Mom of Seven, One in Heaven
I am a mother of seven.
Seven babies, I have carried in the womb, given birth to, prayed for, and most importantly loved.
I did not know how much I could love until I had my children. Before Mr. Right and I had our first child we had two miscarriages that saddened us and set us back at our loss, but we still kept moving forward. When I was in high school I thought I would have two boys after getting married and my family would be complete. However, things often do not go the way I plan them. After we had our fifth child we knew we wanted “just one more” child to round off our flock and be complete.
When we were pregnant with our sixth child, we had hopes of having a son. Another son would have given my son Daniel a brother so he would not be the only boy in the family.
Our World Shattered
We held onto the hope of having a son until the 20-week ultrasound. However, our lives changed at that point when we learned our unborn child was diagnosed with bilateral renal agenesis which is deemed incompatible with life. BRA or Potter’s Syndrome is the absence of one or both kidneys.
The kidneys produce the amniotic fluid, which is a cushion for the internal organs, most importantly, the lungs. Our unborn child would have an underdeveloped heart and compromised lung function.
We were unable to determine the gender of the child at this point, but we knew we loved this child and would carry the child to term. We wanted to enjoy the time we had and enjoy the blessing of this child, no matter how long he or she had on earth.
Welcome, My Son
Our son, David Cooper, was born at 34 weeks gestation and lived for over two hours. He changed our world from the minute we met him and to this day he has had a lasting impact on our lives. We were the ones blessed to have met him, loved him, and held him.
While David is no longer with us in physical form, our love for him has not faded away, but in fact grown stronger in each passing year. My walk with grief had been brief prior to my son’s death. I learned that there is no twelve step program for overcoming grief.
In truth, grief is messy and there is no way to overcome it. We all deal with grief differently. Some stuff it away never to be talked about again. Some pretend everything is okay. Some cry all the time. Some turn to unhealthy methods of coping, such as drinking or drug use. Marriages often do not survive the loss of a child. Divorce is common. Lives are turned upside down after the loss of a child.
Coping and just plain surviving become the new normal. Personally, I dealt with my grief by reaching out to others who have suffered similar loss, praying, and the writing down of my thoughts.
Clinging to His Promises
Through my grief, I have begun to turn to my faith more. I read my Bible and saw the truth’s the Lord had promised me.
Peace, written in Philippians 4:7 ” the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…” was real.
I leaned heavily upon the Lord for strength. The peace carried me through up until David’s death and to this day.
David would be three years old now. I can imagine my blonde-haired blue-eyed boy and the bundle of energy he would be.
His death has left a hole that will never be filled. It may scar over, only to be torn open and left raw.
The pain is so fresh some days, I cannot do anything but cry. Then there are days we retell the stories of surrounding his birth and the impact his short has and will continue to have.
It is an honor to have been chosen to be David’s mother and an honor to carry the pregnancy to term. We were given the choice of termination, but it was not even an option for us. We knew he had a purpose, even if his life was short, what right did we have to cut it short?
Sharing My Story
Grief is different for everybody. Some wallow in it. Some move on and never seem to shed a tear. Some find solace in support from others who are suffering. Others find a cause to fight for and it becomes their sole reason for living.
Grief is messy. Grief is raw. There is no 12 step program for grief that you can check out of each step as you go through it. It will be different for everybody.
Through written word, I have been able to allow pen my grief onto paper. With my blog as a platform, I am blessed enough to be able to reach far those that may be suffering after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss.
I was fortunate enough through my darkest days to have a close friend walk with me. She, too, had lost her baby daughter in the year prior to David’s death. Her support and prayers meant the world and lifted me up when I could not. I knew when I was ‘back on my feet’ that I wanted to do the same for others. Being able to minister to women suffering after the loss of a baby is a calling like no other.
Ministering to Others
In the past five years since we have lost David, I have had the opportunity to counsel many and walk with them through the dark days following their loss. Being part of the ‘baby loss’ club is not a prize membership that one yearns for. Instead, it is a dreaded membership that nobody should ever want to be part of, but unfortunately many are forced to join. With the Lord as my guide and my experience to share, I choose to walk with women who have heard the news their child is going to die or who has died.
The bond I share with these women is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. For these sweet souls to allow me into their hearts and mind, and share their fears and tears is an honor. While I cannot save their child or make the sadness go away, I can share the peace that is available through hope that is found in Christ alone.
Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home
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