Thursday, September 4, 2014

6 Life Lessons My Son Taught Me

Just days after Baby Dylan's passing, I unsubscribed the pregnancy email newsletters from a couple of well-known online pregnancy information websites because I obviously don't need to get such emails for the time being. I forgot, however, to unsubsribe the weekly notifications from the pregnancy apps in my phone. Yesterday morning my heart ached a little when I received "My Baby This Week" update in my phone, realizing that my baby boy would have been 33 weeks old this week had he been alive.

Sweet memory: My second pregnancy bumps.

Up to this second, I am still bereft of this private tragedy and grief still envelopes me. Nevertheless, I think this is normal considering that my 'wound' is relatively new.

As per some good friends' suggestions, instead of going too deep in this grieving process, probably it is a good idea for me to look on the brighter side of this agonizing experience. For instance, rather than constantly revisiting the pains of losing my baby son, I could see the positive sides of all this by cherishing the good memories I had with Dylan, even though it was only 7 months short.

Having said this, I am listing some of the personal life lessons that my son had taught me throughout this ordeal.

1. Life is so unpredictable.

I had a text-book pregnancy with Dylan. Both Dylan and I were all along deemed healthy. Despite experiencing some minor pregnancy discomforts, I had no morning sickness, vomiting, crazy cravings or horrible mood swings throughout my second pregnancy. Compared to my first pregnancy, I felt that my second pregnancy was much easier and enjoyable. 

When some friends shared with me that their current pregnancies were on the high-risk side, I was so confident, or perhaps, over-confident that mine was going to be just fine. Who knew that life can throw us the unexpected? My so-called problem-free second pregnancy was terminated 10 weeks before my due date because my unborn baby's heart had stopped beating. Instead, those friends of mine with high-risk pregnancy ended holding healthy babies in their arms. 

I underestimated the possibility that anything can happen even on a completely normal or healthy pregnancy. In this respect, I failed do proper baby movement counts on daily basis in my last tri-semester.

Life sometimes just doesn't go as we planned it.

2. You will know what to do when the time comes.

Going into labour is a scary prospect for every expecting mother. Speaking of giving birth methods, I always dreaded (1) Being medically induced as it may be more painful than bearing contraction pains that come naturally (2) Drug-free vaginal birth because it's literally slow torture for the woman and I cannot imagine episiotomy sans anaesthesia (3) C-section because I am really scared with the idea of having my abdomen and uterus being cut open for the baby delivery. 

The moment my gynae broke the distressing news that I'd unfortunately lost Baby Dylan and had to deliver him soon by being medically induced for the vaginal birth, I was worried sick. Vaginal birth, in times like this, sounded to be the cruellest thing imaginable. Then, C-section was more like a Plan B and would only be carried out in the event of failed induction. Either way, both Plan A and Plan B here were nerve-racking for me who was not ready for baby delivery at all.

I was given less than 24 hours to organize my thoughts at home and come back to the hospital for Dylan's delivery in the next morning. In those hours, I had panic attacks three times as well as troubled sleeping and eating. In essence, I was incredibly fearful and anxious about the imminent 'forced' baby delivery. That day, I guess I spent more time worrying about the forthcoming labour instead of crying/mourning over the loss of my second baby. 

When the time to give birth to Dylan finally came, I was able to set my mind and made a decision about his delivery. In the end, the suggested induced labour went well and in my disbelief, I pulled through a natural birth without epidural. I had a considerably smooth baby delivery.

Although worrying is at times inevitable, the way I see it now, it's probably wise not to excessively think or worry over something as when the time comes, we will eventually know what to do.

3. Strangers could be angels in disguise.

When I had to arrange Dylan's burial as soon as he was delivered, I sought help from the Reverend of a church here. I went to this church several times about two years ago but had not gone there again since I had Naomi. I've seen this Reverend few times during the Sunday Service but didn't know him personally. To my surprise, this Reverend did not mind helping me to send Dylan off to his final rest though I am not part of this church congregation for almost two years. Further, he and his wife spared time to visit my husband and me in the hospital to counsel us after my son was born. His wife gave me a hug too.

Another person from the church, whom my husband and I never met, assisted my husband liaising with the undertaker in such short notice for Dylan's burial. At the cemetery, the Reverend also invited a lady who had experience in journeying along with another woman who had stillbirth. This lady was the one who encouraged me to get out of the car and witness Dylan's burial so it'd serve me a better closure. Moving forward, she emailed, sent text messages and called me to find out how I was doing and offer comforts during this difficult time. 

Not forgetting to mention my blog readers, whom I personally don't know, showered me with heartfelt condolence messages and kind words to cope with Dylan's loss. Some of them even emailed me personally. (Thank you!).

It's quite weird to see how sometimes total strangers genuinely provide us with some supports and comforts, isn't it? And they actually make our day a little better by doing such.

4. Patience is mother of all virtues.

When the whole mind-numbing incidents happened, the only advice that my Dad and BFF told me again and again was, "Be patient."

Tough times don't last, tough people do.

They were right. I was even able to go through those excruciating labour pains without epidural by just being very patient for hours.

5. What is meant to be is meant to be.

In spite of the fact that my Mom was very saddened with Dylan's passing, she did comfort me a lot by saying that Dylan is just not fated to be with me in this life and Father in Heaven wanted him back. 

Naomi's Nanny, who lost a son many years ago, also pointed that when a child had to leave, let him leave (他要走,给他走). 

It seems that everyone who is in our life is meant to be a part of our journey but not all of them are meant to stay.

6. Value presence. 

I guess my son wanted to teach me to appreciate what I have, instead of focusing what I've lost. I have to be grateful that I still have my cheeky and cute Naomi by my side. Her well-being and happiness are my utmost priorities now and to achieve these she needs a healthy and happy mother. Also, I still have my husband and parents who need me. Albeit I am emotionally ruined and heartbroken with this loss, being strong alone is not sufficient to endure this hellish situation. I need to be realistic and rational. I cannot go down otherwise other people, in this case, Naomi, my husband and parents will get the implications too. 

Other than the above Dylan's legacy for me, I absolutely cherish the easy pregnancy and epidural-free natural childbirth experiences that Dylan gave me. These are certainly two intimate beautiful memories that my son and I forever share. 

I will probably never forget Dylan nor be entirely free from the pain of losing him but I will be okay. Like my husband said, Baby Dylan is physically not with me now but he lives in my heart and mind.

P/S: I think I am making a real progress here because I didn't shed any tear when writing this post. Previously, I always cried every time I wrote something about Dylan.


  1. Christine, glad to see that you are getting better. Time does heal, but the pain and longing will always be there. After reading your first post about Dylan's passing, I was really upset and worried about you though I don't personally know you. I did a lot of reading on still-birth and found that there are so many mothers out there who went through the same thing. Every story is special and every baby will never be forgotten. Like you said, you have to focus on little Naomi as she needs happy parents around her. And her birthday is also coming soon, something to look forward too. I remember well since we both had our first-borns around the same time. Take care.


  2. Hi Sabita,

    Thank you for your concerns. I really appreciate all your supports and kind words since the beginning. Yes, after experiencing still birth, I did a lot of reading too and surprisingly, there are a lot of mothers who went through the same thing. Still births are so painful to bear, yet they are not uncommon, even on the completely normal and problem free pregnancies. They just happen.

    I remember long time ago you mentioned that our first borns were born just few days apart. Here wishing early happy birthday to your kid too. Cheers to the terrific two!

  3. I agree with all the things you said, esp #1.... because of lost, I learn to cherish what I still have. Good to see that your doing ok, be strong.

  4. Hi Christine,
    Thanks for sharing these lessons to me too...
    Be strong and take care always.

  5. Hi christine i just happened to read this story nd i am really touched thankuu soo much for sharing these lessons nd for looking at even this incident in a positive way yes we learn from all the incidents in our lives nd being patient is the key nd we must value nd appreciate what we have. As you said live happily for naomi and ur husband nd ur loving family dylan will always be by ur side jn ur hearts take care hun this story is really inspirational nd stay strong nd i will pray for you and your family may god filled your life with happiness ameen sumameen thankuu once again for sharing this experience with us i really appreaciate it. May god bless you nd your family

  6. I am so sad for you and your family. I am glad you have Naomi and a loving husband and will pray for you.

  7. You are very strong indeed.. I am a new reader, as i stumbled upon your blog while searching for local pregnancy blogs to read.
    Your experience is a great eye opener and you have listed all the positives that I wouldn't have been able to ever think of. Thank you so much from a lil stranger here :)
    I hope you and your lil family will be blessed.
    I may not be from the same religion, but i believe that lil Dylan will look after your family from above :)

  8. I lost my baby boy 4 months ago at 5 months and had to have him right then and there.. this really opened my eyes to a lot of things.. thank you for sharing!

    1. I'm sorry to hear your loss. Hope you are feeling better by now. Our angel babies are safe in God's hands.


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