On May 26th, I started a chapter of life that I had not previously imagined possible. I found out that things were not right, not okay, with my baby-to-be. I started consulting with Dr. Google. I started seeking out answers as to what might be wrong with my little girl and what I might possibly do about it. I found lots of articles that, with neither a medical degree nor a deep understanding of Latin roots, were all Greek to me. I also found a wealth of support groups. I found groups of women who were pregnant and were choosing to terminate their pregnancies due to medical reasons. I found groups of women who were pregnant and were choosing to terminate their pregnancies due to non-medical reasons. I found groups of women who were pregnant and hoping that their non-thriving babies would live to see 24 weeks, at least. I found groups of women who were pregnant and were choosing to continue their pregnancies despite the fact that their doctors were giving their babies a very slim chance (or no chance at all) of living beyond the womb. I felt compelled to join the last group. I didn’t know what was wrong with Mabel but I knew that I wasn’t at all sure that I could “terminate” her brief life for any reason short of my life being seriously threatened. I settled into that group for as long as I could, and then my baby died and made the point moot. I would’ve kept her in my belly for as many days, weeks, and months that were given to me by whoever the hell is handing out miracles these days. The sore boobs, achy joints, freckled face and constant peeing were heaven on earth to me. I knew that they were short-lived. And then she was gone.
Here’s what is left in her place: The stories of women who lost their babies far too soon (Is there a right time to lose a baby?) and families who are in the process. I am drawn to these stories, to these women. I don’t know why (and believe me, it pisses me me off beyond reason), but every story I come across includes wonderful families, deserving parents (Maybe the shitheads always get to keep their babies or maybe they just don’t blog?), broken hearts and unanswered questions for the dude (or dudette?) upstairs. Beautiful families.
One of these families is the Cook Family. They lost their little girl, Stevie Joy, on May 8th at almost 26 weeks. Kristin Cook writes a beautiful, heartbreaking tribute to Stevie at her blog, which began as a spot to write letters to her baby-to-be. One of the ways that Kristin and Andy remember Stevie is through the beauty (and the life) of trees. After they lost Stevie, they carved her name into the bark of a tree – a love letter. Now, they do the same for other little ones who left too soon. Last night, after a full day of fitful tears and a defeated heart, I opened my email and found Mabel’s carving.
When you have a baby, and that baby is not here on this earth, it’s hard to find opportunities to celebrate them. Last night, I got one. Thank you, Kristin.