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Jonathan Garcia

 

Although my story is not a recent one, it is something that I still carry with me and will for all eternity and if I can bring peace or comfort to anyone then I'd be more than happy in sharing it.

Jonathan Garcia was born February 21,1984 he was 7 lbs and 21- 1/2 inches. I was only 21 years old back then, and he was my second baby.

I had a healthy baby girl born in 1981 and no family history of anything on both sides. I carried a normal pregnancy, ate well, took good care of myself and took the pre-natal vitamins during the entire pregnancy. So there was no need for my doctors to worry or do any testing as there was nothing to alarm anyone. The only thing I can recall now in looking back is that the baby while inside me moved a lot. I'd mention it to the doctor at the checkups but I did not realize all that excessive moving was the baby having convulsions and seizures. I honestly didn't realize it nor was I able to explain it other than saying the baby moves too much.

I only learned of Jonathan being anencephalic 3 days before he was born. He was a full term baby with a due date of Feb 14th.

It was only at my last routine visit with the doctor on Feb 18th that he asked me to go to the hospital to have an ultrasound as he then suspected a breech baby. Ignorantly thinking that perhaps maybe this was the case and then maybe needing a c-section, I went. In looking back now I can recall the face of the female technician who seemed sad while performing this. But at the time, all I was saying was: “I am certain I am having a boy and his name is Jonathan.” She never answered me but I can still remember now her look of sadness or pity. My doctor was called and he then asked me to take an x-ray to confirm. He only explained it as: “well, let’s see if all is ok with size and see if nothing is broken like a leg or arm” but his face did seem sad and worried if I think of it now. Only back then I was too young, too excited that I didn't see anything. After all the tests were done he called me into his office, and quite honestly, the way he broke the news I think was just so damn horrible and even ignorant. But is there really any good way of doing this?

The first thing out of his mouth was forget about this baby: “don't love it any more it will not live long, it is sick and will die.” Then he explained that what Jonathan had was a freak of nature and how it is a one in a million thing that happens in pregnancy and how some women miscarry but I didn't. Can you imagine hearing that? He called it a neural tube birth defect I think, but did not say any more. And frankly I was so young that I guess I would not be able to understand more.

My husband and I left the office devastated and just not knowing what to do. All I remember doing is crying and being so angry at God and life. It was so un fair because I never did any drugs nor did I consume alcohol nor were there any birth defects in either of our families. So I just could not understand.

After crying to the point of insanity some how I managed to keep strong and deal with what gave me and I had a baby to take care of already. But it was very difficult when my 2 1/2 year old baby girl kept asking when will Jonathan be born, “I want him home mommy.” My poor husband was not able to give me comfort he just backed away into his own grief and he acted as if nothing. He refused to even talk about it. The family nor any friends didn't know what to say or they'd say stupid things like “well you will have another child don't worry.”

Three days passed and it was time to give birth to baby Jonathan. It was a very long and painful natural birth and even though they medicated me as much as they could, nothing really helped as I knew what was going to happen. They did make me receive some anaesthesia when he finally came out, so I was not able to see him immediately. Hours later they brought him in with his little white cap and I was too afraid, too weak to even hold him and only held his tiny hand instead. I loved him already and it was just so painful to see this beautiful perfect angel in front of me and know he wasn't mine to keep.

Little by little that first night I found the strength till I was able to carry him in my arms and rock him. I remember a song playing at that precise moment in the nursery -" I can't smile without you" By Barry Manillow and all I could do was listen to the words while kissing my sweet angel while my tears rolled onto him too and sing him most of those words. He was just so beautiful and I just told him over and over how much he was wanted and loved. I needed to let him know and so the 3 days while I was in the hospital I spent all my time with him.

They say those babies do not cry, but my son did. I was so thankful for a kind loving nurse who snapped a few instant pics of him for me because today I can still view them and remember him.

My son died on that third day, right after I left the hospital they called me at home to come back (just as I had gotten home). It was very sad and very difficult to hold my dead baby boy now I had thought I would still be going to visit him for a while longer, but somehow I knew he was in peace at last. His mission here although brief was to fill me with love and compassion and to value all I have in life, all given to us.

Jonathan was buried in our family plot where I always still lovingly visit him.

My son would have been 23 now. I know that something like this is just so traumatic and difficult to deal with but we must remember always that all happens for a reason even if we can't understand it. I often have little signs that show me he is with me and is a gift God gave me. I hope they fill someone with comfort because for me they truly do. I always prayed to God through the years for signs to show me he is with me and I will tell you that I have received those small signs. A few years ago when my oldest lived in Albany for law school, her younger sister I had gone to visit her. We had gone into a local mall it was around Christmas time so my girls wanted to look in a holidays ornament store. I waited patiently outside and had thought a lot on this day of my son and how I'd have 3 children here today with me if he was still here. I was a bit sentimental as the holidays were approaching and then I decided to go in the store not to ruin it for my girls. As I walked in a display of tiny tree ornament angels quickly caught my eyes (it's as if something magnetic drew me there) and I just grabbed one without really looking but just to purchase it because I loved angels and it secretly reminded me of him. It wasn't till I was paying for it that I looked underneath it and realized it said "Jonathan". As you can imagine tears filled me and my girls when they saw it but they were happy tears because this was no coincidence. Like this many other things have happened to me and I have found peace and comfort in knowing that yes these babies are in fact angels God gave onto us and they came for a reason. I had though it had been very sad and ironic that a tombstone I had purchased only a few months before I had Jonathan, for the family plot where my grandfather had been buried in would be where my baby was going to go months later. But somehow God wanted me to purchase it as it would be also for my son. I do not believe these are coincidences but just God's way instead.

Here I am 23 years later, a proud mom of 2 precious girls, Jennifer my 25 year old who just recently became a New York Attorney, and my beautiful Jeanette who is 20 and thinking of nursing. God has blessed me with them but mainly with my beautiful Jonathan as he will always be in my heart and a big part of me. His mom will never forget him.

Thank You for allowing me to share my story, although it may not be recent for me in many ways it's as if it were only yesterday as I can vividly recall every last detail of it.

Sincerely,



Brooklyn, N.Y

 

Last updated 10 October 2007