Thursday, February 4, 2010

Communion of Saints

We welcome with open arms and grateful hearts, a precious gift:

Abigail Rose, born on the feast of St Andrew Corsini 2010.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Knowing that I wouldn't have many physical reminders of Andrew, I asked a photographer friend to snap photos of the day. I also asked Karl's sister to capture Father James' homily and graveside service on video.

The chapel was filled with little ones for Andrew's funeral mass. It was very difficult to be sorrowful with so much joy and youthful energy present. Though many times I felt an expectation to be mournful--on the whole, I felt mostly grateful. I was grateful for the honest exuberance of those beautiful children. Grateful that Andrew was safe. Grateful that we found peace in God's will.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


One reoccurring theme throughout these past weeks has been--
What do I do now?
Why is there no precedent for these circumstances?
Why does no one talk about their miscarriages???

If 15-20% of pregnancies end in the first trimester--why have I never been to a funeral mass to honor those children?

Thankfully we were immediately surrounded by good and holy people who did know what to do, knew how to honor these little saints.

But already in these few short weeks since my own miscarriage, I have encountered much sadness and regret because of this lack of precedent. Women who were not informed about their options or given the opportunity or tools to honor their children with the dignity that they deserved.

Each miscarriage comes with it's own set of circumstances. My miscarriage happened in the first trimester--I was still at my pre-pregnancy weight, wearing my pre-pregnancy clothing. We hadn't yet shouted our news from the rooftops (so to speak.) I had a week to pray and wait and mourn before Andrew was delivered. Two active children to look after kept me focused on the here and now, and kept my thoughts about being "broken" and the other "whys" to a minimum. My husband was supportive--he mourned and prayed with me.

Other miscarriages occur under different circumstances--stillbirths, unsupportive spouses, no children to keep your mind from continually wandering to the what-ifs and whys that inevitably creep into one's thoughts...

These littlest saints! How I hope that other women find the support and care that we encountered--to honor and remember the little lives that leave such a significant impact.

Things to consider...

Consult with physician about your health and that of your baby's--spotting during pregnancy is never normal, but it doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong. Trust in God's will, Trust in God's will, Trust in God's will.

Ask your baby and his/her guardian angel to pray for you (for healing, acceptance of God's Will, peace, guidance etc)

Ask the hospital for your baby, or make preparations to deliver your baby at home. From the moment of conception, a new human life has been formed. A new member of your family has been added! For all eternity God has cocreated an eternal soul with you and your husband. Take the necessary steps to ensure that your child is treated as such, and is given a proper burial. This article was very helpful to me as I prepared to deliver Andrew at home, especially the section "Respectful Care of the Couplet During Miscarriage."

Call a Catholic church to have a Mass of Christian burial said for your baby.

Name your baby--It was too early to tell if our baby was a girl or a boy when I miscarried. But we discovered the miscarriage on the feast of St Blaise, and I thought the name was gender neutral enough (to the ear anyway!) But Karl didn't care for Blaise as a first name. Instead he had been thinking about the name "Andrew" throughout that day. We later discovered that the day following our ultrasound (Feast of St Blaise,) the day that Karl had been thinking "Andrew" all day, was the feast of St Andrew Corsini.

Arrange to give your child a proper burial--call a cemetery, choose a casket or other burial vessel, headstone/epitaph. I did a whole lot of googling before finding the phrase from Dante's Inferno: In His will is our peace. Pope Benedict had recently used that quote during his visit to the USA, we've adopted it as our motto for this experience. We couldn't decide which particular date to put on the headstone (conception, ultrasound, delivery????) so we chose February 2009--the month and year we discovered the miscarriage, Andrew was delivered, and in which the funeral was held.

Funeral Luncheon-I didn't know who to invite to the funeral mass, or who would actually attend. I was sure that some people would be traveling to attend the mass and service and I wanted to have a meal prepared. Some parishes will provide this luncheon for you so ASK your priest when making arrangements. [We purchased two flats of bottled water, coffee and filters, styro cups, plastic cups, napkins, plates, fresh fruit and made four 2-ft long cold cut sandwiches the night before] CONSIDER ASKING A FRIEND TO DO THIS FOR YOU IF YOUR PARISH DOES NOT OFFER THIS SERVICE

Consider asking for/receiving help--don't be afraid to accept gifts of meals/childcare from friends and family. Support of loved ones is a wonderful blessing. You're not being greedy or taking advantage--they are being generous and rightfully concerned for your well-being. Karl's sister watched Henry for two days when delivery became imminent and then she brought him to the funeral (dressed and clean :) ) Friends offered to set up a meal calendar for us [which I refused because physically I felt very well,] but in retrospect I could have used the help--if nothing else to recuperate from the emotional drain of the previous week.

My Soul in Stillness Waits

Almost a week passed between discovering Andrew's miscarriage during an ultrasound and his delivery. That translated into a hard week of waiting.

During that week of I poured myself into doing whatever I could to honor Andrew's life properly.

Clare and Henry both wore handmade baptismal gowns for their Baptism. While at this point in my early pregnancy I was still wrestling with whether or not I would make Andrew a new gown or continue to use Henry's gown for our boys, Clare's gown for our girls--in that week of waiting, I decided that Andrew would have his own baptismal gown--one made with love and hopeful anticipation by his mother's hands.

The hope and anticipation was obviously very different this time around, but I needed to DO SOMETHING for him. I felt the need to demonstrate my intent and desire to be his mother, in the same way that we believe Andrew was baptized by our intent to have done so.

I started with the pattern I had used with Henry's gown, though this time around I added french seams and used the remaining fabric I had on hand from Clare's gown. Admittedly, the gown had many faults--the most major of which was having attached the bodice neck (with a french seam) to the WAIST of the skirt! A few well-placed pin and tucks corrected my error, and in the end Andrew had a beautiful and unique baptismal gown. Not perfect-- but made with much love, many tears, and prayerful conversation with Our Lord , Our Lady, and little Andrew.

Funeral Arrangements

We placed an unlit baptismal candle given to us by our parish priest and Andrew's baptismal gown to show that we intended to baptize Andrew after his birth.

I also included a small scapular that I had purchased from a group of Carmelite sisters in Houston.

Andrew Blaise

The inscription on the bronze marker reads in German, "Bleib Sein Kind"
Remain as His Child