When you lose a baby, you lose your innocence. I remember the first time I was pregnant. How excited we were. The thought that I might miscarry, or our baby might die after birth, didn’t occur to us. That sort of thing happened to other people, not us. We were innocent of all that could go wrong, of all the suffering that can accompany childbirth.

Nine months after Thomas died, Sophie was conceived. I looked at the pregnancy test and wished that I was unaware of how fragile new life can be. However, a little excitement stirred as I thought of the miracle of a new baby. Hadn’t I been hoping for another child? But my main thought was that there was no guarantee that we’d be holding a new daughter or son in our arms in a few months time. A new pregnancy could mean more suffering for us, not joy.

We were reluctant to share our news at first. Then I became intensely ill with morning sickness and there was no hiding our new pregnancy. My immediate concern was surviving each day. It seemed that I was, at least for the moment, in no danger of miscarrying this baby. As for the future, I had no energy to think about that.

But the sickness passed and the pregnancy progressed into the second trimester. Our next hurdle was the ultrasound at 18 weeks. Andy and I were driving to the hospital for our first glimpse of our child. I couldn’t stop thinking about Thomas’ ultrasound, how our life had changed in one short moment as his diaphragmatic hernia was diagnosed.

“Andy, what if they find a problem with this baby too?”

Andy reached out and grasped my hand. “Then we will accept it. We will survive. We’ve done it before.”

But there was no problem. It looked like our child was growing perfectly. We returned home feeling like we’d been given a huge gift. We’d been given a normal pregnancy which we could enjoy like most other expectant couples. As for a living baby at the end of the pregnancy? We were reluctant to get too excited too soon.

I was happy throughout Sophie’s pregnancy. I looked forward to changing shape and wearing maternity clothes. Antenatal visits weren’t the traumatic events they were with Thomas. I could accept the congratulations of other people. But I couldn’t quite visualise bringing home a baby.

We pored through baby name books but, apart from this, did very little preparation for the arrival of our child. I did sort out a few baby clothes but also, I thought about what we’d do if the baby died. We’d learnt a lot when Thomas died and I didn’t want to have any regrets if our time with this child was to be very short again.

Our friends and family were so excited when they heard we were to have another baby. I know they wanted us to experience joy again after our sorrow. But our excitement didn’t quite match up to theirs. Even our children didn’t get carried away with the thought of a new baby brother or sister. They had a ‘wait and see’ attitude. They’d learnt at a young age that you don’t always get what you’d like.

Sophie was born in the second week of May 2001 after a normal quick labour. I tried to relax as our daughter was taken by the doctor to be examined and weighed. I knew she was breathing normally but couldn’t quite believe that she was perfectly healthy. The doctor reassured us that all was well. I expected to be sobbing great tears of joy and relief. But I didn’t. I was quietly happy.

When we arrived home with our newborn child there was a banner taped to the kitchen wall: “Welcome Home Sophie!” I walked through the door with Sophie cradled in my arms and there were shouts of excitement from her siblings. They finally believed that they had a perfectly healthy new sister.

But it took many weeks for me to feel confident that Sophie was here to stay. Each night I’d look at her sleeping next to me. I’d think of all that we’d done that day that we were unable to do with Thomas: all those sleepy feeds with her gazing myopically up at me in such a trustful manner, the opportunity to snuggle up to her warm soft skin, the smell of her sweet baby breath, the tightness of her finger around mine. And I would say, “I have already had so much more than I did with Thomas. Thank you for another day with our child. If You were to take her now I would have so much to be thankful for.”

The days passed into weeks and the weeks started to form months. I never lost that sense of awe and thankfulness over our new child but I did stop wondering if Sophie were only here temporarily. Gradually I began to realise that God had given us another child and this time he meant her to grow up within our family.

Sophie is now seven years old. She thrusts her arms around me and announces, “I love you Mum!” I smooth back her hair and look into her beautiful dark grey-blue eyes and I thank God for my daughter. Could I have given her back to God after her birth? Yes, with God’s strength, I think I could have. But I am so, so glad that this time God blessed us with a healthy child whom we delight in every day.

From "Grief, Love and Hope"


Happy 10th Birthday Sophie!
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  1. Happy Birthday, Sophie! She's adorable Sue!

    I lost two babies (miscarriages, one from an ectopic pregnancy) before Michaela was born and I remember how worried I was when I carried Michaela that the I would lose this baby too. Two months into the pregnancy I started bleeding heavily and I was petrified. All turned out well, thankfully, but I still remember how anxious I was and how grateful when I brought her home. Thinking of that made me realize how much more difficult your circumstances and suffering must have been having lost Thomas after birth and the grief for Thomas and the fear you must have felt for the new baby you carried.
    Thanks for sharing Sophie's story with us and thanks for the link.

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  2. Thank you, Kim! The birthday girl is thoroughly enjoying her day. God bless.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story, Mary. It is good to make connections and empathise with one another and feel understood and not alone.

    The anxieties and the fears were difficult but I would go through them all again. I am sure you would too. Our girls are worth all the pain, and what would we do without them? I feel very blessed. God is good! God bless.

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  4. Happy birthday Sophie.
    the flip side of our lose of innocence is just how much we deeply treasure life, it is a blessing indeed

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  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOPHIE .....
    Sue, You write so well. I feel you pain and sorrows, but It is so honest.
    We pray your little treasure, Sophie has a beautiful birthday filled with every Blessing and Happiness with her gorgeous family.
    God Bless.

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  6. Mary,
    I am sorry for your lost babies, so happy everything went well with Michaela, despite the early problems.

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  7. Erin, what you say is so true! Thank you for reminding me of this.

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  8. Leanne, thank you! We have had a wonderful celebration together today. Thank you so much for your prayers, my friend.

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  9. Happy Birthday Sophie! What a beautiful and touching story Sue. Your words are so heartfelt that I caught up in your story! Enjoy your daughter's birthday!

    How are you doing without your followers list?

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  10. Thank you, Noreen. Sophie had a wonderful day. So many celebrations recently. We are very blessed.

    I'm not missing my followers' list! I can still see everyone's blogs on my dashboard, in my side bar and on my iGoogle page. No new-followers excitement but that's OK! Friends are still stopping to say hello and that is great.

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  11. Happy Birthday to Sophie! My daughter turned 13 on May 1st and my eldest son, 20 on May 9th. May is a special month! Your story is very touching. I know that it will help so many women (and dads too) who have lost a child. You have great courage and strength!

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  12. Hi danardoyle. Thank you so much for stopping and saying hello. Yes, May is a very special month, our Mother Mary's month too!

    Sharing experiences helps make connections between us. I wonder if there are other parents who felt the same way I did as they faced a new pregnancy after losing a child. I felt so weak and helpless after losing Thomas and it was only with God's grace I survived. He is good!

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  13. Sophie was born around the same time as our Amelia Sue.

    Happy Birthday Sophie.

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  14. Thank you Therese for sharing my story. And happy birthday Amelia! Ten: what a special birthday. Someone wrote the following in a birthday card to Sophie: "It is an important time when your age turns to double figures. In ninety years it will turn to triple figures when you turn 100. So keep this card so that you can remember, "Ninety years ago they told me it would be so." Would you have guessed this message was written by a maths tutor?? God bless!

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