I've written a personal, detailed account of the past three weeks. I started writing on the idea that Micah and Dylan could read the story, someday. I hope that my words will bring peace to our family and peace to those who read and share in our journey. I have a few moments over the past week that I feel are important to share.
Monday, Jan 20 - Day of the gender ultrasound: The moment when Laura and I, alone in the doctor's office, knew to ourselves that the technician's were seeing something wrong in the ultrasound. Laura, just barely able to voice the question out loud, asked if I thought something was wrong. Laura teared up as I tried to console her. When the doctor came into the room, the truth of the situation was visible apparent on her face. The doctor's words of "there seems to be an abnormality with the baby's heart" carried a crushing weight. Seeing Laura cry, then, was the worst of that moment.
Monday, Jan 20 - Day of the gender ultrasound: Leaving the hospital with Laura.
Nothing felt real that day; it was as if it were an elaborate dream. We entered the hospital wonderfully hopeful and excited to hear if we were having a boy or a girl. We left having been asked if we want to terminate the fetus. The drastic change in perspective occurred over just a few hours.
Monday, Jan 20 - Walking the dog in the flurries and starlight.
Realizing that there is next to nothing I can do to help our baby, I decided that we needed to name him. I looked to the stars and asked "why" the on sought of this much pain is coming to my family. I cried in a moment of realization. Realization that I've been training for over 60 days through intense physical fitness - perhaps to be ready. I thought - with all the BS in the world - someone needs to be strong enough to endure, to bring God’s light. Maybe I’m strong enough. Maybe we’re strong enough to do that. I beat my chest three times on each side. Let me bear the pain. Let me bear the cross. Let me do your will. Take this pain from my wife and my unborn child. Heal my child. Embrace my wife with comforting love.
Tuesday, Jan 21 - Morning snow and lost ring. I was shoving snow off our car and noticed a large chunk that was behind the wheel. I thought of kicking the snow clump aside, but then decided to pick it up and toss it. In doing so, my wedding ring slid off, bounced on the pavement, and disappeared into the snow. Laura and I searched for 10 minutes before leaving. She reminded me that "it's just a thing" - knowing to herself that I wouldn't find it. I returned home and refused to fail at finding my ring. I feared that this was a test designed to prep my ability to lose something sacred. I searched for 30 minutes unsuccessfully and then returned and searched again. Shortly after praying to St. Joseph, I found the ring. Laura couldn't believe it.
Saturday, Jan 25th - a week of prayer. After attending Mass each day, praying the rosary and then attending reconciliation, I have felt multiple moments of clarity, peace and strength. I would leave mass feeling amped and ready to battle the day. I could commit to being thankful to God for the gifts in my life - thankful for Laura, Dylan, our baby on the way, family and friends. I learned the valuable lesson that - though I may be able to show strength to Laura through the unfolding events - matching Laura's emotions, being emphatic and being present to Dylan are the truly valuable contributions.
Thursday, Jan 30th - an email with a friend. In emailing my good friend, he taught me a valuable lesson. Don't waste my time asking "Why?" Understand the reality before me. Seek and hope for God's grace to be strength for my wife and sons.
Friday, Feb 7th - Date night with Laura. Laura and I went to Mexicali Blues and Bakeshop in Arlington. We spent the whole night in deep conversation with each other. We have so much to talk about, so much to laugh about, and such strong love for each other. Laura helped me realize that, no matter what, we will bring our baby Micah into a world of love and joy.
Dylan started saying "Daddy" this past week. I believe that my suffering is a means to expand my capacity for love. I am filled with love for my wife, Dylan and my unborn son. I see Dylan as an amazing older brother.
I pray for strength. I pray for hope. I pray for faith. I pray to bring light to my family and friends.