It is with much tenderness that I share today about our baby who was born into Heaven last fall. Please know that I share here my feelings and thoughts, based on my experience. The experience of losing a pregnancy, whether one that was expected or not, is highly unique, and I don't intend for this to somehow imply that these feelings are what every woman experiences. However, I do want to share because whatever a woman's feelings are when she loses a baby, her words deserve to be heard. Her thoughts deserve to be shared. That life deserves to be remembered.
My baby Zion Avorie,
We weren’t expecting you, but somehow, I had a sense that you were there. Before I had even missed my cycle, the pink lines showed up and confirmed that your life was being knit together in the secret place designed to cushion such a fragile bundle of cells. As I sat and nursed your sister to sleep, I counted out the days and weeks. On that September day, I realized you were likely to arrive near my birthday; you would be expected May 26, but I thought it would be sweet if you maybe came a bit early so that you and I could have back-to-back birthdays, like Daddy and JA.
And you were born early. Too early.
When I told Daddy that you were growing inside me, the product of our love and some stress hormones that made my body do things it normally wouldn’t, he was surprised. Like me, he wondered how on Earth we would parent five children. Wondered might be putting it mildly. He was flabbergasted. And we were overwhelmed. But it was there, that same excitement and joy that Daddy always has when he thinks of cuddling a sweet, newborn babe. That glimmer was in his eye. Like mine.
When you were not much bigger than a blueberry, I got to see your little heart flickering on the ultrasound machine. Daddy was traveling, so I made him this little video of your precious heartbeat, struggling to see the screen from an awkward angle and mumbling awkward words- the natural response to having an ultrasound wand inside me.
Five days later, there was blood.
I rushed to the emergency room. Daddy was taking his board certification exam, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get ahold of him. It was okay. I needed to hear the words alone, so that I would not overwhelm him with my grief. The ultrasound wand once again buried inside me. Awkward angle and awkward words as I struggled to see the screen.
There was no heartbeat. You had been born into heaven. It was October 11, 2013.
Daddy picked me up at the hospital. We ate some food. I came home. I don’t remember much. I felt deflated. I had been full… full of your little body, full of hope, and now, there was nothing.
It took ten days for your body to separate from mine. For ten days, you were still present, although not in the way I wished. I was uncomfortable, and the few people who knew what was happening were fairly courteous and gentle with me. But I wished it hurt more. I wished the divorcing of our bodies left me black and blue, swollen, maimed… as if somehow, that external sign of pain could ease what was happening in my heart.
But there was no outward sign of losing you. And few people knew, because few people had even known you existed. Losing you was not a white-water wild river of devastation. No, my hurt was the quite, aching kind. Like the puddle that gathers after a soaking rain, receding ever so slowly into the already-saturated ground.
Daddy laid on the bed and held me. We wept together. We named you. Zion, meaning Heaven. Avorie, a take on PapPap’s name, meaning Wisdom. Somehow, I knew that this was right. This was the first moment of healing- the first sign of the puddle slowly absorbing into the ground. There was a ring of dark, slippery mud around my grief. Because as it turns out, grief and healing are messy things.
Your little brother or sister was conceived just weeks after we lost you. This precious baby was also not expected, but when we saw that set of pink lines, Daddy and I no longer felt overwhelmed. We knew now how very right it would be to welcome another baby into our family. And so we waited, with nervous anticipation. Hoping, and yet afraid to hope. The mud of our healing grief making even this hope a messy thing.
I still cried every day, because I still missed you. Even with the new baby growing where you had grown, living where you had lived, I missed you. This baby is not you, and I don’t know if I will ever get over the longing I have for you. It took ten days for our bodies to fully separate, but ten years won’t be long enough to separate my heart from yours.
On the day that this baby had been carried in my womb exactly one day longer than you had, I knew. I knew why. I understood.
I will never know why you were born into heaven, or why I only had the chance to hold you in my womb and not in my arms. I’ll never know why those who loved you so much never had the chance to see your precious face, smell your sweet baby head smell, stroke you soft pink skin.
But I know this: I know why you were created. I know why your little heart beat, if only for a few days. I know why your little soul was created, even if I will never get to know you on this side of eternity. And it’s really quite simple. The greatest things in life are, I think.
You were created by a God who loves you more than Daddy and I ever could, I truth I trust you now know and experience in a more real way than I do here on Earth. You were created because God loves you, He loves me, He loves Daddy, He loves all his children.
He is Love.
You were created because Love itself created you. You were given to us, if only for a while, because Love itself gave you to us. And you, dear Zion Avorie, are now with Love. Every moment, your soul is in the presence of Love.
I may never understand why Heaven’s wisdom allowed you to slip from my body before your body was fully formed. I’ve given up trying. Because it is enough. It is enough to know Love.
And dear one, while your body was here in this realm only a short time, you brought Love to us. Daddy and I know more of Love now than before. We have more Love to give because you brought Love to us. And it is Love that will reunite us again.
Today is the day that I thought you would be born, the day I thought you would flood our lives with joy and excitement and love. The day I anticipated receiving a happy, belated birthday gift.
The day of your birth came far earlier than expected. But dear one, it still brought us Love. Thank you for that gift.