My "other blog" initially started out as an English assignment via a Professor who not only teaches at one of the local colleges in Northern Virginia, but works at the Marine Corps War College at Quantico MCB. It was a rather unique approach to English and from there I learned that I "needed to find my voice." Although I haven't quite figured that one out, I have gathered from friends and family that "my voice," is really who I am, sort of a "jack of all trades and master of none." Primarily military related issues, but really a gamut of issues ranging from driving in NOVA to "Stolen Valor." At any rate, I found myself a few months ago being offered to write for DC Military Living at a time in my life where writing was not the first thing on my mind.
I have been contemplating and even discussing it with my wife on how to introduce this particular subject to DC Military Living's audience and tonight, after posting my first August blog, I figured I would visit my personal blog to view my other stories and here we are.
In June of this year, after not writing on my personal blog for just under a year, I entered the following, titled, "Where Have I Been?"
The last post on my blog was one-year ago, just about the time when the bride and I were working on having a baby the alternative way via IVF. I won’t get into the details of that, rather I’ll slightly tell you that the year brought forth many ups and one major downer.
We got to see the beautifulness of the development of a beautiful baby girl and then the world changed two months ago when we lost her at 38.1 weeks gestational age. Hell, we had never even considered a loss so great as that—couldn’t even fathom that historic moment in our lives with the purchase of a larger vehicle for our new family, setting up and having a baby shower, receiving gifts, filling out thank-you cards. Picking out the best furniture that would carry young Victoria Morgan into her teenage years and possibly become her child’s furniture. It was made out of the best Maple the industry had to offer—we were proud, it was better quality than our own bedroom furniture. Infant car seats and the stroller was the most difficult to choose. Then, her clothing… we had even picked out her winter jacket, snow pants for the bi-annual family Christmas vacation this year to Europe. Her room was completed in two months and with the level of care and precision that Bob Vila would be proud of.
With all the preparation, what parents would even consider a possible loss, especially since all the doctors and nurses stated, that “all is well,” “she’s growing on pace?” It definitely didn’t cross our minds. Then that one fateful Thursday morning in March brought forth a different set of events. Victoria was not moving like she normally does after breakfast and the bride's stomach seemed a bit low. One hour after the phone call to Labor and Delivery, we were told that we lost her, she was without a beating heart, “I’m sorry, she’s gone.” “No, this can’t be!” 13.5 hours later, Baby Victoria was delivered in the minutes past midnight and for four amazing hours, we held her. I sit here at this computer, often scanning down to look at the framed photo of her on this desk of mine and for two months considered and pondered a way to finally voice this to the rest of the world. Here we are.
Merriam Webster defines Stillbirth as “the birth of a dead fetus.” Others define it as “the birth of an infant that has died in the womb after having survived through at least the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.” Well, according to our state, and the Federal Government, a Stillbirth is beyond 20 weeks. At any rate, I define Stillbirth as the loss of my daughter, Victoria Morgan. Because we’re Veterans and my bride is still Active-Duty, we opted to have her buried in Arlington National Cemetery—our future home. She’s gone. Our memories of Victoria are the movements after breakfast or the sound of music, and her gymnastics when it was time for an ultrasound. Most of all, the touch of her hand, her long hair, beautiful skin, and the features of both of us embraced in our arms after her delivery.
The only things that haven’t changed include her room… the bag has never been emptied, the pillow that she laid upon and we took from the hospital, still lies in the corner of her crib, everything in her room has remained the same since coming home without her.
One of the few things that we have embraced in our hearts next to Victoria is not only our immediate family but our military family. Whether virtual (via the internet/email/social networks) or personal (at our doorstep), they were there and it was immediate. Both families were very vital to the immediate recovery in the hours, days and weeks following Victoria’s passing. Without them, I’m not quite sure how we would have held up. We are strong willed, and have extremely strong personalities, but nothing could have prepared us or in my mind, prepare anyone for this sort of loss.
With all this being said, I was quite shocked to see the “traffic” and visits to this blog over the past year. I appreciate your viewership. I’m not quite sure where I will take my blog now… I hope to come up with something worth reading. I also begin another blog beginning today on an entirely different website this month, one that I will be monetarily paid to accomplish and I am even at a greater loss of words and ideas for that one, I thought I was ready. Maybe I’ll update all of you on our progress and possible future with another attempt at having a child. Until then, Salute!
It usually, on average, takes me 1-2 hours to write an entry and that is only after 2-5 hours of exhaustive research just to be sure I don't come off sounding as an idiot. The above entry didn't require research, yet took me 9-10 hours over a period of a week and many tissues to write. I really wanted the world to know that there is a secret out there and it is called "Stillbirth." The most interesting thing that my wife and I came across since 23 March 2012, is that some of our closest and beloved friends have been through this circumstance. They don't talk about it because it makes others uncomfortable or uneasy.
Well my friends, the other interesting thing is that parents who have gone through this want to talk about their child, because that baby is real to them. It's not a subject most want to talk about but I hope to introduce segments in the future talking about our experience, how to handle such an experience, and what resources are available to you. All of which, we had to practically learn on our own. I'll also go into detail how you, as a military member and family can take advantage of what the military can offer to you if you are having trouble conceiving.
I look forward to writing and sharing with all of you our experiences! Salute!