Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gone but never forgotten

The white lights glisten off the branches of the Christmas tree that sits in the corner of our kitchen.
I've always treasured the different ornaments on the tree.
Each one a story to tell, woven in between the more traditional coloured balls that hang suspended by various branches.
"Baby's first Christmas" is a common phrase seen tucked away amid tinsel, and lights.  Six of them, to be precise.
But then there is that angel.  The little blonde boy, with wings stretching out, and a smile upon his face.  The bottom of this ornament simply says, "Michael, 2011".
The year I lost a son, the year Michael was born asleep.
December 13th marked the day that two years ago we lost our little boy.
His story only spanned 3 days, but his life touched our lives forever.

December 13, 2011 I awoke, and didn't feel well, and thought something was "amiss". I told my husband that I would be calling the doctor, because I just didn't feel well, and was cramping a little. My husband went to work, and I told him that I would call if I needed him.
Looking back, I think that I was probably trying to convince myself that if I could make it  seem not a big deal, then it wouldn't be.  Plus, I'm of dutch decent; so really, we are a touch stubborn.  Or maybe it was the power of suggestion in my head that all was ok...we all do it I suppose.

But the little flutters of my boy's movement had ceased.  I lay still waiting for him to let me know that he was ok, but the little kicks wouldn't come.  The "feeling" that something was not right, was more a reality in my heart than my head..  At 19 weeks gestation  I walked through my doctor's office door, and laid on the table, only to hear the one thing I dreaded...

My doctor moved the dopler to the right, then the left, all the while constantly apologizing.  I kept saying, "it's ok.", when really what I wanted to shout was, "find the heart beat please.  Just try harder!".  But I knew.

He assured me that perhaps it was nothing.  Perhaps my baby had just turned and tucked in such a way as to hide.  Yes, ok, that was it.  It had to be.  But a mother knows; even today, I never underestimate the power of a mother's intuition.  I knew that my doctor was trying hard to keep me calm.
The irony of it all, was that I was calm.  God had me, He carried me, planting the knowledge in my heart that my son was already dancing in heaven.

Awaiting an emergency ultrasound booked for 1pm, I went to my van, and called my husband.  I tried to keep it light, telling him that although there was no heart beat heard, that it didn't mean anything.
Did I want him to come with me to the ultrasound? "No", I said.  I knew he wouldn't be able to get there on time anyway, but the truth is, that if he came, I knew I would fall apart.

I had a miscarriage before at 13 weeks, and that was hard, but how could I face a loss after I had felt the kicks, the flutters and the hiccups?  Surely this was not God's plan for my life??  Surely I would not have to go down this path He set before me.
But when I lay on the table and the nurse went to work with the ultrasound machine, I looked at her face, and I knew.
Back at my doctor's office, I was told.  "I'm sorry Eleanor."   I responded with "It's ok."
"But you knew already didn't you?", he asked.
"Yes.  I knew"
It was a boy, he was gone, I needed to see the OBGYN, I had to deliver because of his size, that was it.
Our lives changed, just like that.

And so, I smile at this angel, who changed our lives forever. I smile at that change.
He taught us so much in such a short time.  Patience, love, peace, growth. 
The rest of his story I will share on his birthday, December 16th.
I carried Michael for 3 days after I found out his heart had stopped beating.
Some wonder how I was able to do that.  Would it not have been easier to be induced, and deliver him the day his heart stopped beating?  No.
But that's a story for another time.

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