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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)

TITLE: Anencephaly
By Emily Gibson


She arrived three weeks earlier than anticipated,
all hopes and dreams dashed at first sight of her.
Whisked away by the nurses,
I cried and pleaded for her to be returned.

They took turns examining her, taking pictures,
comparing her to textbook photos, whispering about her,
sadly shaking their heads as they handed her back over to me
and walked away.

I took the wrapped bundle and peeled away the layers
to find my mewing baby, her hands gripping, arms waving
once freed; so perfect until I pulled off her makeshift bonnet
and looked into an empty cranial crater.

Nothing could prepare me
for the wholeness,
the holiness of my living, breathing child
born without a brain.

Her forehead quit above the eyebrows with the rear skull missing,
tufts of soft brown hair fringed her perfect ears, around the back of her neck.
Her eyelids puffy, squinting tight, seemingly too big
above a button nose and rosebud pink lips.

She squirmed under my fingers, her muscles moving,
breaths coming steady
despite no awareness of light or touch or noise.
She could surely feel my love for her if nothing else.

Crying in little whimpers, mouth working, seeking,
lips tentatively gripping my fingertip. I opened my breast,
warm nipple offered with tentative suck allowing tiny flow,
then, amazing, one gurgling swallow.

She lay next to me, skin to skin
fragrant with the salty sweet scent of amnion
as she slowly grew dusky
and began to slip from my grasp.

Her breathing weakened, her muscles loosened, giving up her grip
on a motherís love she would never see or hear
to behold something far more glorious,
to feel perfection for which I could only long.

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This article has been read 728 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 09/03/10
Wow-I've never heard of such a thing happening. The last line in this piece was lovely.
Barbara Lynn Culler09/04/10
Oh this is heartbreaking... I broke into tears at the next to the last paragraph.

Beautifully written story-the emotions are so powerfully felt.

I am so sorry. This must have been very painful to write.

Author Unknown09/04/10
This happened to a friend of mine (her son would have been the same age as my son). Not sure if it's your own story, but if it is, you have my heartfelt prayers. I think the tenderness in this piece is overwhelming. And the instincts of the mother to breastfeed her baby- it's the poem's icing on the cake. It's a beautiful piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/10
This is truly a heartbreaking situation. I know someone who could have written this story and you both have incredible courage and faith in God. Thank you for sharing your beautiful baby with us.
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/07/10
Wow. Touching and powerful.
Caitlyn Meissner09/08/10
Wow! This is very well done, and you capture such tender feelings nicely. I grieved with the mother throughout, and was grateful for the hope of Heaven at the end. Thank you.
Jody Day 09/08/10
Powerful and tender. Really got to me.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/08/10
Really powerful poem--not just the emotions of the MC, but also of the reader!
Rachel Phelps09/08/10
Wow, this is so well done, despite being incredibly sad. Powerful.
Beth LaBuff 09/08/10
Tender and poignant! This heart-breaking story wraps itself around the reader's heart. Beautiful work!
Beth LaBuff 09/09/10
Emily, it's great to see this touching story on the EC list! Congrats!
Jan Ackerson 09/26/11
Emily, I'm going to feature this exquisite poem in the Front Page Showcase for the week of October 31. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!
Prudence Katunasa-Bwalya11/03/11
An absolutely beautiful ending to a sad beginning.Wonderfully portrayed!