Reformed Grits

Gratitude and Providence
February 22, 2008, 10:02 am
Filed under: Faith

This morning after dropping 5 of my children off at school, Bee and I headed to the grocery store to do a little shopping.   When I walked in to the store, as always I looked around for the ad and all the little flyers with the coupons in them… but instead I saw one of the headlines of the local paper:  "Ruling helps parents’ case over baby’s remains:  Access granted to medical records of other St. Vincent’s patients."  Two things snatched my attention:  "baby’s remains" and "St. Vincent’s" as this is where I’ve had all 7 of mine.   As I quickly browsed the article I could feel the panic rising in my throat– This article was about parents who had had babies there before 20 weeks gestation and they obviously died or were born dead.  There is a weird period of time before 20 weeks of pregancy where a baby is delivered if it’s dead instead of doing a D&C like they would for an early miscarriage.  After 20 weeks, it’s considered a stillbirth and that requires the treatment that you would give any "viable" person who had died.  Funeral home, burial or cremation, etc.  But before 20 weeks you don’t have to do anything with the baby.  You can just leave it at the hospital with no instructions and walk away.  This has been my understanding with the reading I have done on the situation, limited as it is. 

Anyway, the article went on to say that some parents had left their baby at St. Vincent’s to be cremated and later got bills saying there had been an autopsy, pathology, etc. which they were responsible for.  They had not wanted any of that but were stuck with the bills.  In trying to clear it all up, they found out that their baby had been kept in something like a picnic cooler for possibly a number of years until they had enough babies collected to cremate together, "for feasibilty."  Obviously they were horrified.  Now there are lawsuits, investigations, broken hearts, and cries of "foul." 

What gripped me is the thought that this could have happened to my little baby.  He could have been the one sitting in a morgue picnic cooler, thrown in with other babies until the cooler was full and it was "feasible" to heat up the incinerator for a cremation.   As I pondered this, I walked around Publix stunned and horrified.  At the time I hadn’t known the whole story– only that it happened to babies under 20 weeks born at St. Vincent’s right around the time my John Knox was born. 

It’s a horrible thing.  I feel terrible for anyone who has to go through the horror of something like this.  In that window, it’s such a "gray area" for so many as what to do.  I am just so thankful for God’s providence in surrounding us with people who had walked in similar footsteps.  I would have never considered that a baby that young should have been buried in a cemetery had it not been for Kent.  I wouldn’t have known about the kind people at the funeral home who made me cry when they described how they would carefully and tenderly put my baby to rest if it hadn’t been for Nancy.  I wouldn’t have known there was a sweet little old man who was willing to offer a "small spot for such a small coffin" if it weren’t for Caroline’s faithful search.   God in His providence protected us, once again, from having to endure an impossibly painful situation made worse had we just "walked away."  We have always been grateful and thankful that we have that wee spot we can go.  We don’t go often, but gratefully we know we have treated this Image-bearer with the respect he deserved for his little life.  I’m so thankful to my sweet friends who helped with hard things in hard times, even though it was painful for them.  We rest in the fact that John Knox is in heaven, but we are at peace with the rest his small frame has on this earth too. 

9 Comments so far
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I am so sorry you had to go through that this morning! It is so wonderful to see God’s sovereign hand on us in all situations and in the details of how he cares for us. I had a dear friend that went through the same thing 4 months before me and she helped me so much–especially when you can not think straight. It is such a comfort to know where our children are at this moment. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by kent

Wow, All of my children were born at St. VIncents too! I had no idea that went on.

It is so great that you had those people in your life to help you during one of the hardest times in your life! Thanks for sharing your story!

Comment by Jennifer


He is so good.

Comment by caroline

{{{{{{Kim}}}}}}} I can so relate. When I had Alex and we were trying to decide what to do with him the nurse said we could just leave him at the hospital and they would ‘dispose’ of him – 22 weeks he was. Anyhow, God put one special person who was on the phone in a heartbeat when she found out I was in the hospital – my aunt Rita who was a RN. She told us that they didn’t need to take that baby right away and to spend time with him (D held him for the hour til he finally took his last breath) and then told us we didn’t need to make a decision right then and we didn’t need to let the hospital handle it and between her and my uncle, the priest, they gave us lots of options. My husband was so thankful for them 🙂

Comment by Angie

How wonderful that God sent you all that you needed (and maybe didn’t even know that you needed) to get through such a horrible time.
Sorry that you had to see that today. That must’ve been pretty hard. 😦

Comment by Gayle

Bless you. Thank God for His hand of providence, and rest knowing that He is faithful.

Comment by distybug

Can’t even begin to imagine the pain those parents went through. Isn’t God good to have spared you and directed your steps.
He is faithful!

Comment by MaryLu

bittersweet. thanks for sharing…

Comment by kimmy

Tears here too, friend; and I’m so thankful for the sweet people in your world and for answered prayers (even the ones we didn’t pray specifically!!).

Comment by Meg

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