we won't ever forget...
a little baby boy, born March 18, 1990.
Our sweet little Ben.
The day was weird.I was 30 weeks along. It was my first pregnancy. I was excited about the fact that we were just 10 weeks away from greeting our first baby. We had a baby shower with the 4th graders I was teaching at the time just about 1 week before...but this morning, I woke up. And there were signs things were not right. We called the doctor and they said we should come in right away. We went to the hospital and there, they asked a bunch of questions. Then they asked if I felt like I had been leaking fluid. I said "no". To them it appeared as tho there was very little fluid around this baby. I didn't really know what that meant, but they seemed stressed out because he was early and he was breach. They said, he could get "stuck" so they wanted to do an emergency c-section. As they wheeled me to the operating room, I remember the doctor saying..."85-90% of these babies survive" so basically, don't worry too much. I was very disoriented. They did a spinal block and I was undergoing surgery in just minutes.
After he was born, faces in the room looked sullen. (he never cried, but I never really heard that lack of noise because I was a tad delirious). They brought him to me, and said "he is a sick baby"...I looked at him, and saw a cleft lip. So I thought, "ok...go take care of him"...they whisked him away... After the surgery, they let us go see him. There was such a pit in my stomach, everything was so surreal. Even now it's hard to even really imagine that day. All I saw was a tiny little person all full of tubes and not moving. They basically said he would not be able to live.
He died just 1 hour after being born.
Life and Death, all in one day.
Shock... but also
joy at just having had a baby, but not knowing what to do with those emotions running side by side.
That day, we had a nurse who also had lost a baby years ago.
She gently tried pursuading me to see my baby, even though he had died. (I'm still so grateful for her)
I didn't know what to do.
I thought it would be weird.
I thought it could be gross.
My brain was having a hard time registering all of the emotions.
But, I wanted to see him.
I wanted to hold him.
He was still our child.
Finally, we decided that indeed it would be ok.
She brought him to us.
We held him.
We rocked him.
I laid him beside me.
I cradled him.
We cried some more.
But, we also looked at him and wondered who he looked like, and tried to imagine him grown up. We lived his little life in just the moments we had with him in the hospital after he had died.
We recieved cards, letters, notes, gifts...but all of them were "sympathy" cards. I remember feeling jipped! I had just given birth. There was joy in that. Having never really experienced anything like this or known anyone who had, I realized quickly that sympathy was ok. Yes, it is appropriate, but with this kind of loss, there is also a loss of the celebration of life. I remember thinking, "let me be happy about my baby...even just for a few moments" But, didn't know how to ask for that or the appropriateness of it either. How would anyone really know that? or how would they say it? such a bizarre set of circumstances.
I was allowed to stay in the hospital for the full 3-4 days and to see him a few more times.
Looking back those are some treasured memories.
Although I do wish we had more pictures of him.
Somehow, we didn't have a clue about the importance of that.
We have just a few polaroids of him that nurses took. But, not many.
We had a funeral several days later.
and then the grieving really kicked in.
We did go to a great support group called Resolve Through Sharing for about a year.
That was good for both of us.
Now, 22 years later
Our story is full of many layers of grief.
But, also, so much healing.
In our house, laughter and tears often run side by side.
We have quirky ways of doing things.
But, in it all, God has been there.
Oh yes, I've shared with Him a few opinions on how I think life should go, or should have gone. And fortunately He has gently reminded me He is still in Control and hasn't sruck me down for being disrespectful of His Sovereignty.
Today, we remember.
and that is ok.
We will never forget our sweet boy Benjamin.
ever stop wondering...
"What would he be like today?"
On these days, I am not quite sure if I think of him more as my "baby"--because that is all I really knew--or more of a "man", because that is what he would be. Either way, he is my boy! and it is his birthday, and I will never forget.
Happy Birthday son.
(for those that do not know...Benjamin was born without kidneys. We didn't know anything was wrong till the day he was born--this is what cause the lack of fluid around him and also contributed to his lack of lung development--all incompatible with life. Our second son--Samuel was also born with this same condition 1 1/2 years later--but diagnosed in utero, and also died about 1 hour after being born. The condition is called Potter's Syndrome and/or Renal Agenisis)