Her heavy eyes gazed upon the tiny casket and she said her final goodbye. Her exhausted and aching body, healing from a cesarean section, was nothing compared to the immense pain of her crumbled heart.
This all seemed too familiar. It was surreal. How could this possibly be? Suddenly, her mind was crowded with the unbelievable turn of events that had taken place over the course of the previous 3 years.
*Flashback to 1978:
It was early morning on Sept. 25th when a beautiful daughter named Janette was born. Arriving 8 weeks premature, she weighed in at 4 lbs and was 19” long. Immediately learning that baby had a Diaphragmatic Hernia (a defect or hole in the diaphragm that allowed the abdominal contents to move into her chest cavity), she was whisked away for emergency surgery. Because of her prematurity, her weak and underdeveloped body was unable to survive to the whole ordeal and before her mother even had a chance to see what she looked like, she had already passed away. Within a short 24 hour span of time, a very excited young couple expecting their first child, left the hospital broken hearted with no baby in their arms.
The OBGYN instructed the couple to wait several months before getting pregnant again so that her body would have a chance to heal properly. 6 months later she found herself expecting again. In August 1979 at 21 weeks pregnant, the severe cramps started out of the blue which very quickly turned into heavy labor (but the pains were much more intense than before because at this early stage her body didn’t have the full 9 months to prepare for the birthing process. She describes the pain as almost unbearable). To her disappointment, there was no turning back and she delivered a sleeping baby boy.
Totally devestated and longing to one day be a mother, she hoped that the third time would be the charm. After a 2 month break she was pregnant for the 3rd time and this time, she was under the care of a doctor who specialized in early births. Unfortunately it made no difference whatsoever. In her 7th month of pregnancy (29 weeks along), the light cramping started and to no avail turned into full blown labor. During a snow storm on April 7th 1980 Jared John was born, weighing in at 2 1/2 lbs and measuring 12 "long.
Jared did very well for the first 3 days and the couple was hopeful. But that hope was soon shattered when the hospital called and said that they didn’t think that the infant would make it through the night. They rushed to the NICU and by the time they arrived, he had already passed on. He was just 6 days old. He had suffered an aneurysm and nothing could have prevented it from happening. Swaddled in a little fleece baby blue blanket, the nurse carefully laid the sleeping child in his mother’s arms and for just a few moments, she studied his soft brown hair which was parted on one side- he looked so much like his dad.
Yet again the couple left without their baby, and now they needed to make arrangements for a burial.*
Standing at the graveside, there she was.... almost in disbelief of what had taken place. Tired and emotionally spent, she placed her hand on the shiny wooden box that would house her little angel one last time. He would be laid to rest by his older sister, side by side.
Nearly one year later and after a lot of changes, she was finally fulfilling her role as a mother to a new daughter, Jennifer, who was adopted in the summer of 1980. Spirits were high and it was time to add another baby to the family-- they decided to try again. Getting pregnant was easy and so were there first 5 months of the pregnancy. But in November of 1981, dreams came painfully crashing down again when early labor presented itself, inevitably ending in the premature birth of another baby boy. He was born asleep at 22 weeks.
History had repeated itself.
4 pregnancies... 4 deliveries/c-sections... 3 sons... 1 daughter... 2 stillborn... 2 live births.... 2 burials...
“How much can one heart take?”, my mom thought to herself. Fighting back tears that represented the intense sorrow of loss and her new reality, she left the hospital for the 4th time alone, without her baby.
To be continued tomorrow....