Working on a Dream




Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baby Anthony: 1 Year later, The rest of the Story...

Baby Anthony: 1 Year later. 
The UNseen pictures, the UNrelenting pain of loss & the rest of the story.

Written before Anthony's Birthday, during a sleepless night.

-I don’t even know where to start.

Today is Anthony’s birthday. Shouldn’t I be busy buying candles, a cake and whatever else a 1 year old gets? The stark reality is that today, there will be no decorations and no cameras to capture the highlights.

Today my house has none of the above, just memories.

Memories of the most thrilling 9 months, followed up by a mixture of the most terrifying 9 days of my life.

About a month ago, I went to buy a new phone and as I was going to turn in my old one, I checked the videos/pictures to make sure there wasn’t anything important on it before I threw it away.

There was.

The beginning of the video started out kind of fuzzy, but then I zoomed out to find Christen 8 months pregnant with you. You were in your mommy’s belly and she was rubbing you. Then, totally out of the blue, you started moving like crazy. As I watched this, it felt like the world stopped spinning and time just paused.
-There you were. OK. Alive.
-Everything in the world was great.

-Then the video stopped-

It goes without saying: I kept the phone.
This is kind of weird but I can actually remember the last normal day of my life. It was New Year’s Eve 2011. That day your mom and I were really excited. Mom went to get a new hair cut; dad stood home cooking the traditional meal on New Years. When mom came home, she was full of smiles, dragging in some bags containing a brand new coffee maker and a “daddy gift.” This was my last truly great day.
--It is something; I can actually mark the last truly great day of my life.

-That is the last day that I consider my life being normal.
My mind often races back to those 9 months.

Your mom drove me crazy at times as she literally watched e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g she put into her body; she adhered to every “jot and tittle” of what a pregnant mother should and should not do. I am not just talking about things like Tylenol or Advil either; I mean she even watched to the CALORIE.

-She did this because she loved you and wanted to ensure that you had the best start possible. I guess God is ironic, because when you were born, you were surrounded by other babies that had parents that didn’t seem to care so much about them. You see, you were in a room with other tiny babies that were fighting for their lives too. Some because of natural problems like you –but most were 1 or 2 months premature because of their parents addictions. I felt bad for the other babies because they never had parents that came to visit.

But you on the other hand,
had an entire community of people that was pulling for you.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends...and not to mention, people from around the globe.

One night in the hospital, everyone in the family had the privilege to hold you in their arms. Christen and I were happy to share you with such wonderful people. We wanted you to experience your family from day one…we just never thought it would be under such dreadful circumstances. I am certain that everybody that looked forward to holding you for the last 9 months never thought that their first time would be their last too…

Anthony, we were all there with you the entire time and you were literally never alone without 2 or 3 people right beside you.

--Talking to you, praying for you, reading the Bible to you.
Friends of ours graciously got us a hotel about a minute away from West Penn, but your mom would not stay there. She would not leave you. Not for a second. She stood by your side, fighting through the pain of a fresh “C” section and sleeplessness to be sure everything was OK.

On another night in the hospital, I recall a beautiful, yet sorrowful memory when your Aunt Lindsay and I were reading a part of the Bible out loud to you and you opened up your eyes. Anthony, I am sure you recognized the familiar passage as it was the same part of the Bible that I would read to you while you were in mommy’s belly:

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,

and be gracious to you.

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,

and give you peace.

I chose those verses for you from day 1 because I wanted you to hear about God, His grace and His marvels before you were even born.  My heart's desire was that as the Lord blessed you, you would in turn, bless others.  I kinda think that is what happened during those 9 days of struggle, but I cannot say for sure. 
-What I can say for sure is that you became an evangelist, calling people back to Jesus. 
-You transformed into an instrument of God's grace, a living angel and displayed for us all a fighting spirit that transcends the normal...

-Like father, like son-

For the sake of space, I will share part 2 tomorrow
-Please stop back and finish this with me. 
I know I can't see you and you can't see me, but trust me when I say that every little comment, like, and share means something to me.  It shows that little Anthony's life still impacts us all. 


Michele said...

Tears in my eyes.... If you havent heard it, might I suggest Laura Story's Blessings? It's a beautiful song that reminds me so much of all of our children and what we've all gone through (and continue to go through)

Anonymous said...

I started reading your blog when I heard about Baby Anthony through Facebook friends in New Castle. I had not prayed in a very long time, but after I heard about your family, I prayed for you and yours.

Thank you for sharing your story. <3


Anthony K said...

-Thank you for your kind words. This was rough to write. But I am glad that I did...

Cameron said...

Anthony~ I will never forget your beautiful baby, EVER! He touched so many lives and I know in Heaven he knows this already. This post let many tears shed. I still think that it is so unfair but I just want you to know that even in the darkest hour, when you feel like you are alone, Anthony and God will always be right beside you and so will all of us who love you so much!!!


Ann Mullen said...

Anthony, there are no words for the loss you suffered, but I have a few images for you.

God knew Baby Anthony as a spirit in Heaven. He knew that the adult spirit Anthony was so very close to purity that he just needed a body to be like his big brother Jesus. Anthony didn't need to spend time on earth learning lessons. He had all the information already. So God sent Anthony as a baby only to get that body. Then he was able to go back home to start doing missionary work for others of his family. You and Christen will be resurrected and behold your son.

So for the meantime, why not have a cake for Baby Anthony. Celebrate his great goodness and valiance. He is one of the great ones of the time period. And God knew that you would hurt and grieve, but He hopes you will know the truth of what I have shown you.--love,Annie

Sheila L. said...

Tears for sure... I am deeply moved by the strength you and Christen have. I can't imagine the pain you have dealt with. My kids and I will say a special prayer for your family tonight. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you. I don't know your wife. But your words are very powerful and your story has touched a lot of people - including myself. I have gone through loss, but not the loss of a child, and even though I don't have children yet, it is a great fear of mine.

What really stood out to me is how deep your love and dedication for your son is. I have never known that. My dad left before I was two. I don't feel like I can honestly say that my father loves me or ever loved me. You gave your son a great gift - his father's love. I am confident that he felt it before he was born, the short time he was with you, and continues to feel it now. Love is how we communicate with Heaven, and I am sure that you and your wife are in constant contact with your son.
May God ease your pain and give you peace.