Isabella, Christina, and Gabriela pray at the Book of Life at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, where their three brothers are memorialized in the Book of Life.You can register your miscarried children's names here.
As we grow older, some of us realize that just because we love God, it doesn't leave us free from pain and suffering in this life, in fact, the closer you get to our Lord, the more He seems to demand we detach from the world and want only Him. Padre Pio said it was like when a baby is weaning(from the breast), you give him a little sugar in the bottle, so we, in our spiritual infancy got a lot of good feelings from prayer. As you get closer to the Lord, He often seems to hide, to remind us that we love Him for His sake, not for the rush we get when we pray.
This period, the dark night of the soul, as St. John of the Cross called it, began for me when, as a new mother to 18 month old Gabby, I found myself pregnant again. I was thrilled. For 3 weeks, I was so happy, I even toured a birthing hospital. That night, I began to spot, and soon Patrick Simeon's 6 week old life was inevitably ebbing from me.
Why do they put miscarrying mothers in the labor and delivery area, where the joyful sounds of birth are everywhere? I saw a 16 year old mother who had just delivered a baby, and I wanted God to tell me, "why me, and not her losing the baby?" I wouldn't let my OB do a D and C until I myself checked the sonogram screen to see that the baby was detached, and gone. Then I let out a wail of the banshee, at the horrible news that my son had died on St. Patrick's Day. My aunt Teresa, a nurse at the Catholic hospital, kept trying to console me, but it was useless.
The next morning, I left the labor and delivery area empty armed and with a broken heart. I attended a wedding, though not the reception, as I was still weak. I saw an old friend, hugged her and just sobbed. My husband was just as devastated, but couldn't express his feelings the way I had. He was just afraid to conceive again and relive the pain.
On the Feast of the Presentation in 1996, I read this testimony at a special Mass of healing from miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion. We read our stories, named our babies on special certificates, and offered them on the altar of the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. It was very healing for me, and for those timid single girls who came alone, sitting in the shadows, mourning their abortions. I believe it was my offering to God of the suffering I endured at the loss of Patrick Simeon, for those post-abortive women which prepared my heart for a new baby.
Our next pregnancy was successful, four years later, Isabella Maria was born. Two miscarriages followed, and I began to feel cursed, like the barren Old Testament women, and never dreamed that, five years after Isabella's birth, that God would bless us with my little Christina, who has Down Syndrome. I refused all tests beside sonograms, fearing that they would cause a miscarriage, and she was healthy at birth, however, only my family and I knew about her Down Syndrome before she was born. How did we know? Let's just say that we had some advance knowledge from Someone who loves us infinitely. Wait until my article comes out in the May/June issue of Faith and Family to find out!!