| Growing a Family|
It was a year that started out uneventful for our family, 1970. Mike and I had been married for five years, and were still discovering the joy of living together and learning more about one another with each day. We both had good jobs, plenty of friends and enjoyed life to the fullest. We were ready to buy our first home and raising a family was waited for long enough.
Of the two of us, I was probably a little more reluctant to thoughts of starting our family. I had recently been promoted as Office Manager in my government job; and I found the pay increase and the challenge most gratifying. My life was well rounded with my job, my favorite pastime, playing tennis, and a myriad of fiends who shared our lifestyle. Shopping was also something I enjoyed; therefore, I was uncertain how much was going to change when I stopped working. We decided that when we had a child, I would stop working for an extended time and be a stay-at-home mom. So having a baby was going to make a big difference in both of our lives.
Once we made the decision to get pregnant, time moved along at a sprint. It only took several months before I came home with news from the doctor announcing that we would become parents in mid-March. We were probably looking at a Saint Patrick’s Day baby. It was an emotional moment when I found out for the first time. Doctor Inder told me when he came into the office,
“ I just brought a baby into the world this morning, and here I am, at the start of the process all over again. The joy of birth is eternal.”
I was so touched by his words, I never forgot them. I felt a flood of emotions, on leaving the office. At the time, I thought it was just hormonal. I immediately felt overwhelmed with all these crazy thoughts, about whether or not I could be a good mother. Had I been without children for so long, that I would not adapt to being a mom? Then the excitement crept in as I wondered what our baby would look like. I knew that Mike would be the best father a kid could want, because he was such a loving person and wanted to be a dad.
It was not too long before all the doubts seemed to melt away. I became more confident. I went out and brought a beautiful white maternity pant suit for the holidays. It was a delight to put it on and look in the mirror and see what I would look like. It was only a few months away, and I would probably be able to wear it that early, but was fun to imagine how I would look when I gained weight.
It was not until four months later, Halloween weekend, All Saints Day, that reality decided to rear its’ head. We had become friends with a couple who had two children already. They invited us to their home for breakfast on Sunday morning. I was prepared to take full advantage of all her wisdom. I woke that morning with a slight ache in my lower back; however, I did not pay attention to it. I never had anything like this in the past, and that was the only reason I even remember it.
By the time we got to Bill and Marlase's house, the dull ache had developed into full- blown pain. At first, I tried not to pay attention to it but before long the pain was spreading around from my back to my stomach. At this point, I began to feel some concern. It began to drift away then came back with a stronger force. We cut our visit short and headed home to call Dr Inder and find out what he thought was going on. The pain was causing me to double over, and I could no longer avoid that something bad was going on. It lasted a minute or two then melted away, only to return five minutes later. Just when I started to relax, it returned. I knew by this time that this pain was wrong. By the time I got home, the pain became constant and growing more intense. When we called the doctor, he advised us to meet him at the hospital.
When I turned to put my coat back on, I felt a surge of water come over me as if I had peed myself. Judging from the puddle I was left standing in I knew my water had broken. I realized time was of the essence and left immediately for the hospital. Fortunately, it was just a few blocks away from where we lived so we were there in five minutes. Once I got emergency, they rushed me into a delivery room where I was met by my doctor. I was given a needle and that was the last thing I remember.
I do not know how much time passed before I regained consciousness. When I opened my eyes, I knew I was no longer pregnant. The doctor sat with me as he explained what had happened. He told me that the fetus, a boy, had actually stopped living two weeks earlier. Doctor Inder explained the disease of Spina Bifida. This was what took my baby’s life from me. Doctor tried to comfort me by telling me that it was truly a blessing that he was gone. Had he lived, he would have had a lifetime of being consumed with this dread full disease and would never be able to walk. It was a disease of the spine and left the spine twisted and unrepairable. It would have meant a lifetime for the child in a wheelchair. It would have been a very hard life for all of us. I listened to his words but somehow I was present, but I was not. My mind could not wrap itself around any of this new information. He went on to say that this would in no way effect my future ability to have children. It seldom occurred twice. Doctor Inder suggested I stay the night at hospital because of the trauma of what my body had been through, and the amount of blood I had lost.
Once the doctor left the room, oddly I felt at peace. At that point in time, I believed it had been for the best, and that I was going to be alright. Sleep was most fitful all night long. I had the baby; I lost the baby. I was pregnant; I was not. One dream just kept going on and on in different versions. I was not sure when I was awake and when I was dreaming. I awoke the next morning, sat up in my bed and felt the most all- consuming grief I had ever felt in my life. I realized where I was, and what had happened and began to cry, and it grew to a sob in a short time. I was no longer pregnant. My heart felt as though it was broken in two, and I would never be the same again. The tears were uncontrollable as I saw saw someone come into my room. It was 6:00 AM and my mother-in-law worked at the hospital so she came in to see me before she signed on for the day. She sat on the edge of the bed and held me giving me comfort and assuring me that all was going to be ok. She did this till I had exhausted myself of tears.
By the time my husband arrived to pick me, he found me a heap of sadness. We talked for a while about the loss and we both cried. I tried to keep my grief under control so he would not feel as bad.
Once we got back home I went into a flood of tears all over again. Mike made a phone call to my best friend Suzanne.
“Hi Sue, it’s Mike, can you come over and stay with my wife while I go to work for a couple of hours? I don’t want to leave her alone. I am worried about her, she really needs her friend.”
Sue was there within the hour. She put on a pot of tea and sat with me by the kitchen window and held my hand and talked me through my sorrow. I was convinced that God took my baby because I had second thoughts about being pregnant. I should never have doubted my ability to be a good parent. Sue was one of thirteen children, and was blessed with wholesome common sense. That day she shared some of that wisdom with me. She helped me to understand that everybody was a little apprehensive about their first pregnancy and it was natural to feel as I did. She made me realize that what happened was in no way my fault and that God does not work that way. Her input and understanding got me through that day. I was grateful for the friend she truly was.
It was within a year that I was once again pregnant. The nine months went by without a problem. The result of my long wait was a little seven pound two- ounce baby girl, Robin. She was healthy in all ways and a beauty beyond description. All I have to do is close my eyes, and I can go back to that sad day. On this the anniversary of that loss, I wanted to pay a small tribute to my unborn son. I have come to understand that there are things we have no control over, and we must accept them in spite of our inner desires. We must let go, and let God when the time comes and our strength is tried. I can only look forward to the day that I will meet his soul in heaven.