All summer long I've was planning on how I would post the news that, at my ripe old age, I was pregnant. I wanted to convey that although not necessarily how we had planned our family to grow, we embraced the joys a new baby would bring and, along with our kids, the excitement grew.
So, where was my pregnancy post? I kept waiting for the haunting feeling of "something doesn't feel right" to go away. I had ultrasounds, blood work, and weekly visits with my doctor where I heard the baby's heartbeat again & again. However, my blood pressure rose dangerously high. Was it my anxiety? It doesn't matter now because two weeks ago, at over 18 weeks gestation, the baby's heartbeat was absent. I had the feeling since the very beginning that we would not be bringing a baby home this pregnancy. Unfortunately, it's not the first time I've had these feelings, but it is the furthest I've ever progressed in a pregnancy only to lose the baby.
After the emergency situation with the hurricane was resolved and the hospital regained power, I was admitted. Baby Clare Helena was born at 5:30 a.m. on September 19. Mike and I got the chance to hold her and anoint her with Holy Water and Oil from Medjugorje that was Blessed by Pope John Paul II. Michelle knit her a little baby blanket that she was buried with and we also had our priest Bless a rosary to keep with her as well. I grieve with deep sadness the joys our family will miss out on by never bringing this precious girl home with us. We had all been looking forward to baby smiles and swaddles and the love we know grows everytime a new family member is added. But our little Clare had another path given to her by the Almighty. Our baby, although born into this world, will never be OF this world. She is a little Saint in Heaven looking down on our family and the world ready to intercede on our behalf.
A wonderful priest once comforted me after a similar loss by saying that until I see the Beatific Vision, I will never know how powerful my "Yes" to God is by allowing Him to create another soul into eternal life. He said then I will understand why God allows these souls to be conceived, but not brought forth to live here with us. Their work is in Heaven, helping us on our earthly journeys. Please don't forget to ask them to pray for you.
I believe that often we are given signs from God to comfort us when needed. I've received many of these signal graces in the past and prayed for one now. My favorite tropical flower is the Hibiscus. In May, I bought a beautiful Hibiscus shrub and planted it near our pool. when I bought it, it had many large red blooms. They soon fell off and by mid-summer I realized that this plant hadn't produced any other flowers. I started checking it weekly and noticed it was full of buds, but they never seemed to mature and open. I started to get frustrated and complained to Mike " Why are there so many buds and never any blooms??!!" I couldn't understand why this plant was refusing to show it's beauty. The night after praying for a sign that Clare Helena was safely tucked in the arms of the angels in Heaven, we woke and did the usual drill to get ready for Sunday Mass. As I opened the shades and glanced outside, I was struck by the sight of a bright red flower fully in bloom on my Hibiscus plant! I realized immediately that this plant did not flower all summer because it was not meant to bloom until the baby "budding" in my womb was fully alive and thriving in Heaven. The flower only lasted one day before closing and falling off. However, three days later, the day we buried our daughter, the Hibiscus opened two new blooms. Another confirmation to me that all is right and she is where God intended her to be from the start. Again, the blooms only lasted the day of her funeral and as of today, the plant has not bloomed again.
Although I am sad that my hopes were not meant to be, I try to remember that God only creates what is good and so His plan is the one that is best for us all.
St. Clare Helena, pray for us!!!