Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Our Three Perfect Guardian Angels

Melissa reached out to me when she recently lost yet another baby.  She has now had two miscarriages and one stillborn daughter.  My heart aches for her.  She continues to heal.  I appreciate her willingness to open her heart and share her pure, honest, raw emotions.  Her thoughts mirror those of so many who have been through this heartbreaking experience. 

Melissa is actually a wonderful family friend.  In fact, I used to babysit her.  Her smile melted my heart, and still does!  She has an angel mother who has been so supportive of her throughout her life, and who has taught me a lot about mothering.  Melissa’s father passed away five and a half years ago, and I remember how kind and gentle he was, and just how loving these parents always have been.  I absolutely adore this family!  They continue to make such a difference in my life and anyone else who knows them, too. 
Melissa begins with thoughts of this most recent miscarriage, then tells the story of angel Ruby.  Hang in there, sweet Melissa.  We empathetic mothers band together with you, we love and support you, we understand the sorrow, and we know that God does indeed heal hearts!  Although the pain may never completely go away, it does become more manageable.  It’s okay to ask for help.  There are many earthly and heavenly angels ready and willing to lend a hand and a shoulder to lean on, one step at a time!

Here is Melissa’s story:
“The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only ‘I ‘m sorry for your loss.’ But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover life silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?” ~ Laura Bush 

With this latest pregnancy, so much responsibility was placed on this little one even before I saw the ultrasound. But by then, it was too late. I thought that maybe this baby could help heal my heart with God and restore faith that my body can carry a healthy baby to full-term. But all I saw was a little sack and a lifeless baby who had stopped growing two weeks earlier. I was crushed. A million thoughts ran through my mind.  “Why am I going through this again? Wasn’t burying a stillborn baby and already having another miscarriage enough for me? Why was God doing this to me again? I know that I had a hard time connecting to this baby out of fear of losing him or her. Was this my fault? I can’t go through this again!”
But, here I am, living reality, and I know that I have to do things differently this time. Here is my story... 

In November of 2016, my family was anticipating the arrival of our first baby girl. She would be welcomed into a home with two older brothers who were eager to meet her. Let’s be honest, I was more than thrilled to have a girl to chum around with in a house full of boys  We were at “The Big” ultrasound where they check and measure the baby’s growth to see if everything is okay. We had had this ultrasound tech once before with one of our other babies. We knew she was thorough and tender hearted. As she measured and scanned our little Ruby’s heart, she could not get the images she wanted. In fact, she spent 20 minutes focusing on her heart. Finally, I said, “I cannot handle the pressure on my abdomen; can we move on and get the other measurements?” She quickly moved on and finished doing what she needed to do. I received a phone call early Monday morning asking if I could go in and see another ultra sound tech who had a machine with higher resolution. They told me not to worry, that my doctor just wanted to make sure things were okay with her heart. I proceeded to tell her that the tech spent 20 minutes looking at the heart and she had a hard time seeing what she needed to see. The nurse expressed again that is why they wanted me to go see the specialist. We got in that afternoon. My husband and I did not know what to expect. We thought it was just another routine check, and that everything was going to be okay. 
As the ultrasound tech conducted the exam, she mentioned that the baby was measuring two weeks smaller than what she should be, and then proceeded to look at the heart. Now, I am not a doctor or ultrasound tech, but I do know that a healthy heart has four chambers. As I saw our little girl’s heart beating on the screen, it was evident that there were only three, with a little flap waving with every beat. At that point, the doctor reviewed the scans and told us in a very calm voice, “When we see hearts like this, the baby either has Down’s Syndrome, will be stillborn, or will live only a few hours.” My heart sunk. I could not believe what I was hearing. I refused to believe what I was hearing. This could not be happening! Why was this happening? All I could do was have “Hope;” hope for a miracle. He proceeded to tell us he could not tell the extent of the heart damage, and that we would need to have a prenatal echo cardiogram at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.  
As I walked out of the doors that day, I prayed for a miracle to happen and that she would be able to have a little surgery when she was born, and she would be fine, and we would move on with our lives. There are so many babies born with holes in their hearts, and with the advancement of today’s technology, things were going to be okay, weren’t they? Miracles happen all of the time. There are a ton of stories on Facebook where the doctor tells the expectant parents that their baby is not going to live and then a miracle happens, and they give birth to a healthy baby. I was going to be one of those stories. This little girl was going to beat the odds and be a miracle baby. I was determined that would happen. I prayed for it. I put my whole trust in God that she would be okay. I trusted Him! 
The appointment was made three weeks out. My husband Brian called me and asked if I wanted to bump up the appointment. He works at the University of Utah School of Medicine and knows many of the cardiologists and schedulers. He could have arranged for an earlier appointment. I declined his offer. Ruby was measuring two weeks small. Maybe in that three weeks she would get bigger and her heart would start to heal. Inside, I was hoping for a miracle. They would go in and see that her heart was healed, and she would be truly a miracle baby! My husband also hoped for a miracle. He took the report from the ultrasound to one of the pediatric cardiologists he works with to get their opinion. The pediatric cardiologist’s comment to him was, “in other countries, when they see hearts like this, the mother would terminate the pregnancy. If this baby survives, it will have a very difficult life.” We both refused to believe this! 
Weeks went by.  We prayed.  We fasted. We pleaded with Heavenly Father for our little Ruby to be healed. I will never forget Friday, December 2, 2016. My little girl was kicking me all day long. I went throughout my day feeling her little jabs, until finally I acknowledged her. I commented, “What are you trying to tell me? Are you saying, ‘Here I am, and I am going to be strong and be healed?’ Or, are you telling me, ‘Here I am, I want you to know that I am here, because I will not be here much longer.’” The next day I did not feel her much. I figured that it was just a time within the pregnancy that I would not feel her, as she was still so little. The next day was Sunday, and I still did not feel anything. Monday was the same. I had an appointment on Tuesday with doctor. I told her what I had experienced over the weekend. She calmed my nerves and said that this is normal, based on where I was within my pregnancy. We talked about getting my own fetal heart monitor, so I could check at home. She began the ultrasound to put my fears to rest. 
There was little Ruby, lifeless on the monitor. We could not believe what we were seeing.  No heart beat! No movement! Just silence! We were all stunned!  Was this really happening? My doctor could not believe her eyes, either.  We all just broke down in tears. She said, “I honestly thought you would deliver her, and she would be able to have a little surgery, and everything would be just fine.” She proceeded to tell us what our options were and gave us her personal cell phone number. She asked us to call her when we were ready to go to the hospital to deliver the baby.  There were hugs and tears. I truly love my doctor.  She has been there for all of my babies—the births of our boys, the miscarriages, and Ruby—for the last six and half years. I know she sincerely cares about me as an individual, as well as the healthy delivery of my babies. 
That drive home was the longest of my life. I just cried. I still could not believe this was happening.  I did not know how I was going to tell my boys that they were not going to have a baby sister to play with. They had offered many prayers that Ruby’s “broken heart would be healed.” I did not know how I was going to explain that her “broken heart” had given up. We pulled up to my mom’s house. We went in, hugged the boys, and told them what had happened. They understood as much as their little heads could, and then went on their merry way. All I could do was sit with my mother and cry.
The next day, we made arrangements with the funeral home. Friends and family members were frantically looking for angel dresses, and for any other ways they could help and support us. Brian and I went to pick out an angel figurine to place on the built-in shelving in our front room. Throughout my life, my parents have given me Lladros, Hummels, and Willow Tree figurines to signify important milestones and events in my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be adding angels to my collection. Nor did I think I would burying a baby at my age. But here I was, looking for burial plots. Of course, I did not want her next to strangers. She would be placed at the feet of my father, who had passed away four years earlier, so he could look after her. Over the hours and hours of therapy I have received over this past year, I have accepted the fact that my father would look after her, and it is one of the ways that I have been able to feel peace. I remember how my father raised and cared for me. I was able to let Ruby go and be cared by him, until I am able to. So, Dad, you have three of my babies to care for; be kind to them and love them, just as you did for me. 

That evening, my husband called the doctor and told her we thought we were ready to deliver the baby.  We went on Thursday, December 8, 2016 to deliver our little Ruby. I even had my doctor do one last ultra sound just to make sure that nothing had changed. For the next 12 hours, while we waited for her to come, we watched Christmas movies and stayed in contact with our doula and family members. At 9:45 pm our little Ruby was delivered. Our doula arrived shortly after and assisted me with the rest of the horrid process. I will be honest, it was hard for me to look at our little girl. It did not know what to expect. She was 22 weeks’ gestation, and I was not familiar with all the developmental stages. Pregnancy apps do not prepare you for that. But I do remember she fit in my hand. She had eyebrows, and her little foot was the size of my
thumb. Her hands were barely big enough to wrap around my pointer finger. I could see that her eyes were open. My doctor said, “she wanted to make sure you knew that she saw you.” Moments later, a representative from Utah Share came in and dressed her in a tiny diaper and a little dress.  She took pictures of her tiny features, and with my husband and me. When our boys arrived, they were eager to see and hold their baby sister. 
My husband and I were led by their innocence, and how they embraced her with love. We hesitated at first to have the boys see her, but they quickly put our minds at ease. It was as if they already knew what to expect and how to handle the situation. We continued taking photos of this precious moment with our little family.                                                           

That night, I had the most spiritual and sacred moment I have ever had with my dad.  I know the veil is thin; and I was reminded that night that he has been there for me through every part of my life, even since he passed away. That is why I felt comforted in relinquishing my parental care of the babies I have lost to him. 
My friends and family put on a wonderful little funeral to honor our little Ruby Sue Davis. The casket was so small that it fit on a table. The photos from the hospital were framed and displayed 
throughout the room, so those who attended could see and feel of love of this sweet little spirit. We laid her to rest next to my dad. 
Six weeks after Ruby’s birth, I began to hemorrhage. I had to go back to the hospital for an emergency D&C.  It was very traumatic—physically as well as emotionally.  I remember thinking, ‘is this really how I am going to die?’ Then, after my recovery, I enrolled into therapy! 

My husband and I learned how men and women grieve differently.  Where I was outwardly grieving, Brian was grieving inside on his own. I learned that since he was unable to feel the kicks of his daughter, the place he felt more connected to her was at her grave. He made weekly visits to her where she was buried, where he could outwardly express his feelings, and then he would ask my Dad to look after her until he was able to do so. I had no idea he made these weekly visits to her grave.  It just seemed to me that he did not care.  However, once we got on the same page, we learned ways to help us rebuild a new foundation to help strengthen our relationship. It is not perfect; we still have our spats, but we do know that we are in this for the long haul. 
And, as many do, I ate my emotions. I gained so much weight that I found myself in the ER on Thanksgiving with my blood pressure through the roof! I thought I was having a heart attack. But instead, I was having an anxiety attack, and my weight was a major contributor to my high blood pressure. I realized just why I was experiencing the anxiety attack—I was a week away from the first anniversary of Ruby’s death. That ER visit was a needed wakeup call for me to change my lifestyle. I had two little boys who still depended on me. I got a plan for healthy eating and exercise to help get me off my high blood pressure medication. 
In an effort to redirect my emptiness, my husband and I even started a new business. My sister opened up a co-op boutique called Salt Washed Co. in Holladay, Utah. I wanted to create something to honor Ruby and to try and fill the hole in my heart. My space in her company is called Ruby & Rose Collection. All of the red tags represent my daughter. You can take a piece of her home with you. Although this does not replace the loss of my baby, this has helped provide meaning and has been a welcome distraction. 
With this most recent loss, I knew things had to change. I needed to handle this loss differently. I had put too much responsibility on this little soul to help fix my problems. But in reality, this little one has changed my heart. I realize I now have three perfect spirits—too perfect to come to this earth. They did not need to prove themselves to God. I saved them from coming into this world, which can be awful at times.  I do not have to worry about whether or not they are going to make the right choices. My walls and barriers started to come down at the end of February. My heart started to open up to how my trials have shaped my life.  I am searching to find the meaning of “enduring to the end.” I have had the ‘experienced’ ladies within my ward as well as close family friends embrace me as I share my pain and the thoughts that accompany them. With the wisdom they have learned through the years, they have helped me to see what God has been trying to teach me during this past year of hell. I knew that I have needed to reach out to people who truly understand the pain I have been feeling in my soul. 
This is why I am participating in Running with the Angels. Each of our stories are unique, but we do have one thing in common. We each understand the feeling of emptiness from the tiny hand we cannot hold.



  1. What a beautiful, sad and heartfelt story. You are an amazing woman! I can’t imagine losing like you have and moving on. Your love in our Savior has helped you heal and I pray that through his love you will continue to heal. Such a beautiful family you have! Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. such a beautiful story. Thank you for letting us into your heart. I hope you continue to feel love, and healing, and hope for that which is yet to come.