behind us.

The current chapter of my life is rocky and hard and literally feels like the Valley of the Shadow of Death, at times, but I know I’m not alone. God is holding me, even as he is holding my child. I have friends who’ve brought us meals and companionship that lightens the heaviness of grief for a while. I have the arms of my husband, who is there in the night when I can barely breathe through my snot and tears. I have the tiny kisses of my little toddler, who doesn’t understand his parents’ sadness, but offers fresh love and playfulness each day, healing us with joy, bit by bit.

My heart feels more pain than it knows how to handle, but it also feels more peace and love than it could have hoped for.

So I can say this and still mean it:

It is well with my soul.

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

Comments

Wet Earth — 17 Comments

  1. I had no idea you were going through that! I’m so sorry. 🙁 I don’t think I have any words, except that I’ll keep you and your beautiful little family in my prayers.
    I can’t imagine the pain, but I’m glad you have loved ones there with you now.

  2. Oh friend! <\3 I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. Your powerful grief is such a testament to your deep love for the life you anticipated. We traveled this road around the same time two years ago with the loss of our nephew and I tell you from that place that grieving in the twilight if Lent and during Lent is exquisitely painful and beautiful. I will be saying prayers for you and your family.

    • Thank you so much, Amy. Powerful grief as a testament to deep love–as much as it hurts, that is the only way I want to live. I had not thought to link this grief to Lent, but now I think I will. Thank you for your prayers! We need them.

  3. Oh, sweet Elise. My heart is broken for you. We lost our first baby. It’s been over 16 years and I still miss her. There aren’t any words to suffice, so just know you are in my prayers and I mourn with you for your little one.

  4. I’m so sorry, Elise. I have been there too. I had a powerful dream at the time of my miscarriages of my child in the arms of our Heavenly Father. It’s amazing how much peace that gave me.

  5. I had a miscarriage a month ago, Also around 11 weeks. It seems odd to use the word “fortunate,” but it was, in that we learned via ultrasound that no baby had formed, and the next week I had a D&C. My prayers are with you! You are not alone. <3

  6. Sending you love and comfort. We lost our precious first child in a similar way. I miss her very much. The book Naming the Child brought me peace in the weeks and months after.

  7. So sorry for your loss. There are no words. I’m glad you have loving friends and family to help you through this time. And of course, your faith. jan

  8. My friends, thank you for your beautiful words and your comfort and your love. I appreciate the prayers, the kindness, and the thoughts. We are walking through a pretty tough place right now, but I really do feel we’ll be okay, and I still have hope, and strangely, moments of joy. I cannot emphasize how much more this makes me love me little Guppy right now. I love him to pieces. And I love James all the more, too. It’s a kind of crazy time. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  9. Elise, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. It takes great courage to face these feelings and thank you for sharing them. My thoughts are with you as you grieve.

    • Thank you so much, Ken. I feel that, for some reason, God is making be braver than I would have thought possible, and maybe this is why I feel I can share this news. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  10. So very sorry for your loss Elise and James, miscarriages are hard and are tender to His heart. He brought me comfort in a special way several years ago this same month when I lost the first one (I had another miscarriage later that same year) and it sounds like He’s loving on you through it. Love, Christine

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