Last year on this day, my wife and I went through one of the hardest days of our married life: we lost a baby due to ectopic pregnancy. I don’t have much recollection of the nearly two weeks leading up to her emergency surgery, most of it presents as a hazy blur of stress, emotions, doctor visits, and worry.
We had exhausted every option and waited longer than the doctors would have preferred in hopes of a miracle or a natural miscarriage, but in the end we had to exercise the Principle of Double Effect and my wife had surgery to remove her damaged Fallopian tube which resulted in the loss of our child.
A year later, I feel like I have some further perspective and I’d like to share a few thoughts today.
The hardest thing in the world is to watch your spouse’s heart break and there is nothing you can do about it. This is made even harder when your own heart is breaking at the same time. Going through this pain together has brought us closer as a couple. We both talk about the emotional pain that we feel even though the physical wounds of the surgery have long healed.
Before this all happened, I would read reflections or passages from Scripture regarding mourning and suffering in a somewhat academic way. I had lost relatives that were close to me, however I had never gone through something that razed my emotions so deeply. The absolute worst part was the pain of losing the baby, and the realization that I came very close to losing my wife too. Then to experience firsthand the pain that she went through was a wholly different experience.
A year later, I understand better what it means to cooperate with the grace that comes from suffering. I know that people have it far worse. Some people have experience this sort of emotional pain through numerous miscarriages, stillbirth, or the loss of a young child and I am far more sympathetic to that type of pain now. I also understand that I only have a partial perspective on this, because the emotional suffering that my wife went through (and to a degree, still does) was much worse.
Walking in faith and not by sight
In hard times like this, we were often counseled to trust in God… to heed Christ’s mandate to take up our cross and follow him. I was helped greatly by one of our parish priests, who heard my Confession shortly after the surgery where I admitted being angry at God that my family had to go through this. He told me that I took the hard but correct road and that I was a great friend of Jesus, and to know that He is there with me to make good come out of this.
After some reflection and discussion, my wife and I realized that God had willed this and we could assist in seeing that some good came from this experience. We were already advocates of the pro-life movement, and this redoubled my resolve to participate in pro-life activities. I worked on a spaghetti dinner project to raise over $1000 for the Knights of Columbus ultrasound initiative, which purchases ultrasound machines for crisis pregnancy centers to enable women to choose life. It was, after all, an ultrasound machine that detected this situation and potentially saved my wife. We continue to pray for the unborn, including our baby Jude. We continue to have faith that Christ will work through us to bring good out of this loss.
Hope for an intercessor
Shortly after the counsel that I received from my priest, I had a discussion with an 87-year-old friend of mine from the parish. He had lost a two children of his own, and we talked about the hopes and prayers that our children were with Christ now and enjoying their eternal reward.
The reality hit me in that special way that gave me goosebumps all over: my baby Jude could be in Heaven interceding for us here on Earth. I take great comfort in the idea that my child is with the Lord now praying for us and watching his big sister build blocks with Daddy. I explained this notion to my elderly friend, and found it comforting as well. While we don’t claim to know God’s Will for anyone, we can trust in his great mercy and the hope that our departed loved ones are with the Lord, praying and interceding for those of us they left behind.
Remembering is important
Many people have told me to just get over it, or that I’m making too big of a deal out of this situation. I usually counter with the argument that if this child had been born, nobody would dare to make such an argument. I take great comfort in praying for him by name and remembering that little life. I am also deeply thankful for the support of our family, friends, and parish who stood by us during this difficult time and continue to strengthen us today.
I ask that all who read this stop and say a prayer for my baby, Jude Michael, and for our family’s continued healing. Pray for all that have been stricken by the pain of miscarriage and stillbirth that they might be strengthened by Christ, and pray for an end to abortion and for the souls of all of the unborn.
We miss you and love you, Jude. Pray for us!
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)