Birthdays With Empty Arms

Every year that October 12 arrives, we celebrate the birthday of our daughter.  Our little girl.  Our baby.  She is 22 years old this year.

 In Heaven. 

I have seven daughters and three sons here on this earth to hold and to love.  I know what my daughter, Elisabeth would look like now.  Just like her sisters.  Beautiful. 

The days that I carried her in my womb were long.  Knowing that after a full term pregnancy, she would go home to be with Jesus, made every day longer than 24 hours.  Nights were not spent in sleep.  We had our time then.  And all day.  Our days were ours.  A gift.

Many well-intentioned remarks about how young I was and would be able to have more children, fell on deaf ears after a time.  I learned to not take those comments so personally.  Actually, I have learned to not take much of any thing personally.

For when you are carrying  a baby that is going to die, there will be opinions and emotions that other’s infringe upon you, and your heart is meant all for your baby.

Nine months after knowing we would have our first baby, we delivered Elisabeth.  Naturally, breech, and beautiful.  Her eyes were a deep, deep blue. I knew they would turn brown.  Like my Lydia’s.   Thirty-five minutes of pure, un-interrupted love with our little girl.  We sang, we prayed, we took pictures.  We had a few select friends and family members there.  They shared in our baby’s birth, but to them it was more grief, I am sure.   To us, we were celebrating, like today, her birth.  Her life, and the meaning God had in this moment of time for our lives.

A moment we carry with us today.  But, with empty arms.

The release of a baby to another’s arms is a tearing, searing pain of the heart.  No matter what the circumstances.  Looking back, the release into our Savior’s Arms was nothing but peace.  Her eyes closed, and she took her last breath in our arms, and we held on like nothing else mattered.  And it didn’t.  The grieving and pain move in at different times for everyone.  For us, it took a slow beat of our heart every October 12th, to realize that God meant this loss for His Glory.  

For His Glory?  Why would I write this letter to my Elisabeth for all of you to read?  Would there be any point other than to glorify the Lord as He healed our hearts like no other could.  He kept me from drowning in grief that I felt would over take my young heart and mind.

I want you to know, to testify that He is GOD, and He has a much bigger and better plan than I could have ever tried to change when the Dr. told me – “Your baby will not live.”  

And yet, our story never ends.  Four miscarriages and the loss of Infant Twins at birth took us down a path that I feared would be the definition of our lives.  And so did many others.  It is hard to explain to people who cannot live your faith, your life, and the mountains that God is moving in you – that you are OK with the BIG picture.  Their hearts hurt for you, or for themselves, and they cannot see the space that God has cleared out to pour His Grace into.

Was there always a peace or the ability to write or talk about the loss of our children?  Surely, no.  But isn’t that the Glory of God?  His healing power has left an amazing insight into God’s grand plan, and not a cold empty spot in my heart that will never heal.   Did we battle bitterness or anger. Yes.  Do we miss the baby we carried and love?  Yes. When everything in me screamed this is wrong, or this can’t be right.. Or when I collapse in grief when we said good-bye one last time.. I would not have understood that one day, like today, I could see a pain so differently.

But His glory is revealed in our weakness.  Our tears fall fresh every October 12, and sometimes in between.   

But, to the beautiful young woman in Heaven, that sings to Her Lord and Savior, and would not want us to grieve forever, We say, “Happy Birthday our little girl”  You will always be so dear to our hearts.   You have taught us so much.  To God be the Glory.

We will see you in Heaven.

If you have experienced the loss of a baby or child, would you allow me to pray for you?

Your story will sink deep into my heart, and I understand the stages of loss are not all painted with a rosy picture.  I hear you, and will pray for you.

What are you going through right now?  Hugs my friend.




  1. Such beautiful truth. I’ve not experienced such a loss, but your words are so comforting.  Blessings!

  2. This is beautiful. Thank you; I needed to read this today. I just experienced yet another miscarriage (my 7th now). The first few days were spent in a fog as hormones settled and reality sunk deeper. The pain eased once I recommitted my body to the Lord for His purposes. 

    We too have 7 daughters and 3 sons. Sweet picture of your girls.

  3. I just suffered a miscarriage in May. My first, after 2 successful pregnancies and 2 beautiful daughters. I pray that God will bless us with a large family, and that He will help me to not be afraid to try again! Thank you for this post. Thank you for praying for me, in spite of your grief and loss you still offer so much encouragement and prayers for others. There is glory in your suffering when it is used to encourage and uplift others.

    • septemberanne says:

      We will walk beside you Jill as you heal.  Praying for you my friend.  So thankful you stopped by here today.  

  4. I can relate…in a very real way, September.  My daughter would have been 20 on June 9th.  There is much to celebrate, although sometimes I think only those who have experienced this and walked the walk can understand this.  Does that make sense?

    Sometimes I write about my daughter, most recently here:

    I’ll pray for you today.  Sometimes out of the blue I will cry because I miss her, but I am so thankful I will see her again.

    This is a lovely post.  Thank you for sharing.


    • septemberanne says:

      I feel your heart Mary. Some day we will all be re-untied. Thank you for sharing your heart here… Hugs.  See you soon !

  5. When Psalm 139 talks about being fearfully and wonderfully made, I think it’s very specifically talking about you, my beautiful friend.  Thank you for sharing the depths of your heart.  I love you dearly!

    • septemberanne says:

      Oh my friend,  I always LOVE receiving your words of encouragement.  He knows all of our needs, and you surely gift me with hope.  Thank you.  Hugs.

    • This passage of scripture was a comfort to my husband and I after losing our newborn daughter to a brain condition.  Like September, we knew early (19 weeks) that Gabrielle was going to die.

  6. This is such a sweet post.  I have never experienced this, but SO many of my friends have.  Thank you for sharing!

  7. What a beautiful tribute to Elizabeth!  Thank you for sharing with us on this emotional day.  You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers today

  8. What beauty from ashes! I never made it to this point, but with 4 unsuccessful IVFs I knew that they were there. I even have photographs from a time when most mothers don’t even know their babies exist. Being privvy to when they were actually knit together, somewhat ironically with a needle.
    Thank you for sharing your heart to help heal others.

    • septemberanne says:

      I love your comment.  I am so thankful you wrote your words here Amy for all to read.  What a beautiful picture of the depth of loss we feel, and the perfect creation of the Lord as He knits us together.  Hugs to you.  Truly.

  9. I lost my first, my daughter, to Trisomy 18 last month. It has been so hard, but I know our God is good. Thank you for sharing this. Your encouraging words has helped so much.

    • septemberanne says:

      Oh my friend.  I wish that I could sit and talk with you in person.  This must be such a hard time for you.  Thank you for leaving your comment, for now, I and so many others can pray for you.

  10. Thank you for the beauty and comfort of your words, September. We have lost two babies this past year. This experience has been difficult, but also so filled with grace, healing and peace from our God. You cannot know how much your writing has been an encouragement to me over the last several months. Thank you for sharing your heart and your journey.

    • septemberanne says:

        Comments like this push any doubt away that I should not be writing.  Thank you.  I am so sorry for the loss of your babies this year.  It is with true heart love I will be praying for you.  Write me whenever you need to talk.

  11. Thank you for sharing your heart, September.  I can see His glory so clearly in your words!

  12. In the past two years I have had 4 miscarriages.  Our most recent little one was due this coming Christmas day, and my pregnancy was 14 weeks along when his heart stopped beating.  Christmas day last year we had a miscarriage, so it just had seemed that this new life was a promise of things to come.  We have 3 beautiful little ones that bring joy to us every day, but it just seems as if one more should join our family

    • septemberanne says:

      Keep the faith my friend.  He will show you. I am so sorry about your losses.  Your heart and body must be so weary.  I will be praying for healing and health for you.  Thank you for sharing today.  Hugs.

  13. TraciMLittle says:

    So beautiful friend!  Love you.

  14. What a timely post as I sit here on the couch resting after a D&C.  I would have been 18 weeks today, however God had other plans.  I’ve had 2 previous miscarriages, but neither as far along as this one. I am so thankful for God’s mercy in our lives – for the five children we can hold today – and the three we will someday hold!  Thank you for sharing your story!

    • septemberanne says:

      Oh Carrie!   I am praying for you right now.  He will be faithful.  Thank you for sharing here even when it is hard.  

  15. Beautifully and powerfully expressed!  We have walked a similiar road and I feel like I have found a friend, though we have never met.  I have 9 living children and I have 5 in heaven.  Most of those lost around 20 weeks along, including our latest loss of twin boys a year and a half ago.  Thank you for your comforting, God-glorifying words.

    • septemberanne says:

      You have found a friend Amy.  So very glad you commented today.  I read this while talking with someone who had lost a baby, and felt pretty much alone.  We can all walk through the journey of faith together.  Hugs.  

  16. Becky Daye says:

    We lost our first in miscarriage and were amazed at how faithful God was through all of it.  Then we had 3 beautiful kids and now I am pregnant again.  And honestly, I am a bit terrified.  Because what if things do not go the same as the last 3 pregnancies have?  This story is so timely as it reminds me that no matter what happens, God IS faithful.  And He promises to be with us through every step- whether in joy or in grief.  Thank you, September!

    • septemberanne says:

      Amen Becky.  I truly understand your fears and concerns.  Every pregnancy for someone that has lost a baby can hard on the heart and nerves.  I have learned to lay it all at the altar.  Nothing else, and no one else, other than God could help me stay focused on the good.  Thank you for commenting, I will be praying for this pregnancy.  Hugs to you!

  17. Such beauty in truth. I’ve shared your words with a friend who lost their first child last Thanksgiving and is now awaiting the arrival of their second any minute now.

  18. September, I know I have shared with you before about my own losses and you’re so right, writing about loss does not come easy but it is so healing! Thank you for your words today! 

  19. Sandra Herriage says:

    Wow, my friend, Jess Graves, sent me to this post today.  Thank you for sharing your heart. 

  20.  We have lost a baby girl that we were going to adopt who was stillborn at 5 months, then two sets of twins and our newest loss occurred this past weekend.  Heavy losses, but God has also blessed us with a 4 year old son we adopted and 5 month old triplets.  I desperately love each child God has given – the held and unheld.

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