There are a lot of exciting roles to look forward to as you ready yourself to welcome a new child: mom, dad, grandparent, god parent, aunt, caregiver, friend, babysitter, mentor...the list goes on and on. Then there are the other roles that we don't want to label, because we hope that we never have to face them.
Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day: a special day to build awareness, education and provide support to those who are suffering or may know someone who has suffered from a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or loss of an infant or child. Not only is this day about providing a forum for those who have experienced loss, it is also meant to help educate people on what to say and how to support their friends and family, who all too often are suffering in silence.
Chris and I are very fortunate to have two healthy and happy twins and to have never experienced a miscarriage or the loss of a child. Today I am reminded of how terrifying pregnancy can be, particularly a high risk one. My mother has said that her biggest fear is outliving her children. Until I became a parent myself this is something that I didn't understand.
In the last trimester of my pregnancy Jack's health became an increasing concern. He wasn't growing anymore while Molly was thriving and he was breech, another entirely separate issue. At the time I didn't know that it was fairly common practice for the mother to go in and get steroid injections to help with lung development, but when I was sent because of concerns surrounding Jack I was terrified. It hadn't been decided yet, but if I opted for natural labour there were two distinct possibilities 1) an emergency C-section for Jack and 2) that Jack would lose oxygen. To make matters worse my blood pressure was also becoming an issue.
I had been reading a number of books about high risk multiple pregnancies and twins, preparing for the worst, as each appointment seemed to be laced with concerns about Jack, his health and development. About a month before the kids were due to be born Chris and I asked two of our friends to take on a role that I couldn't imagine fulfilling. We gave our friends a key to our house and asked them, should anything happen to one or both of our babies, to go into our house to dismantle the crib(s) and remove it from our house forever, so we wouldn't face it when we returned from the hospital should the unthinkable happen.
Thankfully, other than some hyper breathing and some crummy blood sugar results, Jack was born via C-section a healthy baby and now is a healthy four year old.
Today I can't stop going back to that fear and how thankful I am both for healthy children and for the support of friends who were willing to quietly agree to a job that no one would ever want to accept.
Tonight at 7PM (all time zones world wide) everyone is invited to participate in the Wave of Light in the loving memory of our babies. To participate simply light a candle and leave it burning for at least an hour, so there will be a continuous wave of light over the entire world today.