Lately I have been surrounded in a sea of pregnancies, babies, congratulations to families here and there and I must say that each time, even in my excitement and joy for others, my heart bleeds for Matthew too. It is not so comfortable to admit that, but it is the truth.
Sometimes it will even be on my mind, when it really isn’t on my mind (make sense?) and it will surface in a dream such as this one.
Just recently I dreamed that I was visiting a church and I was sitting in a chair as four pregnant ladies were gathered together obviously full of excitement and joy with the life that was within them. I was quietly observing as they laughed, one rubbed her belly and they were talking about kicks and indigestion. I was envious and saddened as I sat in the chair watching these ladies. I knew all too well that used to be me laughing, rubbing my belly wishing the swelling was gone and that I was back in my skinny jeans holding my baby. That was what was supposed to happen, right? After a few minutes, one lady stated that she was just ready to have the baby and be done with pregnancy. That is when I sprung from my chair and screamed (yes I screamed in a church) at all of them the following words, “My baby died and yours could die too!” The ladies looked at me in horror and probably a bit of fear and three of them rushed away, but one came closer. She looked at me as touched her stomach, and she said “I know that to be true,” as a tear fell down her cheek. I had no idea how or why she knew, but it was obvious she too, knew the sting of the unexpected.
I woke up immediately and was so grateful it was just a dream. Then I thought that on many occasions I have wanted to say (rather scream) that out loud when I see or hear pregnant ladies complaining about morning sickness or swollen feet. But it isn’t just about that, it is the reality that they have no idea if they will come home with a baby. I didn’t! And so, so many of you didn’t either.
I can relive my pregnancy with Matthew over and over again, and each time I do, I realize I took the ability to carry him too lightly. Not once did I ever think he wouldn’t come home with me. Not once did I ever expect losing my son or my health. Sure, I cherished the moments I was pregnant with him, but believe me, if I would have known his little life would end the day it was to begin outside of my womb, I believe I would have done things so differently. A strong example of that would have to be my last ultrasound. After the appointment at 36 weeks, I was so excited to go home and watch the video of Matthew moving and stretching all over the place and the video was blank… just blank. I am not sure why it didn’t record, but it didn’t I called the doctor’s office and insurance wouldn’t pay for me to have another ultrasound. I remember thinking I would see Matthew in just a few short weeks, it would be okay. I never saw him move again. I get sick when I think of that, just sick.
My brother’s baby passed away at birth, I knew babies died. I knew things could go wrong, but I never thought it would happen to Matthew.
How many of you physically ache or want to vomit when pregnancy is announced? Or when that stupid lullaby plays over the hospital speakers? ME!!! Hands in the air pointing at myself here! BUT I also have such happiness and joy in my heart for the ones expecting! Doesn’t sound logical, but it is the way I feel now. I get an “ugh” and get an “awe” at the same time! Okay, so I used to get the “UGH” for a lot longer than the awe, but it is pretty unanimous now! (after many years of practice)
I have found my voice through it all.
What I have come to learn is that just as much as we have a voice to congratulate when others are expecting babies, we also have a voice for our babies; the ones that will never speak, the ones that we become advocates for, to do whatever we can to save other babies and support the families along the way.
And although I may fight the urge now and then to scream out loud, I just hope and pray that the one person that needs to hear my voice will hear it. I didn’t know what a uterine rupture was until I had one and it claimed the life of my son. Just as I had no idea what CHD, EB or any chronic illness or complication that would take a child’s life such as these were. But because their parents are advocates for their precious babies, lives are being saved, lives are being changed. I believe knowledge is power. I believe the voice of one can change the lives of many. I believe the voice that I have for Matthew makes a difference.
I must end today by sharing how much joy I have for those of you who are experiencing life within you, and how much pain I feel for those of you that know death more closely than life. I also want to say how amazing I think you all are that are speaking out in honor of your children, spreading awareness, saving babies and lives. I know there is a risk to putting your heart out there every single day. God be with you all.
And as friends and family will welcome new life in the coming days and years, I will celebrate with them, as I have in the past, but will always wish I had just one more chance to do it all over again with Matthew. Always.