Parental Love

Tree in Winter

The young couple, first-time parents in Philadelphia, can’t possibly know how many strangers have sobbed – with them, for them – over the past few days. Many of the anonymous sobbers got word via desperate e-mail: “Sorry for mass message … don’t know what to do … these friends … their baby … please pray, send healing vibes, whatever … updates on baby blog.” So we did – all of the above. And compulsively we refreshed our screens, hoping the baby blog would deliver good news – news that the skull fractures and bleeding suffered from a birth gone wrong would heal with no serious consequences.

The blog detailed, in pictures and words, all the pre-birth joy of the pregnancy: sonogram, news it was a boy, baby shower, 36 photos of a nursery lovingly prepared (chartreuse walls, bright striped carpet, carefully chosen pictures, stuffed toys, white crib, even access to a rooftop deck that showcased billowing clouds above the city). But when the update came, the news was not good. The baby had been alert and responsive immediately after his traumatic birth, but the bleeding could not be controlled; his brain registered no activity on EEG.

With sleepless father shuttling between hospitals – mother in one, baby another – these young parents were forced to accept the loss of a child they never knew, a child they loved beyond measure. The child lives on in memory and grief – of family, friends, and countless anonymous sobbers. But he lives in joy as well, his courageous heart beating in another small chest, sharing his parents’ love.

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