The birth of my nephew, Leland, this week has brought me to thoughts of our first daughter. Some of you who have stopped in are aware of the loss of our daughter, Bailey. If you aren't and you are properly outfitted with a box of Kleenex, feel free to read about it here. Please feel free to read the follow-up here and here. The long and short of our loss boils down to my having two blood clotting disorders. The blood clotting disorders that I have are MTHFR and PAI-Type 1, both of which are homozygous. (Meaning, genes from both sides to make the ill effects extra ugly.) These genetic disorders were completely unknown to us in the beginning, but in the end Bailey died as a result of lack of oxygen because of a large blood clot that had formed behind the placenta. This was at 22 1/2 weeks. Because of the blood clotting disorders and the severity of the pre-eclampsia/eclampsia that I did have, the OB/GYN was kind in suggesting that we not take the route to family via birth from me again. (Not how she said it, but how I'm wording it.)
So, this brings me around to my actual reason to post. The hospital had a library and insisted that we borrow books on loss from their collection. My husband went down, got the books that they suggested and off home we went. I was off work for a full month and had quite a bit of time to read. We were absolutely horrified that one of the books that they suggested and sent home for me to read was comparing miscarriage, stillbirth and abo*rtion as all the same loss. I certainly can understand miscarriage and stillbirth falling into the same category, but listing abor*tion in there threw me for a loop. If it was a specifically medically necessary abor*tion then I could certainly understand their need for the same category, but that wasn't mentioned. It was a comparison of miscarriage, stillbirth and by choice abor*tion only. It only made me mad. The loss of our daughter was not our choice.
Friends bought me the book Losing You Too Soon, by Bernadette Keaggy. Bernadette really wrote truly from her heart and she didn't hide the way she felt. She dumped it all out there. As Christians, we believe in God's will for our lives. God's will, however, doesn't always mean that we're going to admit that it was something that we signed up for. Certainly birthing a deceased child is never high on someones list. Plainly, it sucks. There was Bernadette left to do it multiple times.
I admit that for several years, I re-read this book a couple of times a year. Generally around the anniversary of Bailey's death (January 27) or around the time that she was due (May 30), I would crack the book out. It is a book that I've suggested to many people. That's why I posted about this subject this week. I highly recommend this book to folks who have suffered loss of an infant due to miscarriage or stillbirth. Sometimes as friends, we want to do something and we don't know what to do or where to go for a friend. Sometimes reading a book like this will give you perspective and a bit of understanding in what your friend or family is going through. (Not that we would ever wish loss on anyone ever.)
Worth noting, my husband went to see Phil Keaggy play somewhere around Youngstown. (He was from around there.) He met him after the concert and told him to please thank his wife for writing her book. Phil had a lovely conversation with him about the loss of Bailey, signed the CD and made sure to include my name on it. Not a stiff and stodgy musician or bigger than his britches, he was down to earth and truly took my husband's compliment to heart.
Also worth noting, my husband and I were so taken by Phil's truly kind heart, what he and Bernadette went through and her writing the book that K-'s middle name is actually from a Phil Keaggy song.
So Phil, if you are out there, you and Bernadette rock! Thanks for reaching out and helping people. Thank you for touching our hearts.