This past week, or slightly over now, has been, by far, the most excruciating week I could have ever imagined. I had no idea how much it would hurt. When it comes down to it, I think we have been conditioned as a society to not understand the pain of miscarriage, fetal death or stillbirth. That is something that Jim and I have really struggled with.
People say things like "just a miscarriage" or "at least you weren't further along" or "better now than after they were born". Don't they get it? Our children died. Two, of our four precious little ones died. It is not the absence of living, they were living. We saw them kicking, moving, squirming. I felt them move and I lived for them. Their hearts were beating one day, and the next day they were not. They did not simply fail to live. Our children died. It is hard. It is more than hard.
I have to admit, even I didn't get it until it happened. I had absolutely no idea how I would feel and how much it would hurt. I have completely underestimated how much miscarriages must hurt those that go through them. I don't know why I ever thought that that pain would be bearable. Do I think our grief was compounded by the fact we had to give birth to our sweet babies? Yes. I would be lying if I said anything different. But even so, any of us have been there have lost a child, not because they didn't live, but because they died.
We visited the funeral home on the Monday after the girls were born. We had selected cremation and had spent some time over the weekend looking for urn possibilities. Because the funeral home is so generous with families in circumstances like ours (a small nominal fee that basically covers the paperwork), we wanted to make sure we checked our possibilities there first. To say that nothing fit the bill would be an understatement. Part of it was because we were already hung up on one we found online, and part of it was because everything they had to offer was just too urn-y. We wanted a vessel that meant something. We wanted something that wasn't made to hide the girls, but rather to celebrate them. We went home and ordered the urn we had seen online.
The urn arrived on Thursday, one week since our babies had come and gone. It was perfect.
On Friday we called the funeral home and set up a time that afternoon for us to come in and finally be able to bring our little girls home. We dropped the kids off with our wonderful sitter for a bit and headed downtown. We were led into a room where they had Ruthie and Imogene waiting. We asked for them to be cremated together because that was all they had ever known was being together. A teeny, tiny ziplock pouch held their ashes. There was so little and it broke my heart. We signed all of the necessary paperwork and I picked up the urn that now contained our babies. The woman offered to get me a nice velvet bag to carry it in. I declined. I wanted to hold them, as close as I could, all the way home. I cried as we left, knowing that this was the first time I was able to hold my girls.
We came home, selected a perfect spot, and got it all dusted and perfect for them. We placed them on the shelf, where everyone could see them. We can stare at them any time we want, and they can watch their family and know that we will all be together someday. We know that we will likely be more attached to the urn then we should be, after all I talked to them (it) last night after blogging about their delivery. It sounds crazy, but it provides comfort.
I can't thank the company enough who made the urn (www.heavensgain.com). They are a company that provides caskets and urns to families that have suffered the loss of a miscarried baby or early stillbirth. After enduring this pain themselves, they found a need for these items so that the handling and burial of a tiny baby is consistent with the way we handle other losses in our society. I can't thank them enough for recognizing that they are our children, and should be treated as such.