Miracle Digest: The Sydney Story
Let me tell you about a miracle named Sydney Elizabeth. This tiny miracle occurred August 1993…………………………………
Ah! But not so fast. See I had to get married first. I married Sydney’s Dad October of 1992. I was 21 & he was 24 and he was my best friend in the whole world. Not to mention he made me laugh all the time(still does). Sonny couldn’t have been a better Dad for her.
We were very young but wanted to start a family right away. My older sister already had two children. My older brother had two children as well. It seemed natural to go ahead & try since we loved each other & wanted a child from that union. Our families supported us 100%. So finding out I was pregnant for the 1st time we were ecstatic!!! Best of all my sister was pregnant too!!! It was amazing! We were 8yrs apart & never imagined we would have children the same age. My due date was in September. A WHOLE SUMMER pregnant in Texas!!! Woo!! HA! But that was OK I was fine with that. I couldn’t WAIT to hold my angel in my arms. We had so many plans that formed in our heads so quickly. My sister & I lugging our babies around & having play dates. Sonny buying baseball gloves & bats to play ball with his boy. The FIRST grandchild his mother would have. The first GREAT grandchild for his grandmother. I can still remember every moment we planned. Every moment we anticipated with that little baby. Every second we dreamed of what it would look like, smell like, feel like. I can remember distinctly the glow inside of knowing I was going to have a BABY. My first baby! It was spectacular & unique & I would NEVER feel that way again. It wasn’t long before our dreams crashed down around us. This baby did not turn out how we hoped.
My pregnancy quickly went from the most wonderful time of my life to one of the worst nightmares of my life. I did not have a normal healthy pregnancy. I had a tubal pregnancy which means the baby travelled through the fallopian tubes to get to the uterus and got stuck (or stopped for whatever reason)and decided to grow there. It wasn’t in the right place & would quickly die from not getting the nourishment it needed. Worst than that it was not something that could be surgically moved & put in the right place. EVEN worse than that it put my life in great danger because the tube could burst & rupture inside and I could die too(tubal pregnancies are the #2 killer of pregnancy deaths). This was a very serious situation. The seriousness & the devastation seemed to battle inside me. I wanted NOT to die but I didn’t want to lose my baby either. And back and forth I would go between fearful & heartbroken. Fearful & heartbroken. Over & over until the doctor chose to do surgery & remove the pregnancy from my fallopian tube where it was lodged.
This meant I would go under anesthesia & be operated on. I would have a laproscope through my belly button & another incision by my bikini line. It was even possible that I would lose one of my fallopian tubes if he could not surgically remove the pregnancy without damaging it. If he had to he would remove the tube completely. So my fertility chances would drop in half and I was only 21yrs old.
I’ll not go into blow by blow here about the surgery & recovery. All I can say is that it was just as painful physically as it was emotionally. Me, my husband, my parents & siblings & his family GRIEVED for this loss. It was so devastating it seemed so unfair. I never thought I would stop crying over the loss of my baby. I truly felt like I was living in a never ending nightmare. They had saved my tube but the risk was even higher of having ANOTHER tubal on the next pregnancy. I never thought I could be brave enough to try again. All I could think of was I’ll hold my baby in heaven & that was the ONLY thing that got me through it.
Fast forward to end of June that year my sister has gone into labor. You know the one that was pregnant same time as me & we were going to have our babies months apart? She was four weeks early but here he came a 6 lb baby boy named William James. Baby Will. He was absolutely gorgeous & so tiny & so sweet and so achingly precious. I worried about seeing him the first time. I wasn’t sure if would rip my heart wound wide open. I didn’t want to re-live the nightmare earlier this year. But I had no reason to worry. I loved him. He was a beautiful little boy and seeing him in my sister’s arms filled that wound with healing love.
As if tragedy followed us around Will was born with a severe disorder & his brain was not fully developed. Despite having zero chances of surviving our little Will showed them all. He lived seven days in the NICU at Cook Children’s Hospital. Seven precious days we got to rub his arms & touch his tiny feet & watch his chest rise & fall with breath. Seven days I saw the look on my sister’s face as she loved her little baby. Seven days & his little blue eyes closed forever. God took him back. June 26-July 3, 1993
I could try & describe those last days. I could try & give you those images I will never forget. Seeing my sister’s husband collapse over the NICU waiting room couch as he came to tell the waiting room full of family that his baby would not live through the day. My sister cradling Will’s head held up to her chest rocking him telling me she wouldn’t know what to do if she lost him. My mom & I with our fingers being held in each of his tiny palms hours before he would depart from us. And the nurses closing the screen barriers around us so we could say goodbye in private. My sister & her husband rocking Will & holding him as he took his last breath. A tiny blue silk coffin. A mother who would sit at that coffin & not want the lid to close because she didn’t want to put her baby in the ground. A granite lamb on a tiny tombstone. The utter agony & despair. Those images don’t even give it all justice. But life DOES go on & so must we & so we did.
I know you wonder how can this story be a story of a miracle when there is so much loss & devastation. How can God be so cruel to this family? Where was God? But imagine this, if I had still been pregnant I would have been 7mos at his funeral & given birth a mere months later. Just a few months with everything raw ESPECIALLY for my sister. I am sure she would have handled it but at what cost to her heart? At what cost to the heart of our family? I wonder. Would it have been healing? Or would it have only deepened that baby’s loss for us? And tragically made me feel guilty for my baby’s birth? Thing is I learned a lot about love & hope over that neonatal crib at Cook Children’s hospital. It shaped our entire family & how we are and still does today.
Those days with Will, those moments with him few as they were, did something to me. They made me brave. If my sister could live through THAT what in the world was I worried about? Another tubal pregnancy? Another surgery? That was NOTHING compared to what had just happened.
My last period for the next 9 months was at his funeral. It may seem weird to remember that so distinctly but I do. I remember not being afraid anymore. And we tried again to get pregnant.
In August 1993 a tiny miracle occurred……………………………….
On the day of my birth I found out I was pregnant. As much as I wanted to glow from here to heaven I had to wait a few weeks. Those weeks were scary. I didn’t know if my baby was in the right place. I didn’t know if my life was in danger. I remember crying SURE that she was a tubal like the other one. And I remember praying with all my heart if she wasn’t in the right place for God to please move her. It was two weeks of turmoil. I cried living through the first tubal & Will’s death again & again as I waited. I waited to find out if I was in fact going to grow a baby in the right place.
Finally a sonogram confirmed a sac in the uterus, in the right place, a growing miracle. Our hearts contracted so grateful, so humbled, so appreciative of this little life. I relished each moment pregnant. I KNEW what a miracle this was. I would NEVER take this moment for granted. I couldn’t wait to hold my baby girl in May. Well come to find out I was due in April & come to find out I didn’t know the sex of the baby until my 36th week. So she was 2 weeks late & born in May & just like my journal said….. I held my baby girl in May.
Not just any day in May but the Friday before Mother’s Day weekend that year. What a precious gift it was for me. To discover her on my birthday & to hold her on Mother’s Day Weekend. It was a full circle of JOY. And thing about her is that I KNOW she was a miracle. She was born at 703pm. My baby nephew died July 3rd. It was almost like a message that their spirits met in passing to and from Heaven. At least, that is what I like to think, and it makes me smile, and hear angel wings fluttering.
My baby is now 15yrs old & she is as beautiful today as the day I saw her for the first time. She was best baby a mom could have. She didn’t cry a lot. She was very happy. Almost every picture we have she has her mouth open in glee laughing hysterically. She slept through the night from six weeks old on. She has been sick maybe three times her whole life. Thrown up twice her whole life. Even now as a teenager she does what she is told, makes good grades, and doesn’t talk back. If that is not a miracle child I don’t know what is. (haha)
My sister went on to have another little boy born two months after Sydney. We did indeed have babies the same age. Cody Matthew was a living breathing teddy bear. He was cuddly & loving as any baby could be. He had the same syndrome as Will but not as severe. He lived much of his special life in the NICU (and later PICU). He was a chronically ill baby. And a baby he stayed his whole life. He never walked or talked out loud but he did touch all our hearts and lives. His short life of four and half years had more meaning than my entire life altogether. He will never be forgotten as all our good works that we do reflect the honor of his memory.
I went on to have four more tubal pregnancies until they did remove all my fallopian tubes. I can no longer conceive a child naturally(and will no longer suffer another tubal). The dream of more children was not to be. My little angel navigated the treacherous tube highway to find her way to my arms at just the right time. Praise GOD.
I am so grateful for her. She is truly a gift. My miracle baby. There is not a moment that I don’t thank God for you and the journey you made to get here.
So when I hug a child dearly. And hold a small hand joyfully. When I beam in wonder at all the little children in this world. Know that it is not because I wish they were mine. But because each time that happens I behold a miracle.