Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day - October 15th. This is the ninth one that I have experienced since I had reason to know what it was. In July 2001, I lost my middle son, Samuel. Below is Sammie's Story, taken from the Remembering Your Baby website, an organization I founded to help parents experiencing the loss of a child at or before birth.
In December 2000, my husband accepted a position as Minister to Youth and Recreation at the First Baptist Church in Belle Glade, Florida and we made preparations to move. With the holidays and moving we weren't paying much attention to my cycle dates and I got pregnant, though at the time I didn't know it. It took until early February to realize it and not too long after that, our oldest son ended up in the hospital with respiratory distress (related to low muscle tone and severe gastro reflux.) Since we resided in the hospital for most of February, I didn't get to an OB until I was 12 weeks along. At my initial appointment, we were told that my amniotic fluid was low. No one was terribly concerned knowing the schedule I had been following while living in the hospital. We blamed it on not eating right and very little sleep. The doctor told me to take better care of myself and he would see me next month. At the next appointment, there was not enough improvement so I was sent to a perinatologist (maternal specialist) who confirmed that my amniotic fluid was indeed low and that the reason was that there were cysts on the baby's kidneys. There were actually no kidney on one side and very little tissue except for cysts on the other. We were told that the prognosis was not good and that we needed to get over to the genetic counselor right away to discuss our options. My husband looked straight at the perinatologist and told him there were no options; we were not aborting regardless of outcome. I was 18 weeks pregnant at the time. The next day we saw a urologist (kidney specialist) who confirmed what we were told the day before. We were devastated beyond description. We were told I would not carry the baby to term and that the defects were incompatible with life. The actual problem was not the cystic kidneys, but the fact that a baby's lungs cannot develop in the womb without amniotic fluid. The cysts on the baby's kidneys were preventing the amniotic fluid from replenishing in my womb.
I was just over eight months pregnant with Sammie when I went into labor. He was born by cesarean section and his heart beat for about an hour. He was a beautiful, precious gift - one I wouldn't trade for anything else. He looked exactly like our oldest son, except his hair was wispy, strawberry blond and very curly, whereas his brother's was full, black and wavy. We kept him with us for several hours creating precious memories, taking pictures and just holding him.
Please join the wave of light by lighting a candle at 7:00PM in your time zone. If you are local to me, we will be at the Courthouse in Monroe.