I am meeting another baby lost mama (BLM) next week for coffee. She’s not quite two months out from her son’s death. Full term baby. No problems. Gone. I wish I could remember which BLM blogged about dead baby math (thanks for the reminder Angela – check out the original post from Emily at Aidan, Baby of Mine). This is where a mama secretly compares other losses to her own. Are they > (greater than), < (less than) or = (equal to) what she has experienced. We all do it. In my book, a problem free pregnancy, no warning signs and a baby that dies at term or shortly after birth is one of the most heartbreaking losses possible.
And it happens all.the.time.
When I was pregnant with Ada, only one miscarriage under my belt and full of desire to reclaim birth from the hands of doctors, I thought my OB/GYN’s concern about amniotic fluid and baby’s size at my due date were nothing more than scare tactics. In fact it’s very common to hear complaints about getting pressure from a doctor to induce before 42 weeks, for no real reason.
Birth is natural. Our bodies have been designed to do this for millenia. The baby will come when she’s ready. Due dates are really guess dates.
Yep. All true. I’ve said those words. I’ve heard them and for the most part I believe them.
My body? Not so well designed for giving birth it turns out.
And if you’re a doctor and you’ve seen babies die for no reason right around or just after due dates, my guess is as a human being, you’d do everything in your power to keep that from happening again on your watch.
So maybe it is about a vacation, or a golf game, or the doctor-controlled environment of an operating room over the messiness of natural labor. And maybe, just maybe, it’s because they’ve seen too many babies die. And their hearts have broken too.
One of the loveliest connections I have made through this blog is a woman who lives on another continent. She has been kind, thoughtful and supportive in her comments and emails. A few days ago, she woke up into one of her worst nightmares. Her husband was diagnosed out of the blue with a very aggressive cancer. One minute he was tired, as the working parent of two young children often is. The next he was in the hospital and no one knows when, or – the unspeakable – if, he’ll come out.
My heart has been heavy since I heard the news. All I can see in my mind are the smiling, happy faces on their holiday card.
There is talk in our culture about embracing each moment fully because we never know when life as we know it will end. Those words don’t mean much until it’s your life – the one you’re used to waking up to every day – that has vanished.
And then when you tell people, no one knows what to do.
We don’t talk enough about these things in our society. We are tremendously afraid of pain. And we forget
that sometimes our greatest strengths are found in our tears.
And that sharing those tears with others only makes us all stronger.
Tonight I cry for all of us whose lives have changed in an instant.