Today is my daughter’s birthday. If you know our family, you’d question; Is it Becky, Cassie, or Janna? but not so, it’s Martha Ann, my eldest. She was born the first day of Spring, March 21, 1977. Martha Ann would be 31-years old today if she were alive.
She arrived as a stillbirth when I was 7 months pregnant; 2-lbs., 3.5-ounces, and 14-inches long. She died about an hour before delivery. A blood clot in the umbilical cord cut off her circulation. I had been bleeding a good 24-hours before delivery because the placenta had pulled away from my uterus. After some time of waiting, watching, and test results; the doctor eventually said, “I am now making decisions on your behalf and not the baby’s.” If I had lived in the olden days, I wouldn’t have made it; and, if I delivered in this day and age, I’m guessing, I would probably have had a C-section early in the delivery process and with the technology skills of the day, Martha Ann would have made it. I’m grateful, that in spite of how things turned out, that the experience went the way it did. I think things happened in the best interest of all as hard as it may seem. I certainly wouldn’t have had all the other children I have had if I had had a C-section. We also learned a thing or two in the process; one in particular was made more clear in our minds and in our hearts - Families Can Be Together Forever.
Martha Ann looked like a little doll. I will be forever grateful to the nurse who wrapped her up and brought her to Hugh and I to hold; that little moment together was precious. Being a preemie she had such tiny little fingers and tiny little toes, dark hair with some length to it, and a look as if she was peacefully sleeping. She was warm to the touch, not cold. She seemed so alive to me and as I held her I somehow thought she might wake up in my arms. How amazing she was and how sad not to take her home. Later we had a little graveside funeral and Hughie dedicated her grave.
Martha Ann is buried here in Lancaster. Her cousin, Stephen David Lockhart, was buried next to her almost 10 years later. With a lapse of ten years you wouldn't think that the grave site next to Martha Ann would have been available; but it was, so the baby cousins are buried next to each other. I believe it to be a tender mercy. Steven David Lockhart was three-weeks old and died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome/crib death). It’s interesting that my sister, Beth, nor I were living in Lancaster when we lost our babies. We were both visiting family, which was a help and support to us at the time. Consequently, in being here, we both buried our babies here. They are gone the way of all the earth, but they are certainly not forgotten, and certainly alive in Christ.