So there we were reluctant expectant parents, still not realizing the full scope of change this would mean to our lives and future. But we went about doing what we needed to do working our low paying menial jobs, scouring the second hand stores for baby things, and slowly falling in love with the idea we were to be a family.
I did all the right things, quit drinking, smoking, and even drinking coffee. I ate the right foods, took vitamins, and went to my midwife. I spent hours daydreaming about baby, and planning for the future as best I could. At about 5 months I began to feel the flutter of life in my womb, like little bubbles, anyone who has ever been pregnant knows what a special and amazing feeling this is. I believe this is when the love really begins between mother and child. It’s like a secret and silent communication. “I’m here mama, I’m real!” We were ready now, to welcome our baby into our lives.
I arrived at a routine check up with my midwife blissfully happy ready to hear all the exciting growth that would be happening with my wee babe. Listening to the swoosh swoosh of the heartbeat on the monitor made it that much more real. Eventually after some poking and prodding my midwife suggested the amniotic fluid was low, and perhaps I should run down the the hospital for an ultrasound just to check it out. I still did not think anything could possibly be wrong.
At the hospital, I dutifully lay still while the ultrasound was performed. Click click click taking pictures of all my wee babes’ parts, measuring each, and checking growth. The technician of course gave me no information other than I should go back to my midwife for the results.
Upon entering her office, she asked me to please sit down. She also asked if I had come alone, it was then that it began to dawn on me that something was not right. She began with statistics, unbelievable statistics, one in one million; extremely rare, etc…I was numb. She went on to make me appointments with specialists, for more ultrasounds and testing, only to confirm one horrible truth. We would not be welcoming a healthy baby; we would not be welcoming a live baby.
Our baby had Potters Syndrome; in layman’s terms the baby had no kidneys and no chance of survival outside of my womb. I drove home numb. I called my mother because who do you need most when you're sick or heartbroken? I broke down on the phone, hardly able to get the words out, “come mama, just come be with me.” My grief was utterly complete; I believe it was the worst most painful thing in my entire life, and I had not had an easy life.
My mother was my saving grace through the next leg of this experience. My fiancée, wether it was his youth or his inability to deal with his own grief, or to watch me go through mine, kept his nose to the grindstone, got up each day, went to work and did all the necessary practical things. I look back now and know he was coping the only way he knew how.
Meanwhile my mother walked with me hand in hand through every step I had to take. Made my appointments, sat with me, cried with me, and loved me.
It finally came time to say goodbye to baby, who by this time we now knew was a little boy. I would need to deliver him just as if he was going to be a live baby. Thankfully, there was no physical pain; I took everything they could give me. It was only a matter of hours before Angel, (a name my fiancée and chose for our baby boy, because that is how we wanted to remember him) made his arrival. Not a single breath ever crossed his tiny lips. He was taken and washed and dressed and placed in my arms.
I lay with him for what seemed to be hours, feeling oddly at peace, I had come to terms with this reality. I unwrapped his blanket, counted every tiny toe and finger, caressed his tiny cheeks, and I loved him. He was perfectly formed and beautiful. He looked as if he was just peacefully sleeping.
I’m crying as I write this, 18 years later, it was a very poignant and painful experience, but it was also a gift. My fiancée and I walked away with a deeper love and commitment to each other, and with a message. “Please wait, build your lives together, make a good home” and that’s just what we did. It was 5 years later when we welcomed our oldest son to the world, one of the most wanted and awaited children on earth.
We will never forget Angel and his lessons, I am even more sure that with every sorrowful loss comes some gift, when you pick yourself up, move on, and find it. We are thankful for our children we have now, and the lives we have built.
I am not religious…But I do have an Angel.