I was taken back to a sad memory today. When I was 18 years old I was in a very abusive relationship. I was the mother of two, with my baby boy fighting for his life in the neonatal unit of Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY.
My son, born at 24 weeks of gestation was in the hospital, due to his father beating me up, while I was at home getting pregnant by a man I couldn’t stand. When I found out I was pregnant I was horrified because my main focus was my son that was in need of his mother. I decided to abort that child. I hated my partner for the pain that my baby was going through and I hated him even more for thinking about sex and wanting me to have another baby by him. At the time I felt I made the best decision and I still believe it today. I was living on a dark road at that time but guess what?
He got me pregnant again!
I couldn’t have another abortion and I was so fearful that my partner would beat me to the point of having another pre-mature delivery. My son eventually lost his vision due to long-term ventilation use.
Anyway, back to my story!
My ex gets me pregnant again and I decide to keep the baby. I wasn’t happy about but there was nothing else I could have done. I am still in this abusive relationship and my other son is still in the hospital. My oldest son is not getting much of my time because he was not allowed in the neonatal unit and I spent most of my time there with my son. He needed me there.
I am now 16 weeks pregnant and I go to a routine doctor’s appointment. I could tell by the look on my doctors’ face that something wasn’t right. A machine was brought on and a sonogram was done. After some moments passed I was told that my baby was not developing properly and they couldn’t figure out why I had not miscarried. I was told that my child would not be able to survive outside the womb and that I needed to be admitted into the hospital so that the baby could be delivered. At that moment I was in disbelief. All the time I felt bad for being pregnant and now all I felt was grief.
The baby was to be delivered vaginally, so I had to be induced. I was hooked up to an IV filled with morphine for pain. I could press the button when I needed a fix, but I didn’t want to have morphine while pregnant even though I knew the babies fate. After a few hours I felt something drop and I had no clue what it was. No one checked my service for hours. I would later find out that the drop was my baby, sitting at the opening of life deceased. After he was delivered, he was rushed away and my eyes were sealed shut because I was afraid to look.
A female doctor came in and told me about my child’s issues. He had a three chambered heart, his intestines were growing out of his abdomen, he had 1 ½ arms and one leg, and he had no brain. It was filled with fluid. I was asked if I wanted to see him and I said yes. I was alone, with no support system. I told the doctor to make sure he was covered and to release the blanket slowly. She was very patient and I wish I remembered her name because she was very helpful. She brought my son in the room and she fixed the blanket so I could see his hand. His body was red and it looked like plastic. His hand was so small and his fingers skinny like toothpicks’. The doctor asked me if I was ok and if I wanted to see his face. I did, so she covered his hand up and I closed my eyes until I was ready. When I opened my eyes, I asked her to get him out of the room and I sobbed like I never had before.
I was only 16 weeks pregnant so the baby’s eyes were still sealed, his body was red, and his mouth was open and I could see his tongue. He looked like a baby doll. I will never forget his face or the pain I felt. At the time I thought that God was punishing me for the abortion I had or for me not wanting to be pregnant.
With all of his problems he was still alive and thriving in my womb. With no brain he should not have lasted. God knew I had to go through that situation so I could start the process of making some important changes in my life.
I named my son Matthew, after my brother, because despite his malformations, he was perfect. My brother, Matthew, in my eyes is as close to perfection as they come. I mourned the death of Matthew for a very long time, crying every day, losing weight, and not eating. However, I realized that he is in the best place. He is with God.
When we lose children we have questions, the main one being why would God do this to me. I don’t have the answers but I do know that it forced me to take a look at myself and make some much needed changes in my life. I did not change right away but the change did come and I am thankful to God for the experience.
I was told by a relative that I could have more kids and shouldn’t mourn. No one has the right to tell anyone that. That child cannot and will not be replaced.
For those who have lost children, I ask that God comfort you with his love. You wish God would have taken your life instead of that of your children. Yet, just know that you were a great parent to your children while you had them in your care. God loves you, your babies, and He will continue bless you. We have to remember that in times of grief. If there is anyone that has a story to share or you would like to vent please feel free to contact me.
God loves you and so do I!
By: Tiffani McClain