Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sounds of life, sounds of death

As I sit here on my computer, browsing through pages and pages of baby loss blogs (these mothers and fathers help me through this journey, in ways I cannot even come close to describing), I hear my 3 1/2 year-old son crying from his bed upstairs (it is 11pm). I throw off the blanket and set aside the laptop, and rush upstairs. I know it is probably a bad dream, or he is too hit, or can't find his paci (he does this around this time of night, about 50% of the time).

I enter his bedroom quietly, but making a shushing sound so he knows it is me. He almost instantly stops crying but is still upset. I remove some of his blanket layers, because he does feel hot, and I grope around for his paci in the dark and hand it back to him, where he sleepily inserts it back into his mouth, all without opening his eyes.

On a normal night, I would now quietly exit the bedroom, because we have always been firm believers in teaching our children to soothe themselves back to sleep. But on this night, I pause. I kneel down beside his bed, take his hand in mine, lean my head on the edge of his bed, and watch him....listen to him.

He cries at night, which is sometimes tiring, because he is a little old to be doing this as much as he does. But I am more tolerant of it these past 8 months, because I will never hear her cry. I never once heard her cry.

He breathes, deeply, in and out. His lungs are working perfectly. Hers were barely formed, never working on their own, and at the end they were punctured and damaged from the wonderful doctors and nurses trying to save her life.

His heart beats, steadily, in his chest. Hers was so erratic when we heard it on the monitors in the hour or so before she was born by C-section. Her baseline was 190 and then when I would have a contraction, it would drop into the 50's. That sound, more than any I have ever heard, haunts me to this day and I can hear it, as clearly as if it was yesterday. It was the sound of doom, the sound of terror, the sound of a mother's worst nightmare coming. She was coming, and it was far too soon. We tried everything to stop it, but my labor was too far gone, my body that likes to pop babies out fast, was already progressed too far and she was under too much distress.

Our son has a major medical condition, not one that would be obvious to anyone around him, but a serious condition nonetheless. I have not lived in fear about this, for the most part. But tonight, as I knelt by his bed, watching him for many minutes, I prayed, in the very depths of my mama's soul, "Please, dear Lord, keep him safe and healthy. Please do not take another child from me. I am begging you. Please do not take another child from me."

I do not know where my breaking point would be, but I am hoping and praying I am never tested by the loss of another child.

Every moment, with every child, is absolutely precious.

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