Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tree of Life

On Sept 26, CJay and I attended a memorial service for families who had lost children at the UVA Children's Hospital. When we received the invitation in the mail a few weeks ago, I was a little excited. Yes, excited. I know it's odd, but as time passes, people move on. As normal as that is, and as much as we expect that to happen, it's still heart warming when someone acknowledges what we've been through and, most importantly, our son.

As the day of the service approached I became anxious about what we would have to endure (tears? stories? questions?), but the service was a wonderful way to recognize those of us who have suffered this tragedy. There were tears and stories and questions, but the organizers handled the service with such care and tenderness.

A few parents stood to tell their stories, and then each child's name was read. When your child's name was called, you walked to the front of the auditorium and placed a carnation on the Tree of Life in memory of your child.

There were so many names. Too many. It was hard to look at those other parents so overwhelmed with their grief. It was hard to know that we're just like them. In some ways, it's reassuring to see so many people struggling with this loss. I hate it, but it makes me feel better knowing we're not alone. I suppose it makes me more confident that CJay and I will survive.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking back

I didn't intend to go so long between posts, but we've been busy. It's been nice to have things occupying us these past few weeks. CJay is taking courses in preparation for his CPA exam, we went on vacation, and I've traveled for work.

I wanted to write something on September 5. Something that said where we've been, where we're going, how we're feeling. But I didn't. Instead I've been thinking about a different anniversary. We're quickly approaching the 1-year anniversary of that fateful 12-week ultrasound - the day we first heard "cystic hygroma." It was September 18.

I remember how I felt that day. I remember wondering what was taking the doctor so long. She must be busy with another patient, right? I remember Dr. O saying "it's a cystic hygroma." She had just been to a conference where the leading researcher on this topic had been discussing her study results. She gave us the power point presentation with her notes scribbled on the printed slides. Dr. O said the majority of babies with cystic hygromas are born with Turner's syndrome. I knew we weren't having a girl. I knew that all along. (Turner's is a monosomy X chromosomal disorder, meaning it only occurs in girls.) I asked Dr. O a hundred questions. CJay sat quietly most of the time. I think he was in shock at the news.

The anniversary of the beginning of our twisted adventure seems more monumental to me than a 6-month birthday for Isaac. It seems more important to note that we're approaching 1 year since we changed forever. It has been a gradual process. One where we felt mostly like puppets on a stage. It was a process that robbed us of our innocence. No matter how naive that may sound, I believe death does that to its victims. Mostly, it's the only way I know to describe how different I feel and have felt for almost a year.

We've learned many lessons this year, cried a million tears, and marveled over the miracle that lived only 2 days. I'm convinced I'll never know why we went through this, but 1 year later, I know that I would do it all again for those 2 days with Isaac.