Micah's Photos & Story


Photos are copyrighted. All rights reserved. 

I delivered Micah at 19 weeks. He passed away at approximately 15 weeks.  

 Micah was born as though he were lying on his side, peacefully sleeping. Both his hands were under the side of his head, one hand on top the other, just like someone might do to make a "pillow." His little legs were curled up on his body. I was amazed at this, and tried to recapture the same position in the photos.

His fingers were incredibly detailed. They had little knuckle lines on them. I wish I had some photos that showcased his hands. This photo is the only photo I have of his hands. If you look closely, you can see his beautiful, detailed fingers. 

That little thing on his belly is his umbilical cord! Here he is upside down. 

Micah's story (Delivery Date February 28, 2013): 
My pregnancy with Micah was normal and uncomplicated, except for my profuse vomiting and two months of nausea, which was very normal for me. I simply went in for a routine prenatal one day at 18 weeks and there was no heartbeat. 
I was given three options: a D & C; or, a more natural delivery in a hospital (with or without induction); or, delivery at home. I learned that my professional homebirth midwife, who had delivered more than 1,600 babies, was also experienced in assisting deliveries of departed babies. We waited as long as possible for natural delivery. Finally, at four weeks past the baby's estimated death with no signs of impending delivery, I was told that I needed to induce. 
The morning of the induction, I couldn't take the first pill. What if the baby was still alive? What if the three dopplers were all malfunctioning? What if the ultrasound machine was old and it was malfunctioning too? Maybe there was some reason that the heartbeat couldn't be detected, and maybe there was some reason that the baby wasn't moving on the ultrasound, but maybe he was actually alive? I finally called the midwife. Her voice was calm and serious: "Three midwives tried to find the heartbeat. His death was confirmed by ultrasound. There is no way to save this baby. The best thing that you can do for this baby now is to get this process started."     
For days before the delivery, I had worried so much. What if so much time had passed after the baby's death that his body would be really deformed? What if the baby fell into the toilet and was accidentally flushed? What if there was a lot of pain? I've had natural full-term births and was never afraid. But I was afraid of this! I was certainly afraid to go through it alone.

But as the delivery drew near, I changed my mind. I wanted to be alone after all. I purposely did not tell my hubby when it would have been time to call the midwife. 
The contractions increased in intensity, but I was on a lot of over-the-counter pain medication, so I didn't feel much pain. All I knew was that the baby was coming soon. During a contraction, I reached out my hand, and the baby was simply born. My water broke at the same time. In many ways this was similar to a full-term birth: There were contractions, there was the breaking of the water, the delivery of the baby, and the cutting of the umbilical cord. The difference was that Baby was a lot smaller; Baby was silent; and the room was heavy with sadness. As I held the baby I heard a cry coming from my own self, a sound that I'd never heard before, the sound of a mother's raw and gaping grief.  
Baby was perfect. He was born peacefully sleeping, with his hands under his head like a pillow, and his little feet curled up on his body. He looked like he was taking a restful nap, but would wake up soon. 
We named him Micah Ray.  

I hope that Micah's photos and story will be of benefit to someone, even if it is just in a very small way. If you visited this page and liked the photos, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.
Micah's casket, made for us by our friend Dan who is also acquainted with the grief of losing a child. Also, the items to be buried with Micah: tiny pictures from my living children; the blanket that was made for him; and a little hat. I unnecessarily obsessed about trying to dress him.

The casket, with Micah in it, at the burial service (Molieben for Those Who Grieve at the Death of an Infant or During Pregnancy). It is a beautiful service, which, in addition to many prayers, includes a section in which the words are from the perspective of the parents:

             Many times they beat their breasts before the grave and say: "O my son, sweetest   
            child; do you not hear what your mother cries out to you? Behold the womb that bore 
            you! Why do you not speak as you used to speak to us? But you are silent and do 
            not say with us: Alleluia!"

and then the perspective of the infant:


         
    O God, God, Who hath summoned me: Be the consolation now to my household, 

              for great affliction has fallen upon them. All gaze on me as their only-begotten one. 
              But, Thou who wast born of a Virgin Mother, refresh the womb of my mother, and 
              bedew the heart of my father with this song: Alleluia!


The end of the service is titled, “The Last Kiss.” Everyone venerates the departed while some very beautiful words are sung:
            
              Who would not lament, O my child, for your sorrowful departure from this life? For a 
              babe prematurely from your mother's arms, like a sparrow you swiftly fled, and to  
              the Creator of all you escaped, O Child, who would not lament, beholding your rosy 
              face, so early faded, that was like a pleasant rose just awhile ago?

              Who, then, would not sigh O my child, and cry aloud and weep at your well-ordered     
              comeliness, and at the beauty of your pure life? For, like a ship that leaves no wake 

              behind, equally speedily you have vanished from my eyes! Come, all of you my  
              friends, relatives, and neighbors, along with me, kiss him I for a final time, to the 
              tomb committing him.  


Micah stayed in the church all night, surrounded by the icons. For most of the night, people took turns reading the Psalms at his side. This is traditional with Orthodox funerals. I was so thankful for this. We were now leaving him to the care of Heaven. But still, it was a little hard for me, being his mother and feeling the loss. It was strange to go home without him.


Micah's burial. His grave is surrounded by the graves of friends: small babies, newborns,
and children. The grave of our friend Baby Jacob from our parish is directly behind his.



Singing at the gravesite: Who would not lament, O my child, for your sorrowful departure from this life? For a babe prematurely from your mother's arms, like a sparrow you swiftly fled, and to the Creator of all you escaped, O Child, who would not lament, beholding your rosy face, so early faded, that was like a pleasant rose just awhile ago?  


Micah's grave. When my hubby was pouring the last shovelful of dirt over the casket... I don't know how to describe it. I wanted to dig it up again and pull out the casket! This had to stop! This wasn't real! Micah shouldn't be alone, separated from me, in the ground. But it was useless... If I tried to dig it up, people would only stop me and then we'd have to replace the dirt. We stood by the grave and took photos while I wanted to jump in there and be with my baby.  

Family who attended the burial. Some drove as far as nine hours to be there-- that is true love.


Parishioners and some family who attended.


"Abraham's Bosom Shall Receive Thee"  



More excerpts from the beautiful Molieben service:

"Lament not for me, for I have in no way begun to be meet for weeping. But rather weep always for yourselves who have sinned, O kinsmen and friends," the dead infant cries out, "that tested, you not receive torment."

The constant memory of thy parting, in truth, has become for us a cause for sorrows and tears. For before tasting the beautiful things of life, thou has departed the earth and the bosom of thy parents. But Abraham's bosom shall receive thee as an infant that had no part in any defilement. 

By Thy righteous judgement, Thou hast cut down like a green herb before it has completely sprouted, the infant that Thou hast taken, O Lord. But, as Thou hast led him unto the divine mountain of eternal good things, do Thou plant him there, O Word.  


This is the icon of All Saints.

“The Orthodox icon of the Sunday of All Saints depicts our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ seated above the throne of heaven surrounded by the Saints. The rows of Saints included the Archangel Michael and other Angels, the Theotokos and John the Baptist, the Apostles, Bishops, Great Martyrs, Ascetics and Monastics. To the side of the throne are Adam and Eve, bowing in reverence to Christ. They are joined by the Saints, who are lifting their hands in worship to the King of Glory. At the lower left of the icon is the Patriarch Abraham who has a righteous soul in his bosom, as told in the story of Lazarus and the rich man in the Gospel. At the lower center is the Good Thief who was crucified with Christ. On the lower right is the Patriarch Jacob.”

                                                                                                                                   --goarch.org

In this icon all saints are represented, known and unknown, from the time of Adam until the end of the world. 

After Micah's death this icon gave me some peace. I could look at it and remember that this is where Micah and all departed babies are.   








4 comments:

  1. I came here from the Lost Innocents page linking your story. I recently lost my 6th child to a miscarriage at nine weeks. My body clung to his for 3 weeks, and the last week was a long agonizing process. I am so sorry for your having been left behind. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. Our babies are playing at the feet of Jesus and watch over us and their siblings.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, and I am also very sorry for the loss of your precious baby. I agree, our babies are at the feet of Jesus!

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  2. I am so very sorry for your loss... I came upon your story searching for someone who has been through what I've been through. I can't tell you how very similar our story is. I just gave birth to my son yesterday June 3, 2016. I went in on a Friday for a regular check up and found that my baby had no heartbeat. The ultrasound showed that my baby measured at 15 weeks although I was 19 weeks pregnant. I was scheduled to be induced the following Wednesday but had to wait another day due to the birthing unit being too full. Thursday came and it was time for me I be induced... I too, couldn't help thinking what if my baby was still alive? What if the ultrasound was wrong? What if I go through this and he's still alive? But he wasn't. It took only 2 doses of the medication for me to be in full blown labor. I was given my first dose at 3:15pm, didn't feel anything and then my second dose at 9:00pm. After my second dose it took only 10 min for me to start feeling contractions. By 3:41 the next morning my son was born. My son looked exactly like your son did because he was in me, not alive for a month. We named him Genesis. I've read a lot of stories of women who've gone through the same thing we have but your story was the one that was literally the very same as mine. I felt like I was reading my very own story. Thank you for sharing! Once again, sorry for your loss and I hope you've found comfort. God bless!

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    1. Hi Tamralyn,

      Thank you for commenting and for sharing your story. I am glad to hear from someone who had such a similar experience. I especially enjoyed hearing that your son looked like my son! His name is beautiful. I see that this only happened six days ago. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been three years for me now, and I have certainly found comfort & peace. I hope for peace and healing for you as well. With the Saints give rest O Christ, to the soul of the infant Genesis, where sickness and sorrow are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.

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