Thoughts, Musings, & Ramblings of a Catholic Housewife



Our son, Victor, was born into eternal life on Sept. 11, 2010.  He never breathed a breath in this world.  This is his story.

Victor's Marker

Victor’s Marker

My entire life can now be labeled pre-Victor and post-Victor.  Miscarrying our son is a dagger in my timeline.  It is a break in the chain.  It was the kind of thing that changes you forever.  The crazy thing is that, unless we’ve shared our story with you (and we are pretty open about it), you wouldn’t know.  When someone is physically injured or maimed in some way, people can SEE that something is different about them.  They bear physical scars.  Nobody can see the scars on my or my husband’s hearts that tell a big part of our family’s story.

Life and death is messy stuff.  Physically, emotionally, and spiritually messy.  Originally I thought I’d share the specifics and mechanics of our brief time with Victor but that isn’t really the important stuff.  That isn’t his legacy.  Believe it, my son, who had been in existence for just over 9 weeks, who could not survive outside of my womb, has a legacy.  This isn’t about our experience with thoughtless ninnies at the hospital, who ran the gamut from simple thoughtlessness to idiocy to near cruelty.  This isn’t about them.  It is about Victor.  Our son.  Our first baby and our daughter’s big brother.  Our family’s little saint.

We are Catholic and we believe that God has a hand in everything.  Things happen via his specific will (i.e. It was His specific will that Christ die on the cross in atonement for our sins, in order to save us and open the gates of Heaven.) or his permissive will (i.e. He doesn’t specifically will for me to catch your cold but He doesn’t prevent it from happening, either.)  It is so easy to say those words.  We believe things happen for a reason.  We trust in God’s will.  We WANT God’s will for our lives.  (Although, when you think about what He willed His only son to suffer in order to save us – sheesh – sometimes I think we’re crazy for wanting His will in our lives, but then again, this is all temporary and we have an eternity in Heaven to look forward to.)  It is SO. MUCH. HARDER. to live those words.  Victor taught us how.

With Victor, we were given the gift of participating in creation.  Our love begat.  Our love created.  With REAL love (not what our society often defines as love…that’s another post), there is always a possibility that it will overflow into creating new life.  We were given the gift of parenthood and the responsibility to help our child get to Heaven.  With Victor, we were given LIFE.  We enjoyed life with him for something like 2 – 3 weeks.  We loved him.  We loved him more than anyone who isn’t a parent might be able to understand, considering we hadn’t even met him, yet.  We hadn’t met him, seen his face, heard his voice, or held his body but we KNEW him and we loved him.

Our son gave us the opportunity to grow closer together, closer to God, and stronger in our faith.  We learned so much because of him.  We learned that what you would imagine as being the worst possible thing ever, losing a child, isn’t really.  We learned how closely intertwined blessing and suffering is.  They always come hand in hand.  It is through and because of the bitter that we should more fully appreciate the sweet.  We learned that, as parents, we will always be called to suffer in some ways for our children.  Daily we joyfully accept that suffering, for love of them.  It is not pointless for me to suffer lost sleep if it means I am comforting my sick baby and helping her feel better, or if it means I am feeding her & providing nourishment for her to grow.  Our suffering a miscarriage was not pointless, as our son was blessed to go straight to Heaven.  We learned to TRUST God with EVERYTHING.  He always provides what we need and takes care of us.

Through this, I’ve also grown closer to our Blessed Mother, Mary, and understand her sacrifice just a little more.  I know she understands my mother’s heart and sorrow.  I also knew, when Victor passed, that he would be cradled in her arms.  The Queen of Heaven, our spiritual mother, would wrap her arms around my son.  He was okay.  No, he was more than okay, he was perfect.

Our son’s legacy is us.  His life has a profound continuing effect on our marriage and family.  He is up in Heaven praying for us and interceding on our behalf.  We’ve learned to appreciate what we are given, when we are given it.  To cherish times as they come and not to fear anything.  We no longer fear death, not for ourselves or our children.  “Oh, Death, where is your sting?  Oh, Death, where is your victory?”  We are trying to live a life of humility & love, joyfully accepting whatever crosses we are blessed with, offering up suffering to participate in redemption, and gratefully relishing every little bit.  We don’t always succeed.  We are the family of saints.  We’ve been blessed with holy children.  We will gladly accept the blessings of more little saints.  No matter if they ever live one day on this earth outside of my womb – we will joyfully accept all the blessing and suffering that comes with being parents, with being open to love overflowing.  We hope and pray that we will all be reunited in the communion of saints, whenever God calls us.

In 2010 our lives changed forever as we were married, blessed with our first child, and suffered through our first loss.  We held close to each other, close to our son, and close to God.  It was the most difficult year of my life but I am so grateful for everything that happened that year.  We learned that life is life – life on earth or life in Heaven – no matter where our children are, they are alive and we were blessed to participate in that.  <3  This is what Victor taught us.  <3

Visiting Victor's grave.

Visiting Victor’s grave.

After I wrote this, I shared it with my husband.  He said I make us sound like a couple of saints, which we aren’t.  We’ve been walking in this for three years.  It is still very difficult at times.  We both struggled with anger after losing Victor.  If you’ve read my Pregnancy Guilt post, then you know I really struggled with jealousy, too.  This isn’t an easy road.  It isn’t a road I’d ever wish on anyone.  It isn’t a road that I want to journey down again BUT it also isn’t a road that I am afraid of.  I do not fear losing another pregnancy to miscarriage & birthing another baby to Heaven.  Satan can not use that fear to rob my joy or hold me captive.  There are plenty of other things he can use but fear of losing my babies isn’t one of them.  It may not immediately sound like I’m talking about our son but without him, without being blessed with him and without the miscarriage – I do not think I would have learned any of these things.  Fear is not of God.  Love, peace in your soul, and joy…these are of God.  I am so thankful that I am blessed to be able to walk through future pregnancies with a spirit of peace, love, and joy – even if it may also be surrounded by sorrow.  God loves my children more than I do and I know He will always take care of them.


There Are Worse Things

{Lately, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about miscarriages on a couple internet groups/boards I’m a member of.  Ladies asking about healing after miscarriage or discussing their fears of miscarriage or asking about symptoms of miscarriage.  I keep thinking that I should share more about what happened to our family and how that’s changed my point of view.  Bear in mind, my point of view is very firmly grounded in my faith.  If we had suffered this without our faith, I’m fairly certain that I would not have made it through.}

My husband and I were married in April of 2010 and lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage in September 2010.  We hadn’t even been married six months and our relationship was being tested like nothing else.  Losing a child, whether they are pre-born, still born, juvenile, or an adult can tear a marriage and a family apart.  You tend to go into yourself and mourn.  The world around you goes on but yours stops and you can’t always understand why and how the rest of the world keeps spinning.

Our miscarriage was probably different than others in that we were expecting it.  My endocrinologist sent us to the high risk OB (not my regular OB) for an ultrasound maybe 5 days or so after we’d confirmed (via doctor’s office blood test) we were pregnant.  This was about 2 weeks after we’d had a positive home pregnancy test.  She wanted to get a good idea on just how far along we were.  According to the dating of my last cycle, we could be nearly 12 weeks but the HCG levels in my blood showed that I may be closer to 7 weeks.  I am diabetic and she’d had me admitted to the hospital to figure out my insulin doses (I’d never used insulin before and this was the safest way to figure out my doses and teach me.)  It was a Tuesday morning & we were excited to see our baby for the first time.  We had no idea what we were about to be hit with.

Hospital staff wheeled me down to the OB’s office & we joked about how silly it was because my legs weren’t broken, I was just pregnant.  I got prepped for the ultrasound & the doctor came into the room.  He introduced himself to us, reviewed my chart, lectured me for allowing myself to get pregnant without having my diabetes under perfect control, and then started the ultrasound.  He was very businesslike.  He said, “Here’s the sac, and there’s the baby, and we have a problem.  You’re baby is measuring 9wks 3 days and we should see movement of a heart beating.  There is no heart beat.  This is a missed miscarriage.”  Excuse me?  A what?  How can I be having a missed miscarriage?  I have no symptoms of losing the pregnancy.  I’ve had no cramping or bleeding or spotting.  He must be wrong.  He told us that we could schedule a DNC for that afternoon, if we wanted.  They would dilate my cervix and remove all tissue from my uterus.  Tissue?  TISSUE?  This isn’t tissue.  THIS IS OUR BABY.  I’m sure the look of shock and horror was easy to read on my face & he went on to say that it would be fine for us to just let things progress naturally.  He said that my body would likely take care of everything on its own.  Just over a week and a half later, that is exactly what happened.  I started bleeding, similar to a light – medium flow period, just before noon on a Friday.  I still had no cramping but seeing as we’d had another ultrasound that still showed no heart beat and no growth in baby’s size, I knew what this was.  I went home from work, not knowing exactly how long this process would take.  I bled for 24 hours.  I passed clots larger than anything I’d ever passed before but no baby (I was a little paranoid about my baby’s body being concealed by a large clot and was careful to make sure that I didn’t flush my baby’s body down the toilet).  About 24 hours after the bleeding started I got my first real cramp and with it a rush.  I ran to the bathroom and screamed for my husband.  You’ve seen a woman’s water breaking in the movies?  That sudden gush of liquid just pouring out of them?  That is exactly what this felt like.  I was in the bathtub with (what looked like) a river of blood rushing out of me.  The body of our son, Victor, passed within the first ten minutes.  His body was tiny and perfect.  I remember counting his fingers and toes.  He had ten each.  And his eyes, oh his eyes were the bluest blue I’ve ever seen.  We held our son and we mourned and I bled.  I don’t recall the pain being that bad in the first few minutes.  However, as the miscarriage continued, the contractions increased, plain tissue that was meant to provide nourishment for our son was expelled, and the pain intensified.  I was still bleeding and by this time screaming in massive amounts of pain nearly two and a half hours after Victor’s passing.  I was scared.  I was tired.  I was heart broken.  My husband helped me clean up & dress and then drove me to the emergency room.  By the time a doctor was able to examine me, the pain and the bleeding had stopped.  My body was exhausted, my womb was empty, and my yoga pants were ruined.  I was given a clean bill of health, a Rh shot (I have a neg blood type) and sent home to rest.  We buried our son the following Wednesday.

The emotional pain of waiting for a miscarriage to happen, knowing it will but unsure of when, is debilitating.  The physical pain of the miscarriage itself is excruciating.  The psychological pain is torture.  I felt like I was floating in nothingness.  I was broken, speechless, and couldn’t understand how the sun kept rising day after day while everything seemed so dark.  Some days were okay and others I felt like I was being held under water, the pain stealing every last little breath, every last little bit of life I had left in me.  I knew that our son was in Heaven and took solace in that.  I made jokes about how having a saint for a son made me a relic.  Knowing our son was alive in Heaven, cradled in the arms of our Blessed Mother, gave me comfort but it also made me angry and sad.  She got to hold my son.  She got to know this precious soul and I did not…at least not yet.  This may sound crazy but there are ups and downs to this whole thing.  I felt honored to know that my son was a little saint.  We didn’t have to do anything, other than bearing a miscarriage, for our son to go to Heaven.  What was so wrong with me that my body couldn’t support him, couldn’t keep him alive on earth?  What was so wrong with me that I couldn’t be a “full” mother?  (I really struggled with viewing myself as a mother and nothing in our society supports the idea that a mother who loses a pregnancy is still a mother.  In fact, there are some who would say “it doesn’t count” because our baby didn’t experience life outside of the womb.)  These were all questions and thoughts that plagued me as time went by.  I tried to remind myself to behave in a manner befitting the mother of a saint.  I wanted to be worthy of such an honor.  My husband and I were drawn closer together.  Nobody quite understood what we’d been through, except us and God.  Even when you meet people who’ve walked this path, it’s different for each of us and while we can empathize with each other – none of us exactly KNOW what the others are suffering with.  We leaned on each other and Him.  We prayed more.  We learned how to communicate about things that most people would shudder to think about, let alone say out loud.  We faced burying a child & we survived.

What I have to say next will likely sound even crazier.  I am not afraid of suffering another miscarriage or burying another child.  Our daughter is less than a week shy of turning six months old.  Our pregnancy with her was pretty awesome and while birth didn’t go as we planned (I’d love to meet someone who’s birth did go exactly as planned and find out their secret) we were blessed with a beautiful, sweet spirited, tiny, healthy girl.  She was baptized at twelve days old.  One of the things I realized after our miscarriage, that really hit home with this pregnancy is this – every parent will suffer for their child(ren).  We suffer through pregnancies that may be very difficult, we suffer through labor & delivery that may be very painful, scary, and even life threatening.  We suffer sleepless nights.  We may suffer through breastfeeding or trying to breastfeed.  We worry about development and proper discipline and what we feed them and how they socialize with others and raising them up in the faith, etc.  As they grow and start to make their own choices, exercising their free will, we will suffer as we watch them fall to temptation and sin.  This may sound callous and may be difficult to understand but there are worse things in this world than miscarriages or early loss.  I used to fear losing a child.  I still get sad sometimes when I think about not being able to know my son in this life.  I greatly cherish the time I’ve been given with my daughter and pray daily for the strength, wisdom, and grace to raise her properly.  I pray that she will make good and holy choices in her life.  I pray that she will be a saint and I know that her big brother is praying for her, too.  I do not fear death – not for myself or my family.  Our children are alive.  Any life that we are blessed to participate in the creation of will live.  Giving birth is not an easy thing and whether these sweet souls are born onto this earth or straight into Heaven, they live!!

Losing the chance to know your child in this life hurts.  It is gut-wrenching and can be torture at times.  Don’t let that fear stop you from enjoying the gifts and blessings you have now.  Don’t let the fear of what might happen tomorrow steal the joy of what you’ve been given now.  Don’t let the pain of that loss prevent you from being open to love & joy.  What’s worse than not getting to spend your earthly life with your babies?  Not getting to spend your eternal life with them.

I’m in the process of learning to look at this world with eternal eyes.  I am pray for and look forward with excited anticipation to the days when my family members are called home from this world and reunited in the next.