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photo and graphic: Martha G. Brady

photo and graphic: Martha G. Brady

In our family, this is birthday week. With grandchildren and sons added, the dates have expanded considerably, but with the immediate 5 of us, 3 have their birthdays this week! Planning had no part in it!

One child was due April 7 and she was born shortly after midnight, arriving just in time for her due date. The other was due the end of March. We were set to move in May, just after the graduation of the Bible College where we worked in Jamaica so we could get started with interviewing for next jobs, etc. The government didn’t renew our work permits. I didn’t want to get into pack mode until after the baby came. She was 10 days late! All my plans were out the window! I was not a happy camper.

But I did get my one wish. I didn’t want any more sharing of my birthday. My sister was born on my first birthday and I shared all the birthdays ever after with her. I wasn’t anxious to share my birthday with my kids…or to be in labor on my birthday either!

Sure enough, I was home both times for my birthday! Ron had his 5 weeks ago so all but one birthday is done after this Saturday.

Our June babies

Dawn is our only living June baby. The year before she was born, we had another little girl born about a month early…stillborn. I was in the hospital about 10 days with pre-eclampsia/toxemia and seemed to be responding well to bedrest.

One day, the nurse came to listen to the heartbeat and it was gone. It was quite a shock! A final test was done to see if there was any life at all and when it was determined that there was none, they decided not to do an emergency C-section because there was no life to save.

Fortunately, my lab work dropped to normal-ish levels once the baby died and the night before they were thinking they would discharge me, I went into labor. That was a huge relief!

Those were the days we didn’t see the baby. Didn’t get to hold her. Had no chance to cuddle her and rock her and start the grieving process. It was awful. It was very unhelpful in dealing with the grief.

Very few people wanted to discuss what had happened including our pastor who prayed, “Help us not to question, ‘Why.’ ” As I was lying in the hospital fresh from the news of this child’s death, those words hit me like a jackhammer!

Logically, I knew there was something wrong with that prayer somewhere, but I knew I couldn’t talk to him about it. The grief hit us on too many layers. Of course, it hit us each in different ways as well. So we had a sad, somewhat lonely few months ahead of us. Instead of having a fun summer of adjusting to a brand new baby, we had an empty room with all the nursery put away.

Moving, being busy, adjusting to Jamaica…

not taking much time to grieve

Fortunately, I was able to get pregnant again quickly and we knew another baby was on the way…about the same time the next summer. But we were busily preparing to move to Jamaica as missionaries. So the months went very fast! The pregnancy proceeded much the same as the year before when we had prepared for a healthy child. This time, we weren’t as confident…nor as carefree. We moved in January and settled in to our apartment in Mandeville.

After graduation in May, we headed back to the U.S. to be near the doctors who cared for us the year before. We hoped to not have any problems again, but if we started to, the doctor planned to do a C-section for sure! As it turned out, Dawn arrived 3 days before what would have been the first little girl’s one year birthday. I was relieved to have her come 10 days early!

We were floating on air! We kept pinching ourselves. We couldn’t believe our baby was born and was healthy and alive! This time, there were no problems with the pregnancy or delivery. We decided that the next time we would go ahead and have our children in Jamaica.

That’s exactly what we did! Our two April babies were born there. It was quite a pleasant experience.

When you look back at your family history, what event(s) do you think of as horrible/bleak and ones that took a long time to grieve over?

What did you learn by living through those experiences?