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My child was a child, not a "clump of cells"

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When I entered the room on the first floor, the doctor made a second ultrasound. The nurse lingered for an endless minute, staring at the screen. My heart was about to burst. Then he said, much to my regret, "There is no heart activity here."

My baby was dead.  

I burst into tears, I couldn't believe it and I couldn't control my reactions. This child that had turned our lives upside down, that made us dream of the future, this child that was expected by our grandparents, by all those who loved us, was no longer there. 

The little boy who was going to be our "Christmas present", whom we saw taking his first steps, crossing the threshold of the kindergarten, growing up with his little brothers ... had already flown away.
I was there alone, with the doctor and a nurse. And I cried all the tears I had. My husband was at home with the children. And there I was, alone, carrying the weight of too heavy a message.

"I know, I'm sorry, this seems like a tragedy for you," the doctor told me. I wanted to reply: "It is like a tragedy for me? Why, what else would it be if not a tragedy?" But I was too busy crying about my baby to say anything.
The pain I felt was basically the pain of losing a child, with the aggravating circumstance that I was still carrying it lifeless inside me.
I, who had been called to be the guardian of this child, had become its grave instead. When I think back to these moments, I want to have in front of me all those who say: "The embryo, the fetus is still no one. Up to 12 weeks, up to 14, 20, 22 - and the more emotionally stiffened they are, the more weeks they put on top! - "It is nothing, it is only biological material, it is not yet a child, etc."

I want to ask each of them if they have ever had an experience like mine. I would like to know if you would have the courage to look me in the face and say, "There is no point in crying, because there was no one in you. There was only biological material". As if my baby could be compared to a cyst or a hernia. 

Our son was nine weeks old when he left us. But he was already our son! And I will not compromise on that. I will not accept ideological positions in the face of a real and concrete pain as I felt it. 

A few days ago I read some comments on a Facebook page about what life is and what it is not. People who write comfortably sitting behind a computer screen. But they have never seen my dead son, on the screen of an ultrasound machine! 

The life of Andrea (as we called our son) was precious. And not only because he already had a head, a heart, arms and legs (clearly visible on the monitor!), but above all because he was a human being from the beginning of his existence, like me, like everyone else.  

And he was my baby, from the first moment my body started to take him in. He was not the "appendix of my body", he was another living being, different from me, that I should protect. He lived attached to me, fed on what I gave him through the placenta. He was protected, in my belly. 

That was the truth, and I saw it clearly. Ideologies can be confusing, but they cannot change reality. 

Was his level of development different from my other two little ones? Yes, he was smaller, less shaped, but he had the same value as any human life.  

I already took care of all three of them with the same, identical love. 

I have two other children, maybe I wasn't careful enough...

I have some fuzzy memories of those moments, but I'm sure that the doctor told me that the baby was already dead for about two weeks (until exactly 9 weeks of life), and then she added: "It wasn't your fault, there was nothing that could have been done, there was probably a chromosomal abnormality and there was nothing that could have been done... I mean, he was deformed from the beginning. 

"Are you sure? Did I not try too hard? I have two other children, maybe I wasn't careful enough..." "No, in these cases it is not the mother's fault: it should go like this...".  "The good Lord is with you..." - the other doctor told me - "That was the right time for the pregnancy to end, otherwise it would have caused you problems too! 

From the beginning, when I saw how "discreet" this pregnancy was (I was feeling really well!), I thought: "This child will be the calmest of all... he will be the classic good person, a little shy, one who will never cause any trouble in life, one who will always be at the side of others...". 

And he was gone just before the pregnancy could cause his mother problems. I still get chills when I think about it. 

When I calmed down, the doctor and I left the room to go back upstairs where we were before. I began to ask, still sobbing, what would happen now.
The doctor mentioned that I had two options: either wait for the natural passage (with the cycle that would probably come back soon) or have surgery to do a scraping. 

"He is gone. He's dead."

I asked for some time to call my husband. She went back to the gynecological emergency room and left me alone in the hallway to make the call.
When my husband answered, I burst into tears and immediately said what was going on: "He's gone. He's dead."

Suddenly, while talking to my husband, I realized: If this son is loved by us and by God, I had to act as I would have done with any other of my sons, I had to value the life that had been with us and enriched us with his presence. 

I had two options: to let him go out alone in a natural way (but in this case - excuse me if I don't mince words - he would have ended up in a toilet) or to undergo the procedure. 

"Darling", I said, "I want to have an operation and ask for the baby's funeral.
I was sure this was a way to honor his life: This little body had, even if only for a short time, harbored an immortal soul! Since I had the choice, I didn't want it to "slip out" by itself, as if it was really just organic waste.

He was my son. What would I have done if something had happened to the other children I had?   
I would have loved them, taken care of them, followed them to the end. 

At that moment I had a choice, and I wanted my son to be treated like any loved one who dies. My husband agreed immediately. 

The process to get the funeral and burial was long and complicated. And the surgery - which I could have avoided - was demanding... but in the end we did it! Saturday, June 13th, our baby, who died in the womb after only two months of pregnancy, will receive a proper funeral and will be buried in the same cemetery where my mother is resting. 

In the living room I have a photo: I am very small (maybe I am one year old) and I am laughing, in the arms of my mother (she died of cancer two years ago).  
I like to imagine that now, in the arms of my mother, my son is in heaven.

And it is not only a thought, but my certainty. 

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Posted By: Cecilia Galatolo

Published to Testimonies on 21.09.2020
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