Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sweet Sixteen

The problem with grief is that over time it fades into the distance, and then, out of nowhere, it slam dunks you. 
I was running an amazing DC Ragnar Relay race this weekend with my incredible teammates. Such an amazing running weekend, that it distracted me from a significant Anniversary. Not the happy kind but the kind that swallows you up, as you are running your hardest leg and then, slams you to the ground. Literally, I fell onto the ground, letting my tears act as a cover up, over my sweaty face.
My sweet Joshua, passed away in utero at 27 weeks, on September 17, 2000.
You can do the math.....

Yes, it was his SWEET SIXTEEN birthday.
All I could do was be still for a moment and try to remember to breathe, as my mind flash backed to delivering him stillborn and looking at his sweet, beautiful face, as I cradled him in my arms.
I didn't want to be in this special, unique, sad club but now I had officially declared a 2nd time membership, with a 7 week miscarriage, two years earlier.
I pushed through nine miles of monster hills, dedicating the run to Joshua Michael Fitzgerald, guardian angel to my (3) Earth babies.
I told no one on my team about my emotional breakdown during my running leg. But I was in a bad place when I finished. One of my team members picked up on that something wasn't quite right but I wasn't about to spill the beans and ruin the fun for everyone.
I thought I could shake it off, as the day progressed, but my pain was raw and deep. I wanted to find a corner and cry, inside our crowded passenger van but I smiled instead.
Losing a child, no matter what age, is a shocking life experience that changes you and numbs you forever. The world is a little less loving and you begin to realize that each day should be appreciated and not assumed that you will be given the time you never thought twice about.
My baby boy, had Fifths Disease, a very rare condition in pregnancy. The statics read that 1 out of 10,000 pregnant women will be infected with the virus. And all my friends call me their luckiest friend!!

Oh, the irony!

The doctors explained that because I never went to daycare growing up, I was never exposed to Fifths Disease. Hence, I never developed the antibodies for it.
Of course, I was exposed when I was pregnant and the virus crossed the placenta wall, attacking Joshua's red blood cells. My sweet baby boy never had a chance.
I remember the doctor telling me how he couldn't find a heartbeat and wanting to scream "how can this be happening AGAIN?"
I remember wanting to deliver the baby and wanting to wake up from the nightmare and forget about him as soon as possible. 
But it was my wise doctor who began a path of healing for me. He gently counseled me to hold the baby and name the baby and celebrate Joshua at a Memorial Service and bury him at a special place for angel babies. He was suggesting the unimaginable. I wasn't sure I was that strong.
Just like yesterday, when I was on the side of the road, knowing I needed to run but my mind was in a completely different place.

Angel babies,
In disguise.

Appreciate each day,
Loving gently,
Showing kindness, 
These are the virtues you taught me.

I will never be as strong as you, 
As you fought for each breathe in utero.
I pray you are in a joyful, loving place.

Protecting my Earth babies. 
Guardian Angel.
Sweet baby boy, 
Happy Sweet Sixteen.

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