The questions I've gotten are about the latter.
Because it is an important part of my personal history as well as a story that should be told & re-told, I thought I'd give you a short look at that journey. Most of you who know me in 'real' life are familiar with the story.
In the spring of 2008 my sister & brother in law (Claire & Jeff) were expecting their second child, a baby boy to be named Mac. Midway through the pregnancy they were given the devastating news that Mac had some problems with his kidneys. Their perinatal specialists were able to perform an amazing procedure while Mac was still in the womb and the hope was that this would solve the problem (with the caveat that he would probably need some surgery after his birth).
They (and all of us) were cautiously optimistic for Mac's health but the worst was yet to come. Claire was hospitalized when the doctors discovered after extensive testing that Mac's kidneys has completely failed. At about 25 weeks, Claire & Jeff were told that there was virtually no chance that Mac could survive in this world. The kidney damage had caused a lack of fluid~ this lack of fluid had prevented his lungs from developing properly~ and thus he was thriving in the womb but was not expected to live after his birth.
The next 11 weeks, Claire & Jeff went about their lives as best they could. They went to work, spent time with their almost-two-year old daughter, swam at the pool, and some days just focused on putting one foot in front of the other.
Everywhere she went, Claire faced the same scenarios.... "Oh, when is the baby due?!" "How far along are you?" "Bet you can't wait till that baby is born!" But the fact was, she could wait. Because we all knew that once Mac was born, it was likely he would not be here with us for long.
The process of trying to keep everyone updated was a challenge that I assumed. Claire is not only my sister, but also my best friend, neighbor, and the best aunt to my children I could ever ask for. After having my update emails blocked by yahoo (too many recipients!) I decided to create a blog. Our plan was to use it for communication with friends & family, and to take it down when we were 'done' with it.
That blog turned into the documentation of Mac's short time here with us. It shares the thoughts & prayers of some many people who were with us in so many ways during those months. The thought of taking it down makes me feel a little sick~ and we have resisted taking it down because it seems every time I think about it, someone contacts me to tell me that they, too, are facing the loss of their unborn child and it was so helpful to them to read through the blog. People hate uncertainty- I know we did, and we read everything we could find about infant loss for the same reason.
Mac was born on July 24, 2008. He was baptized in the hospital room with all four grandparents, an aunt and an uncle present. He was loved immeasurably during his time here with us. About 20 minutes after he was born he went back home to Heaven. Our very dear photographer, Elizabeth Smith, was there with us to get the most precious pictures of Claire & Jeff's beautiful baby boy.
Mac's life is a reminder to us of so many things~ life is precious, love your children, never take a moment for granted, everyone needs hope, faith can carry you through just about anything. It is also a reminder to me of a favorite saying... 'Everyone has their own reality'. We are all dealing with something, whether it is a broken heart, a troubled spirit, a loss, a hard decision... all of us. And if we take that into account when dealing with other people, how much better would we treat one another?
If you want to read more of Mac's story, please visit www.dunwoodybarnetts.blogspot.com I think you'll be blessed by the story, and I hope that the story of Mac's short life will change your life as well.