February 6, 2015

We are a family of five.

It has been almost five years since my miscarriage, and there are still moments when I feel the loss as if it were yesterday.

Last Friday, as I drove my oldest daughter, Beth, to meet  up with a friend for a sleepover, the conversation somehow turned to Angel.  She asked me again - she's asked before - what we would have named the baby. I told her. Then she asked why we didn't name Hannah by that name. A legitimate question.  But I explained to her, the baby deserved her own name. And cue a pang of sadness.

Then she said, as if it just occurred to her, "I would have had two sisters! There would have been five of us!" And she smiled and giggled at the thought of it.

I didn't correct her because at the time I didn't really think about it as I was still in shock after hearing her astute questions and innocent reaction to her own observations, but I should have corrected her.  

There are five of us in this family.  One of which just isn't here right now but awaiting us in heaven.

We are a family of five.

Later on that same day, I clicked on a Facebook page a friend shared called Amazing Grace.  It's a page put up in honor of baby Grace - a baby with Trisonomy 18.  A fatal condition. Fifty percent of babies with this condition are born still, and most others pass soon after birth.  

I began following the page, and it was posted this week that Grace had been born - alive.  There was a beautiful picture of the momma holding her baby girl.  More pictures followed with Grace's dad and younger sister soaking up every possible minute that they could get with her.  And then, 22 hours after her birth, Grace was gone. 

Grace's sister may innocently say one day, "I would have had a sister!  There would have been four of us!"

And I'm sure her momma will reply, "Oh, but sweet girl, you do have a sister!  And there are four of us!  We are a family of four."

Losing a child, a sibling, that baby that was here but is no longer, it's a unique type of grief that creates a unique dynamic in families.  It's hard to explain.  But if you are a baby loss momma, you know what I mean.

I can say this, my heart rejoices that Grace's momma shared her with us and celebrated her birth with us.  And my heart rejoices that my Beth feels comfortable talking about her sister Angel.  

Together, Grace's mom and I, we're changing the current off-limits status on this subject to one of open-discussion. And my heart rejoices to know it.

My Friday concluded with yet another venture into the topic of baby loss.  I had just finished watching the most recent episode of Grey's Anatomy.  In it, a pregnant mother is told that her baby has osteogenesis imperfecta, and she knows this means that, most likely, her baby will die upon birth.  And as she told her husband that the baby is a boy, they hugged each other and cried.  And I cried.  And for the third time that day, I felt my loss all over again.

And yet, I rejoiced - I am rejoicing - because a major TV show is talking about baby loss! 

Here's the message people:  talk about it.  TALK ABOUT THEM.  Let's celebrate these babies, because they lived.  Let's do this by talking about them.  

If you or someone you know has recently experienced a loss, encourage her to talk about her baby.  Encourage her to write down her story.  It helps - in so many ways.  And then encourage  her to share her story - to share her baby.  

Reconceiving Loss and Return to Zero (the movie) have put together an electronic archive to commemorate our babies.  Click HERE and consider sharing or encourage someone else to share. Because it will help - it will help the momma, other mommas, and those in the dark about this topic. 

We need to spread the word!  It's okay to acknowledge that baby. He or she was here.  

Today's forget-me-not:  There are five of us in our family.  How many are in yours?


Here is the scene from Grey's that got my tears flowing.  Get tissues before you click on it!

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