The Love I Still Have, On Mother’s Day

This was written a few months after my son’s birth/death and published in *The BC Catholic May 11, 2009.  Wishing you all a blessed and gentle Mother’s Day as we remember our children knowing that we will always be mothers to these precious children in heaven. 

 ~ Written in Loving Memory of Baby Keaton Dominic ~ 

Born into Eternal Life Jan. 16, 2009.

Almighty God, giver of all that is good, we thank You for the precious gift of human life:  for life in the womb, coming from your creative power…

(Beginning excerpt from the Prayer for Reverence for Life, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver)

On the Friday before Mother’s Day last year I was driving to work in a semi-conscious state, as I had slept in and was running a bit late.  I had skipped breakfast, so my stomach was grumbling and I was only half-listening to the radio.   

My ears perked up when I heard the female announcer say, “Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the mothers-to-be out there!”  The other radio DJ jokingly answered, “They aren’t mothers yet!  Can we say that to a pregnant woman?”

“Of course!” The female DJ shot back in a cheery voice.   “They count!”  This little tit-for-tat got me thinking and I was now fully alert.

“What if I am going to be a mom?’ I wondered.  This thought took my breath away.  “What if I am pregnant and I don’t even know it?!”  I whispered out loud with a lump in my throat.  My eyes began to mist, and the tears that started to emerge took me by surprise. 

My husband and I had only started trying to conceive a few months earlier, and I did not want to get my hopes up by getting too excited or emotional.  We had been married for almost nine years and because of some health issues, I had to be on medication for quite a long time. 

I had been warned by several doctors that the drugs I had been prescribed could harm a baby and should not be taken while pregnant.  On the other hand my doctor knew how important it was for me to have a child and urged us not to wait too long. 

I finally decided to stop taking the medication after a distinct dream I had one night.   The only thing I could remember was waking up startled and the faint echo of a young voice exclaiming, “Mommy, I want to be born!”  How could I argue with this request?

For almost half a year I became sick, struggling as I no longer had a crutch to suppress my immune system.  I had faith, however, that God would help me, and I knew that staying off the prescription medication was the right thing to do.  My maternal instincts were very strong and I knew that it would be worth the pain.

“Please, God, gift us with a baby.  All I ask, is for You to bless us with at least one.”   I did not know at the time, but it turned out we were already a few weeks pregnant last Mother’s Day.  Perhaps it was God Who sent me that special message that morning as I drove to work. 

After my doctor confirmed that I indeed was carrying precious cargo and my baby was growing inside, we were slightly stunned, but still thrilled.  My prayers were finally answered, and my dream of starting a family was about to come true! 

“This child is Yours, Lord, and will always know and love You.  Please keep our baby safe.”  This was my daily prayer and heartfelt promise to Jesus.   

We considered this child, our first and only one so far, to be a miracle because we had to wait so long, but we were beyond excited and could hardly believe that we would soon be meeting our little one. 

Our beautiful baby at 34 weeks

Several months ago, while I was in the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I thought about how we would celebrate my first Mother’s Day, all three of us finally together.  However, for some reason, I was still cautious. 

Our son or daughter was due to be born on January 19, 2009.  This was extra special because the baby was expected to arrive almost 20 years after our first date back in January 1989 as we had been high school sweethearts since then. 

Sadly, we did not celebrate our 20th anniversary.  Instead, our dreams were shattered, because on Jan. 16, only three days before he was due, our son was born sleeping.  Our precious baby had gently passed away in my womb only hours before his birth; there was nothing the medical staff or I could have done to save him. 

We were absolutely devastated.  The agony and excruciating pain I felt as I cradled his lifeless body was indescribable.  I did not want to let my baby go…

We named our little angel, Keaton Dominic and we miss him terribly.  Our beautiful boy was born with such a peaceful look on his perfect and plump face.  His sweet lips formed an unforgettable smile reassuring us that he was happy and that he had already soared to heaven.  We take great comfort in knowing that Keaton is now safe in heaven and that he will always love and be loved by Our Lord. 

It has been difficult, but I have slowly come to terms with how God answered my prayers.  On Sundays, when we pray the Reverence for Life prayer during Mass, I instinctively touch my tummy and often have to fight back tears.  This prayer has such special meaning now. 

I cannot help but visualize Keaton’s tiny white casket placed in front of the altar at St. Nicholas Church, where we held his prayer service and offered his funeral Mass.  The baptismal font where Father John would have baptized our son was just a few strides away.  When I go to church and look at the water, it stings knowing that Keaton was just not meant to be baptised in our our arms.   

 

This Mother’s Day I will joyfully honour my mom and mother-in-law, but my heart will also weep, as I will not be able to hold our baby on what was to be our first Mother’s Day together.  I am still a mother and always will be; as our Catholic faith teaches, we became parents the moment our son was conceived.  Even though Keaton did not take a breath and I did not get a chance to gaze into his innocent eyes, I love him just as fiercely as any other mother loves her child. 

Keaton, Mama & Papa

Thank you, my little angel, for the blessings you have given us, as they are many.  We love you very much!  Thank you, God, for giving us baby Keaton, our miracle child who now resides with You in heaven and will remain in our hearts forever.

Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “YES” to Your gift.  May we defend it and promote it from conception to its natural end. And bring us at last, O father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.   Amen.

(Ending excerpt from the Prayer for Reverence for Life,  Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver)

This was written in loving memory of our son and dedicated to all the mothers and fathers who will “celebrate” Mother’s Day with empty arms.  Here is my heartfelt prayer to you:

May God grant us the strength and peace needed to endure our grief so that we are able to celebrate, on this day, our babies, who have died and were born into Eternal Life.  We parents pray that the Holy Spirit will give us direction so we can live our lives with great purpose and meaning.  We thank You, Lord, for all Your blessings, and have faith that Your ultimate desire is for us to join You in heaven, where we hope to be reunited with our children.  In the meantime, may You and Our Blessed Mother hold them safe in Your loving arms.   Amen. 

 *Reprinted with permission 

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