Category Archives: ceremony

Missed

As I noted a little while ago, I no longer have the feeling that I “should” be pregnant. It feels “normal” to not be pregnant now, whereas a couple of weeks ago I felt the loss of the physical experience keenly—that embodied connection—and I still “felt pregnant” for about three weeks or so following my miscarriage. I would have to keep reminding myself, “I’m NOT pregnant.” Now, I feel “normally” not-pregnant and I actually feel really good in my body and pretty good in my life. There has been a shift from “I SHOULD be x number of weeks pregnant” to “I WOULD have been x number of weeks pregnant.” Today, I would have been 21 weeks pregnant and it has been a hard day for me. Our family has a tradition of having a winter solstice party each year. We host at our house (my mom then hosts Christmas) and it is a nice time. We use the occasion to reflect on the past year and the things we’ve accomplished and then set goals for the year to come—things we’d like to “bring into the light” as it were. We also give our immediate family gifts to each other on this day. Anyway, I just really missed the baby today and also missed the pregnant-self. I felt really strongly how I would have been really looking pregnant by now and the baby would have been making himself well-known to others around me with kicks and rolls and so forth. I can’t describe it in words, I just really FELT it today. The non. The closed door. The two boys instead of three. It started when I opened up my set of Growing Uterus charts and The Birth Atlas from Childbirth Connection. I’ve always wanted them and I ordered them a couple of months ago when they had a wonderful deal. When they arrived, I had Mark put them away for Christmas. I didn’t think it would bother me to open them. I am still interested in birth, birthwork, and childbirth education. I’ve been reading other birth books and not having any “issues” with them, but opening the charts and seeing the point at which my own pregnancy and baby and hopes and dreams and plans arrested, was really difficult. The “cut off”/stopped/ended road point was right there in black and white and I had a strong and unexpected reaction to that. Later in the afternoon we went outside to go for a walk and also to place Noah’s memorial plaque. Standing there looking at it, I just MISSED him. And, I missed the experience of “would’ve” been 21 weeks pregnant–with my hand on my full belly, feeling my baby from within and outside, and having that communion and connection with him. I felt at the edge of tears for most of the rest of the day and just “down” and distressed feeling. I thought it would help me to write about it, but I’m not finding the words easily. I can’t explain or describe what it was I felt today.

As I mentioned, we use today as a time to reflect on our plans for the coming year. In past years, we’ve also each shared a wish for the coming year while lighting candles (the whole “even in the darkness, new light comes again” type of metaphor). In the past, I feel like people have tired of having to take turns saying too many things (we do the goal sharing and reflecting on whether we accomplished last year’s goal and some other things), so this year I just shared a little prayer—feeling like it summed up nicely what we each would wish for in the coming year:

Make me strong in spirit,
Courageous in action,
Gentle of heart,

Let me act in wisdom,
Conquer my fear and doubt,
Discover my own hidden gifts,

Meet others with compassion,
Be a source of healing energies,
And face each day with hope and joy.

(Abby Willowroot)

Memorial Plaque

Yesterday, the memorial plaque I ordered to put out by Noah’s tree/rock arrived. The image is the “proof” the company sent me via email, not the actual plaque. It is perfect. Marble, small, nice and sturdy. Price was good too (plus free shipping!). Even in grief, I remain a bargain hunter and I felt like many sites selling memorial stones/plaques for babies were taking advantage of people. I looked at all kinds of garden stones, garden plaques, etc. and it seemed like it was always around $100 to get one engraved and personalized and that seemed like a lot. Then, I found the handy site PlaqueMaker. It looked kind of like a fake site, but I decided to trust it and I’m glad I did because I got just what I wanted (and it was $28 total–including the engraving and shipping). One of the things that I most appreciated was that they send you a proof to approve before you have to pay or commit to anything. Isn’t that great?!

Other Readings

In addition to the naming reading, I chose two other readings from Singing the Living Tradition for the ceremony we did for Noah. Each of these jumped out out me as I was looking through the hymnal looking for readings that felt right. Each is originally a song, but I read them so they were more like spoken verse (I’m not a singer!).

The Leaf Unfurling

The leaf unfurling in the air,

the newborn child,

the loving parents’ care

these constant, common miracles we share.

All life is one,

a single branching tree,

all pain a part of human misery,

all happiness a gift to you and me.

The selfsame bells for joy and sorrow ring.

No one can know what the next hour will bring.

We cry, we laugh, we mourn,

and still we sing.

—-

It is Something to Have Wept

It is something to have wept as we have wept,

and something to have done as we have done;

it is something to have watched when all have slept,

and seen the stars which never see the sun.

It is something to have smelt the mystic rose,

although it break and leave the thorny rods;

it is something to have hungered once

as those must hunger who have ate the bread of gods.

To have known the things that from the weak are furled,

the fearful ancient passions, strange and high.

It is something to be wiser than the world,

and something to be older than the sky.

Lo, and blessed are our ears for they have heard;

Yea, blessed are our eyes for they have seen.

Let the thunder break on human, beast, and bird, and lightning.

It is something to have been.

I read the final one as we put the box into the ground. I chose it primarily because of the last line. The middle section wasn’t as apropos, but the opening and close said something that I felt.

Birth Certificate

A lovely organization based in Canada, Angel Whispers, sent me a care package following my miscarriage. They included a lovely birth certificate for Noah and a sweet little angel bear as well as brochures/information.

Noah’s Naming/Dedication

At sunset on the day of my miscarriage, we had a ceremony and naming for the baby. My father had cleaned up the baby’s body and put him in a walnut Shaker box (that he made) and my mom crocheted a little blanket for the bottom of the box and a cover for the baby. We each added some items to the box with him. I chose three readings from the UU hymnal Singing the Living Tradition. This was the naming reading I chose:

Wonder of Wonders

Wonder of wonders, life [was] beginning

fragile as blossom, strong as the earth.

Shaped in a person, love has new meaning,

parents and people

sing at their birth.

Now with rejoicing, make celebration;

joy full of promise, laughter through tears,

naming and blessing

bring dedication,

humble in purpose over the years.


I then shared that we named the baby Noah.

Earlier in the day, Mark and I talked about what to name the baby. I felt it had been a girl and suggested Ava and then we said perhaps we would choose Noa, after a dream I had several years ago, because it was a boy-or-girl name. When my parents came back over bringing the baby in his box, my dad asked if I wanted to know the gender. I said yes and he shared that the baby was a boy. So, I knew it was Noah (boy version) after all. This was not a name on our “list” of baby names, but was instead prompted by a dream I had when my first child was between 6 and 12 months old. I had a very vivid birth dream in which I gave birth to a premature baby in a hospital bathroom alone at about 20 weeks. The baby slipped out into my hands and was still alive. I tried to nurse him, saying that I didn’t want him to “die hungry.” I also remember to smell his head—knowing that each new baby has their own special smell and you never forget it. Then, I called my husband in and said, “we have three sons!” and we named the baby Noah. What was odd about this dream is that we only had one son in real life. I had several subsequent dreams with the same “now we have three sons” language, so I’ve always wondered if somehow we were destined for three sons. So, to me, Noah felt like the right name for this baby.

And, yes, I did turn to Mark after that and say—in real life this time—”we have three sons.”