Saturday, May 28, 2011

Reflections on a Sad Day

(04/06/10) Eight years ago today was the worst day of my life. A lot of people say that this day or that day is the worst day of their life... but I actually know. April 6th, 2002 was absolutely miserable.

Elsa and I hadn't been married a year, and I had just gotten laid off. We were trying to figure out how to pay for the new home and car. On top of that Elsa was 21 weeks pregnant, so we had a massive COBRA payment to come up with every month. We were working in the red, but could at least look at the silver lining... we were going to have a family and that has something I had wanted since I could remember.

I always knew I wanted to be a dad. The idea that you get to mold a person, teach them right from wrong, tell them your philosophy of life, brainwash them to root for your crappy sports team, all of it appealed to me. The roughest part of the failure of my first marriage wasn't the collapse of my relationship (that was actually best for both of us) but rather that I was now not going to be able to achieve my goal of having my family complete before the age of 30. So fatherhood was something I wanted, and wanted badly. My wife was out of the first trimester, so according to all the professionals we were pretty much in the clear. Being a dad was a mere 19 weeks away!

On April 5th, 2002, Elsa had not been feeling so good. She was having a little cramping and some minor discomfort. We took our niece to the mall, and Elsa decided to sit on a bench and rest instead of excerpting herself. After we were done shopping, she still wasn't feeling well so we decided to go to the ER and have her checked out.

All seemed fine. They monitored Elsa for contractions, but found none. The baby's heartbeat was strong, and the baby was kicking and moving quite a bit. They ran a series of other tests and everything checked out. So they told Elsa to make sure she was drinking water and resting, and to follow up with her doctor.

That night, Elsa went to bed early as I painted our basement. It was the middle of the night when I took a break from painting and went into our home office to surf the web. I heard Elsa shuffle to the bathroom, and I asked if she was OK. She said she was fine... a few seconds later the shriek made me painfully aware that nothing was fine.

So began the nightmare. Every expecting parents worst nightmare coming true right before my very eyes. We rushed to the hospital as fast as we could. I don't know that I have ever driven so fast in my life. The whole time my wife is in hysterics. We both knew what was about to happen, yet I kept telling her that everything was going to be alright. It wasn't.

We lost Angel on April 6th. Unfortunately for her, she looked just like me. She had my nose and face, but was incredibly tiny. I loved her so much it hurt. I hurt for my loss, I agonized over the fact that this was one situation that I could not fix. I could do nothing to lessen the pain for my wife, all I could do was re-assure her that the loss was not her fault and that I did not blame her. I just kept telling her that I loved her, because to be honest at that moment there is nothing else one can say.

Due to state laws, after 20 weeks of gestation, the baby actually needs proper burial arrangements and to be named. I am sure we would have done those things anyway, but the process prolonged the pain and agony.

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about Angel. The greatest moment for me was when Bianca was born. She had my nose and face and right away the nurses commented how there was no paternity test needed. All I could think was that she didn't look like me, she looked just like her older sister.

I would be lying if I didn't say that every day since the loss of Angel has seen a little less bright and cheery. An incredible strain was put on my marriage from some of the events that happened. I shut down, became distant and didn't want to deal with anything. Depression is a common term, I like to think of it as utter misery and self pity.

I hope nobody ever has to go through what we went through. If you do, please know that you are not alone. There are many people out there that have gone through the same ordeal. That isn't to take away from your anguish, or lessen the degree of personal hardship, but rather to let you know that there are many shoulders out there upon which you may cry on.

Fast forward to eight years later, and we have our family. We have two beautiful girls, a son on the way, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

"Challenges make life interesting, however, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." - Mark Twain

We love you Angel.


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