Thursday, July 20, 2006
Goodbye sweet baby.
Before I get started on this post, please make a point to stop and check out my Blog of the Week post from earlier this morning.

Not so long ago, I posted here about my excitement of babies due on both sides of our family.

This morning, as I was driving to work, I got a call from my brother, Cole. He called me yesterday morning and we've been playing phone tag. This time we connected.

I was shocked when he somberly told me the news that his wife, Madeline, was loosing their baby! He went on to explain that she'd experienced spotting and went in to see her doctor. It was decided that an ultrasound was necessary and it was then that they discovered that the baby no longer had a heartbeat.

I didn't know how to respond to this horrible news! I was stunned. All I could do was say, "I'm so sorry!"

I started crying and blurted out, "I was so excited for you both!" What an idiot I am. How was crying and a stupid comment like that at all helpful to a father who is grieving such a loss?! I'm kicking myself now for my insensitivity!

Cole told me that Madeline was having a surgical procedure done today (a D&C) to remove the baby so that she wouldn't have to wait for her body to abort it.

"She's already not feeling up to talking about it anymore, so please give her a few days before trying to call her," Cole asked.

"I understand," I assured him. "I'll wait. Please let her know that I'm thinking of her."

"I will," he replied and then said he had to go.

My heart is aching for both of them! These are two of the nicest people you'd ever meet. I know they'll try again, Cole mentioned that they'd probably start trying again as soon as they were given the go-ahead from their doctor, but that doesn't minimize the pain of this loss.

How very wretched! They just bought a new, bigger house for their expanding family (they have a 2 year old son) which they close on in mid-August. Given the circumstances, I'm sure their moving in will be tinged with sadness.

So, here's my question. What do I do to offer comfort to my brother and SIL? I've never suffered a miscarriage, so I don't know what to say or do.

Do I talk about it with them or do I wait until they bring it up? I'll be offering up prayers for them, but is that enough?

Would it be appropriate to send a miscarriage sympathy card or is that just some marketing ploy by card companies that would that cause Cole and Madeline even more pain?

I found something on-line that spoke to my heart. These cards have such touching poems inside. Would it be okay to send such a card? If so, should I send it this week or wait a bit?

Ugh! I just feel so helpless when faced with their loss! Why does life have to be so horrendously hard at times?!
7:05 AM
33 comments


33 Comments:
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous away2me said...

Oh I am so very sorry for your family's loss. I would simply send out a note of condolence and call in a week but not bring it up unless she brings up the topic.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Megan said...

I am so sorry for what your brother and SIL are going through. I will say a prayer for them for I know all too well how difficult a m/c can be! Although I never knew I was pregnant when I had mine, it was still a loss.

I cried when I read the card you have picked out and must say that yes, I would have appreciated it! But we never decided to let anyone know so I was all alone in dealing with it. Believe me, I would have preferred to have family and friends rally around me as I worked through it. I did have a support/message board that I visited and they helped me through but there is nothing like family and friends in situations like these!

BTW... do not worry about your comment! I think your brother should understand that it caught you off guard. You were tongue-tied and therefore, while your words did not seem appropriate, they were from the heart.

Take care and please know that I will say a prayer for your family!

Megan

***OT- I love the look of your blog! I will have to bookmark it and return to it. I learned about it through WFMW even though I did not post my tips on there yet.***

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

I think it's lovely that you are thinking this much about what you can do and speaks really well of your love for them both!

I think a card is wonderful and appropriate and will mean a lot. I also think it would be ok to say, "I love you both and want to respect your needs around your loss. If you need to talk, please know that I will be there for you but I will wait for you to reach out since I don't want to intrude by bringing up the subject inappropriately. Just know that my silence is not because I don't care but because I love you both so much and want to give you room to grieve in whatever way you feel is appropriate."

I'm a big believer in just saying it like it is around these awkward situations and if I'd gotten a card that said that, it would mean a lot to me.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Beck said...

Very, very sad. I would go with a blank card with a pretty picture on the front and write a heartfelt message about how much this baby was wanted and loved by everyone, and how heartbroken you are. As far as comforting them, I don't know what could. Be there for them.
(It's a D&C, by the way.)

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Kathleen Marie said...

I lost a baby 16 years ago this last May. We named her Precious Hope. I was six months pregnant and they wanted me to naturally miscarry. I carried her for 6 weeks, got a bad infection and then they did a DNC and I was in the hospital on anti-biotics for a week. I was very sick. I became very depressed.

Your sister-in-law may not want to talk about it now, but she will and the best thing you can do it just listen, give hugs, cry with her and nod your head that you are listening. She may repeat the same story over and over for awhile because she hasn't fully grasped emotionally all that she has gone through. Just listen to it all over again. It is the best gift you can give her. A miscarriage or in her and my case, a "missed-abortion" is hard to understand. Do send a card, do let her know you are praying for them.

If you live nearby offer to watch her little one, offer to help her clean her house, offer to bring meals if she is not feeling well. She may go through a period of depression. Also, listen to your brother. Men don't talk as much but he may need to spout off and as with your sister, just let him talk.

After awhile, offer to watch the little one so they can go out. It often happens that they will get busy doing things on their own to avoid they pain and not talk to each other, but they need to talk about it.

I am so sorry for their and your lost. Also, please give yourself time to grieve as well.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger Barb said...

The advice you've gotten from women who have been through this is some of the best I've ever read. I won't try to add mine since I'm blessed never to have experienced this pain. My heart and prayers are with you and your family.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

I'm so sorry. I have gone through two miscarriages and with the second I also needed a D&C AND a methotraxate shot (chemotherapy). This is going to be an extremely hard time for your sister in law, just let her know that you're there for her. With me the best thing was for people to acknowledge that I had a right to grieve and to cry.

Unfortunately some friends and family didn't know what to say and would end up saying stupid things like "it's meant to be" or "it's for the best". The best thing someone said to me was "I'm so sorry for your loss, I have never been through it myself and I don't know what to say, so I'm just here for you, whatever you need". That's all I wanted.

AGain, I'm so sorry. And like someone mentioned, men get very down about it too, my husband kept it in a lot but he was hurting just as bad as I was.

I'm sure they will appreciate you being there for them.
My heart and prayers are with you brother and sister in law and with you all through this horrible time.

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Ann said...

I am sorry for your family's loss, and will pray especially for comfort and peace for your brother and sister-in-law.

My friend lost a baby about 4 years ago and she wrote about the loss and the support she received from family and friends here [http://fourintow.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_fourintow_archive.html] in a post she called "Maggie's Story". You'll have to scroll down to the Tuesday, March 14th, 2006.

It might seem strange to read about someone else's story right now, but I think you'll find it well worth reading, and it might answer some of your questions about what to say or how to be supportive to your sister-in-law right now.

Peace to you,
Ann

 
At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

I am so sorry for your families loss. They will be in my prayers.

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger JennG said...

I am so sorry! I can't even imagine what they're going through and I pray I never have to. When my one of my best friends experienced her first miscarriage, and then her second, I just went to be with her and let her guide the day. If we wanted to talk, we talked. If she wanted to cry, we cried. If she wanted to go shopping, we went shopping. I don't think you have to say, or do, anything. They already know how you feel, but if you must, maybe a care package of some kind. Movie tickets, restaurant certificates, free babysitting, a massage, whatever, after all, its the thought that counts...

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger JennG said...

Ok, I realized that my last comment may sound callous and I want to apologize. Instead of saying that I pray I never have to experience a miscarriage, what I meant to say was that no mother should have to experience that and my heart goes out to her. Again, my apologies if I came cross as insensitive.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger on the Rock said...

I agree with Jenng. As long as you are an available support both now, and especially in the long run. It's been a help for me that some friends were still there when I was finally ready to be active again. Others who were overcome by their own guilt for merely having children, just dropped out of the picture. I love children and always celebrate with others who have them. Most amazing is when family members can still be there through thick and thin. With patience you will be able to pick up the cues from your brother and sister in law.

 
At 5:58 PM, Blogger cloudscome said...

I am so sorry for your family's loss. You have gotten some good advice here, and I am sure you will find a way to offer comfort, just by being you. God's Peace to you all.

 
At 6:02 PM, Anonymous O Mama Mia said...

I am truely sorry for your family's loss. You did nothing wrong. You're fine, hun!! You have emotions just like everyone. This is a post on a blog I found that sums my feelings up perfectly.

http://born2luv.blogspot.com/2006/07/miscarriage-wish-list.html

My prayes are with you.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger AMH said...

Oh goodness I am so sad to hear about your SIL's loss. I know when I was going through my two losses, it helped to have someone there to talk to and be real with. Far too many people would avoid the topic all together and while I am sure they thought it was better not to bring it up, to me it felt like it was being ignored. I did get one card, from an aunt, and it brought me to tears... just the fact that she was willing to offer the comfort and to know she was thinking of me.

It will take time for her to heal. I am almost 2 years out from my first loss, and a year from the second, but I think about those babies daily.

I will keep your SIL, your brother, and all of you in my prayers.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger momteacherfriend said...

When I had my miscarriage I was incredibly weak from herromaging. It was a blessing to me to have some one care for my son while I rested. The best thing someont did was come by briefly with ice cream and sprinkles. It let me know they respected my privacy and need for rest but that they loved me. And ice cream....aaaahhhh.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger abebech said...

I'm so sorry for their loss.
I agree that what you said, and crying, is a very natural reaction and there's not a thing wrong with it.
I like the idea of a blank card and your own words - anything that validates their experience of loss and expresses your love for them. The hardest thing is grieving a loss no one can see, and few acknowledge.

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I'm so very sorry to hear this. I will add them to my prayers (you as well). I don't think you were insensitive at all. I think saying what is in your heart is probably the best way to handle this. You already loved that baby as an aunt and so it is a loss for you as well.

Take care.

 
At 6:47 PM, Blogger Karla said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about this. =(
Friends of ours just lost their baby at 18 weeks along. They avoided (for lack of a better word) friends for a while until they had time to process it. They didn't want to talk about it with "outsiders" (which meant anyone but the 2 of them), sometimes not even with each other.
It's extremely difficult to know what to do in this situation. These folks I mention are just 2 people on a big planet. You know your brother & SIL alot better than I do, so I feel silly even trying to give any advice on this. ;)
Praying that God gives you the opportunity to minister to them, whether you know you have or not. =)
Praying is the least we can do, but it's the most...

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger MugwumpMom said...

I'm so sorry for your brother and his wife. This is very difficult. You shouldn't beat yourself up over your comment. It was heartfelt...you were excited for them and now your sad for them...honesty is what they need. There was nothing insensitive about that.
As far as what to offer them? I say be yourself and follow your heart. Too much tip toeing and sorrow is likely to make them feel they have to put on a happy face, but then ignoring it will minimize their pain..so simply be yourself and ask them "what can I do?" or "how can I pray?" Also, perhaps if you get time, check out www.xangelle.com . She has lost two babies in the past couple of years and has some powerful posts about her reactions to how others handled it...not that we're all the same, but it might help. I'm sure if you asked her to direct you to the posts, she would...tell her Rena sent you.
My prayers are with you and your family.

 
At 7:53 PM, Blogger Ken said...

There is nothing that you can say that will fix or heal the situation. In like fashion, there is nothing you could say that would make it worse.

Thus, your comment to your brother was likely comforting. It let him know that you share his emotions. Then his joy, now his grief. Would that all siblings were so supportive.

I'll come down on the side of those that counsel you to simply be there for your family. I especially liked JennG's first comment. Let them guide any conversation.

Acts of service work well in times like these also. Mow a lawn, do the laundry or grocery shopping and so forth. It allows your grieving loved ones to grieve and not feel guilty about doing the mundane when something so serious has happened.

Your family will be in my family's prayers ...

Blessings,

Ken

 
At 3:37 AM, Blogger Catch said...

You could make one of those cards on your computer like you did for your Aunt when your Uncle died....and you can say whatever comes from your heart...whether they will want to talk about it or not depends on them....just follow their lead. Im sure some people need to talk and others dont want to. You were not being insensitive on the phone....you were taken off guard and upset. Im sure your brother knows that. Praying for them is the very best thing you can do. Im sure whatever you decide to do will be the right thing OW...your a very sensitive and loving person.....and they already know that! Good luck and God bless.

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

My cousin's wife lost their baby when she was 22 wks along. I was 4 wks along farther than them at the time in my pregnancy. I cried and cried when I heard about it, but I did nothing. Not a phone call, not a card. (and I had been having phone converstations with her since they had found out something may be wrong)But once she lost the baby all I did was cry and cry. Now, I feel horrible. I should have done something. Anything, a card AT LEAST! I saw them on the 4th of July, me with my baby, them with nothing. They are fine now, and going to start trying again soon...but I will always regret not doing something.

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

I'm so very sorry for the loss of this sweet baby, for your brother and his wife, for you and Oronzo and for the rest of your family. I don't think you should kick yourself for what you said - you were genuinley excited for them and then shocked at the news; he knows this is hurting you as well.

I've never experienced a miscarriage before either, but I think each person reacts differently in how they want to be approached. I've heard some ladies say they want to talk about it and get it out and not have people ignore it and tiptoe around it and pretend it never happened. But on the other hand I've heard other ladies say it's too painful to talk about at all. I guess it's a fine line and it's hard to know excactly what the right thing is to do or say. My aunt and uncle lost 3 babied while she was pg and I sent cards, but I still felt inadequate. I think they do appreciate it though - it let them know I was thinking of them and awknowledging that they suffered a very real loss.

Those cards on that site seem like they would be ok to send...they are very beautiful.

I would talk to your brother and try and take his lead on what seems to be the right time to say or do anything.

again, my sympathies to your whole family.

 
At 8:28 AM, Anonymous chelle said...

I have. It is horrible. Don't not let her talk about it. If she wants to talk let her talk. If you are close make them dinner. If you are far away send them gift certificates to a restruant or pizza place. A card is nice, flowers really made me feel special.

It hurt like crazy to lose our baby. It still does. Nobody really talks about it. Most women go on without much fanfare.

I am so sorry for your family's loss. Hug her if you are close, call if you are not!

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger Annette said...

Having suffered two miscarriages, I speak from a wee bit of experience. Knowing of course that all people are different.

You did okay in telling your brother that you were looking forward to the new wee one. It's OKAY to say things like that.
Send a card, personal is best. Be willing to listen. If things come up like "it's all my fault" or "what did we do wrong" be quick to listen and be quick to say that no...you can't do anything to cause a miscarriage like this. Reassure her that she did nothing wrong. :)

Be aware that the time around the due date is hard....a phone call of connection at that time is really nice to get. doesn't need to be one of sympathy, but one of "just calling to see how you are doing."

Make a phonecall in a week or so. Let her and your brother know that it's okay to grieve. Don't be surprised it if takes at least 6 months for her to feel "normal" again.

I don't know if she attends a church where they make a big deal about mother's on mother's day, but if she does, warn her that it might be hard. That if they give out flowers, she can take one too because really, she is a mother. (been there, it was tough)

Ask her what she named the wee one. It's important for her to do that.

Those are just quick thoughts from a mom who understands that type of grief.

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger Granny said...

I am so very sorry. You and all your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

I agree with what everyone has said. A personal letter or card. Try to find out what they need most.

Always have a shoulder available without pushing it. Most of all, be available.

Hugs,

Ann

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Granny said...

I wish I'd seen this yesterday. I didn't scroll down far enough.

Afterthought and just personal opinion.

I think a commercial card is fine for people who aren't close family. I have some misgivings though in cases like this. I'd write a letter and perhaps enclose one of the poems you especially like.

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger DeAnna said...

The fact that you are wondering what to do to help them shows alot about how much you care for them and I'm sure whatever you do, they will know how truly sorry you are feeling for them. So many people don't really think about how to help someone and they end up being insensitive - you definitely show how sensitive you are being. I remember a friend of mine was pregnant and had several complications along the way (the baby had heart problems, lung problems, etc) and they weren't sure if the baby would survive after she was born. She delivered her and 4 hours later this precious little girl passed away. They had a memorial service and I remember feeling helpless - like you said, and I kept trying to think of some wonderful words of wisdom to say to her when we were going through the line - when I finally got up to her, I was speechless and just blurted out through my tears "I don't know what to say" and she just hugged me and said "You're here, that's enough". She has since told me some stupid things people said to her or how they would compare one of their trials to hers, try to remind her of her other child she had (yeah like she forgot about him) etc., etc. stuff she really didn't care to hear right then. I would just let them know that you are there if they want to talk or if they don't - I wouldn't just ignore it until they brought it up (so you don't come across insensitive), but I wouldn't dwell on it in case they don't want to talk about it. Anyway - just thought I would post that. I'm so sorry for their loss - I've never been through that, so I can only imagine how heartbreaking and discouraging it can be.

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger Trish said...

I think those woman above had some great advice. I have never gone through it, so I cant offer any!

HUGS to you for caring as much as you do! I am sorry for them! I will keep them in my prayers!

 
At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Jim Vellenga said...

I echo all the things said here, and don't forget the dad. My experience is that many people think that the mother is the only one who struggles, but as a dad who has lost two little ones through miscarriage, I know that isn't true. We suffer as well, all be it we do so differently.

 
At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Mieneke said...

Hi there,

While bloghopping I found a link to this:

http://www.geocities.com/babiesinheaven/wishlist.htm

I found it very touching....

All the best,

Mieneke

 
At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Sylvie said...

So sorry for your families lost. I never EVER know what to say in these types of situations.

 

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