Our oldest was only nine months old when my husband and I found out our second son, Hudson, was on the way. We were excited and surprised in the best of ways. We started thinking about how close our boys would be growing up together and the money we could save with the hand-me-downs and shared toys. We could picture the two of them doing their entire lives together. As a mom, you know that everything changes when you find out you’re pregnant. You begin to think in timelines around doctors’ appointments and due dates. You start planning a nursery and what life will be like based on the arrival of this new incredible bundle of joy.
This was true for me. I started thinking about baby showers, maternity leave, preparing his big brother, and a future as a mom of two little boys under two years old. But, about halfway through my pregnancy, we found out that Hudson had a severe congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. It meant that Hudson’s heart only had two functioning chambers instead of the four in a normally developed heart.
A few months after that diagnosis, we were told he had several other complications, including excess fluid in his abdomen, and that our best bet for his survival was an immediate move from North Carolina to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. So, in a whirlwind, we dropped everything, including a full-time job, and moved.
We were in Philadelphia for nine months where we welcomed our precious second born, and where we also lost him after many surgeries and a strong fight. I feel incredibly honored to be Hudson’s mom and the experience of loving him has forever changed who I am. I experience his absence all the time, whether in big moments or in small ones. I see where he belongs at the dinner table and in the backseat next to his brother. I miss out on buying gifts for his birthday and Christmas. Tears come easily and regularly. Sometimes I just have to take the day to grieve my precious, strong heart warrior.
As my husband and I have been working through and facing the devastating grief of losing a child, we talked about growing our family again. We both remembered conversations we had during our dating and engagement about hopes for our future. One of our dreams was to have biological children, and also to adopt children. We would say to one another, “Have two. Adopt two.”
We’re now pursuing adoption to grow our family. We’ve spent the last year or so completing all of the many requirements to be approved for our home study and by our agency. Now, we simply wait for THE phone call that says we’re matched with our child. As you can imagine, I am glued to my phone!
Becoming a mom has been a wonderful gift to me even though one of my babies is not with me. I got married in my mid-thirties. Honestly, in my single years, I had moments where I wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to become a mom. But, I certainly never, ever dreamed that I would be a mom of loss. It is for certain that no one wants that title. With God’s grace, I’ll always juggle the deep emotions of loving my first born son, grieving the loss of my second born son, and the exciting anticipation of becoming a mom again for the third time through adoption.