Five years ago, I had my first of three miscarriages. Those were dark days. This is my letter to the babies I never got to hold. It’s not a sad letter, because I’m not sad anymore.
Did you know that one in eight KNOWN pregnancies end in a miscarriage?* This figure doesn’t include any loss that takes place without a mum ever knowing she’s pregnant, the many stillbirths that happen each year (estimated by the NHS as being roughly 1 in every 200 births), or all the couples who suffer with the heartache of infertility.
*According to information published by the NHS, miscarriage is defined as ‘the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks’. After this point, the loss is known as a stillbirth.
If, like me, you’ve had three or more miscarriages in a row, these are called ‘recurrent miscarriages.’ They’re much less common, affecting around one in every hundred women. It’s a tough road to walk, and my heart goes out to any parent who has to travel on this path! It’s not fair, and I totally get that feeling of how grossly unjust it is!
Letter to my babies I never got to hold
As I said earlier, this letter to the babies I never got to hold, is not a sad one. I no longer feel the crushing weight of their loss every day. And my life is not defined by their absence in it. I am deeply grateful to God for the beautiful family He gave me, and maybe if anything, their absence has taught me to treasure what I have even more.
This post is dedicated to all the parents who have loved and lost. I pray that as you read this, God will touch your hearts. I believe that you’re not alone in your heartache. God sees your tears and He weeps with you!
To my beloved child,
It’s been five years now since the doctor said those six words that broke my heart:
“I’m so sorry. There’s nothing there.”
I squeezed your Daddy’s hand, smiled politely at the doctor and accepted the bundle of leaflets she was offering. Leaflets that would tell me how I was going be OK, that statistically 1 in 8 known pregnancies end in miscarriage and that I should wait until after my next period to start trying to conceive again. And that was it. Over.
I felt numb.
I wasn’t surprised at the news that you were gone. But equally I wouldn’t have been surprised if the doctor had smiled and said “look there’s the heartbeat, everything is fine.”
It had been a week since our initial hospital appointment.
Seven days ago they thought you were too small for your age, a potential indication that you hadn’t grown for a few weeks. Not good.
A week full of excruciating stomach cramps and heavy bleeding.
A week of bed rest to see if the tiny sack implanted in my womb would grow. (That’s you by the way).
A week of waiting to see if you would be there on the ultrasound at our next scan.
A week of tears and fear. Prayers and hope. Oh such sweet hope.
All my symptoms pointed towards bad news but I waited for a miracle. I waited for you.
And I hoped.
“I’m so sorry. There’s nothing there.”
So you were gone. You were only 8 weeks old.
Daddy and I always thought you were a boy. There’s no way of definitively knowing if that’s true, but from the moment we knew that you existed, we both thought you were a boy.
We had even given you a name.
You may not know this, but the name Isaac means ‘laughter’. Because our hearts were so full of joy when we found out we’d made you. It overflowed. Bubbled over. We smiled. We laughed.
Our little Isaac. So small yet so loved.
We even bought you some clothes. A cute little sleepsuit designed like a tuxedo. You would have looked so cute in that. And I would have taken so many adorable pictures and plastered them all over social media. They would have got a lot of ‘likes’
Now they’re sitting in the loft. About to be passed on to dear friends of ours who are imminently about to give birth to a boy of their own. I can’t wait to coo over their sweet tuxedo-wearing baby boy. And be full of joy, celebrating with dear friends.
And you, little boy so full of laughter, I’m sure you’re laughing now. Why wouldn’t you be? Heaven is full of laughter and joy and singing and life. I know you are very happy there.
I sometimes wonder what you look like. Is your hair curly like your sister Zoe? Do you have big eyes and beautiful eyelashes like Sophia?
And then I think about all the things we never got to do together.
I never felt your sweet little baby fingers wrap around my pinky and squeeze.
I never experienced your smile. That sweet smile reserved only for me.
I never got to buy your first pair of wellies and enjoy all the fun of you jumping in the puddles.
I never celebrated your first tooth or your first steps.
I never got to tuck you in at night and sing over you as you fell asleep.
Our friends and family didn’t get to coo over you and tell us how beautiful you were or that your daddy and I had done a good job making such a sweet bubba.
Family and friends who had stood side by side with us in the waiting. Patiently hoping and praying.
Now sharing our deep sadness.
And you, you never got to meet us.
You never got to chuckle to yourself as we struggled to do up your sleepsuit, only to get to the end and realise we’d missed a popper.
You didn’t get to watch me with my phone constantly in my hand, google on the other end, answering every question I had. (And usually raising more questions in the process).
You didn’t get the joy of being thrown around by your daddy while I looked on in horror, telling him to be careful with you.
You didn’t get to meet us and be part of our family. So treasured and so gratefully received as a gift from God.
And we didn’t get to meet you.
Instead, there were tears. And sadness. And grief.
People didn’t always know what to say. So they said the wrong things. It was painful to hear at times, but they meant well. They wanted to help, they just didn’t know how. How are you meant to let someone know everything is going to be OK, when in that moment, their hearts are breaking? In that moment, there are no silver linings to the clouds. They are black, and heavy, and ominous. Rainbows would come, but not in that moment.
And then a few months down the line when history repeated itself for a second time, and then a third time, we found ourselves saying goodbye more times than any mummy or daddy should ever have to.
It didn’t get any easier the more we did it.
I’m sure you’re a fantastic big brother. You probably welcomed your siblings with open arms when they came to live with you in heaven. I’m sure you showed them around and introduced them to a few people. You get that from your daddy. He’s great at helping people feel safe and at home. Naturally good with people, so warm and friendly. I’m sure you take after him.
Some people might say that you were taken from this world too soon. But I don’t believe that. I think God knew exactly what he was doing and the time of your stay was just as it should have been.
Was it painful to lose you so soon? Without a shadow of a doubt.
Was it grossly unfair and cruel? Absolutely.
Did I sometimes wonder if the tears would ever end. All. The. Time.
But they did.
But five years down the line how can I not be full of joy now? You didn’t stay long, but by leaving this world ‘too soon’ you paved the way for your two beautiful sisters to enter it. And how can that not be good?
Did you know that the name of your oldest sister, Zoe, literally means ‘life’? And her middle name means ‘joy’. When we saw her precious heartbeat at our 12 week scan, we just knew her name was going to be Zoe. Life! And she’s true to her name, full of life and bringing joy wherever she goes.
Zoe, our fourth baby. But the first one we got to hold.
I know that one day, every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. But until that time, I’m so grateful to God for your beautiful sisters. Entrusted into mine and Daddy’s care for a little while. You would have loved playing with them so much. And they would have squealed with delight chasing you around the house, and playing hide and seek with you. You would have pretended you couldn’t see their little feet sticking out under the coats, just like Daddy and I do now. So cute.
One day we shall all be together.
So even on the days when your sisters drive me crazy and I wish I had just one minute to myself. When I’m so sleep deprived that I border on hysterical. When they’ve asked me “why” for the 400th time that day. Even on those days, I choose joy. And gratitude. I’m so glad I get to be their mummy.
I count my blessings. And they are many.
And you are a blessing. You helped me to appreciate this precious family more deeply and not take them for granted. Losing you taught me how to have compassion for others who suffer. To say less and be more. To cry with friends in their mourning and not try to find the right words, or try to ‘fix ‘ the pain in some way. You taught me that. And for that, I am grateful.
You taught me that God is good, all the time. Not only when it’s sunny outside and the roses are in bloom, but also when the sky is full of storm clouds, and all that remains of the roses are the thorns. Good when things go the way I hoped and planned, but equally so when my heart is breaking. Not only in the laughter, but also in the tears.
All the time.
And one day, we will see you. Then maybe you will squeeze my finger. And I will see your smile, big and captivating, just like your Daddy’s. Full of life. No sorrow or regret. No fear or pain. Just joy, brimming over. And laughter. So much laughter the tears will stream down our faces. And all the pain will be forgotten, in an instant.
And life will be beautiful. Our family reunited. Our joy complete. A beautiful picture of grace.
But until we meet on that glorious day, I’m not going to be sad. I choose joy instead. I know you understand. You don’t want me to be sad. You want me to live life to the full. So I will.
Goodnight sweetheart. I may have never held you in my arms, but I will always hold you in my heart Keep smiling and I’ll see you soon.
I started off by saying that this letter to the babies I never got to hold, wasn’t going to be a sad one, because I’m not sad anymore. Whilst this is true, I must confess to shedding a few tears on its pages. But I also smiled a lot thinking about what a wonderful place heaven is, and that all three babies I never got to hold, are enjoying it’s many delights. They don’t have to suffer with teething, or nappy rash, or deal with my many imperfections. They got the fast track tickets to paradise and I look forward to meeting them one day.
I absolutely love this song by the wonderful Rend Collective, Weep With Me). He sees me, He understands my pain, He comforts my heartache, He weeps with me.
If you’ve suffered from a miscarriage, and need help dealing with the loss, the Miscarriage Association is a great place to start. You don’t have to suffer alone!! Love and hugs to you xx