It was early November 2020, and I was cleaning my littlest son up from a mess he had made. He was ankle deep in the bathtub as I quickly wiped up the floor. This was month nine of the “two weeks to slow the spread,” and I was working from home while my wife was at an appointment.
She was nearly six months pregnant with what was set to be our fifth child.
A lot had happened that year, Covid aside. I had changed jobs, mainly because I outed myself as a Christian Conservative author and had gone through a form of cancellation by my community. In addition, I was a teacher previously, but I could not be a part of the communist policies that were clearly unnecessary and were oppressing the children.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
Throughout the darkness of living under Trudeau’s absurd Covid regime, the expectation of another little baby was something my wife and I greatly looked forward to.
While I was washing up my son, my phone rang. It was my wife.
I answered, threw the phone between my shoulder and ear, and heard her weeping. “I lost the baby; the baby is dead.”
I was, at this point, wrangling my son who was not happy due to his stomach bug, which was the reason he made the mess in the first place. He was crying, my poor wife was weeping, and I was in one of those moments where time stands still.
As if on autopilot, I managed to continue cleaning him up while consoling my wife as best I could. I was not allowed to go to the appointment with her because of rules they told us were for Covid.
We were to find out the gender that day; but alas, we did not.
At the time, my oldest was five, and the others were four, two, and one. That evening we told them the baby had died, but really only the eldest understood it fully. There was a lot of crying and a lot of confusion.
A couple days later, my wife had to go to the hospital to pass the child, and we found out that the baby suffered from a defect which made survival impossible. Mercifully, the hospital allowed me to go in with my wife for the surgery. We were told the hospitals were overwhelmed, but it was the emptiest I had ever seen a hospital in my life.
You would think I wouldn’t be thinking about politics at the time of a traumatic event, but I would be lying if the futility of the Covid regime did not add salt to the wound. Here we were, locked down like criminals, my wife had to go through the traumatic ultrasound alone, and it was all for nothing—literally nothing.
At any rate, after we had spent an evening in vigil with the tiny child—who miraculously came out in one piece—we had to bury him.
There is no set ritual for a miscarried, unbaptized baby, thus we put together a sort of ad hoc burial with close family. I will forever be grateful to Fr. Stannus, who led us through the Rosary and a beautiful Marian hymn as we buried the tiny casket that my father-in-law had etched a cross into.
I consider myself a believing Catholic; but I will be honest, the doctrine of the Limbo of the Infants is the hardest pill I have ever had to swallow in my life. It is not easy to talk about, and I know that if there is a place where the unbaptized babies go, it is a paradisiacal place. I know that God would only provide the most wonderful existence for the lost little souls, and I know that in God’s infinite mercy that is perfectly just. However, from a selfish human perspective, the thought of not being able to spend eternity with a child is enough to keep me up at night.
A friend of ours consoled my wife with perhaps the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful thought. She said to her: “I believe that the unbaptized babies are sent to Limbo to comfort the aborted children.”
When I heard this, I was a puddle. I could hardly breathe, it hit me so hard. I am not sure if it is theologically correct, or if it is just a comforting meditation and aid in grieving, but it was consoling and gave so much purpose to the short life of the child we named Ariel.
After the ordeal, my wife and I were eager to conceive again, so we did. However, an early miscarriage came, and then the same thing happened a couple months later.
The continual miscarriages and tightening of the Covid regime in Ontario pushed us to a breaking point. Our city had become a leftist nightmare, and vaccine passports were on the horizon, so we knew we had to get out of the city. The only problem was that house prices were at an all-time high, and moving was a pipe dream.
Nonetheless, a friend of ours asked us to join a novena to St. Anne in late July. She sent us an image of a traditional prayer to the mother of the Mother of God, and upon seeing it I said to my wife, “I think that is in our Blessed Be God book.”
I had barely opened that book, but I could tell by the typesetting that the image of the prayer was from that particular book.
If you are unfamiliar with the book, it has about 700 pages and is the size of a Gideon Bible. The paper is tissue-thin.
I opened the book exactly to the page of the prayer to St. Anne. I laughed, I told my wife, and we realized that it was God’s will that we say this novena.
Not wanting to waste a clear opportunity from Providence, we prayed for three things: a house, a dog, and a baby. “Covid dogs” had become absurdly expensive like houses, with mutts selling at purebred prices.
On the final day of the novena, a friend informed me that his cousin was selling a mixed breed from his farm at a price that may as well have made the dog free. And within about three weeks of the prayers ending, we sold our house and found our dream home in a tiny rural village, far away from anything that reminded us of the brutal leftist regime that had taken over our town.
However, when it came time to move at the end of October, there was still no baby. Within a week of moving into the house, my wife called me upstairs—I thought she needed me to move something, but instead she showed me a positive pregnancy test.
We were elated, but we had also been through the early miscarriages, and we couldn’t bear the thought of our children being excited about a new baby only to lose another sibling. The one-year anniversary of losing our baby was fast approaching, and our oldest was eager to visit the grave and bring a drawing he had made.
We were unsure what to do. If we told our children while at the grave that we were expecting another brother or sister, it would be the happiest of endings to a difficult story; on the other hand, it could be a recipe for a terrible heartache.
I told my wife I would pray about it and make a decision before we visited the cemetery for the anniversary.
As I walked the new dog that St. Anne procured for us outside of the new house that she had also procured for us, I noticed something on my new neighbor’s porch that I had not seen before; it was a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That was the answer I needed.
We told our children, and they were of course overjoyed.
As I write this, I am sitting in the hospital room while my wife nurses our new baby, whom we named after the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Anne. Clementine Joy-Anne was born on July 7 at 9:17 a.m.
She can’t talk yet, of course, but the little noises she is making and the way her little fingers grip my wife’s skin are enough to say loud and clear: “The storm is over, Mommy.”
[Photo Credit: Supplied by author]