Several years ago, eight to be exact, I was working as an RN at the natural birthing center where I still work, today. A woman and husband arrived to the birthing center in labor, and the baby to come was expected to be born dead.
Over the years, preparing for births with known sorrowful outcomes was not new to me, but stressful nonetheless. This baby had a specific anomaly, unique to the Amish, called Amish microcephaly, which ran through the bloodline of their family.
As the baby was born into this world, the Amish father fell to his knees and prayed directly to Jesus, as he wept. Through his tears he continued to pray and pray and pray.
I looked to where the father seemed to be directing his prayerful plea. There was a presence in the room, a light not necessarily of this physical world, but almost like a veil or shroud that was ever widening, encompassing us all.
The baby was born alive, and had an awakened presence to his tiny soul.
He lived an additional 18 months. The family was ready to let him go. As they explained to me, they knew his time on earth was limited, so they cherished the moments. The Amish community in its entirety pulled together in joyful celebration throughout the 18 months of his life.
As another Amish father explained to me when his family lost a baby, in my care: the community, the church and the family, in that order, is what each family depends on.
I asked him if he would visit the gravesite of the infant.
He said everyone in the Amish community would take turns attending to the sacred spot. He and his family might go once a year to visit and take care of the plot.
However, he said they visit him whenever they look to the clouds, the moon and the stars. OM