“Dear Lord, please bless this pregnancy and baby. Help me to do all that we can to keep him or her healthy. Please, please, please, let this baby live!” Such a prayer was my daily companion during the long months of my pregnancy following two losses…a miscarriage (Marama) and a full term stillborn son (Brennan). I knew that the future of this next baby was in God’s hands, since I had done nearly everything right in the two previous pregnancies, what could I possibly do differently this time?
The anxiety and fear before, and during, a subsequent pregnancy after one or more losses, is intense for most people I have met. Once a bubble has been burst, we feel vulnerable to any of life’s disastrous possibilities. The naïve, blissful days are long gone. Life’s stark realities remind us that anything bad can happen to us at any time. This is a frightening to say the least.
Before David and I learned we were pregnant with our third baby, and hopefully the first to actually live, we struggled with whether we had the strength to try again or not. What if we had a third loss? How would we cope? How badly did we want children? A new child who we would cherish as her/his own person. It was the deep desire we held in our hearts to include children in our family that pushed us to take the risk again. We disagreed on the timing; we worried about our sanity; we wondered if we would tell anyone…for fear they, too, would be hurt again. Nonetheless, we finally did get pregnant and realized that the joy was also coupled with fear and worry.
While I cannot recount many of the details of that pregnancy here, I can say that daily prayer, stabs at optimism, and quite a bit of denial (of my fears, of my worries, and even on some days that I was pregnant) helped us through. I sang to the baby and tried to be positive – buying a toy or special item about once a month in an effort to be positive. Telling my child how much I loved him or her and that no matter what happened they would always be in my heart became a matter of coping. I tried to stay positive, loving this baby to the fullest, bonding as deeply as I could, hoping for no regrets.
This pregnancy was the world’s longest in history! Each day was a tremendous milestone when I woke up to find I was still pregnant. Thankfully, our son Kellan David was born three weeks early (whew – spared three weeks of anxiety). And he was healthy. When Kellan came early and took a breath, crying robustly, we joyfully thanked God. Our miracle had arrived! It was momentous and indescribably wonderous.
Would our grief finally be over, we wondered? Would we be able to go on and have a normal fairly blissful life? Would our troubles be behind us? It wasn’t long before we realized that as humans and as parents, we are, and always will be vulnerable to trials, tribulation, and tragedy. This new journey was not the all perfect ending we had hoped for. David said it best when he called me from work one day to ask if I’d found his poem – writing a poem is something I had never seen him do before. His succinct message took my breath away. In a few words, he had captured our past love and loss and our present blessed gift…connected to his siblings forever.
My Two Sons
My first son.
My agony and loss.
A tidal wave.
Loving family and friends.
New life! Anxious wait…
New heights every day.
By smiles, laughs, and coos
Reprinted from Another Baby? Maybe
The birth of a subsequent child cannot erase the years of infertility or the previous pregnancy losses, or the pain and fear that another death could occur. Those babies who might have lived remain an intergral member of our family and our very essence. And the new birth offers hope and reminders in one package.
Now, we look at sunsets, priorities, relationships, and other babies differently. Yes, the next babies are an answer to our prayers, but they will also be a continual reminder of their brothers and sisters who are missing on earth, only to be found in heaven and in our hearts.