The Day of Darkness. The Great Sadness. June 18th has many names. June 18th is Jaxon’s day.
Jaxon was my son. He is my son. He was stillborn, but he was STILL born. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew he was a boy. And he was loved more than anything. I was over the moon excited. We(my ex-husband and I) got in over our heads, got married within a couple months of finding out. The wedding was small, mainly family and good friends.
My Mama was in town of course. I was scheduled to see the baby doctor that Monday after the wedding, so she tagged along 🙂 I begged the Doctor for a sonogram since she was there, understanding the circumstances they agreed. We had a quick scan on a small wheeled in cart sonogram machine, but then doctor told me we could go to the bigger machine for clearer pictures.
I immediately noticed his boy parts on the monitor. I knew it! A boy! I was so excited. I was able to notice he was a boy….but I missed one grave detail. One fatal detail. My doctor left the room, I was still in complete ignorance-happy, not knowing my world was about to collapse.
Another doctor came in and continued the sonogram and I asked… “It’s a boy, isn’t it?!” He said…and I quote this word for word. “You’re correct. He is a boy, but unfortunately your son has Anencephaly.” As he started to tell me what this Ana-annaaaawhat?! word meant…everything became a huge blur. He proceeded to tell me that Anencephaly is 100% FATAL. My son would die in womb, during birth, or within minutes/hours after birth. I didn’t even cry at first. Though I was devastated, I was numb and in complete shock,
Most of the general population has heard of spina bifida. Anencephaly is a NTD(neural tube defect) just like spina bifida. But instead of the neural tube not closing down by the tailbone, my son’s neural tube didn’t close at the top of the spine, at the brain stem. During the first 4 weeks of pregnancy the neural tube is supposed to close, brain stem is supposed to develop, thus resulting in a brain being developed. My son, in – layman’s terms – did not have a brain. While I easily spotted the fact he had a PENIS, I failed to notice that he did not have a BIG, FULL, beautiful head.
To this day, the ONLY blessing I can see about June 16th, 2011(sonogram day, he was stillborn the 18th though), was that my Mama was there. If she wasn’t, chances are-whenever I had my next sonogram, I would have found this out alone. The nurses went over all of my “options” with me.
For a few years, I regretted the option I chose. I regretted not having all the possible time I could have with him(especially when is due date approached). But as years have passed, the regret is no more. Sadness is still there, but I’m content with the decision. I chose(and my then husband agreed it would be best) to have my son early. I was 16 weeks along and had not yet felt him move or kick. I reasoned that if I started to feel those things, it would only make it worse. We all knew that the end result would be the same, life without Jaxon was an unfortunate destiny.
So after nearly 24 hours in labor and almost losing my life(way too many details to get into that 😦 ) on June 18th, 2011 at 12:40pm, Jaxon was born.
Look how small and sweet his feet were! I do have pictures of him, but he was not fully developed. At 16-17 weeks, babies skin is still fairly translucent. So I’ll spare everyone that pleasure, and as it turns out ….people don’t like seeing pictures of a dead baby. I’ve never “posted” his pictures before, but I’ve seen comments on other families pictures saying very unkind words.
I can’t even begin to describe to you all the pain and grieving that goes on after losing a child. But many people share in my grief. I can’t imagine the pain someone feels after losing a baby to SIDS, or a toddler drowning, or even a grown child passing in a car wreck. I can’t imagine and I don’t ever want to know. I do know however, that the pain does not lessen, it changes. I have good days, I have horribly bad days. But one thing is true about every day-I think about my son. I always wonder what could have been. What he would look like, how he would act. All the silly, crazy trouble he SHOULD have gotten in to. But if I allow myself to live in the Great Sadness, I will not have a life at all. So I chose to continue to grow. To become a better person. To be who I can be.
Women, if you’re trying to conceive or plan to start trying in the near future…. please, PLEASE start taking folic acid. It is the #1 way to help prevent a NTD. When you find out your pregnant-it is already done. Folic acid is is critical in the very first days after conception, long before you find out you’re even expecting. Unfortunately, anencephaly occurs far more than you may think. Most people are uncomfortable talking about stuff like this(including miscarriage and other ways of stillbirth), but 1 in 5,000 babies are born with this condition.
If you are a Mother or a Father, do me and yourself a favor, give them a big hug and appreciate the life you have. Some only dream to have a life so great ❤