The Life of Baby Miroku

It was raining really hard and even stormy on Monday this week, highly unusual for San Diego. I canceled my RCB course as I was feeling some pain in my abdomen. Being 16 rain202weeks pregnant, I felt that I needed to take it easy. I lied down in bed and waited for my doctor’s office to open at 9:10. But before that time came, my water broke and I went into a premature labor. My husband and I rushed to the Sharp Mary Birch hospital where we had delivered our two previous children over the past few years. Long story short, our baby was born at 10:31. It was a boy. His heart was no longer beating. According to the doctor who took care of me, it was a miscarriage because it was before 20 weeks – but to me, whatever the correct medical term might be, what happened was that we had our baby boy and he passed away.

As I wrote in my previous post, I had experienced a miscarriage before I had my first child. Ever since that experience, I was very private about my pregnancy – I waited as long as I could to start telling people each time I got pregnant. I’d tell people only I was into 5th months when my regular clothes no longer fit. So this time, only a few people knew that I was pregnant with our 3rd baby. I just had my OB check on Thursday last week, everything was going well, and I was finally into my 5th months, so I was going to tell people at work this week – then Monday came, and this happened. I had to tell them that I “was” pregnant, but I lost our baby, and that I needed a few days off from work. I stayed at the hospital on Monday night as I had to go through a D&C operation. I returned home on Tuesday. I went to work on Wednesday and Friday briefly to take care of some things, but other than that, I stayed home mostly, trying to recover physically and going through the grieving process. Today I had a meeting at the school where I work that I could not reschedule, so I went in for a few hours. Most people did not even know that I was pregnant, much less about what happened, and I could have just let it be. If I had kept quiet and carried normal conversations with people during the few hours I was there, they would not have known anything at all. But I felt this strange desire to start telling people. As painful and sad it is to think or talk about this experience and our dead baby, if I don’t talk about him, nobody would know about him. I wanted people and the world to know that our baby boy existed even for a short period of time. So I decided to write about him.

We named him Miroku. After he came out, I had to go to the operation room to have the D&C procedure performed, and while I was gone, my husband told Miroku some bedtime stories and about his two brothers. After I came back, I held him for a very long time. His eyes were shut and we never heard him cry, but we have this memory of him, with his tiny arms wrapped around himself. He was wrapped by a blue baby blanket and had a tiny yellow hat on. We finally said good-bye to Miroku later that evening.

We called my mentor Susie Walton while this was happening – I wanted to talk to her, as I knew she could help us get through this experience. She later called back and left a message on my cell phone. She said that Miroku came to us, so he could experience our love. Obviously, I would have liked it if he had stayed with us longer. If I had known that our time was so limited, would I still have wanted him to come to us? I also reached out to my other mentor Pamela Dunn after I came home on Tuesday. We talked on Wednesday, and she helped me work through some of the regrets I had about what happened. She suggested this beautiful “what if”. What if Miroku’s soul needed to be healed by love, before he had to move onto other place to do whatever he needed to do? He chose us to be his parents and stayed with us for 16 weeks. Now that his soul was healed by our love, he had to say good-bye. When I heard Pam say this, I felt something shift in my heart. Until that moment, I had been so focusing on things I wish I could have done better or differently before this whole thing happened. But if he came to us because he wanted to be loved so his soul could heal, I can say that we did the best we could – after he was born, he was never left alone in the room, he was held by either my husband or myself for the whole time – we told him about his brothers, how much we love him, and how much we’d have loved to take him home. We took some pictures, and I video taped my husband talking to our children while holding Miroku, so that they could someday learn about their younger brother. I hope that Miroku’s soul was filled with love by the time we had to say good bye.

There is no point or conclusion to this post as it’s a grieving process that I am going through – I am trying to take one day at a time. I’ve been crying my eyes out every day and I don’t think it will stop anytime soon. My role model Chris Guillebeau whom I had a pleasure to meet back in September has a favorite quote that he posts occasionally, and I dug through his tweets to find it. I think this somehow fits into this situation so I’ll end this post with that quote;

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr Seuss

15 comments on “The Life of Baby Miroku

  1. My heart is breaking for you, Etsuko. I am so incredibly sorry for the loss that you and your family are experiencing. I hope that time and the love you have for one another will help you in healing. God bless Miroku.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear this. You are a strong woman. The grieving process is not easy but you will get through it.
    Much love to you and your family.
    Miroku will never be forgotten.

  3. You wrote of Miroku so beautifully, and with so much heart. Thank you for sharing something so near and dear to you with us.
    Sending you all of my love and warmth, as you grieve and continue to live and love the family around you, and remember Miroku with them.

  4. I didn’t get a chance to meet him, Etsuko, but I loved him too.
    Miroku’s Obachan

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. Hope time and love will help healing.
    With my deepest sympathy.

  6. What a lovely posting and thank you for being open to share your heart. I so believe that the only way to change our world is to really be open about our pain and our recovery.

    As you know, I am more than somewhat familiar with grief…all I can say is be gentle with yourself. Realize that this is a process and that you will never be completely the same again. If I can help you in anyway, I am most willing – just say the word.
    In the meantime, sending you a big virtual hug and lots of prayers for healing for all of you.
    Love to you, Peter, and your precious boys,

    PS – If you need some resources for helping children understand death, I can help with that too. xoxo

  7. Hi Etsuko and family,

    That’s an amazingly emotional experience you and all your family have had to go through.

    Your story touched my heart.

    Thank you for sharing many of the details of your ordeal. It’s certainly given me lots of perspective to reflect on.

    I’ll be thinking of you all lots through this difficult time.

    Hope to talk with you again soon,

  8. Beautiful. Miroku picked at wonderfully family. It was so great to see you today. Blessings to you and your family.

  9. Dear Etsuko,

    I am so sorry to learn of the loss of baby Miroku. My condolences and best wishes for your family during this difficult time.

    Thank you as well for sharing the story with us. I appreciate you being so personal and open about this hard experience.

    Wishing you well,


  10. Etsuko, I’m sorry to hear baby Miroku passed away so young. Pamela Dunn’s thought is a beautiful one.

    Warm wishes,

  11. Etsuko,

    Your mentor is very much right. Miroku was very loved by amazing parents. You and Peter have such loving and genuine hearts that Miroku has been blessed to have been in your lives. He will never be forgot because when you love someone you can never forget them. He is an amazing baby boy like is brothers who are so wonderful and smart and loving because of you and Peter. I hope that you get through this and know that I am here if you and Peter need anything. You are like family to me.

  12. Dear Etsuko,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby boy. Thank you for sharing your story, and the memory of your child with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Peter and your family.

  13. Etsuko – I am so sorry for the loss of little Miroku. I’m sure you and your family are experiencing great pain. What lovingly perfect words Pam shared with you. I can understand how they changed your focus and are helping you cope.

    The March of Dimes has a tender and sensitively written beravement kit for families who have suffered a loss. If at some future point you would like to read about it, or even order a free copy, you can do so at this link:
    You and your family are in my thoughts.

  14. Sorry for the late reply.

    Although I’ve never had a child, let alone lost one, I want you to know that I sympathize with the grief you must be going through. Actually, I don’t know how much words can really help. Maybe all I can do at this point is offer some of the lessons learned when I was grieving for someone for over ten years (chances are, you’re a bit more resilient than I was).

    It was only about a year ago that I really made peace with the sorrow I felt. When somebody suddenly leaves your life, it’s easy to feel depressed, overwhelmed, and even outraged. But you know what? Loved ones eventually go away no matter how justified it seems that they SHOULD remain with us.

    From one perspective, death seems like a cruel and unyielding law of nature. But after some sincere self-inquiry, I’ve come to realize certain things that may or may not make sense to you at this point in your process:

    Death is cruel and unyielding only from a particular point of view. A shift in perspective can reveal that death is reliable. This can be a great gift if you contemplate the magnitude of your sorrow and it seems insurmountable. To put it bluntly, death is the most naked demonstration of impermanence. Nothing escapes it, and therefore, neither can the deepest sorrow last forever.

    Also, you might consider this: every child who is born must grow up. Can I suggest to you that Miroku’s passing was his way of changing and growing up? Many a parent has stood in the way of their child’s development by saying, “My child is changing, and I cannot allow it.” It’s obvious that there is often a big difference between what a child becomes and what a parent wants him to be. Of course, the difference is obvious unless the child is your child.

    In my own experience, there came a point where I had to face the reality of how much (or how little) power and right I have to decide what is ultimately best for someone else, even for someone I love. This is easy to say, but harder to realize.

    The main point of all my words here (take them or leave them as you like) is to let you know my thoughts have been with you over the past several days. On the one hand I hope you work through any necessary emotions, but on the other hand, I hope you feel better soon.

  15. Hello Etsuko,
    I found you on Chris Guillebeau’s blog via one of your comments.
    You are an amazing being full of strength and courage.
    My condolences to you and your family and sending you lots of warm wishes.