On July 19, 2005, I went for my weekly check-up as my due date was approaching soon. I had an uneventful, healthy pregnancy and was gladly anticipating the arrival of our first baby before the end of the month. As the nurse listened for a heartbeat – there was none there to be found. Further ultrasounds confirmed the news. Our baby had died. That’s when all my hopes and dreams were void. I had never known such deep pain and sorrow.
“Our baby had died. That’s when all my hopes and dreams were void.”
I was induced later that afternoon. There was no happy, joyful delivery to look forward to. After 18 hours of labor, the doctor placed my beautiful daughter’s lifeless body in my arms at 11:56 a.m. on July 20, 2005. She was 7lbs, 3oz and 21 inches long. We named our daughter Peace, a reminder of the peace that God has to offer through the trials in our lives; a peace that passes all understanding.
While I was in labor with our daughter, a wonderful woman stopped by my delivery room with a bear for us. She had lost her baby in 2002 and was given a bear which she then in turn gave to me. I didn’t think much of the bear at that time, but after we delivered our daughter, I really had time to look over the bear, and realize exactly what this woman had done for me. For when we were going through this, we were overcome with loneliness. We didn’t know anyone that this had ever happened to. This was not supposed to happen, especially this far into the pregnancy and a healthy pregnancy at that. The bear we were given was a reminder that we were not alone. Others had dealt with losing a baby in the same way and survived. There were others who understood our pain. Not only were we comforted by the fact that others had gone through this, but we were reminded that God was our comforter, our peace, our strength, and would one day be our source of hope.
There was something so comforting in having something to hold, even though it didn’t replace our baby. My arms literally ached for my baby to hold. Leaving the safety of our hospital room, we could hear other newborn babies cry from the nursery, we could hear the joyous expressions from other families in the birthing center. Entering the “real” world, where nobody knew our pain or suffering. What was supposed to be the happiest most joyful time in our lives, was cluttered with funeral plans, and extreme emptiness; empty carseat, empty nursery, empty cradle. I really longed to do something in memory of our baby. A way to justify my motherhood. A way to take care of our baby that is no longer with us. A way to make her life count. The bear given to us has led to our ministry, The Peace Bear Project, so that ALL mothers who leave the hospital with empty arms will be given a bear. The Peace Bears have become our baby’s legacy. She was our little messenger of peace and I want to share that peace with others.
Cyle & Patty Young