When we started thinking about trying to conceive last year, I stumbled across a pregnancy website and found myself reading and posting to messageboards talking to other women trying to conceive. When I got pregnant, I joined my "Due Date Club" messageboard on the site--a place for women due in February 2008 to post questions and concerns and discuss the joys of (and the not-so-fun stuff about!) pregnancy. We have women from all over the country, and many from around the world. Single moms, first-time moms, veteran moms. Everybody had a unique situation, but we were brought together by the unique experience of pregnancy and motherhood
Over the past year the women on the board have gotten to know each other, and have supported each other through difficult pregnancy symptoms, scary prenatal testing, amusing bodily emissions issues, childbirth, and the amazing transformation into mothers of beautiful babies.
The internet is an interesting place. I've perused other messageboards where people get clique-y, nasty, judgemental, and argumentative. But, my messageboard friends always agreed that the Feb '08 board was special in that we didn't see much of the negative. Despite differing backgrounds and views, we found ourselves in an incredibly supportive environment, even if it was filled with people we only knew through keystrokes and photographs.
One of the women on my board found out during her pregnancy that her baby boy, Lincoln, would be born with Down Syndrome. It was her first pregnancy, and she and her husband were beyond excited to meet the little boy they called their "precious gift" before he was even born. She went through a lot of testing during her pregnancy that involved driving to a faraway hospital and spending weeks at a time away from home. When Lincoln was born, she posted pictures of her beautiful baby boy and we all admired her for her strength and joy in the face of difficulty.
Last week, Lincoln got sick and ended up in the hospital. His situation was critical, and the doctors could not figure out what was causing his decline. His mom posted updates to the board regularly and she got an outpouring of support. We all agreed that the problems we were used to posting about on the board--leaky diapers, babies not sleeping through the night, holding on to those extra pregnancy pounds--seemed silly and selfish when we knew of a mom who was by her baby's bedside in the NICU praying for him to get better.
Early yesterday morning, baby Lincoln passed away. He was only a few weeks older than Maia. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a baby, and my heart breaks for her and her husband.
I am not the most patient Mom in the world, but the next time I get frustrated by a few minutes of crying, I hope to remind myself how lucky I am to have a beautiful, healthy baby, and that there are moms out there who would give anything to hear their babies' cries again but never will.