My dad and one of my sister’s came in and honestly, I think at that point, he was still alive.
Shortly after, I had each of my daughter’s come in to meet him, and essentially, to also say goodbye. I kept them separate so that they could each have a special moment with him, without any distraction.
My oldest was nine and it clearly broke her heart, but I think it also provided her with a lot of answers. She touched him and even smiled for a photo. Gabriel also “brought” her and her sister a special teddy bear, which we had him “hug” so that they would always have something tangible that they could hold. (Honestly, I find myself constantly holding their bears, too. It’s one of the last things I have that my baby boy physically touched.)
My younger daughter, who was five, came in after. I don’t think she grasped the idea that he had died, but that is probably for the best. All she knew is that she got to meet her brother and I think she will be eternally grateful for that as she gets older.
I had no intention of letting my four-year-old nephew come in the room, but the baby was so angelic that when his mom asked, it was completely fine by me. It was a honor to share Gabriel with as many family members as possible. I needed people to know just how “real” he was. That I had a son and that while he may have passed away, he was a very real part of our story. Continue reading
From my life’s experience, I believe that there is depression and that there is grief. While you certainly can have both at the same time, the two are not interchangeable. I am grieving.
For many years, I struggled with depression and on many occasions, found myself no longer having the will to live. At two distinct points in my life, those emotions were so strong that I attempted to end my life, thankfully to no avail.
I had lived through some of life’s greatest struggles. From difficult break-ups to being cheated on while pregnant, from sexual assaults to nasty custody battles, I had experienced heartache, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion that challenged my very existence.
It wasn’t until the birth of my daughters that I realized that life was so much bigger than me and my day-to-day problems. I understood that my existence here on earth was so much larger than the hardships I faced. I fought to heal myself though a combination of counseling services, medications, and the realization that my success rate for making it through difficult days was 100 percent. While depression and anxiety still sneak up on me from time to time, as they do to everyone, I am much better equipped with the tools, resources, and mindset to find the good in my life and to move forward in a positive, productive way.
But more recently, I was introduced to the most raw form of grief–the loss of a child– and its presence has shaken me to the core. I am not depressed. I am heartbroken and emotionally devastated.
Even just the simple act of crying has changed for me. Continue reading
As we were driving home today, my five-year-old asked, “Who is going to blow out the candles on Gabriel’s birthday?”
I just looked in the rear-view mirror, faked a smile, and said, “you are.” Continue reading
The amount of emotion we felt on this day is indescribable. No parent, no person, should ever have to both welcome their child into this world and then have to hold them as they die.
You are so overwhelmed with joy and with heartache that there really is nothing else in life that is comparable. Until you’ve been there, there is no possible way you can understand.
While it is my greatest hope that no one else ever has to experience this same sort of pain, I know now that it happens every day. Whether it be from Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18, or from any other form of fetal demise, it will happen. Since I cannot do anything to prevent it, I at least want to share my story so that other women can go into these circumstances knowing they are not alone. Besides my faith in God, the only humanly thing that has consoled me has been hearing the stories of other women who have lived through the death of their baby and have somehow, someway, survived it. Continue reading
Frankly, my choice when facing a Trisomy 18 diagnosis is no one’s business but my own. But being put in a position where I was asked to make an impossible decision has opened my eyes and my heart to others and I urge you all to do the same.
Throughout this process, I was given four options. Continue reading