Posted by: susanideus | January 27, 2007

As if it happened yesterday…

I am in the midst of celebrating my 59th birthday. The actual date of that event is January 25, but I continue to celebrate with a family dinner out tonight, since our youngest daughter Johanna was able to come for the weekend. What better way to celebrate than in the midst of cherished family?!!

On Thursday, my “real” birthday, I opened an email being circulated at work titled “Value”, expounding on the value of both large and small increments of time. I thought I might enjoy reading it. I’ve always liked Psalms 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” So much to be thankful for in all the days of our lives.

Halfway down the page came the example that brought me up short: “To realize the value of nine months, ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.”

It has been almost 40 years since that day, my birthday, when I went into labor with our much-loved and much anticipated first child. No ultrasounds in those days that informed of the baby’s sex, or more soberly, of anomalies in a baby’s development. We just knew we wanted a healthy baby — and what a way to celebrate my birthday! By early evening, the doctor told us it was time to get to the hospital, and we were so excited.

All checked in, we went to the labor room assigned to us and a friendly nurse came in to check on baby and me. Chatting happily with her, I rested between contractions for her to listen to baby’s heartbeat. IT WASN’T THERE! How could that be? The baby had spent the day kicking and telling me it was time to get out of there. The nurse’s demeanor changed and she called immediately for back-up. By the time our OB-GYN arrived, mere minutes later, having been informed of what was going on, I was whisked away for an emergency C-section, leaving a white-faced Harold behind. Our most important moment and we were separated.

When I woke up, I didn’t even need to ask. Harold sat there, had been there through the night, as had our dear doctor, who waited with him. I knew from the tears running down Harold’s face–“Susie, they tried but they couldn’t save our little girl”. The doctor briefly told us that her condition had been so weakened by a dying placenta giving her virtually no nourishment, that the stress of labor had been too much for her little heart. Other questions would wait and he left us alone to grieve together.

Nearly 40 years and I sit here with tears coursing down my cheeks, the unimaginable pain and loss recalled. It doesn’t happen as often as it once did, but that loss will always be a part of me, of us. Something will happen and it will be there again…as if it happened yesterday…

Nine months, 3/4 of a year — maybe not much time when seen against the background of an entire lifetime — but in that nine months, baby Amy became a part of me, of us. We liked nothing better than sitting on the couch, feeling her kick, and envisioning the day we’d hold this active child on our laps. Nine months was her whole lifetime, and those nine months forever changed ours.

Thursday I read an email, and it was as if it happened yesterday…

Tonight, at OUR birthday dinner, Amy will be with her family, just as she has always been and always will be.



  1. Susan: guess who? 12-11-07 !
    I am siting up when I should be sleeping going over the WEb-site and who should appear but a Blog under Susan from Our Circle! I have never answered a blog. I read nearly all of yours. This one really hit me. The loss must have been devastating. Tears like a river flowing, healing, the wound, the pain, the ongoing grieving, and anniversary memories. I know so much more about you, those intimate details that penetrate the heart and soul of women. I also could imagine your husband speaking to you grasping for comforting words and not finding any but the truth. Barb

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