Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Gamut

This afternoon, I visited some friends whose first child, a little girl, died in utero, eight months along. She'd been doing splendidly, and then she just -- stopped moving.

Perhaps I shouldn't say that this child was their first; they lost another baby to miscarriage, much earlier along.

The hospital folks induced labor (they claim it's better psychologically to go through the entire process, although it seems to me that laboring to deliver a dead baby has to be the worst experience in the world), but it didn't work, so after twenty-four hours of induced labor, they did a c-section.

My friends got to see and hold their little girl, who looks perfect. No one has any idea why she died. They're doing tests to find out.

I saw photographs of her, along with a plaster plaque with her handprints and footprints, a small pink newborn cap, and a poem by a mother whose child was stillborn. All of this was in a box the Labor and Delivery team gave the parents. That's a lovely set of mementos, although heart-wrenchingly sad.

They're going to have a memorial service in a week or two.

On my way home from the hospital, I stopped to buy wrapping paper and a gift bag for a baby shower I'll be attending tonight, for some friends expecting their second child (also by c-section) on August 15. I expect that gathering to be as joyous as the one this afternoon was somber.

One of the gift bags had tiny baby footprints on it. At any other time, I might have bought that bag, but today, I couldn't bear to look at it.


  1. Anonymous10:43 AM

    Whether you have faith or not, sometimes you just have to wonder what God's thinking. I can't imagine the pain the first couple mentioned is going through.

    Jeff P.

  2. Hi, Jeff! They're very faithful, but I made exactly that point -- that when we meet God, we're all going to have a lot of questions -- and the husband actually laughed and said, "Yeah, really!"

    He said that he knows God loves him and he just has to cling to that, even though he doesn't know why this happened.

    I reminded him that raging at God is a form of prayer, and when I prayed with them, I more or less said, "So you know, God, we're all having a really hard time with this."

  3. Anonymous2:29 PM

    I know exactly how they're feeling - been exactly there. We ended up comforting the staff - who were all Cathie's colleagues as she was a midwife then. It still hurts now, 20 years later. I don't know what God's thinking, but I still give thanks for my life every day, and Lucy's, and her two brothers and her sister.

    I can't explain it, all I can do is promise - from my experience - that the sun will rise tomorrow, with all its opportunities.

    Prayers and all best wishes for your friends and yourself.


  4. Thank you, Martyn! God bless you.


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