Over the last several months, my heart has been challenged to speak about the faceless children in our family. I am weary of claiming only one son, when the reality is that our family has five children. I want to acknowledge their lives, however brief, and the place they hold in our family.
Catherine Therese was the first child to leave us, and hers was the most difficult sorrow to bear. Michael and I were blessed to hear her tiny heart beat at my first doctor appointment in March 2011. We don’t know what went wrong, but at the next appointment it was clear she had already passed away. I chose to carry her with me through Holy Week until having surgery on Easter Tuesday. We decided to name her after St. Catherine of Siena, the patroness for those who have experienced miscarriages. Our daughter was laid to rest at in a cemetery plot reserved for In God’s Arms, a burial ministry for miscarried children.
Rachel Gianna left us a quickly as she came in November 2011. The day I discovered I was pregnant was the same day it became apparent she wasn’t going to join us on earth.
God gave me a special blessing with Gabriel Pio in March 2012. His situation was very similar to Rachel’s, except the knowledge of his presence came with a consolation for me. The moment that I confirmed my pregnancy, God spoke to my soul and told me that this child’s name was Gabriel and I would never meet him in this life. Receiving this message gave me a lot of peace in the following days.
Maria Teresa’s story is the most providential. A week after learning I was pregnant with her in October 2012, I was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. The doctors discovered that she had implanted in my fallopian tube – causing an ectopic pregnancy that required surgery, the loss of my child and the loss of my fallopian tube. We decided to postpone surgery until the following day, and that’s when I think the prayers started to kick in. During the night my pain vanished and we learned via blood tests that my body had begun to miscarry naturally. This meant that Maria had already passed away and the removal of my fallopian tube was no longer ethically necessary. During surgery, the doctors were also able to remove endometriosis (the most likely cause of the ectopic implantation) and adhesions. Medical garble aside, this extra diagnostic work could very well be the change my body needs to carry our next child to term. Maria is was also given a burial, near her sister Catherine.