Last night, I (Scott) got a call near midnight for a mother with a possible ectopic (def: "abnormal place") pregnancy. In a small proportion of pregnancies, a baby can end up getting stuck in the tubes or even out in the abdominal cavity. An uncommon and yet potentially life-threatening condition. If the baby grows to a point where the tube ruptures, there can be ruptured blood vessels and the mom can rapidly bleed to death.
Last night's mom presented in a classic manner: pelvic pain and bleeding. And indeed we found that she had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Thankfully, the tube had not ruptured so she did not bleed to death. We had to excise the tube where the baby was growing (leaving the other tube for future pregnancies). What we found inside that tube is pictured below. A dead baby at about 10 weeks of age.
The perfection of this little creature shocked each one of us in the operating theatre. In a mere 10 weeks, God weaved together a tiny person with fingers, toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. This little one looks peacefully asleep in the nourishing tissue of its mother's womb. The sacred sorrow, however, is that the baby is dead. A severe mercy perhaps. This mother's tears continue to mourn the loss of hugs and laughter and goals and graduations. How to make sense of this death - and the reality that little creatures like this are electively destroyed in the hundreds of thousands per year. It doesn't add up in our human ledgers. I try to stay firmly rooted in Revelation 21: 4-5:
…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning or crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new"….
We live in a broken world which will someday be restored.
Until that day, let us love and sing and wonder...
(P.S. Double click on the picture to see a larger, more beautiful image)