Poems, articles and stories.
Another Baby? Maybe… ©
“Dear Lord, please bless this pregnancy and baby. Help us to do all that we can to keep him or her healthy. Please, please, please, let this baby live!”
Such a prayer was standard fare during the long months of my pregnancy following two losses, a miscarriage (I named her Marama) and a full term stillbirth (Brennan). I knew that the future of this next baby was in God’s hands since I had done nearly everything right in the two previous pregnancies, what could I possibly do differently this time? This pregnancy was the world’s longest, I am convinced and each day was a tremendous milestone when I woke up to find I was still pregnant. Thankfully, our son Kellan David was born three weeks early (whew – spared three weeks of anxiety), and he was healthy.
The anxiety and fear before, and during, a subsequent pregnancy after one or more losses is intense for most people I have met. Once a bubble has been burst, we feel vulnerable to any of life’s disastrous possibilities. The naïve, blissful days are long gone. Life’s stark realities remind us that anything bad can happen to us at any time. This is a frightening to say the least.
Before David and I learned we were pregnant with our third baby, and hopefully the first to actually live, we struggled with whether we had the strength to try again or not. What if we had a third loss? How would we cope? How badly did we want children? It was the deep desire we held in our hearts to include children in our family that pushed us to take the risk again. We disagreed on the timing; we worried about our sanity; we wondered if we would tell anyone for fear they too would be hurt again. Nonetheless, we finally did get pregnant and realized that the joy was also coupled with fear and worry.
While I can not recount many of the details of that pregnancy here, I can say that daily prayer, stabs at optimism and quite a bit of denial (of my fears, of my worries and even on some days that I was pregnant) helped us through. I sang to the baby and tried to be positive – buying a toy or special item about once a month in an effort to be positive. Telling my child how much I loved him or her and that no matter what happened they would always be in my heart became a matter of coping. I remember advice from a mom who had five or six pregnancy losses. Her manner of staying positive with each pregnancy was to love that baby to the fullest, bonding as deeply as she could with the hope that all would go well. However, if that baby happened to die, at least she would have no regrets; she had been fully involved and her baby knew her intense love. I really did try this as often as I could, which clearly was not every minute of every day by any means.
When Kellan came early and took a breath, we joyfully thanked God. Our miracle had arrived! Would our grief be over we wondered? Would we be able to go on and have a normal fairly blissful life? Would our troubles be behind us? It wasn’t long before we realized that as humans we are and always will be vulnerable to trials, tribulation and tragedy. David said it best when he called me from work one day to ask if I’d found his poem – writing a poem is something I had never seen him do before. His succinct poem put to words my feelings exactly.
My Two Sons
By David Ilse
My first son,
My agony and loss.
A tidal wave.
Loving family and friends.
New Life! Anxious wait…
New heights every day
By smiles, laughs and coos
The birth of a subsequent child cannot erase the years of infertility or the previous pregnancy losses. Those babies who might have/could have been are forever a part of our make-up, our family. We look at sunsets, priorities and other babies differently. Yes, the next babies are an answer to our prayers but they will also be a continual reminder of their brothers and sisters who are missing on earth, only to be found in heaven and in our hearts.
Some of the things that have helped others who are contemplating or in a subsequent pregnancy are:
The above suggestions are from the booklet, Another Baby? Maybe…Thirty Questions on Pregnancy After Loss, by Sherokee Ilse and Maribeth Wilder-Doerr. This booklet and Sherokee’s most popular title, Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death are available at www.wintergreenpress.com. Many of her books are also available from Amazon.com. Sherokee resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is an international author and speaker on pregnancy loss and bereavement, and has lived the mission of improving the lives of bereaved families since 1982.
She can be reached at sherokeeilse-at-yahoo.com.
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