Preparing to Meet Pearl

Mother tenderly holding her premature newborn baby
Yobro10/iStock/Thinkstock

The time of Pearl's birth draws near. We know our time with her in our arms is going to be short, so we do everything we can to prepare. I create a very detailed birth plan so there can be no questions as to what we want during my labor and delivery. I think for a long time about the different keepsakes I want to have with me.

Our bag for the hospital begins to look like an aisle in Hobby Lobby; however, each item is meaningful. We have plaster for hand molds, clay for hand- and footprints, scissors for a lock of hair, cameras, and my favorite oil that I have used after each of my children's first bath.

A professional photographer with the organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep will donate their time to take priceless bereavement photos. There is not a detail overlooked.

Surrounded by Love

I am approaching 32 weeks gestation, and the amniotic fluid increases rapidly. My doctor becomes concerned for my health. We have a therapeutic amnio to release the excessive amount of fluid in my uterus, and just five days later all the fluid is back, and more.

It is time to meet Pearl.

On June 5, after a long, emotional labor, Pearl Jean Huene is born at 7:12 am. She weighs 4 pounds, 1 ounce and is 17 ½ inches long. Our time with her is unforgettable. We are able to lovingly release her into the arms of Jesus.

We have a beautiful memorial service for Pearl and are surrounded by so many who love us. The outpouring of love and support from our community is incredible. We give those around us the opportunity to be a part of her life as well as her death.

The Gift of Time

We are so thankful to have had that time with our daughter. We do not regret our decision. At the same time, we know we need professionals to help us navigate our way through the postpartum period, as well as the intense period of grieving that follows Pearl's death.

Hopefully someday we will be able to help someone else as they walk the painful journey of saying goodbye to their child much too soon. In the past year our lives have been filled with a wide range of emotions. Grief is a process that never really comes to a close.

We began a new chapter in the life of our family with the birth of Lucy Jean Huene. She is a picture of hope and God's redemptive plan for our lives. The sweet breaths that tenderly brush my face in the wee hours of the morning serve as a gentle reminder of how majestic life is.

There is no greater honor than witnessing God's awesome handiwork. All life – whether a work of art declaring God's creative mastery here on earth or a divine creation whisked straight to heaven – is sacred.

Laura Huene is a labor and delivery nurse, and founder of a perinatal hospice program created to provide a nurturing and safe place for families facing a fatal prenatal diagnosis. Learn more at StringOfPearlsOnline.org.
© 2008 by Laura Huene. Used with permission.