Our Sweet Pete

Here are the facts that have brought me to this post: About a month ago we lost our number five. He is a boy and we named him Pete. Sweet, sweet Pete. 

I think I'm ready to step back and reflect on the whole experience. I'm not saying this is over, because I never want it to be, but I'm able to see now some things that were truly beautiful during this heart wrenching experience. I can't not share some of them. 

So, here's the story of our Pete and how he's impacted our lives so far.

The first time I realized we might be blessed with a number five, I took some time to write a poem. The kids were in bed and I was able to approach the possibility that my exhaustion was just the beginning of three more months of nausea and fatigue with pure gratitude. Gratitude for the four gifts we've already been given and hope for more.  

Moments after writing this, and reading it a few times, I confirmed my suspicion and knew we had been given another child. It was such a gift to learn of him in a moment of hope and gratitude since I'm more prone to reacting with a little bit of fear and a lot of apprehension. But, Theodore had already taught me to choose gratitude over that nonsense. Praise God.

So I made it through another first trimester. And, though I didn't always behave well, I remained in the gratitude that began this pregnancy. 

When I was fourteen weeks I had to rush into the doctors office so they could check up on me because of some symptoms I was having. They weren't concerned about the baby though, just me. So, I wasn't scared. However, my good friend, who had dropped me off yelled something to me as I was walking away from her towards the office. 

"Courage, dear heart." 

"Aslan says that, right?"

We had briefly talked earlier about how Giorgio has been enjoying the Chronicles of Narnia and she felt compelled to gift me with that line. 

After my appointment, almost as an afterthought, the midwife checked the heartbeat of my babe. She couldn't find one. I wasn't worried. In fact, in those few minutes afterwards, I was at peace and unconcerned with her lack of discovery. I'm not sure if was certain they would find a beat when we did an ultrasound in the next room, or if I knew that they would not. Either way, I found peace.

And then, they didn't. And it was hard. 

"Courage, dear heart." 

Thank God for inspiring a writer to make a lion utter those words to a little girl. 

The un-beautiful part that needs to be shared about all of this is that I felt abandoned at that moment. I knew I was being given courage, but in many ways I didn't want it. I really just wanted it to have been a scheduled OB appointment so at least Josh would have been with me. And of course, I wanted them to check again and announce that they were mistaken.  Mostly, I wanted our good God to make things go a different way, to change at least one circumstance of that horrible moment. Instead, he gave me courage and trust, and I couldn't help but feel it. 

After consulting with our doctor, making plans, and then cancelling plans, changing doctors, and making new plans, we were finally set up to deliver this baby with more dignity than was originally proposed. 

It all happened so beautifully and Pete's was the most peaceful of any of our five deliveries. And, when the nurse beheld our child for the first time, she saw what I saw. Our beautiful Pete. 

Or, actually we all saw what we thought was our beautiful Lucy, until we discovered, to our surprise, he was most definitely Pete. Really, why would we have thought that Josh and I would have made a girl? :)

The naming was easy. I knew I wanted to communicate to our boys here that they had another brother to help them from heaven. I want them to understand that while they fight the good fight, they have a fellow lionheart up in heaven whispering courage to them. So, we chose Peter, the oldest brother in the books, we just dropped the 'r'. 

We were able to bury Pete next to Theodore on Tuesday morning. Up until the burial, the sense of abandonment remained and in many ways was strengthened by various struggles of everyday life that had to march on, despite our grief. This feeling was itself one of the greatest gifts, surprisingly. Though I felt alone and unheard in so many ways, I was so completely loved, understood, and taken care of by my husband and in our marriage. Josh carried us during this month, and I'm not sure there are many other things more consoling than realizing just how much your husband loves you. How could I not be grateful?

The sense of abandonment subsided two nights before the burial when I received a call from my beloved cousin who I learned would be able to be at the burial. The next night I received a midnight phone call from my beloved friend who I had been yearning to talk to during this loss. She was the first one I told when I found out I was expecting again. She's a religious sister, though, and I was unsure of when I would be able to share it all with her. So she called that night before we buried Pete.

"Bethy, do you still have a baby in your belly?"

She had been unaware that we had lost him. It was such a gift to know she now knew, and would be at mass, praying for us during his burial.

I was not abandoned. 

I haven't even explained the most beautiful part of all this. Pete. He is in heaven with his brother and we get to be blessed by him.

I'm sure most of this was too much information, but I write it to remember, and to give gratitude to all those who really were there when I felt alone, to my nurse, and to my husband, but mostly to Jesus, who loves us and gave us a beautiful gift, that we didn't lose. Pete is with us still.  

Below are some photos from my phone from the day of the burial. Giorgio was able to write a note on the back of a picture to bury with Pete. So that rocked my world.