On July 15, my baby of almost 9 weeks in the first trimester came out into the world unexpectedly. My husband and I called him “Sproul” while he was still in my womb, and we buried him a few days later. He was originally Sprout, but we thought it would be cute to change the last letter of his name like we usually do as a sign of endearment. At this point, we didn’t know if he was going to be a boy or a girl, so we, as usual, called him something that could go either.
As soon as I found out that I conceived, I loved and accepted him. For two whole months, he was forming in me, and my husband and I prepared for his coming immediately. We were going to see my side of the family for vacation in just a couple of weeks or so and planned to announce his presence then. I even thought he might be a boy because my morning sickness was mild compared to when I carried my first child. Not that the old wive’s tale is true, that milder mornings bring boys. It was just fun to think that we could predict our baby’s gender and even his personality this early. What none of us could have predicted was his passing.
What has kept me together is the reminder that all life is precious. That life is short and fragile and mysterious. There is very little I can do, that we can all do, to control life and death even with all our advancements. Life will come because it fights to arise, but death will also come because it is necessary. Nature has its way of speaking through pain and suffering what must come to pass for its benefit and in turn, ours. God has set into motion a plan that operates on its own, and to curse Him personally for death and suffering is to waste our efforts.
Both in miscarriage and labor, the body is mechanized, without our consent, to expel what has been completed and what no longer needs to be kept inside the mother. I am in a way thankful to have experienced the difference in sensation between the two and grateful evermore that my body is doing its job to fulfill a purpose greater than what I currently could come up with.
The emotions through a miscarriage, however, are as real and tender as the physical pain I went through and am still going through, but these are necessary lessons to be learned about life itself. Months later, many of us will still experience some bleeding, some discomfort from hormonal changes, and perhaps lifelong emotional pain. From what we know so far, we cannot stop a miscarriage from happening. It does it on its own when the conditions for life aren’t adequately met in the mother at the time of conception.
The greater lesson to be had is that there are many things in life that we all cannot control. The illusion that we have full control or that we are the center of the universe brings unnecessary suffering. We have to learn to let go and ride the wave. Learn that at present, we are at the mercy of accidents. Let’s not be too hard on ourselves or on others, especially not around a miscarriage.
Our Miscarried Baby’s Casket
For Sproul’s 8 week body, I made him a little casket with just a wooden box and some adornments, all of which are biodegradable except for the metal hinges and latch. You can see the pictures below. I estimated the size of the box based on what I saw when he came out, and he fit in there just fine.
I looked around for first trimester caskets because I knew I wanted to hold a small and private ceremony for him. Everything I found was either too expensive, too dreadful, or just weren’t made to decompose in the earth and the body over time. Some of them were even meant to keep critters away, as if they do not belong with us on earth.
It is important to me that burial is to remain sacred such as life and death are sacred, which means to me that nothing synthetic will be significantly used. No chemicals, no plastic, no formaldehyde. This same principle I hold when I create my memorial jewelry and DNA keepsakes for others. This led me to create my own casket for our child, because I did not find anything that suited. The wood is unfurnished. The metal parts of the casket are of golden color, which also represents divinity. They are the only parts that will remain intact after everything else has returned to dust, decomposed as they are meant to be. The adornments such as the flower are made with paper, with white representing purity and innocence of a child.
The creation process for this casket also helped in expressing my grief as well as in writing this post. One creation was lost in my womb, and so creating something with my hands as a result of that was comforting. Though the casket was made with natural materials, it was nothing in comparison to the glory of a living being.
We buried him just in front of a sea of white wild carrot flowers, which bloom noticeably around June and July, which is when we lost our baby. I placed the same flower on top of the mound where he was buried. I had meant to put the seeds with him so that he could nourish them as they grew. The flowers are a symbol of not just the timing of our loss but of new life and premature death as well. I am seeing the flowers everywhere I see lush thick green grass, untouched nor maintained by human hands. Our loss and others’ losses of their children, too, are out of our hands. I am at peace with that.
Sending love and comfort to all who have lost a life. All have a purpose and meaning, no matter how short our days are in this body.
P.S. Here is a part of Scripture that spoke so powerfully to me at this time found in 1 Corinthians 15:36-55.
“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man.
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]