The Father’s Day Loss of Our Baby And The Hug From Heaven
A Reader Revelation by Marlene Sommer
As many of my friends and family know, I have been blessed with many remarkably coincidental as well as physical “signs from heaven” in my lifetime. God has revealed himself to people throughout time. We learn from instances that happened years ago in Biblical times so why would we think God would not show His much needed presence in today’s world? This is my own personal miracle that has previously only been shared with family and several close friends. It has taken many years for me to reveal this for fear of what people would think but after years of prodding, I am finally going to do it. This is probably one my most profound experiences of them all…
Being a mother has by far been the most miraculous and wonderful experience of my life.
I was blessed to have two children that were (and still are) a constant source of pride and entertainment. Like all mothers, I thought they were the most beautiful and intelligent kids in the world! I loved my kids so much that I constantly felt overwhelmed with happiness – like a volcano ready to erupt with joy! When I became pregnant again I could not have been any more excited to have a third child.
Unfortunately, this blessing came at the same heartbreaking time that my mother-in-law was also dying of cancer. I have come to realize that life often has wonderful and terrible things happening simultaneously and you have to find and savor all the joy you can out of life. It was an overwhelmingly sad and stressful time. I wanted Steve to spend as much time as possible with his mother and he spent every day caring for her and sleeping on the floor next to her bedside. Steve’s mom was told she had six to eight weeks to live and passed seven weeks after her diagnosis, as you will read in another story.
About a month after she died, we decided to go ahead with the dream Disney trip that we had been planning for quite some time even though I had been very sick since I became pregnant. It was a miracle that I became pregnant in the first place during the time my mother-in-law was dying.
We decided to take my mother along on the vacation that ended up being a tremendous help since I was struggling with the pregnancy. The sixteen-hour drive to Florida was exceedingly difficult for me. Enduring the extreme nausea was almost intolerable and made for a miserable ride. My mother was such a support and held my hand in the car when I could hardly bear it any longer.
When we got to The Polynesian Village in Disney World I could barely walk. I almost collapsed because I felt so unbelievably ill. The concierge moved us to a private office and offered refreshments as we awaited our room. By the time we got to our room, I was torn between seeking medical help and wanting to enjoy the trip of a lifetime with my family. I can always keep going no matter what the circumstances but I was just feeling incredibly sick. Something seemed very wrong. I decided to try and rest for a bit and insisted that Steve and my mother take the children out for a while to discover the resort.
The staff of the hotel was very concerned and looked out after me by checking in every half hour bringing lovely gifts of a plush Mickey Mouse, gourmet jams and jellies, a tin of Polynesian Village note cards, etc. They wanted to call an ambulance and insisted that I go to the hospital and offered transportation. I did not want to ruin our trip and said I really wanted to stick it out. Steve took over with the kids and my mother even slept in a separate bed holding me, I was so sick I seriously felt like I might die.
The next day I felt a little better and was determined not to ruin this trip of a lifetime. We went to the different theme parks all day the entire week in record heat temperatures despite how miserable I felt. I did enjoy watching my kids but unfortunately it was not the once in a lifetime Disney vacation I had envisioned.
One day I was standing in line for the Enchanted Tiki Birds in the 100 plus degree temperature and had to squat eating dry crackers so wouldn’t faint.
Other vacationers in the queue voiced concern and I simply said, “I am so sorry. I am pregnant and not feeling well.”
I was beyond caring about embarrassment.
We made it home after a jam-packed week at Disney and settled back into everyday life. I soon had an appointment with my obstetrician and checked out all right but I started spotting a little later that day. I called my doctor and was told everything was fine. I stayed home with our four-year-old daughter, Alyssa, and insisted that Steve go on to coach our son Andy’s baseball team with our friend, Kevin Riesen.
Not feeling well at all, I went to the bathroom that evening and started to hemorrhage severely. All I saw was blood, lots of blood. I called for Alyssa to come to help mommy and asked her to get me a magazine so I could fan myself because I was feeling so weak. I left the bathroom and started walking toward the kitchen where I started feeling faint and asked her to get mommy the phone. I just remember everything fading and feeling my body go completely weak and collapsing to the floor.
Alyssa called 911. Steve came home before the ambulance arrived and paramedics started to administer first aid. Our friend, Karen Riesen, whom Steve had called to take the kids, literally fell into the house as she tripped while frantically rushing through the door from the garage to the family room. Our neighbors stood in their driveways watching as the paramedics carried me out on the stretcher to the flashing red lights of the waiting ambulance. It took forever to insert an IV using a tourniquet before they rushed me to the hospital.
I was extremely concerned and repeatedly kept asking, “Is my baby was alright?” while I was also a typical woman slightly bothered about the condition of my lingerie when I arrived at a hospital emergency room.
When I got to the ER the doctor immediately started examining me and ordered an ultrasound. This was in 1990 in a small town hospital without a technician to administer the ultrasound. They put me in an examination room on a tilt table with my body practically upside down while we waited for a technician to come from Lima, a city about an hour away. It was the longest wait of my life.
When the ultrasound was being administered I kept worriedly asking, “Is my baby O.K.?” and of course the technician would not answer.
Getting the News
Finally, they moved me back to the ER and the doctor came in and gravely stated, “I am so sorry, Mrs. Sommer. your baby has died.”
I literally felt all the life go out of me. They compassionately moved me up to the third floor, which was not the maternity floor, into a private room. I cried the entire night in that hospital bed. I will always remember the random acts of kindness of Mrs. Keighley, a very nice and most concerned nurse, who came and checked on me every hour.
The next morning my doctor came in to examine me and said he reviewed the ultrasound and he thought the baby was just sleeping! What! My world had ended and now there was hope? Oh my God, my baby is alive! They were sending me home and I was to watch for bleeding and come to the hospital immediately if there was any bloody show.
It was one of the hottest nights of the year and our house at that time did not have central air. I was glad to be home with my kids and prayed for my baby to survive. My son’s room was cooler than our bedroom so I slept in his bed. The next morning I went to the bathroom and was very distressed that there was more blood. I was overwhelmed with worry.
We rushed back to the hospital that was about ten miles away. After examination and testing the doctor said our baby died and we could wait to deliver which may take hours or days but he recommended doing a procedure to take the baby. My husband thought it would be easier not to go into labor for an unknown period of time and cause more pain and grief. I was already in a state of shock and grief and agreed to my obstetrician’s recommendation of the D&C that was basically a kinder word for an abortion.
After the final termination of the life within me and when I came out of the anesthetic they wheeled me through the double doors to the maternity ward.
Welcome to the Family Birthing Center! This was my entrance greeting.
I was moved to an area with joy all around me even though I was experiencing an overwhelming depth of grief like I had never felt before. As I lay with tears rolling down my cheeks, my milk was letting down and I heard the cries of the sweet newborns being wheeled in their bassinets to their new mothers anxiously waiting to hold their beloved little nurslings to their breasts. Flowers and balloons celebrating the miraculous arrivals abounded. After the many lingering hours of hearing the baby’s cries and the joy and excitement of all the new parents surrounding me, my husband could see it was quite an unbearable burden for me to endure.
He implored, “Can my wife please be released today instead of tomorrow?”
My doctor gave the O.K. so we were finally on our way home to our other children. It was Father’s Day.
Bed rest was ordered for a week since I was still experiencing hemorrhaging. I took up residence on the sofa in the family room during the day where I could watch my children play. One afternoon I was watching the kids through the big patio window across from me while Andy squirted water from his mouth as Alyssa pumped his arm like they were getting water from a well. They were giggling and having so much fun. I was not even laughing even though it was quite entertaining. I almost did not care about my other children, I just wanted my baby back and was totally and completely grief stricken. I felt like all of my insides had been sucked out of me with that abortion, like I was a shell of a body or a skeleton with nothing but emptiness inside of me. My body felt like a vacuum.
My little Alyssa, who was quite a pill, scolded, “You need to get off that couch and quit crying about that baby! You should be worrying about those people in that flood!”
There was a huge flood in eastern Ohio that June and it was constantly on the news. Alyssa must have absorbed the news about that tragedy. She was right! I should be thinking of others and quit being absorbed in my own misery and grief.
I did follow my little one’s advice after that week of rest. During the day I tried to be a fun mom again and was back to baking cookies, reading, and playing all day long. But at night, when my husband and the kids were in bed, I often sat up alone on the couch and cried. My grief consumed me and I could not let go of my sadness at the loss of that baby. I loved my other children so much. The joy they brought me was a pinnacle of love and I knew what I was missing. The words Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “I love you to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach” was precisely how I felt about motherhood.
So, I put on a happy face but for almost a year, I grieved the loss of my child. This sad and desolate feeling was so overwhelming. I longed for my baby. I didn’t even know this baby! I wasn’t even sure how old our child was? It didn’t matter. This child was one unique spirit and soul, just like my other children. If I had lost my amazing Andy, the next child I had would not have been him; it would have been my wonderful Alyssa. Each child is a one of a kind soul, the only one ever created uniquely like he or she throughout the history of time. They are that person from the moment of conception, they don’t magically turn into a human when they exit the birth canal like the pumpkin turns into the coach in Cinderella!
A Comforting Embrace
I wanted peace from this terrible feeling of grief and one particular afternoon, I knelt for one of the first times in my thirty something years of life to pray. I was probably embarrassed to kneel and pray in front of anyone so I went to our bedroom for solace and privacy. As I knelt at the side of my bed, my hands folded and my head resting in my hands on my bedspread with my eyes closed, I prayed to God to please help me with my grief. Why did HE take my baby I demanded? He KNEW how much I loved and treasured my children! I WANTED THAT BABY! As I sobbed, I felt my husband’s hands on each one of my shoulders, and I felt the love from this compassionate caress give me an overall feeling of peace. I knelt in quiet for a few more minutes savoring that very special moment.
Our bedroom had two doors, one to a half bath that opened to a laundry area and on to the kitchen and family room and the other door to the hallway that led to the other two bedrooms and a formal living room.
I got up and went to the kitchen and being rather embarrassed that Steve caught me on my knees in prayer, I sheepishly said to him, “Thanks so much for the hug in the bedroom.”
“I wasn’t in the bedroom sweetheart?” he queried.
“Yeah! Just now! When you gave me that hug?” I questioned.
“Honey, I wasn’t in the bedroom!” Steve exclaimed.
“Well, where is my mom?” I frantically questioned.
“Your mom isn’t here, Marlene.”
Mom often stopped over at any given time of day and I thought she must have come in and entered our bedroom from the other hallway. I quickly walked around to the formal living room looking for my mother. She was not there.
“Well, SOMEONE just hugged me in the bedroom!”
I was freaking out!
“Their hands were right here. Like this on my shoulders.” I demonstrated the caress to my husband with one hand on each one of his shoulders.
I was just awestruck and but the amazing thing to me was that Steve took the whole experience as so matter of fact. He didn’t remotely doubt it and totally believed me like it was no different than your own earthly dad giving you a hug. He totally believed me and also thought it was awesome that we would get a physical sign from God that was this special. I, on the other hand, was overwhelmed with what I had just experienced. I knew it happened. That touch was such a wonderful feeling and one that I would never forget my entire life.
I wasn’t on drugs or anti-depressants, or drinking alcohol. I rarely even had more than one cocktail when we went out. Steve and I thought it had to be God, the Holy Spirit, my guardian angel, my dad in heaven? Something phenomenal just happened to me and from that day forward I had peace and my grief was completely alleviated.
I truly believe that I held that precious life in such high regard, and grieved so deeply over the loss of a child I did not even know that God personally touched me with an acknowledgment. It didn’t matter if this child was days, weeks, months, or years old. This child was a unique eternal spirit valued by me and his/her Creator and that Creator appreciated me knowing what a gift one is given with the life of a precious child. That child is his own person. That child is his or her own soul and spirit. A mother is just a vehicle, you see, I am me and you are thee, and we have the privilege of carrying a life that is meant to be. Here on earth and forever in heaven. It is our significant job to tenderly care for that unique life from womb to tomb. And I take great comfort in knowing that.
I truly don’t care if others believe that this miraculous incident happened or have their doubts. Since I was a child, I have always been a “doubting Thomas” myself and I demanded visible proof for everything from God to Santa Claus to where do babies come from? Ask my mother! My hug from heaven does not mean I am any more special than any other mother on earth that gets to experience a true miracle by bringing a life into this world. God just gave me an outgoing and unafraid personality that He knew would be willing to share the incredible experience that He gave as a personal gift to me. Although I am embarrassed that it did take me over twenty years to publicly acknowledge it! Especially after this life-changing event, I will always acknowledge that life from conception is a gift from God.
This did happen and I will never forget that moment or the feeling of that touch as long as I live. I felt the Hand of God in my bedroom that day and I was stunned. I have been forever blessed.
Comments from the Original Post
Marie Hemming 3.2.14
I too have been fortunate to receive a heavenly embrace of forgiveness & love in a dream, I will never forget the feeling if peace & love that I felt in that moment.
Carolyn Hawkins 12.23.13
It is such a Blessing to hear testimonys like this.
Our God cares about everything that we go through.We just have to trust Him to work it out for us.Then we will be able to comfort someone else with the comfort that He has given us.
Thank you Marlene for sharing your story.
Denny Bolafka 11.26.13
Marlene, I had a similar encounter when I was 13 yrs. old. My grandmother died and I was standing at the kitchen window washing dishes and 2 hands touched my shoulders. Thank you for sharing your story.
Father Andy 10.21.13
Very inspiring, Marlene.I am sure many will find comfort and strength from your sharing this experience of God’s love.
Leslie Pecilunas 10.9.13
That story is just amazing, Marlene. God blessed you and you received it. I am blessed by reading it.
Anita Fleming 10.9.13
Marlene, what a beautiful story from a beautiful woman. ou are a beautiful woman, inside and out. Thank you for sharing this story, I know that you were truly hugged by our Heavenly Father.
connie hein 10.9.13
Marlene, this is a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing!
Sharon Fiely 10.9.13
8 believe this testimoney because I have als9 witnessed Gods presence through signs. The signs are there and we just need to slow down and recognize the presenses of The Heavenly Father