*Disclaimer: I continue to speak honestly – and at times graphically – about my recent miscarriage. If this bothers you, stop reading now. Writing this down is helping me get through everything, and I hope that this might help someone else who might be going through the same thing.
I’ve needed something tangible – something I can hold and feel – to fill this emptiness inside. Of course nothing can replace what I’ve lost, but it’s been so hard to navigate the waters of grief.
Phil came up with the idea to plant a tree in honor of our baby. We chose an early Spring flowering tree, since the due date would have been March 1st. The Rising Sun Redbud is supposed to be a brilliantly-flowering tree with leaves that turn all sorts of beautiful colors after the flowers fade and fall (bonus: bees and butterflies love it). Phil did a wonderful job clearing a spot in the front yard, making a border of stones around the tree, and filling it in with mulch; at some point, we’ll plant flowers underneath and add a memorial stone. Before adding the mulch, he poured the remains that we saved from Thursday – it will feed the soil and give nutrients to the tree. Our loss will give life in another way. I picked some flowers from around the yard and we all sprinkled petals on top of the soil. Then Phil prayed; it felt surreal. I can’t believe we’re planting a tree for our baby that’s gone.
One of my favorite things to do as soon as I find out I’m pregnant is scour baby name books for my favorites. My list has dwindled, since I have a formula for choosing the right name – but I love reading the names and their meanings just the same. I already had a girl’s name picked out – had one before I even got pregnant – which led me to believe we’d be having a boy. Just one of the many things we will never know – would he have had red hair? Would he be rambunctious like Josiah? Extra trouble like Addy? An artistic reader like Gwen? I thought about it for a while, talked about it with Phil, and we decided to name the baby.
Some people think it’s silly to name a dead baby – one that was never even born – but as small as a 12-week baby is it’s still a little person created by God and nurtured by its mother. The fact that it didn’t have a chance to grow and be born is no fault of its own. I wanted the name to be gender-neutral, for obvious reasons, and have a special meaning. It wouldn’t necessarily be something I would choose for a living baby, and I didn’t bother with a middle name. The name we chose: Shiloh. It means “peace,” “place of rest.” We wanted to acknowledge the fact that we lost a little person who should have become part of our family. And this little person – Shiloh – has already changed my life. On the memorial stone for our Shiloh Tree, Phil will carve the baby’s name along with the words: “God has you in His hands. We have you in our hearts.”
I fell in love with that quote when looking for other ways to memorialize our child. I found some beautiful infant loss jewelry on Etsy, and ended up ordering a bracelet from Honey Thorns – similar to this one, but personalized with an angel wing charm and the March birth stone. Phil grieves differently than I, but I knew he would like something just the same, and we decided on a necklace he could hang in his truck – something like this, without the key ring. I’ve toyed with the idea of making necklaces or bracelets for the kids, but they seem to be so accepting of the situation, I don’t want to needlessly remind them of my own sadness.
It’s a fine line – wanting to remember what you’ve lost, but not wanting a constant reminder of your sadness. It feels strange that I’m otherwise healthy, but I feel so dead and empty inside right now.
Some other links I’ve found helpful:
Selah’s “I Will Carry You“
Gary Barlow’s “Dying Inside“
Daughtry’s “Gone Too Soon“
Scriptures for Miscarriage
Faces of Loss
“A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small” – Dr. Seuss
“Once you are real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.” – The Velveteen Rabbit