I had the pleasure of visiting with a friend today. She’s a relatively new friend whom I met shortly after Ava passed away. She too is part of the club no one wishes to join; the baby loss club. Her loss happened very close to ours and her story is somewhat similar to mine. We can relate and understand one another, and we can say things to each other that we wouldn’t dare say to anyone who hadn’t lost a child. She “gets” me in the truest and rawest sense. I wish our paths had crossed under different circumstances, but I am so thankful to have met her.
We talked about many different things today, mostly relating the loss of our babies, our feelings and how we are coping. I’ve been thinking about something that she said ever since I left her home. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about or what context it was even in but I clearly remember her saying, “every single baby born is a miracle.” She asked me if I would have felt that Ava was a miracle if everything would have turned out fine and she were here now. And the honest answer is no. I would have been overjoyed, and incredibly thankful for her life, but I wouldn’t have considered her a miracle. I expected Ava to be born healthy and to watch her grow throughout decades of her life until my time to pass was here. I expected to have a healthy and complication-free pregnancy. I expected to die before my baby. I think it’s natural to expect that a pregnancy, once past that oh-so-important 12 week mark, will end in a breathing, healthy baby in mom’s arms. It’s natural to expect a beautiful birthing experience, followed by your precious baby being placed ever so carefully on your chest while you and daddy marvel at the beauty you both have created. And it happens, sometimes. But is certainly can’t be described as the expected outcome. And this expected happy ending where baby is born and baby is taken home and mom and dad begin raising baby is a dream that is crushed daily for parents around the world. Far, far too often moms and dads of beautiful babies are sent home from the hospital without their child; home to empty nurseries and a broken heart. I remember meeting with my high risk doctor a few days after losing Ava and he told us that our hospital had three losses in three days. Three babies didn’t ever make it home that week. The lives of three families were turned upside down.
People don’t talk about it, but it happens much more than anyone thinks. And this is why we have expectations that pregnancy most always has a happy ending; because those happy endings are the ones we hear about. When we lost Ava I thought we were one of the far and few between who lost a child soon after birth. But we weren’t. And when something like this happens to you and you start sharing your story, you’re able to see how devastatingly common this nightmare is. Carrying a child and delivering a healthy, breathing baby is a miracle. And I will never see a baby as anything less than just that. My hope is that after you have read this, you’ll realize what a true miracle your children are and you’ll hug them just a little bit tighter tonight. Because I would do anything to be able to hug my miracle; my baby girl just once.