"Promote Comfort, Unleash Change, Elicit Champions ! "
Prayer Ministry 
March 2006


by Grace Lee

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness
Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness


November 1st, 2000 was a date I would never forget. It was the date when I had to part with my first baby, Mandy. One week prior to this date, I found out at 18 weeks of pregnancy that my baby was suffering from anencephaly, a neural tube defect whereby the major portion of the brain and the top part of the skull failed to develop. It was a condition incompatible with life. Coming to the decision of termination was very hard for both my husband and I, but we made it anyhow. 5 years have gone by, life has moved on, but Mandy is still warmly remembered. Through this letter, I hope to bring you the heartfelt message from a loving parent who will never forget her precious baby.

The Letter

My dearest Mandy,

What year and age is it in your world, Mandy? How I have missed you, my baby. It's been 5 years after we said good-bye. Where are you now and what are you doing? Are you happy where you are? Do you see where I am? Do you ever wonder when we will meet again? I have Mandy, these were some of the questions I've wondered when I missed you.

I still remember the day when we found out that you were a girl. That was the day when I went back to the specialist's office for the genetic testing results. Tears filled my eyes, Mandy, doctor told me that you were a girl. How I have wanted a baby girl. I came back home and I began to think of a name for you. I remembered at a time I had hoped to name my first daughter Amanda. Amanda - meaning "Worthy of love". So there you were, Mandy, that's how you got your name. And you heard me calling you by that name. Not long after I recovered from the termination procedure, I met a very nice lady named Mandy at a party who sat opposite me at our table. We talked all evening. I recognized the connection right away. The meeting brought me comfort and joy.

Did you know that I wrote a prayer about you, Mandy? I wrote it a few months after you were gone. At the time, I wrote it because I felt I was finally healed by God. I realized I was not in torment any more. I realized that you were already with the Lord. So I was peaceful, I really was. (Click here for "Mandy Prayer")

You hear the lovely song "Mandy" while you read the prayer? Those words pierce through my heart time after time. "Oh Mandy, you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away. Oh Mandy, you kissed me and stopped me from shaking, and I need you today..."

Have you ever hated mommy and daddy for letting you go? That we didn't even give you a chance to come to this world? Oh Mandy, how I wish you could have come to this world and experienced life. But God's will was for us to learn through losing you. It was through returning you to God, by obeying without protesting and loathing that our faith grew stronger. Do you know what daddy said one night before we parted with you? He said, "Let this loss wash away our sins!" Do you feel his sorrow through these words, Mandy? He grieved so much for losing you.

One thing is for sure, Mandy, and that is we have never forgotten you. Even now when we have two girls and another baby coming in a few months, it doesn't take away the memory of you. You were so special to us, Mandy, you were our first baby.

Mandy, you noticed the picture of the flower on the prayer? Do you know what it means to me? It was an answer from God, Mandy!! An amazing revelation! The story went like this:

The day when we found out that you had anencephaly, we were utterly devastated. As we arrived at the specialist's office, we were still hopeful, as we didn't know. The genetic counselor showed us that my blood test result was no good. It indicated a large opening in the fetus. I did not believe her. I did not believe that it would ever happen to me. And then the technician did an in-depth ultrasound scan for me and confirmed the condition. You had, indeed, anencephaly.

Oh Mandy, did you ever realize how that moment had seized me? I heard these voices churning inside my head saying, "How could this be true?" "Why is this happening?" "Are they sure about this?" "What went wrong?" "Nothing can be done? I'd better accept it..." "What am I going to do?" ......

A lady doctor then came in to explain to me the seriousness of your condition and that your life would not be sustained. I then realized there was no hope of saving you. My heart started to weep. She then explained to me my options. There weren't many options, Mandy, not many that would really help us, I thought. Daddy was quiet; he was silently suffering with mommy. He also realized there was no remedy. That moment was like a thousand years to us, Mandy. Oh, how our hearts broke!

We were then escorted to a conference room where we could have some privacy to discuss things, but I just wanted to be alone for a moment. So I went into the bathroom and cried. Oh Mandy, how I've howled! The wailing haunted the entire clinic. I longed to be held tight, but I felt as if no embrace would ever comfort my deep anguish and grief. I realized that I nonetheless must face up to a reality that was cruel but unmistaken.

I finally composed myself again to step out and return to the conference room where daddy was waiting. I sat down. Daddy came to me and held my hand. He was lost with words, but he knew no words would ever fit the scene. I was hopelessly staring with tears in my eyes. I felt a part of me leaving the body as if it was too painful to bear and to remain within myself. That part of me seemed calm and with perspective. She was observing the moment. She was there in control of the other half of herself that was falling apart. That was how I saved my sanity.

I sat there sobbing while daddy was trying to coordinate with the nurse about the termination. The nurse signaled to daddy to step out for a minute, and I heard her saying, "...The earliest we can get you in is next week. I'm so sorry about that..."

So we waited a week.

That whole week, Mandy, was agony. You were at 18 weeks, and already moving in my womb. Every time you moved, my heart sank. There you were still living, but soon you would not be. How that thought tore me apart over and over again. I was tired, fatigued; I was lifeless. I didn't understand why I couldn't have you, but I realized that you wouldn't have survived even if I insisted on having you. There was nothing I could have done but to pray.

I prayed every minute for days that God would forgive me for not having you. I prayed that God would receive you in heaven. During those days, I felt myself drawing closer and closer to God through constant prayers. I still remember asking God this question in my most desperate pleading one day, as if I've come face-to-face with Him, "Lord, does an unborn baby have a soul? If so, will you please receive my baby's soul into heaven?" I pleaded and pleaded. That was the only prayer I could say repeatedly thereafter.

On around the fourth day of waiting, I heard God talking to me, Mandy, He did!! He whispered to me the story of Abraham.

' "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you...'

Do you know what Abraham did, Mandy? He obeyed God. He took Isaac up to the mountains and offered him to God. But do you know what God did, Mandy? God is a merciful God. He was merely testing Abraham's faith. He had already prepared a lamb for sacrifice instead of Isaac. How awesome and admirable Abraham was, Mandy! Those days prior to and after the termination, I carried on living by reminding myself what Abraham did. He had faith. He obeyed God. So I said to myself, "Obey God and submit to His will." And I did.

One night, I was lying on the bed in a dream state. I thought I was asleep, but I felt as if I knew what was happening around me. There were many activities going on. I remembered feeling the presence of your grandpa, my deceased father, momentarily. I remembered feeling as if you were lifted away. I heard some voices; whispering, gentle voices chattering. But when I woke, I did not remember clearly what happened. Just a very vague memory, fragments of visions. However, something changed after that night. I felt lightened somehow. I felt as if I've finally come to terms with the termination. I felt brave enough to face up to it. That day was October 30, 2000, one day before Halloween. I suddenly found this strength to live the festival. I said to daddy that I would like to welcome the "trick-or-treaters" the next evening. "I love children", I convinced myself. So he went out to buy candies for them.

Early in the morning on Halloween day, I spent some time in the back garden, looking at the flowers to cheer myself up. I suddenly noticed that out of the green leaves of a particular plant that had never flowered, there came out with one single eye-catching flower in full bloom. It was a very familiar flower but I didn't know of its name at the time. I remember daddy came out at that point and I showed it to him. I said to him that there must be a message in this flower, and daddy nodded. We had no idea until much later on that it was God with us, talking to us through this flower before we had to go through the most dreadful day of giving you up, Mandy.

The day came when we had to part. At the crack of dawn, daddy admitted me into the hospital. You were still moving inside me, but I was calm and ready. As I was wheeled into the surgery room, the doctor comforted me by telling me that I made the right decision for the best interest of everyone. He put on me the gas mask, I closed my eyes...... When I woke up again, I was already in a different room. As my eyes opened, tears came streaming out. I felt my tummy with my hands and realized you had really gone. "Bye-bye, baby..." Mommy was sad but mommy accepted it.

I looked at my watch, it was 9:30 a.m.. The nurse came over with a sympathetic smile on her face. She asked if I was hungry. I told her that I would eat something. She brought me some water and crackers. I ate while consoling myself in my heart. Tears kept rolling down, but I kept chewing. "I have to live on... I have to keep going..."

One week after, your grandma - my mom - visited us. Mom is always so kind and understanding, she took such good care of me. Her visit helped to heal not just my body but also my soul. Her care was there reminding me that I'm very much loved. While she was staying, I told her about this beautiful flower, Mandy, and I led her into the garden to see it. She said, "Oh, that's Bird of Paradise..."

"Bird of Paradise!!!" I finally clicked. God replied my question! "Yes, Mandy flew to heaven".

So Mandy, I believed that was where you went, and I imagine that is where you are now, and it brings me comfort thinking about it every time. And then, Mandy, do you know how many "Bird of Paradise" flowers we now have? Each year, we have a total of twenty to thirty "Bird of Paradise" flowers in full bloom!! Every time I walk past them, I'm filled with joy knowing that God's blessing is with us. Since you, Mandy, we've had two beautiful girls, Mary and April. I thank God for blessing us with more children over the years. Mandy, do you share my joy? I hope you do, I hope you are up there in heaven watching over us like an angel. I know you are, for I feel you. I feel your presence every time I think of you.

I use to wear a mother-of-pearl pendant around my neck to signify you. I bought that pendant when I was still carrying you in my womb. But I now understand that your spirit is with me always, that I do not need to lay my emotions on a pendant to remember you. You're in my heart, Mandy, forever in my heart.

So Mandy, what is there from now on? What other work is there to do? I know that you inspired me to write this letter so I can share with others. I know that you also have a compassionate heart and you feel for people's grief and pain when they go through the same hurtful experience as we did. I know that if I can share my story with those parents who lost their pregnancy or infant, then it will not only encourage them, but also help with healing my own heart.

Yes Mandy, life does move on after you. I didn't believe it would, but I somehow strived on. I realized you were more than a baby to me; you were a teacher as well as an inspirer. You came to show me a life lesson and gave me enlightenment. Do you know that if it wasn't you, I may never have experienced God the way I did? The day when I finally found peace in my heart about you, I was sitting alone on the couch. I closed my eyes and prayed. I felt this glow all around me. I saw the vision of Jesus Christ placing you in my arms. A great sense of warmth rushed through me, I could feel you and smell you. Such peace, aaah Mandy, such peace. Only the Holy Spirit could have imparted me with such tranquility. I was rested, Mandy, I rested my grief and sorrow, anguish and hurtfulness. I accepted healing and I moved on.

Today, Mandy, you're still lovingly remembered. One day when Mary and April grow old enough to understand, I will tell them your story. They will realize that they have a sister in heaven. They will rejoice that God protects and guides through knowing you exist. They will find comfort in understanding that they are an extension of you to me, an extension of God's unconditional love. And they will also realize that their purposes in life are as unique as yours.

Mandy, I love you. Always have been, always will.

Everlasting love, Mommy xxx

Copyright © 2006 Grace Lee, Milpitas CA

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"Anencephaly and Spina bifida are serious birth defects that occur when the neural tube fails to close properly during fetal development. Anencephaly is a lethal defect, and spina bifida results in serious long-term morbidity and disability. Before folic acid fortification, approximately 4,000 pregnancies resulted in 2,500--3,000 births in the United States each year affected by one of these two neural tube defects."

"Available evidence indicates that 0.4 mg (400 ug) per day of folic acid, one of the B vitamins, will reduce the number of cases of neural tube defects (NTDs). In order to reduce the frequency of NTDs and their resulting disability, the United States Public Health Service recommends that: All women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume 0.4 mg of folic acid per day for the purpose of reducing their risk of having a pregnancy affected with spina bifida or other NTDs. Because the effects of higher intakes are not well known but include complicating the diagnosis of vitamin B((12)) deficiency, care should be taken to keep total folate consumption at less than 1 mg per day, except under the supervision of a physician. Women who have had a prior NTD-affected pregnancy are at high risk of having a subsequent affected pregnancy. When these women are planning to become pregnant, they should consult their physicians for advice."

(Source: Department of Health & Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Recommended Reading:   "A Time to Decide, A Time to Heal"
- For parents making difficult decisions about babies they love.









Related Web Sites:

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc. - www.nationalshareoffice.com

A Heartbreaking Choice - www.aheartbreakingchoice.com

National Orgnisation of Rare Disorders - www.rarediseases.org

Alliance of Genetic Support Groups - www.geneticalliance.org

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