Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I'm feeling sentimental as the year winds down to an end. I'm grateful for all of my blessings, and this letter I wrote to Meghan when she was 1 year old really and truly recaps how I'm feeling, which is incredibly blessed. Some of you may have seen this already, but it bears repeating. I hope Meghan cherishes it when she is older.

Dear Meghan,

When your sister was about 15 months old I was having so much fun being a mommy, I began to have what we, mommies, call baby lust. Your big sister, Gracie, was at a very fun age filled with exploration and inquisitiveness, but she had Alpha-1.

Your daddy and I eventually decided to add to our family, but that was not without reservations. We discussed having another baby from a risk benefit perspective. After all, I had a high risk pregnancy and birth experience with Gracie because preeclampsia reared its ugly head. My life and Gracie’s life had been threatened by my high blood pressure, seizure risk, and kidney dysfunction. In addition to preeclampsia, we also carried the Alpha-1 genes. It was a confusing and stressful time in our lives. We weren’t sure we wanted to inflict that possibility on another child by choice.

In looking at it in terms of benefits, we were normal adults who wanted to grow our family and cultivate the love we had for one another in our children. It wasn’t fair that preeclampsia happened to me. It wasn’t fair that we both carried the Alpha-1 Z gene. It wasn’t fair that we had no control over preeclampsia or our genes. I knew in my head that I didn’t ask for preeclampsia or Alpha-1, but somewhere deep down inside, I felt like I failed as a parent. I wallowed in the guilt, but somehow, somewhere I eventually found the strength to pull myself out of the darkness and be there for your daddy and Gracie. I’m so happy that God helped me because that led me to you, my baby girl, Meggie.

Unfortunately, I developed preeclampsia with you too, and this time at 25 weeks gestation. You were born a peanut weighing an unbelievable 1 pound, 9.5 ounces, and stretching out to be 13 inches long at 27 weeks. You were in the fight for your life. We weren’t certain that you’d be okay. Your lungs were quite immature, and your liver was not working as it should. I kept wondering what that meant if you were an Alpha like Gracie. What would it mean if you had Alpha-1 and you were born too early? What would that mean for your future lung and liver health?

After about 2 ½ months in NICU, you had finally stabilized enough to have your Alpha-1 tests. I remember getting a call from your daddy, who was visiting you in the NICU. He was there when they delivered the test results. You were an Alpha, too. My heart sank. I could hear the sadness in his voice. Tears streamed down my cheeks. It was a hard day, but I soon remembered how much of a miracle you truly were. You were not a guaranteed child. You were a gift from God.

So Meghan, I write this letter so you understand that your mommy and daddy didn’t want to take a chance with your life. We just knew deep down inside that we needed to be parents again. You were meant to be. We’re sorry that Alpha-1 is a part of your life, but we want you to know that it should not define you. You are our sweet, inquisitive, joyful daughter who also happens to have Alpha-1. Your mom and dad love you, and, yes, we will probably always struggle with guilt, but we get to experience the miracle of you. That overrides the guilt.


Submitted to Wrapped Emotions for the Gift of Every Moment:

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EA said...

Beautiful letter!

~Melissa~ said...

What a wonderful letter - I'm sure it will be very special to your daughter!

Childlife said...

What a beautiful letter Jen! It will be such a special one for her to have one day.

Your phrase "you were not a guaranteed child" just resonates with me. I think more than anything I have experienced as the parent of a special medical needs child, I have cherished the gift of the realization of just how precious life is. You are an amazing mom!

~ Melody ~ said...

Jen, you've written what will be a treasured gift for your daughter. "you were not a guaranteed child"...I feel this as a mom of sons who were not suppose to live.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful life.

Sheila said...

A beautiful letter! I too had preeclampsia in my first pregnancy. It made the miracle of birth seem even more so for me!

Killlashandra said...

Touching letter.

Jennifer Sprague, All Natural Mommies said...

WOW - that's an amazingly touching letter.

Amy said...

Jen, your words never cease to amaze me. You are a wonderful writer and I know that Meghan will cherish this letter forever.

Kim said...

It is so wonderful that you wrote this for her. I am sure it will mean a great deal to her when she is old enough to understand.

Kim @ TheBitterBall

Jenny is Live & In Color said...

What a beautiful, touching letter. I love your honesty, she will, too.

Casdok said...