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Ruth Shaw

Opinion,

Stunning photos of baby miscarried at 12 weeks prove humanity of preborn

Ruth Shaw
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Written by Cecilia and Darryl Everett, supporters of NCLN.

October 17, 2018 (National Campus Life Network) – By 17 weeks everyone knew we were having a baby.
Family and friends had delighted in our news.
We were so in love with our little baby.
I wasn't alone.

My midwife couldn't find the heartbeat at my routine check-up.
What followed were the longest two hours of my life.
But thanks to friends and family praying for me, I wasn't alone.

My husband met me for the ultrasound.
I felt sick.
Not the pregnancy kind of sick that I had felt daily for so many weeks of the pregnancy.
That other kind of sick.
That kind where your heart and your brain keep smashing into each other until they both feel numb.
There he was on the screen.
Perfectly formed.
No heartbeat.
Measuring 12 weeks.
"What were your dates again?"
Then it hit me. Hard.
For six weeks I had been carrying a dead child.
I had waited weeks for kicks.
Now I knew why they hadn't come.
But he was mine, resting inside.
I wasn't alone.

My husband and I looked at each other.
I remember feeling sorry for the ultrasound technicians as they awkwardly mumbled sweet words, handed us Kleenex, and left.
We cried together. How could we tell our other children?
Was I even capable of holding their grief, so overwhelmed by my own?
They knew the moment we walked in the door.
We sat down in a huddle of love and tears.
I wasn't alone.

His story goes on.
It got complicated.
After nearly six weeks my "missed miscarriage" likely required an induction or a D&C.
The age of my baby meant that the doctors at the nearest hospital wanted me to come in and have the D&C.
My emotional needs after going through nearly half the pregnancy meant I wanted the chance to hold my child.
No matter how small. I had seen his image on that screen.
His arms.
His legs.
I wanted to kiss him.
To delight in him.
I fought for an induction with the help and support of some amazing friends and family, and a midwife who knew what I needed and was ready to fight with me.
I wasn't alone.

And so, three days later I got into a different hospital.
The drug to induce my labour was the abortion pill.
When my husband picked it up from the pharmacy he was asked, "Is this for an abortion?"
It was literally the hardest pill I have ever had to swallow.
But my sister calmed my nerves as I called her crying from the bathroom.
And my husband was with me through it all.
His heart swallowed that pill too.
I wasn't alone.

After waiting 24 hours I was given a second dose.
A few hours later labour started.
This was not my first child.
Or even my first miscarriage.
But it was the first time my body would have to labour so hard for nothing.
But then, it wasn't nothing, was it?
I had fought to deliver my child.
And here I was, supported and held up.
So I worked.
It wasn't very long.
The waves that came were familiar to me.
I danced through my contractions with my baby.
Just as I had with his siblings.
Two bodies on the same mission.
His soul was speaking to me.
I wasn't alone.

And so he came.
We cried and we laughed.
Discovered our baby was a boy!
Took photos.
Tried to kiss his paper-thin skin.
More than anything I wanted to snuggle him close and squeeze my baby.
You know, when you bring in a newborn and sniff their head…
But he was far too fragile and delicate for that.
So we held him in the palm of our hands and told him how much we loved him.
The doctors and nurses were kind and so respectful.
There was a reverence in the room that was palpable.
All for our little boy. His soul had left six weeks before, but we saw him.
Acknowledged him.
Loved him.
He wasn't alone.

And neither are you.

We could count each finger as his hands lay across his chest.
At 12 weeks they truly are a perfectly formed human.
Only physical difference from us is their vulnerability.

In loving memory of John Mercy.

Published with permission from the National Campus Life Network.

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