We only do birthday parties on odd years, and because all of our kids have a sibling with a birthday that falls within 3-6 days of their own, we pair everyone up for joint birthday celebrations. This means I get to save up all my enthusiasm for party planning and go nuts about once a year.
You’ve probably seen Seven’s Dr. Seuss party and you know that I can get a little out of control. I’ve covered our entire living room with blankets for a pillow fort party, and thrown some massive outdoor summer flings since then. We’ve talked about it before many times, but it bears repeating because it’s just oh-so-true: the detailed birthday party is my love language.
As soon as I realized Seven’s monumental 7th birthday and Serai’s big number 5 would coincide, I was fully prepared to pull out all the stops for an extravagant extravaganza. I’ve been thinking about those crazy plans for years, but then something happened…
On Saint Patrick’s Day we welcomed our nephew into the world and his story is already a pretty incredible one.
You see, my brother and sister-in-law, Ryan and Cari, struggled with infertility for 2 years and during that time, found out that having children biologically wouldn’t be possible for them.
Our oldest son would have been 8 years old last month.
I carried him to a day shy of 39 weeks without complications, and then lost him without warning one night in an emergency C-section. It’s hard to believe that eight years have gone by since that terrible day.
Eight years…four younger siblings…so much life has happened since then. In a lot of ways, it feels like a lifetime ago and we’ve very much moved on from that awful place.
Other times though the pain is still somewhat fresh. It comes out of nowhere in waves, brought on by something that triggers a memory. That happens less and less as time goes on, but I think it will probably always be this way at least a little bit.
There are an absolutely heartbreaking number of women out there who share my story. I hear about them personally far too often. Before we lost our son, I had no idea just how common infant mortality in the United States is. We are lead to believe that once you’re past the proverbial 12-week mark, you’re good to go.
That’s why we don’t expect it when it happens to us. It comes as such a shock. Our world is sent reeling and we just never saw it coming.
One thing is for certain: the memory of the day our son quickly entered, and then exited, this world will always be very vivid in my mind. The grief, the uncertainty, all the questions – the feelings surrounding that day and the subsequent months will never leave me. And that’s why I feel compelled to write this.