A few years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I made the mistake of reading the birth notices. I was horrified and devasted when I realised they included stories of those who were born too soon. The stories of raised expectations and dashed hopes haunted me. Please, if your pregnant right now, don’t read beyond this paragraph. Believe me when I tell you, you need to think positively about the life you are creating – you must not waste emotional energy on “what-ifs”. I need to blog about what follows but I need to know that I’m not doing damage; that you’re respecting my wishes.
I have a friend. After DH, she is my best friend. When she was nineteen or twenty she became pregnant. She was in college. Her mother was shocked, her father was livid. She was the “good” daughter. By the time her child was two, the natural father had lost all interest. With her best friend and her parents’ support she raised that kid herself. That was fifteen years ago. That kid is the nicest teenager I’ve ever met.
Along the way, her best friend became her boyfriend. He became father to her child. She became a successful business woman, running her own business. She was diagnosed with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This syndrome significantly compromises fertility. We all agreed: you never can tell when unplanned events turn out to be miracles in disguise. She became god-mother to my second child.
Two years ago, she and her friend married. I remember the date – it was ten days after I’d had a miscarriage. I remember deciding that my consolation prize, of sorts, was that I could drink at their wedding. It was one of the best weddings I’ve been to. Not because of drink! Because they were so happy and I love them both so dearly. Their happiness was infectious.
Earlier in the summer she told me she was pregnant. She was due in January. We were all excited by the news. Her husband was shell-shocked, she said. Her teenager was thrilled at the prospect of a new half-brother or sister. She was positively radiant. Today, I received this message:
“Baby J___ was born yesterday at 12:34 in the afternoon weighing 1lb 7oz and fought hard for nine long hours before passing away peacefully. We are too numb for visitors but would appreciate your prayers and to light a candle for our lovely little son.”
In February an amazing Raveler called Fish set up the ISANDS Wrapped in Love group on Ravelry. The group was created with a rallying cry: sometimes, on top of the devasation of Neonatal death, some parents are given little more than a cleaning cloth to wrap their little child in for burial. The Wrapped in Love project appeals to knitters and sewers to create knit burial garments. I knit a few garments with this charity in mind but, to my chagrin, I still haven’t sent off my parcel. I kept putting it off until I’d knit an actual burial garment. And I kept putting off actually knitting a burial gown.
Today, after I publish this post, I will cast on for this simple, yet difficult garment. With every stitch I will think about the latest shining star in the sky and pray for the heart-broken, earth-bound family left behind. Thank you for listening.