A Heartbreaking Choice
“In the end that was the choice you made, and it doesn’t matter how hard it was to make it. It matters that you did.” ― Cassandra Clare, City of Glass
We had just returned home from the our 3rd sonogram in 2 weeks with potentially fatal news about our first child. We were conflicted, there was no cut and dry diagnosis. But she was the perfect storm of missing organs and defects vital to life. “Any one of these we could fix,” the doctor said. “But combined they will ultimately lead to her death.”
I left his office feeling like she had already died there that day. When we returned home, I sat motionless on our couch for a long while. I stared out our front window, eyes glazed over. Then a single tear escaped my lids until my husband came and stood by my side. That’s where the floodgates really opened, with me his arms.
“I can’t do this,” I wailed.
“Then we won’t,” he offered in return.
And as I broke down in heaving shaking sobs he embraced me tightly that let me know that it was going to be ok. United we’d be ok.
With 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinions all arriving at the same conclusion — our daughter was a death sentence — we made our choice.
A heartbreaking choice.
She was born silently in a hospital two days later and we were sent home only 4 hours after she was born and died where I immediately sought out support to mend my broken heart.
The only problem was, I had no where to go.
I Googled and found stories of babies whose hearts stopped beating in their mama’s womb which left me feeling ashamed. I found stories of women who carried their babies with a fatal diagnosis to term which left me feeling guilty. Story after story about these tragic losses left me feeling more and more alone in how we ‘chose’ ours.
I was conflicted, fearful, and overwhelmed.
What was our place in this community of loss? Would we be accepted with open arms or rejected because of the circumstances leading up to our Bella’s death? Would people doubt the love we had for our daughter?
I must to pause here to emphasize that there was no regret, we know that if we turned back the clocks and had to make this choice all over again, that it was the right one at the time for our family.
But it has taken me almost 3 years, much soul searching, and many many many private conversations to realize that grief is grief, loss is loss, and we are not alone in our decision to make a heartbreaking choice for our daughter and for our family.
If you’re one who has also faced choice I want you to know that you are not alone.
Your child was much wanted, much hoped for, much loved.
And there is a place for you to ‘still stand’ in this community.
If you’re brave enough to stand beside me today please leave a comment below and share if making heartbreaking choice was a part of your loss story. Has that impacted your healing process in any way? And, if you’re seeking even more support after having to make a heartbreaking choice for your family I encourage you to visit http://www.aheartbreakingchoice.com/.