By Jodi Martinez
The death of my first child, Daniel Joseph, had to be the most horrific experience of my life. In 2007, my life was wonderful. I had just gotten married; I had a great job, and was expecting my first child. Then at the end of August I found myself in the middle of my worst nightmare. One minute changed my life forever. I found out that my son had Hydrops and the doctors told me that he had a 1% chance of living. Sadly, on September 18, 2007, he was stillborn at 29 weeks.
I was numb. We had just finished the nursery and the invites had already gone out for my baby shower before we had found out any of this terrible news. I couldn't believe that there was nothing the doctors could do to help. I felt empty. That is when I was first introduced to Share. Share was so wonderful and supportive in so many ways. I remember when I made the first phone call to Share I was in shock that people still lose their children so late in pregnancy with all the advances in modern medicine. I was so naive. Share showed me that others have experienced the same type of loss and provided a setting to talk about how I could honor my child. It was such a blessing to know that my husband and I were not alone.
The doctors had told us that we could start trying again right away. We found out the following January that we were expecting, unbelievably with the same September 18th due date. Unfortunately that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 8 1/2 weeks. I had genetic testing done which provided no answers and the doctors still encouraged us to keep trying. In June I found out I was pregnant again, only to again miscarry at 9 1/2 weeks.
In 2009, I came to grips with the fact that I would never be a mom. I prayed about it daily and asked God to send me a sign about His desires for me. I was attending medical school and thought maybe I would go on to help others who had been through what I had experienced. Maybe I could make a difference in others’ lives by specializing in fertility. We had starting considering adopting and I decided to start volunteering to help keep my mind occupied. The very next day something in the back of my head told me to take a pregnancy test. The results came out positive! I was pregnant! I couldn't believe it. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy on April 21, 2010. My prayers had been answered and God gave me a miracle. My son Zachary is the greatest gift that God could have ever given me. I experience every second of growth and every milestone with him. I don't want to miss a thing.
Losing three of my children has changed me forever. I sometimes stop and think about how I should be a mom of four living children right now. There is not a day that passes by that I don't think about them in some way. The holidays are a special time where they are very present in all that we do to celebrate. We honor and remember them by displaying their own ornaments on the Christmas tree. We also include them on Mother and Father's Day each year. I remember the first Mother’s Day after I had lost my first son, Daniel, and how much pain I was in. My husband even sent me a bouquet of flowers. We feel it was important to acknowledge all of our children because life is life no matter when it begins or when it ends. The anniversary of my second loss, Jo Jo, is coming up on February 18th. We will light a candle, spend some time together as a family and pray.
My three little angels Daniel, Jo Jo and Joseph will always be a part of our lives and their souls will never be forgotten. We will make sure that Zachary will know that he had three siblings and when he is old enough we will tell him about them.
How has the loss of your baby changed you?