To Those Without Names

To those without names,

You were not supposed to come so early. You were in your mother’s womb only 14 weeks when her water broke. Your mom traveled two days to get to Kudjip. By the time she got here, she was septic. I looked at you on the ultrasound machine. You were so tiny. Your heart was beating rapidly. It was impossible for you to survive and your mom was dying. Your five big brothers and sisters needed your mom at home. We gave her medicine to induce labor, to deliver you knowing that you would die, and your mom would live. Forgive me little one. Rest now in the arms of Jesus.

              “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

I have never held such a small life in my hands, and I was not meant to. Your mother started hemorrhaging when she was only six months pregnant with you. The placenta was covering the opening of the birth canal. We tried to wait, to give your mom blood and fluids, but the blood would not stop. It only flowed more. I cut into your mom and opened the womb. I disturbed your peaceful home. I held your tiny body in my hands, watching you gasp for breath with your underdeveloped lungs. We made you as comfortable as we could as your first few breaths would be your last. Rest now in the arms of Jesus.

              “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I admit, I did not want to come. The nurses called me because they could not find your heartbeat. I walked in knowing that the nurses were probably right. Your mom was excited to hold her first baby, but nervous about what she would have to endure during labor. Your grandma and mama waited patiently while I scanned your body. There was a bassinet in the corner filled with clothes and blankets, ready to receive you. I looked for signs of life, there were none. You died and I do not know why. Your mom was strong. She delivered you without anesthetics. She tore badly, needing a repair. She held you tenderly as I imagine Jesus is doing now. Rest now in the arms of Jesus.

              “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.”

We expected you to be the strong one. You came first. You were two pounds bigger than your twin brother. You likely had undiagnosed twin-twin transfusion syndrome. We tried everything we could—respiratory support, IV fluids, antibiotics. Unfortunately, it was not enough. Despite being less than four pounds, your brother is doing well. He does not know about you, but your mom will tell your brother about you someday. Rest now in the arms of Jesus. 

              “When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.”

It was not supposed to be this way, yet it is. Maybe if you were born in a different time, a different place. A place where newborn babies have names because almost all babies live. The world may not know your names. The world may not care, but your families care, I care, and God cares as He now holds you each in His arms.

Excerpts from Psalm 139: 13-16


7 thoughts on “To Those Without Names

  1. Wow man, thank you for such an honest and heartfelt post. I cant imagine the feelings you go through. Praying for Gods strength, peace, and joy through these tough situations you deal with at Kudjip

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  2. This is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever read. So simple, so from the heart. It so captures both the heartache and the strength of these precious highland people. It could not have been easy to write – impossible to live through. Thank you for being there to grieve these nameless babies dignity. Thank you for being a witness to the care of our loving Father.

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  3. Matt and Tammy, thank you for being there for these babies and their mummies. Thank you for the reverence with which you did what had to be done, knowing that in another time another place, it might not have been necessary at all. Thank you for the courage to save lives, and carry the pain while doing so. I’m praying that you too, will find some time and space to be in the presence of the Lord and Giver of life, to heal and to rest, before you go back out there to the teeming masses in need of your healing, caring hands. You are always welcome to call or message or hop over to Singapore whenever you need a break.

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  4. Thank you for grieving for, honoring and valuing these precious lives. These letters are a memorial to them, and a lament to the God Who formed each child and knows and names each one.

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