I cried alot. I cried often. And at first, because I didn't want my husband to see how much I was hurting and get upset too, sometimes I even hid the extent of my grief from him. I realized early on though, that that wasn't doing either of us any favors. We needed to share in our grief. Yes, we each dealt with it in our own ways, but we both needed to see and feel the depth of each other's grief.
It was hard having a three year old to care for. It was hard trying to hold it all together when I just wanted to break down and cry so many times. Some people questioned how much she'd understand and know, but she was closer to four than three and she understood alot. Alot more I think than people gave her credit for. We were told to give her a high level reason for why her baby brother died. But also to be specific. We didn't want her thinking that people died when going to the hospital or doctor or that she could just suddenly die in her sleep either (if we said the baby just went to sleep in mommy's tummy and didn't wake up.) We were cautioned to be realistic without going into to much detail and so we ended up telling her Noah died because his lungs were broken. That the doctors tried to fix them but they couldn't and so he died. But we were quick to reassure her that her lungs and Mommy and Daddy's and everyone else's were fine too.
She had some questions naturally. Like why couldn't Jesus fix Noah's lungs? Why couldn't Noah come back alive like Jesus did? It's hard to explain about miracles and hope and faith under those circumstances.
I'll never forget a couple weeks later when I was having one of my usual sad times and was awake, but laying down in our bed, just having a bit of quiet. She came in to the room and went right to the window and pulled up the blinds, I watched as she peered up from under them, looking up into the darkening sky. This little three year old, who so many people thought didn't really get it or understand, proceeded to say, "Star lite, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. I wish Noah could come back and that his lungs wouldn't be broken and that he could be here and Mommy and Daddy could be happy again." It was one of the most beautiful and sincere things I'd ever heard and while it broke my heart to hear her making such a request, it touched it as well. How sweet and amazing was my little girl to make a wish like that! And then I had to sit up, crying by now, and call her to me, trying to explain that while wishing on stars is great and fun and wonderful, sometimes those wishes just can't come true.
Eventually we got the results from Noah's autopsy at Cedars Sinai and they confirmed what we had suspected. He had, as best as they could tell, Asphyxiating Thoracic Dysplacia. Well, at least we had a name for it now. And with a name we found that my husband and I were each apparently recessive carriers for his bizarre disorder and that one in every four pregnancies had a chance of this occurring for us again. 1 in 4. That's still 75% chance of a healthy baby. If someone told you that you had a 75% chance of winning the lottery, most of us would probably go by a ticket. The doctors and specialists further told us that the chances of it occurring back to back was 1 in 16. So, theoretically, the chances were even greater we could have a healthy baby the next go round. Yes, it was still a 1 in 4 chance, but back to back was 1 in 16.
After much prayer and thought and discussion, we decided to try again once we got the clear for trying from my OB.
Pretty much as soon as we could get pregnant, we did. This time with Christina. And so, another chapter unfolds....