The Baby That Never Came Home

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I was nursing, and I had a 9-month-old, and I was on the pill. So you can understand why two weeks of nausea seemed like it must certainly be an odd strain of the flu. I was navigating being a work-at-home mom, getting approximately 3 hours of sleep a night, working on a project with a deadline and we weren’t planning on trying to have another for at least a year. So you can see why I was convinced that I could be anything but pregnant. But I was. Despite the number of helpless tears shed on my bathroom floor, I was pregnant.

We were leaving for vacation in a week and I couldn’t get into the OBGYN before we left, so I decided to wait until we returned. I pretended to drink on vacation, but later found out that my frequent naps gave me away. Over the next three weeks, I delayed – and delayed – and delayed my doctor visit, knowing that they would affirm what I knew, and was absolutely terrified to accept. We were having another baby and I was far from ready.

As we drove to the doctor I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, the kind when you just know something is wrong, something you can’t explain yet.  I looked in the rear view mirror and said to my one-year-old “Whatever happens today, everything will be okay buddy”. Saying it out loud was for me, not for him.

Within 90 minutes we had the bad news. Not only was our baby very sick, but we were 16 weeks along. 4 months! I was pregnant for a full 8 weeks before I had any idea! Apparently, babies like ours didn’t typically live this long. In fact, 8 weeks was the longest any doctor in our practice had seen a baby with her complications survive. But there she was, kicking and keeping me tossing and turning already.

They offered a series of options, but only one was for us – wait. The possibility that I would go into labor naturally would put my life at risk. The possibility that she would pass away in the coming weeks was certain. And so we waited. And prayed. And waited. And cried. And prayed. We waited more than three weeks and three doctors visits before we scheduled delivery. It was 19 weeks and 6 days when I delivered her, but she had already gone to Heaven.

I didn’t know about my sweet Eliana Mercy until I was 8 weeks along. That means I knew her for 11 weeks and 6 days, but in that short time, and the three years since, I have come to know her more.

<img class="wp-image-6729 size-large" src="https://cincinnati.momcollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMAG0409_1-1024×684.jpg" alt="You can see her teeny tiny handprint at the bottom of the card You can see her teeny tiny handprint at the bottom of the card <3

I have come to know her by how I am changed as a result of her life.

I am more compassionate. I watch my words and try hard to be sensitive, never knowing what is written in someone else’s story.

I am stronger. There is no pain on earth like the pain of losing a child, but I am still standing. I am not sure I can say that I have survived, because grief is a life-long journey, but I can say that I am surviving.

I believe in miracles. My miracle didn’t come the way I thought it may, but it came nonetheless. My sweet girl was healed, and is in no pain.

I am more appreciative. Not only of the children that I have the blessing of parenting here, but of medical professionals who have to deliver that kind of news, of hospital staff who care for women who come in pregnant and leave with no baby, and for the friends and family who came alongside us in our darkest hour – even when they didn’t know what to say.

I trust more. Her life, brief as it was, taught me how little we control. From my utter panic about preparing for her arrival to my complete horror at preparing for her departure, it was evident that there are parts of life that we just can’t explain. There are prayers that are answered contrary to our hope and questions that remain regardless of the explanations we receive. I am grateful I have something (read someone) trustworthy in whom I hope.

I may not have brought my precious girl home in a car seat. She may have never occupied the crib her little sister now borrows from her big brother. But she did come home with me. In fact, the more time that passes I am sure that she never left at all.

1 COMMENT

  1. Casey! Thank you so much for your courage to share this story! I shouldn’t have read this on my lunch break – I almost started crying. I love that let us see your raw pain, but that you also allow us to see the hope and bravery you have despite what you went through. I’m so glad your baby girl never had to suffer on this earth – God took her home to be with Him by His grace. Thank you for touching us all!

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