Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

A Mother’s Ring

Davey and I Laughing!

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
― Carl Sandburg

Davey was not my first baby, he was my second. I think about this story often in the fall. My first baby was a girl named Shirley Deborah. Though sometimes people talk about little Davey who lived nearly a year and was a joy to all who knew him, no one ever mentions little Shirley and she is all but forgotten, except to me. She was a lovely dark-haired baby girl like her sister Abby who was born healthy and strong 7 years later. Little Shirley appeared healthy, but was a preemie, only 7 month gestation and she died, unfortunately while I was in labor in October of my 23rd year. They were preparing for a preemie and I’ll never forget when the inconsiderate doctor yelled out when she was born: No need to get ready for a preemie! But the nurses who tended me were angels. Their names: Shirley and Deborah. They told me just what she looked like and encouraged me to hold her and bond with her and mourn her passing. I couldn’t do it. I was so young. I felt she was torn out of me like the infected placenta that had cut off her blood supply and killed her. I didn’t want to bond. I was afraid my heart would break. Now I wish I had. All the memory I have of her is of a tiny casket on a hillside, that is until now and the mother’s ring, but I’m skipping ahead.

The very foolish small town doctor that delivered her so insensitively said we could get pregnant right away again and we did. This time we went full term. Davey was born. At 6 pounds 7 ounces he was no giant, but he looked healthy and we rejoiced. Our joy was short-lived because the next day the pediatrician said he must be moved to Children’s Hospital downtown because he had a bad heart murmur. We stayed in a hotel near the hospital and I stood with him every day and barely cared for myself, hoping and praying him back to health. At two weeks he went into heart failure, we called my now ex-husband from school (seminary) and kept vigil. I tried and prayed so hard to put him in God’s hands during his angiogram. He did not die, he started to improve! We had him for 11 glorious months. He was a precious gift! But our little angel was not made for this world, he had a very complicated heart problem and what we didn’t know….didn’t have a spleen. His first cold killed him. No one’s fault. No one could have known. Our precious Davey was gone. And so it would seem was my ex. Still wounded from the loss of Shirley, he couldn’t bear to look at me, so I was without my little family. But not alone. My own family rallied around. My faith in my Lord gave me strength…eventually I began to live again. And now I have two stones for my ring.

A year after my divorce I met and later married the dearest man on the planet. Three years into the marriage, we got pregnant with my darling Abby girl.

Me, Abby and Mike

She was and is healthy and strong and a treasure for her dad and I. Abigail in Hebrew means her Father’s joy or Initiator, Life Giver of Joy! And she truly is!

Last night I ordered a mother’s ring at my husband’s encouragement. In it are the names and birthstones of your children. No longer will Shirley be my secret and Davey rarely talked about for everyday. I will wear on my right ring finger a gold band with the names: Shirley, Davey and Abby on it and each of their birthstones. Now this mother’s heart won’t be kept in darkness, but live free in the light of day!

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30 thoughts on “A Mother’s Ring

  1. Regardless of how long we have them, our children are gifts that should be cherished and remembered. Loved. Treasured. And yes, immortalized in a mother’s ring 🙂

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  2. Beautifully put Renee! For me it has always been hard to talk about the pain, but they are so loved…it feels so right to proclaim their young lives daily by wearing this ring. It’s making my heart so happy just to think about it…all 3 of my children represented together — this side of Heaven!

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    • Ms. Kathleen Abel on said:

      Beautifully written, Libby. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Davey is a sweetie. So is Abby! You and Mike look lovely together. I’d love to see a few wedding photos of you two. Blessings on your lives togther always. Kathleen

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  3. I love that you shared about all 3 of your children. I have a baby who left shortly after God placed him/her in my womb. My girls helped name the baby Taylor Lee. I got pregnant a month later ( I was a hormonal mess) and had my Doodle 9 months later. Can’t wait to see your ring!

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  4. There is no such thing as a child you carry not touching your heart, and deep into your soul. I will be happy to show you the ring…it’s being made right now, knit together in love. I’m glad your girls helped name little Taylor Lee. ❤ Libby

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  5. Libby… Thank you so much for sharing this story. Your strength and courage is such a gift to all who will read this. Even though I lost my children during pregnancy… I named the one I carried for 3 months. She was Gracie. I didn’t discuss that in my post. I wasn’t there until now. Thank you for your support an encouragement. I have a second follow up motherhood post due up in a couple weeks. I can’t wait to share our story as well. Thank you again. xo

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  6. Thank you Kelly for your friendship, courage and support. Without your post I don’t think I would have come this far this Fall and with so much love and joy in my heart. I will think of you and Gracie when I look at my mother’s ring. Much love and blessing to you dear one! xxoo

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  7. Scott Baker on said:

    Dear Lib,

    Some times I forget the magnitude of what you have endured.
    I feel humbled, and somewhat ashamed, that I have not been more supportive. One thing I have always known: you have the most gentle spirit and deepest capacity to love of any being I have met.
    Your sorrows and trials, have come close, but never broken you – they have, instead, left you with a depth of understanding, empathy and forgiveness that God would only gift to the strongest and most worthy among us.
    I stand in awe of God’s immutable mercies, his unfathomable love and grace, and a blessed vessel He has chosen to carry those qualities forward into our hurting world – my big sister.
    I love you more than words can express…
    Your little brother

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  8. Thanks for sharing some deep and personal feelings Libby. Courageous for sure.

    Your honesty moves many.

    As a parent of 2 healthy (grown) children, daily I am Thankful for that blessing.
    As a way to show my Thanks, I work with a wonderful group of people here in Campbell River. Their organization is called Cameryn’s Cause For Kids Society and they help local families when they are at their MOST vulnerable.

    http://www.camerynscause.com/

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  9. Dear Scott, my sweet brother — You’re words touch my heart so. I know it seems as though I have suffered more than some, but I have been so very blessed. I count you among my biggest blessings and am so thankful for you and how you were there for me, even though you were so young! You and Danny, Davey’s champions and mine! I love you little brother and always will for the man you are. You grew up a bit fast there for me and I do appreciate it. Love you more than, well unfathomable is the word, I guess. Lib

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  10. Dear Dave, my new and true friend! How fitting to put a link here for families with sick, sick children who need our help. I hope many people reach out to:
    http://www.camerynscause.com/ as a result of reading these comments. You’re words bless me and reach out to help others…so YOU! ❤ to you and Rickie! Libs

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  11. Libby, what an emotional story…and what strength you had to have faith and keep going on! How touching it is that your Mother’s ring honors all you gave life to.

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  12. Lily! You are such a dear! And so lovely to comment. I attribute the strength to my Lord who I believe carried me through, but I guess I had the option to give up, so there was my strength. I come from a long line of fiesty, strong and even stubborn one might say women! LOL…Yes I am thrilled about the ring and the idea behind it and thank my husband for it. I can hardly wait to receive it!

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  13. My Lovely Libby! I can barely write for there are so many tears flooding my eyes! I LOVE you so much & I love the gift God has given you with words! I cry for your pain & mine as you know I lost two babies. One at 12 weeks & one at nine! I never saw my babies but they had already become such a part of our families! I wear a mothers ring that my hubby & girls got me shortly after we made the decision to not try again for a 3rd loss we could not bare. We were so thankful for 2 healthy girls, & my heart went out to every one who went through this that had to go home to an empty house! I counted myself so blessed that I didn’t think I had a right to mourn for my lost babies very long! But you have made me see that it might be time for a new Mothers ring & I want to talk to you more about it later!!! I love ya girl & I am blessed to call you my friend & sister through Jesus! Jesus Girls!!! ❤ ❤ <3!!!

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  14. Dear dear Mary! You have such a loving, giving heart, what everyone wants in a mom and best girlfriend! I ache for you and the loss of your little ones, that you didn’t feel you could grieve because you had your two girls. Don’t be surprised if some grieving time comes to you now that you have opened your heart to this and know that I am here for you. I love you too and we will talk more. I treasure our friendship and our kindred hearts in the faith! <3<3<3

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  15. Libby, family and friends of mine have lost little ones during pregnancy. Not yet married or a father, I can’t fathom the pain of losing a dear child. Yet my heart breaks for each of you. Thanks for sharing the story. It’s a loving tribute and a testament to your faith in God’s grace and gifts.

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  16. Thank you Mark. You have a tender heart and will make some one a fine husband and family a father. To me you are a wonderful friend and I thank God that I know you. God bless.

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  17. I’m all in tears… and all I can say is, that I am so thankful that God brought you into my life. Someone that understand pain and lost, but most importantly believes in the power, love and grace of God.
    He is the reason why I’m still alive and I know it is for a good one. To meet people like you makes this ride worthwhile. Much love for you! God Bless you!

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  18. Dearest Mimi! Such a tenderhearted, sweet friend you are. I too am glad that God brought you into my life. We will share many loving, blessed moments together I am sure! Take care dear friend — God bless you, too!

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  19. wow! … what an amazing post you decided to share with all of us. And you Libby, are an amazing woman I feel privileged to call my friend 🙂 God Bless you….

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  20. Hi Libby ~ Your story is heart wrenching. Your faith is divine in so much as these tragedies surely could have cooled a heart and chartered a different course. Thank you for sharing and I too, am honored to call you friend. All my best, John

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    • John, Believe me there were days when I truly felt my course would alter, but I could never stay cool for long. All the love I had known in my young life would come rushing back into my heart and get it pimping again. I also vowed I would never give way to bitterness and I never did, for I knew it would destroy me. So a day at a time, I kept moving forward until I was on higher ground. Glad you are my friend too, John. 🙂

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  21. Libby,
    I am sure that you must have cried a lot while writing this post. I am very happy that you will have a reminder on your hand everyday for what is in your heart. Sometimes there are just no explanations for why things happen.
    Thanks for sharing this story.
    Peggy

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  22. Pingback: The Arrival « My Life in Words and Pictures

  23. Libby this is a very inspiring recollection, we lost a child when we first attempted to have one, it happend at home and was only about 4″ long, it hurt deeply, and hurt my wife so much more, recovery was a very long time. It was like one of those in the womb pictures in Nat. Geo. It had everything but barely, we didn’t name the baby my wife was in no condition. I buried the baby in an undisclosed location. We had to move on, or go nuts. Your writing, again was something I needed so I know you were added to my life intentionally. All the best to you my precious sister.

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  24. Well we named Shirley because she was old enough for a death certificate and it seemed only right. And a funeral, which was the first one in my family. I still had all my grandparents! My dad had never been to a funeral before. It was on a hillside outside in October. I remember the comfort from my family and the coldness of the day. Everyone came back to my place afterwards and gave lots of love to us. It helped. But very difficult, as you and your dear wife know. God has to comfort us and rebuild our hearts afterwards so we can go on, that’s for sure. And he did mine. For that I am so grateful!

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