I've been sitting on this entry for a couple days. It hits so close to home... how am I to ascribe words to encompass the tears and fears I once endured that taught me the meaning of "Not my will, Father, but Yours always be done."
I came across an urgent prayer attention that I've devoted myself to. Luckily, I've been blessed with a group of prayers warriors who have taken this intention and included it fervently in their own prayers.
How blessed the earth is to count among its children these souls! How blessed I am to count one of these devout souls as a dear friend and most loving mother!
Anyway, a young mother was given devastating news regarding her beautiful unborn child. The little angel isn't growing as expected, and his heartbeat is barely sustaining him. She fears for his very existence, and has devoted herself entirely to not only prayer, but attempting to discern and accept the Will of God in this suffering... this period of waiting.
I know this torment myself. Too well, I know this torment.
While pregnant with my son, Vincent, I started cramping intensely during my 9th week. It was a Wednesday. That evening, when I finally came home, I noticed that I had begun bleeding. A terrible panic gripped me and I immediately told John we needed to get to the E.R. In tears, I called my mother, hoping that she could offer some solace that she, too, had experienced these symptoms and all had turned out OK. She couldn't, but promised she'd be on her way to meet us at the hospital.
The entire trip to the ER I was in the passenger seat, praying the Memorare. Interspersed with these Memorares were the words, "Please, please, please, Dear God, don't take my baby." John, normally awkward and uncomfortable with my prayers, said nothing as he sped through the darkness. I tried so hard to remain calm, but the thought of losing this perfect little soul before he had even taken his first breath was almost too much for me.
When we finally reached the hospital, I went to the front to check myself in (John had to park). I could barely speak as I was shaking and crying. The man graciously led me to the proper area and took my information patiently. I was given a urine test and took a seat as I waited for my turn at triage.
When I went in to take the urine test, I was still bleeding... enough for the triage nurse to take me back immediately. After the initial battery of questions, she patted my hand and said, "Honey, from the sounds of it, you probably had a miss. I'm so sorry." John had just come in and I broke down again. Hearing these words from her tore at my heart. I didn't, however, want to believe them until I got confirmation from the doctor.
By this time, I saw my mother walking through the hall looking for me. I called out to her, and she came in with my sister, Maria. (Dear Lord, I'm crying again just thinking of this). We all walked out to the waiting room while the OB-GYN was called. I was silently crying, tears falling out of me in fat splashes of helplessness. I remember Maria putting her hand over mine. She, too, had begun to tear up and could only say, "It'll be okay."
My mother kept saying, "If anything has happened, you have an angel in Heaven. Grandmom and Grandpop are with the baby. If something happened, the baby would have been so sick if it were born, so this will be better for the baby and for you." Still, even understanding this, I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to process any of it. I wanted someone to say, "Gina, the baby is safe. This sort of bleeding is normal sometimes, and the baby will be fine."
So we waited. Crying silently, I waited, praying and praying that the little baby I carried was still clinging to life. Finally, we were called back. I changed into the robe and almost immediately the doctor was in to do an exam. I offered the intense pain to God in a plea bargain. "Give me as much pain as you will, God, but just protect my little baby."
Tears continued to roll down my face as the doctor shot the nurse a look. She didn't realize it, but I saw her shake her head. My heart nearly shot out of my chest. The nurse then looked at John and saw my reaction. She quickly said, "Daddy, hold Mom's hand now. She needs you."
"Daddy." She called him Daddy before our little baby could. She called me "Mom." That's what we were... even before we were given the chance to hold our little angel. We were parents, and we were already seized with panic, fear and helplessness over the fate of our first child. This made me cry anew, even though I was doing all I could to supress the cries. I was worried my fast heartrate and emotional distress would do more damage.
John took my hand and we braced for the news. The doctor patted my leg and said, "While it doesn't look like you've miscarried just yet, you've lost a considerable amount of blood. I can't tell you for certain, but this could be your body's way of preparing for miscarriage."
I defiantly asked if there was hope that this could just be from some other, unknown complication that could rectify itself. She said, "Maybe, but this is a lot of blood. This isn't implantation bleeding, and I don't see any ruptures. I can't tell you what's causing it, I can only tell you what it likely will lead to."
With the tests complete, my mother and sister were allowed to come back in while John and I waited for the resident to speak with me. When he came in to speak with me, his news was much more hopeful, though still serious. He gave me the words I was looking for. He said, "I've seen this type of bleeding before, and some women walk out with healthy babies. Some miscarry, but some have normal, healthy pregnancies."
Oh, my heart, my heart! I was placed on bedrest for a week until I was able to go in for an ultrasound to confirm that my little one still had a heartbeat.
Those days passed in a fog of prayer and contemplation. I no longer cried. I refused to give in to negative thoughts because I wanted to remain positive in the hopes that my blood pressure and hormone levels would remain steady so my baby could thrive. In the meantime, I was trying to understand why this trial was being given to me. At this point, I hadn't undergone my "reversion," but as I had stated in the past, though I was away from the Church, I was never away from my faith. I always believed in God's Divine Plan and always felt He guided all aspects of my life. Thus, I asked Him over and over again that if He was to take this child from me, to please give me the grace to understand the lesson I was to learn in all of this.
The quote to the right kept popping into my head. If God took such good care of His birds, flowers and other creation, how could He neglect the baby I carried within me? How could He forsake John and I, and our families and friends who anticipated this new life so joyously?
I gradually felt a deep peace within myself as I contemplated the truth that God knows what is best for us, and as such, I should place even this emotional matter at His Feet. I thought, "Maybe God doesn't think I'm ready yet to be a parent" or "Maybe God wishes this child to be born next year" even "Maybe God wants to punish me for the many awful things I've done in my life." The latter was fleeting, however, since I don't believe God uses the lives of the innocent to inflict punishment onto others.
In that week, I offered everything to God through the Blessed Mother, uniting my sorrow and fear with Hers, knowing she understood - even more than I - the pain of sacrificing a child. I was told to say 9 Memorares, and I did... every day. 9 sets of 9 just to be sure I covered my bases. I learned to repeat, over and over, the words "Not mine, but Thine." Even in this sorrow, God taught me to accept His Will and to trust that He would do right by not only John and I, but our child as well.
When John and I finally went in for the ultrasound, both of us were nervous. I, however, had a peace within me as well. I knew that regardless of the outcome, it was God's Will and I
should be grateful for the blessing of carrying life within me at all if my angel was taken from me prematurely.
However, the first words out of the nurse's mouth were "That's a good, strong heartbeat!" John, who was sitting at my feet, squeezed my left foot so tightly but didn't say anything. I, in turn, let the tears of thanksgiving roll into my hair as I stared into the screen that showed my child enthusiastically moving within me. I looked up and said "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" over and over again throughout the ultrasound.
As soon as we left the building (complete with a picture of our future son in my hands), John and I hugged one another. A week's worth of desperation, pleading and fear came tumbling out in a torrent of sobbing that couldn't be stopped. John didn't understand why I was crying. I couldn't get out the words that the sobbing was all happiness and thanksgiving since the past week of torture ended with a blessing.
In fact, when I called my mother to let her know the happy news, I was crying so hard that she thought I had been given confirmation of a miscarriage! I don't think I've ever cried so hard in my life, but they were tears of thanksgiving. My soul did not stop singing praise and thanksgiving and each tear was a gift of love.
Several months later, Vincent was placed in my arms, and when I presented him to the Blessed Mother, I cried anew because I knew it was Her intercession which saved him for me. Even now when we go to a Church, I offer him to her in thanks.
May all women faced with this crushing news be gifted the same blessed outcome. I hope my story serves as hope for others... I hope it is a testament to the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother, and the wonderful Mercy of God.
And all of you reading this, please offer a prayer to Our Lady for the intention of this young mother... and mothers everywhere... who are being asked to endure the agony of this wait.
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