We lost my oldest son on December 24, 2004. Up until that point I had two healthy boys and two healthy girls; I had the perfect family.
When tragedy struck we were sent reeling. There was a huge void. We tried to carry on for the sake of the younger three (then three years, five months, and five months; yes, twins). I played pretend... how did I used to act before my world came tumbling down around my ears? I just put one foot in front of the other; that's all I could do.
After Gabriel had been gone for two years, we began to think about having another baby. We knew that no other child could ever, ever replace our Gabriel, but we knew that we did not like the number three. Three is not a good number for children, someone is always left out. We were already beginning to discover that. We began to try for baby number five. Getting pregnant for us had always been so easy (although staying pregnant had not). We tried for over a year, and nothing. We were no longer young; I was 36, still young, but not in terms of fertility. When we stopped trying was when I finally conceived.
I learned the hard way that pregnancy is really best left for the young. I had so many aches and pains that I had never had with any of my other pregnancies, and that includes the twins. When I was 31 weeks pregnant my OB informed me that I had placenta previa and needed to be in the hospital. I had had placenta previa with all of my pregnancies and it always corrected itself, but this time it did not. He told me that I need to pack a bag and be back that night.
I told him that was not going to happen. I had three children at home that I needed to make preparations for. I had nothing in place for baby number five, including a name. I told him that I would be back in two weeks. He gave me a look."You know that you could bleed to death with this?" he asked. "It would kill you and the baby." I reminded him that I have never gone into labor early, and that I would be back in two weeks with my bags packed, ready to stay away from my babies for a month.
Naming My Miracle Baby
I had been certain that I was having a boy. Every ultrasound said "girl", but I knew that they were wrong. I could feel it in my bones that this was my little boy. His name would be Thaddeus; it meant "God's gift" and this baby was "God's gift." Christopher had planned to have a vasectomy when the twins were six months. The urologist recommended waiting for babies to be six months old before sterilization because of sudden infant death syndrome. The twins were five months old when we lost our nine-year-old in a car accident. This baby was a gift, a miracle.
As I was on the way to the hospital I bought a baby names book. We still didn't have a girl's name picked out, because I knew we were having a boy. I had lots of time to spare in the hospital. I made lists of names I liked, then itemized them into number rankings. I would then call my husband and get his rankings. Our top three names were: 1. Elisha - and we would call her "Elly." 2. Lyra - very pretty, but maybe too offbeat. 3. Savanna - we loved that name, but others kept criticizing it.
On October 15, 2008, weighing a staggering eight pounds even, our Elisha Gabrielle made her first appearance. Her first name was beautiful, and her middle name was special. Even though she never got to meet her big brother, she would carry him with her forever.
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