Usually I run the same annual post in this space on August 6, the day I lost my second child to miscarriage. But this year feels a little bit different. As always, I became aware in the back of my mind that the anniversary was approaching a few days out, and last night I intentionally remembered by baby as I went to bed. Then this morning, when I opened my eyes, the baby I call Grace was incredibly present in my heart and mind, and so we had a little silent mother-child talk. And I told her that even though I call her Grace despite the fact that I have no way of knowing whether she was a boy or a girl, the name fits, because she was all grace and for the brief time I was allowed to carry her in my belly, I was filled with a little extra grace because of her.
It’s amazing to me how this baby I never met, whose little heart was there but had stopped beating before I had the chance to hear it, still has such a powerful presence on my psyche and on my heart. Grief starts with such sorrow and pain, but, in this case, over time, it has blossomed into a blessing and the connection to a completely untarnished little soul who prays for me and her father and siblings from the other side. Grace was definitely the right name.
And now, here is the annual post I run in remembrance of baby Grace:
For the past few days I’ve been looking at the numbers on the calendar, growing more and more introspective as we inched closer to August 6. It was 18 years ago today that I learned the baby I was carrying, my second baby, had died 11 weeks into my pregnancy.
With a mother’s intuition, I had known something was wrong during that pregnancy from a couple of weeks before. The day Dennis and I — with Noah in tow — went to the midwife for my regular check up, I didn’t even take the little tape recorder with me to capture the sound of baby’s heartbeat, so convinced was I that I would hear only silence. I went back for the recorder only after Dennis insisted. But somehow I knew. Because when you are a mother sometimes you just know things about your children, even when there is no logical reason you should, even when they are still growing inside you.
When we went for the ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage, we saw the perfect form of our baby up on the screen. I remember Dennis looking so happy, thinking everything was okay after all, and me pointing out that the heart was still. No blinking blip. No more life.
With that same mother’s intuition, no matter how busy or stressed I am, no matter how many other things I seem to forget as I drive my other three children to and fro, I never forget this anniversary. It is imprinted on my heart. As the date nears, I feel a stillness settling in, a quiet place amid the chaos, a space reserved just for this baby, the one I never to got hold, the one I call Grace.
In the past, I have talked about the ways Grace shaped our family by her absence rather than her presence, and that truth remains with me. I am very much aware of the fact that life would be very different had she lived. She managed to leave her mark on us, even without taking a breath. She lingers here, not only in my heart but around the edges of our lives — especially the lives of our two girls who followed her. I know them because I did not know Grace. What a sorrowful and yet beautiful impact she had on us.
So thank you, baby, for all that you were and all that you have given us without ever setting foot on this earth. The power of one small life.