One year ago today, on April 23, 2013, my wife birthed our twin boys in a miscarriage. Our boys were delivered at 18 weeks gestation. We named them Moses Alphonsus and Nathan Pio.
They had passed away in the couple days prior to their delivery, due to a placental abruption. The doctor who was overseeing us, and who performed the birth, said that the boys’ placenta had fused together, and then Nathan’s half had pulled away from the uterine wall, causing both to not receive the nutrients needed to survive.
For a short while after they were born, my wife, Milissa, and I were able to hold them, as were our daughter (who was four at the time) and our son (who was one). A photographer from the ministry, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came to the hospital to take pictures of our twin boys. She compiled them into a video:
My wife and I have endured four miscarriages. The twin boys were the third pregnancy in that span, and they were the oldest babies we lost. The other three babies we have lost were early on in each pregnancy, no more than five weeks. We named those babies, Jonah Peter, Margaret Joanna, and Justina Catherine
Thankfully, my wife and I have been turned onto Naprotechnology and we have reason for hope. Thanks to the care of these doctors, we are receiving specialized treatment so that we treat whatever underlying issue is causing these miscarriages. With this help, hopefully my wife will give birth to healthy babies once again.
Here we want many children, and haven’t been able to grow our family as quickly as we would like. Meanwhile, we work and volunteer within the pro-life movement, where we meet people who dispose of the gift of their fertility and their children so easily. It’s a stark contrast. It makes us grateful for the children we do have. What blessings and what joys they are.
A MOTHER’S PAIN OF MISCARRIAGE IS DEEP
For reasons that are very fitting, when a baby dies, the mother is the focus of the attention. After all, she carried the baby inside her and has that special bond to that child. Women are more emotional as it is, and to endure the loss of a child just multiplies the sadness.
This is why I marvel at my wife. She is the emotive, tender heart of our family. She cries very easily and emphasizes with most anyone hurting. Although she obviously was very saddened by the loss of our twins, even in the midst of the suffering, she felt amazed at the outpouring of grace God gave us at that time.
She was able to hold herself together most days and attributes it entirely to the goodness of God.
The support from friends, many of them our fellow parishioners, as well as from family was tremendous. They certainly made Milissa and I feel supported, uplifted, and grateful.
THIS FATHER’S GRIEF
But unfortunately, often the father is forgotten, or at least marginalized, in the grieving process of losing a baby.
Speaking for myself, and hoping not to come across as pompous or prideful, but darn it, if I was not and am not hurting too.
Those are my children too.
As a man, I am supposed to be the bedrock for my wife and children. I did my best to remain strong for my dear wife.
At the hospital the night before the babies were born, the nurse (who is Catholic) asked me how I was holding up. That meant a lot to me. At that time, the dam of emotions was still holding up.
I did hold it all together, through the many ultrasounds that day, through the first night in the hospital, and through the delivery the next morning… Up until it was my turn to hold my baby boys.
That is when I let it go… I broke down and cried. What could have been. What sports we could have played. What forts we could have built, what memories we could have created, and what life lessons I could have taught them… But it just was not God’s will.
Please use me as an example for other fathers you may know in the future who suffer the loss of their baby, whether it be by a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or even by an abortion—perhaps done against their will.
Consider the fathers around you who may not be able to hold their children. Please offer these men your empathy and please do not to forget to include them in prayers.
We as a nation do not mourn lost fatherhood as much as we ought.
NOT MY WILL, BUT GOD’S WILL BE DONE
Milissa and I remain faithful to God through these trials. We serve a good and gracious God.
We desire to have a large family. I tell everyone that I want as many children as God wants us to have. We remain open to His will.
Having Jonah, Margaret, Moses, Nathan, and Justina living with us any longer was not in God’s plan for our lives. He allowed them to pass away, because He has a greater plan that we cannot comprehend. We will remain trustworthy of Him.
The sorrow we feel we offer back to Him as a living sacrifice. We offer it to Him out of love. It is what God wills for us. And whatever God wills, that is what we will for our lives as well. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
ASKING FOR YOUR PRAYERS, AS WE ARE PREGNANT AGAIN!
In conclusion, please keep us in your prayers, as we are pregnant with a baby, due in November. Praise be to God! (I refuse to say we “are expecting.”)
More than seven months had passed since our last miscarriage, and we had not been able to get pregnant. As a result, when my wife told me she was pregnant, I was so shocked, I had her take another test, just to be sure it was true.
I am grateful we are pregnant and remain confident the baby will make it. Although my wife is receiving specialized treatment, given our history of miscarriages, I ask you to be praying for our baby and for my wife to remain healthy.
Life is such a miracle and ought not to be taken for granted.
Have you experienced the pain of losing a child, especially a miscarried baby?
Have you thought much about lost fatherhood being an epidemic in our country?
Is there someone in your life whom you could offer support to?
Please sound off below!