When My Baby Died (Inside of Me)
By Emily-Ann Chao
The first time I witnessed a mother mourn her dead child was at my uncle’s funeral.
As a child then, the most profound thing I remembered was my grandmother’s weeping. After the service ended and all the guests filed out of the church sanctuary, Nai Nai bent over the open casket of her second-born child and bellowed from the depths of her being for several heartbreaking minutes. I can still hear it in my head, how her wailing had split the air as my cousins and I played in the church courtyard.
When her earth-shattering cries reached our ears, we hurried to the side door of the sanctuary and silently watched as Nai Nai held on to my uncle’s body while repeatedly screaming his name. She wouldn’t let go until my dad tore her away, tears streaming down both their faces. That moment taught me that it was unnatural for children to die before parents.
Since then, I had not heard anyone mourn like that, until 20 years later—when the same howls emerged from my mouth.
A Joyful Surprise
One September morning, my husband Aaron and I stared at a pregnancy test strip that showed one faint pink line and one red control line. We weren’t sure how to read it, so I took a photo and sent it to my sister, who is a mom and a midwife.
Thirty minutes later, my sister called back, exclaiming,
I laughed, hardly able to believe this unexpected yet joyful miracle. Aaron and I hadn’t been trying to conceive yet, though we were planning to start in a few months. It seemed like God wanted to speed up our timeline!
The next four weeks were filled with conversations about the near future and our new family. I borrowed pregnancy books from the library and started taking prenatal vitamins and eating healthy foods. We talked about who the baby would look like, where we would live, and what kind of activities we would do together as a family.
Meeting Our Baby for the First Time
As our baby’s heartbeat flickered on the ultrasound screen, Aaron and I ooh-ed and ahh-ed, thrilled to see our baby for the first time.
But our excitement was tempered right after the scan, when our obstetrician Dr. Z explained that our 8-week-old fetus had a heartbeat of 80 bpm (beats per minute) when it should be well over 100 bpm at that stage. There was nothing we could do but wait and see, so she asked us to return in one week.
As we walked out of her office, a wave of worry and fear washed over me, and questions began to flood my mind—”Am I doomed to miscarry?”; “Is there hope for the baby to survive?”
When we got home, I decided not to research the statistics of low heartbeat in the first trimester. I resolved to pray instead. We enlisted a few family members and friends as prayer warriors, to help us petition for this little life.
The week went by rather quickly as I prayed, journaled, and spent quality time with God. I asked Him to heal my baby’s heart and prayed over every developing part of his body. Even though it was too early to find out the gender, I intuitively knew my baby was a boy.
A Shattered Dream
The following week, I walked into Dr. Z’s office, confident and hopeful to see and hear a healthy heartbeat on the machine. But instead, there was silence, followed by the most dreadful words:
As I sat there in shock, Dr. Z began to explain what had happened. I was having a missed miscarriage, which meant that the baby had stopped growing and died inside of me, but my body had missed it and continued being pregnant. The most probable cause was a chromosomal error, and had nothing to do with what I did during the past nine weeks.
We were given three options:
Wait naturally for the miscarriage to pass
We were given three options:
Wait naturally for the miscarriage to pass
That was when the floodgates opened and the tears began to fall. Having just received the devastating news, we were in no condition to choose how to eject our dead child out of my body. Dr. Z said we could take some time to decide and gave me a comforting hug.
Aaron and I went home and held each other as we cried over the loss of our first child. There were no words, just the sounds of wails and gasps of air in between.
The future that we had dreamed up with this child was shattered.
Of course, we could try again and have more children,
but we wanted this child.
After a few hours of weeping and sitting in silence, we began to sing hymns that came to mind. It was the song “Jesus Paid it All” that struck a chord within me:
I hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in me thine all in all
Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
As we sang, I began to feel a measure of peace; in that moment, I felt so small and powerless, but I found safety in the Father’s arms, and I felt grateful for His sacrifice.
Grieving Our Loss
Still, for the next three weeks, I was an unrelenting storm of tears.
I felt angry, numb, and sorrowful that my baby had died.
A part of me had believed that this pregnancy was God’s reward to me for serving Him on the mission field for the past 10 years. I felt like I deserved this child, even though I knew better than to blame God for the miscarriage. I understood that bad things happen in this broken world because of sin, though that did not make the pain any less.
In November, Aaron and I decided to go with medical management, which entailed taking pills and having the miscarriage at home. For three days I laid on the living room couch and bled, my heart and body quivering in agony as I echoed the gut-wrenching howls of my grandmother from before. I felt empty, wrung out, as the blood flowed and the tears fell.
At the end of the third day, the pregnancy sac passed, and I caught it in my hands.
As the truth of my miscarriage stared at me in the face, my tears finally dried. Seeing it in my hands then, it wasn’t scary and mysterious anymore; on the contrary, it was beautiful to behold, to see what Aaron and I had created, what was once inside of me.
We held a small funeral ceremony at home for our precious angel. We placed him in a decorative box, along with a handwritten letter and our tear-stained tissues. We prayed and sang, then said our “I love you”s and “goodbye”s.
How God Met Me in My Grief
God has been with me through it all. He meets me where I am and journeys with me through the deep valley of grief. Where the words from friends and family failed to comfort, He gave me His words to lean on.
When they said: “At least you know you can get pregnant.”
God said: “I know this pregnancy was important to you.”
When they said: “You’re still young. You can try again.”
God said: “It’s okay to feel sad and grieve in the present moment for this baby.”
When they said: “You should have waited until three months to tell me.”
God said: “You can tell me anything anytime.”
When they said: “It just wasn’t meant to be.“
God said: “I am the creator of life and I have the perfectly-timed plan for your family.”
Friends for the Journey
Along my grief journey, God also provided me comfort through two people: King David and a new friend named Lee.
The Psalms helped me cling onto a steady faith in God when my emotions ran wild. When I read Psalm 13, I could relate to David’s experiences of anguish and pain.
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.”
From David’s example, I learned that it is possible to both acknowledge my pain by expressing my feelings, and worship God by believing and trusting in His love and goodness. The more I opened up to God about my miscarriage, the closer we became and the more comfort I received from Him.
Yes, I’m heartbroken that my baby died, and I’ll never be the same because of it.
A month after my miscarriage, I met Lee and her husband at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Shortly after we met, Lee revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage earlier that year. I was amazed that God gave me someone who is navigating the same valley as I am and knows what I’m going through. We have the same worries and struggles, but we also have the same miracle-working God.
Lee and I talk regularly to remind each other to keep our marriages centred on God and trust Him to orchestrate the future of our families. We meet to grieve and pray together, and to encourage each other.
Although relating to Lee about the miscarriage was easy and natural, between Aaron and me, our grieving processes have been very different.
My grief came in two parts: I was sad when we lost our baby, and then I was sad because Emily was sad.
My initial reaction to the loss of our young life was calm and subtle. I made peace and accepted the loss right away because I didn’t have an opportunity to bond with the baby and the pregnancy wasn’t a physical experience for me. Intellectually and emotionally, I was still getting ready to be a dad.
After the first doctor’s appointment, I knew we needed a miracle for the low heartbeat situation. In a way, God had prepared me and cushioned the blow so I could be stronger for what was to come.
The day of the miscarriage was the saddest for me. It was the first physical reality of the pregnancy that I could sense and see: Emily’s crying and the embryo. We needed God in that moment, and He inspired us to have a ceremony, a send-off.
The second part of my grief was journeying with Emily through her grief and coming to terms with how the miscarriage has impacted us.
I also felt like no one could understand how I was doing, with my wife in deep mourning, and me giving all my time and energy to try and take care of her.
A few weeks passed before I became ready to share how I felt and ask for help. Through the grieving process, I saw how God provided for our needs. I met up with a pastor friend who had recently journeyed through a miscarriage with his wife. Being able to share with him was a step towards personal growth and healing. I’m grateful for this brother who could relate to the challenges of staying healthy in order to take care of my wife and not become lost in her grief.
I eventually learned how to support Emily by communicating better with her. It took time to learn how to share all the different layers of feelings we were experiencing. The challenge was reconciling the idea of what healing should look like versus how Emily was doing. After many difficult conversations, I learned how to be wise in my words while not diminishing my own thoughts and visions for healing and post-trauma in marriage.
Learning to work through our grief together was challenging, but it made us stronger as a couple, and we love each other even more because we had struggled and fought through the grief battle together.
4 Tips to Carry You Through the Healing Process
4 Tips to Carry You Through the Healing Process
Have you recently suffered from a miscarriage or know someone who needs support in their grief?
Read on for some helpful tips.
I’m glad to read your post, this will remind me that I’m not alone. Still hurt inside when remembering that day….
God has a perfect plan for us that we don’t really understand it. And I’m really thankful that He gave me two more daughters that I have now.
It’s hurt sometimes,
It’s a great joy sometimes,
All we have to do is trust in him, lead on him.
God Bless Us.
My wife and I went through 4 miscarriages. But we thank God that each of these 4 miscarriages has taught us different attributes of our Father God and also help me to see the real me – selfish, thoughtless and wicked. But God, in His mercies, revealed what I am really like.
I experienced miscarried twice.
First in 2011 and 2014.
And i grieved beyond words.
No one and nothing can comfort me.
Even the Bible but i still hold on to its promises. To FATHER GOD i only cried so deeply and bitterly
I even say things like: i know You, i Believed in You, i love You, I trust in You, i am serving You, Why You allowed me to experience this? Why those who don’t even acknowledge You, they can just easily get pregnant and gave birth, but me
Everytime I seen pregnant and baby, tears just flow…
But i knew and feel that GOD grieved with me too, in many instances. Especially when i buried my not yet formed baby physically in the pot, the sky just suddenly darkened and there’s lightning and thunder while i was heavily crying while burying.
Since miscarried i am very sad, like nothing makes me happy anymore for my love for my husband also died but still hold on in Faith: I told GOD even it already died, HE can make it alive again. Since abortion here in Singapore is legal, he wants to abort the baby, i don’t agree but he would daily pester me: “still early you still can abort it” Surely i got so angry, he just wants to enjoy but yet don’t want to take responsibility? Early our marriage, he already said he doesn’t want to have a child. I fight with him for it, by GOD’s Grace we had our first child, but with the 2nd one, my husband is really asking me to abort it, i didn’t abort the baby but with the pressures, stress, sadness, and Ministry problems also, “the baby didn’t develop properly and the womb is squeezing the fetus out, that’s why i am bleeding. But even though i already bleed i still went to the hospital and i was injected with the medicine to hold the baby, but it still dropped out all the strength just left me, i am afraid to sleep with my husband, for if i get pregnant again he will ask to abort again and I will be pressures and stress! i am like dying plant. I just keep reading the Bible even though don’t make sense to me, i just hold on to GOD in FAITH and TRUST in HIM that HE can makes me ALIVE again! Indeed, HE IS GOOD! i conceived again, this time my husband didn’t ask me to abort the baby, but i also suffered a lot during my pregnancy for it has a high risk of miscarriage, i had water bag leakage. I actually had a pre labor when i am 3 months pregnant, after the severe pain i can already feel something in between my opening, i knew if i get up from the bed it will drop! I didn’t get up, i cried so deeply to GOD, told HIM: “LORD i really don’t know if i can take another blow Even this baby already dead and dropped out from its position, You can put it back LORD, and make it LIVE” I was lying crying for hours so deeply put pillow under my butt, put my legs up and my foot on the wall, until i fell asleep again. When i woke up, i am sober and just LET GO, if anything drop out i have to accept, i cannot do anything. FATHER GOD is GRACIOUS, nothing drop out, and i cannot feel something in between. I carry on my pregnancy But when i am 8mos pregnant i bleed a lot, overflow with 2 pads, i thought i am going to give birth already but not yet! That was so scary, that bleeding already made me think what happens to the baby, is there any complications already? But by HIS Grace i had the full term pregnancy and due for one week, i gave birth to a Healthy Big Beautiful Baby girl i named her: Grace! A Remembrance of GOD Grace to me I was HAPPY again But sometimes when my first miscarried came to mind, i felt sad
After i gave Birth with Grace in 2013, i conceived again year 2014! My husband again told me to abort it few times a day my agony began again! For i don’t want abortion, it is my child and it is against my FAITH!
Surely again the pregnancy is not healthy and it was miscarried again. i am miserable again beyond words! For 3 years i am sad
But i still TRUST GOD
My FAITH, TRUST and LOVE for HIM just came to a different level. Knowing and realizing that, HE IS just PURIFYING me My SUFFERING is just PURIFYING me to have a Holy Being, and that is more than having a baby or any BLESSINGS HE can gave to me. A PURIFIED BEING of me is beyond measure. I was called to Be HOLY! My Highest Calling is to be HOLY! I continually CLING on HIM be set APART and be Holy
But one day, i had my rebellious moment and thought When i saw a news of immorality that a lady was taken for granted, until flows in my mind all the photography, rapes happenings in the world. I told GOD: “Even i disagree, for allowing Eve touch and eat the fruit of knowledge of good & evil” After saying that, my head got tightened and like going to burst i said SORRY to GOD many times, i really HUMBLED myself ♂️ until i saw in vision water falls and the forest and i heard HIM say: It’s alright my daughter. Until i am seeing myself Journeying with HIM through the forest, i asked questions from HIM. While we are talking, i heard children laughing, and i shouted not that loud: Baby Peace and Baby Love is it you? And i heard: Yes Mummy! Until we played together while LORD JESUS just watching us While playing with them, the LORD says: “My daughter your physical Body is failing it’s time for you to go back” While i am getting away, i heard my children saying: “Mummy enjoy your life on earth” The next moment i felt i had i deep breath, but i felt pain in my abdomen and my whole body is very cold. i took a deep breath few times until i don’t feel the pain and felt warmed. I didn’t know how long my Spirit was away from my tightened head and physical Body. Good thing it was night sleeping time, but if it is day time perhaps i was already in the hospital and not breathing!
That CHANCE to LIVE AGAIN is truly AMAZING it just answered a lot of questions in life, it just vanished all deep hurts and sadness in my life! For my miscarried saddest experienced was no more, for i already saw my babies, they are ALIVE in Heaven, they are not fully formed here physically but in Heaven, they are Happy children
I just realized that, if they were born physically i cannot really handle them for i have take care of 4 children! Two child i already feel very difficult
And to realized of my Rebellion against GOD for questioning HIM HE Created us with FREEWILL and free to CHOOSE, so HE didn’t VIOLATE Eve and Adam FREEWILL! And ofcourse they are not free for the CONSEQUENCES of their CHOICE. It does to us all. But LORD JESUS is GRACIOUS enough, if we just HUMBLE ourselves and REPENT and ask HELP from HIM, then we will be SAVE from the terrible CONSEQUENCES of our WRONG CHOICES.
FATHER GOD ALMIGHTY in LORD JESUS Name is so GOOD, whatever SUFFERINGS we EXPERIENCED, CANNOT COMPARE to HIS GREATER BLESSINGS! Our past SUFFERINGS not forgotten but cannot feel its sting anymore! For the JOY of HIS Presence is the FULLNESS of JOY! And all the BLESSINGS after Sufferings are just GREATER
HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LORD GLORY and HONOR belongs unto HIM ♂️
Holy Holy Holy is HE!
WORTHY is our FATHER GOD ALMIGHTY! WHO was and is and is to COME
Sorry, for posting my comments again, for i didn’t see my reply. Good thing i copy it before posting.
Anyway, in everything GLORY be to FATHER GOD ALMIGHTY
For giving us a chance to witness and testify of Grace and Power