Thursday, May 1, 2014

Leo's Story

I am starting this post on April 29.  It is the day after Leo was born.  It is also the day he died.  I don't know when it will be finished or published.  That is up to Leo's parents - I am just the storyteller.  But after the outpouring of love and support you all showed following God's Baby Shower, I knew the full story needed to be told.  It is still unfolding, but now that Leo has left us for the arms of the Lord, it seems appropriate to give you Leo's short but beautiful story.

Shortly before Christmas Eve, Leo's mama "Fiat" went for a routine ultra-sound.  Pregnant for the 7th time, Fiat's experiences with ultra-sounds were varied.  She has 3 children here on earth as well as five little souls in heaven who call her mommy.  She has struggled with infertility as well as maintaining pregnancies, so the fact that she 'made it' to her 18-20 week ultrasound viewing of little Leo was a minor miracle in and of itself.  But at this appointment she was told her little baby Leo would join his brothers and sisters in heaven shortly after his birth.

See Leo was suffering from a neural tube defect called anencephaly.  While baby Leo is inside the womb he is 'safe', but without the safety of his mothers womb he will not survive long.

The vast majority of times when a mother is told her child has anencephaly she chooses to abort the baby.  But Fiat sees each baby as a gift.  A child, formed in his mothers womb, for some beautiful and unique purpose unknown to us.  So Fiat carried her son to term with love, with pain, with heartache and with joy.  Each moment, each movement was a gift.  A true gift of life.  Little Leo was her child to protect and cherish as long as she and her husband could.

And then it came time for Leo to come.  Leo's dad wrote on their caringbridge blog:

Leo, this is your dad.
I am with your mom and we can hear you.  You sound so strong and I thank God for giving you such a strong Mom.  Your heartbeat will forever be ringing in my heart.  I will share your beautiful heart rhythm with the whole family.  Thank you son.  I am waiting to meet you.

And a few hours later Leo's mom posted:
Will most definitely sleep like this with the newborn close at hand. 

What has this journey meant for this family and those who have witnessed their incredible strength, faith, and commitment to God's will?  It would be premature to suppose as that journey is still unfolding.  But I will leave you, on this sad yet joyful day, with Leo's mothers own words, written just 10 days ago:

Suffering is redemptive. Suffering is not doom and gloom; complaining and lamenting are. 

We do not complain. We do not lament. We give a wholehearted thank you to the Lord our God for making Leo the way he did. We suffer, and this suffering brings us closer to Him. 

As I feel Leo inching closer to birth, litterally, I begin a phase familiar to me. A phase I saw in my dying father, which at one point strikes any terminally ill person who is conscious. You withdraw from the world, not on purpose though. If I can explain the feeling, it's a protective veil that God covers your head with to bring you face to face with him and prepare the way. It is His Divine Mercy. Ironically, I believe I am going through that on my son's behalf. My feelings are not of pessimism or hopelessness. My feelings manifest the process our Creator has made to bring us peace at the crucial moment. 

We ask for your prayers and forgiveness as my mind wanders and forgets to answer messages. I thank you for your prayers and messages. We are still praying for our miracle, but we don't demand it. 

And please read about Leo's baby shower. My favorite day of my pregnancy. The friends who put this event together are God's visible works. Thank you. 

Leo -  rest in peace sweet sweet boy.  Pray for all of us here below.   May your prayers and the prayers of loved ones bring God's peace.

And to you dear friends, please pray for this family in the time to come and especially on Saturday as Leo will be laid to rest.   Thank you in advance.

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