Triggers set off memories, sometimes good ones and sometimes not so good ones. A picture was posted of a recent Cleveland Indians game with a fan wearing a throwback uniform of one of my old favorite baseball players, Cory Snyder. It brought back memories of the day my son Cory died.*
I recall back in 1988 being so excited that our next try for child number two was going much smoother than the first (which had turned into an early term miscarriage). We were now at week 16, and the doctors said you have crossed that hump. We could not wait to see the results of the ultrasound. The pound pound pound of the heartbeat increased our heartbeats to our own hearts being filled with joy.
We just had to know, so the doc zoomed in to the middle to find out, is this a boy or a girl.
I began having dreams of tossing the baseball in the yard with my son. The little point had clearly provided the prognosis that we were going to have a boy. Our faith in God had grown some by now, our healthy daughter was almost two, and surely we were about to be blessed after going through some rough periods. So excited was I about the chance to pitch the whiffle ball in the backyard with my boy that I picked up a bat and ball on the way home. I mused it would be fun to hit the ball for the dog and have him chase it. But in my mind, this would be for me and my boy.
Cory Snyder was to be the savior of my beloved Cleveland Indians that year. He was a tall shortstop, just like me, and he could hit the ball a mile (just like I wished I could, lol). Cleveland had just finished NOT in last place for the first time in a long while (in 1988) and was on the verge of finally having a team of promise. They had a new superstar who smacked 28 homers that year. It didn’t take a lot of thought to pick which player to name him after as Julio, Andre or Otis did not sound like good fits to go with our last name, and I couldn’t name him Joe, as I already used Joe Jr. (after Super Joe Charboneau ) on baby loss #1.
My baby boy would be named after Cory.
My motivation at work was jettisoned into ‘increase the finances mode.’ We would need a new crib, baby carriage and most importantly a bigger house. I went into high gear on the sales calls and jokingly told my customers I would soon have an extra mouth to feed. People really do soften up when you share your life with them in the sales work world. One customer moved up their ordering cycle and handed me a nice sized order.
I was in high gear and making cold calls like never before. (Note to you sales managers of the world, motivated employees produce much more than beaten down micro-managed ones). I had a picture of my baby daughter plastered in front of my desk as extra motivation. The joy she provided was going to be even greater when her baby brother would arrive in the spring. She was excited as well.
A few weeks went by, and the worries of another miscarriage seemed to subside. However, that Motherly sense that a man can barely understand set in on my wife, Cindy. One morning when I was sleeping soundly she tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Something seems wrong.’ We called our Doctor and scheduled an appointment right away.
We didn’t say a word on the drive over to the appointment. In my upbringing, it was understood you never mention talking about the possibility of a bad thing happening for fear you will ‘speak it into existence’. My dueling doubt mind was racing with thoughts from, my wife worries about nothing sometimes, surely this is just one of those moments. On the other spectrum, I was picturing shattered glass meaning shattered dreams.
Maybe I was becoming too caught up in my own world of excitement for that one on one basketball player in my home to shoot around with, and the bubble of idolizing ‘my kid’ needed to be burst. I swung back to, no God does not punish us, especially those who try to follow Him, so that could not be the case either. The anxiety was brewing deeper.
We anxiously made our way to the waiting room for an examination from my wife’s doctor. We waited what seemed to be forever when the call to the exam room was made. I looked at my watch and realized it had only been a few minutes. The nurse checked Cindy’s vitals, and all seemed to be good, phew!
The Doc came to the room and went through her routines. She tried to hide the look of concern that was on her face and suggested we hook up the ultra-sound machine. Being a body-language reader from years of sales and working with people I could tell this was no ordinary exam. After several minutes of adjustments and stethoscope movements, the dreadful words were dropped on us.
‘no heartbeat.’ . . . . . . From there everything was a blur.
The strength of my wife at that point was just amazing to me as she began asking a number of questions. All was like a foggy bad dream for me. She asked why was it feeling like she was having contractions if there is no heartbeat. Dr. G explained what the miscarriage like this was all about and that she would seem like she was going into labor just as if our boy were still alive. I must have missed this scene on the last one, or maybe I was just in denial. We hadn’t really talked much about it before, and I have to admit maybe I didn’t really want to know. Much to my shock, she told us they would have to set up an appointment at the hospital, four days from that day, to force labor.
I am not-so-bright when it comes to medical terms and procedures. I did know enough that this was going to be a hellacious situation for my wife. It wasn’t something we could blast on Facebook and summons sympathy and supporters, for one, Facebook did not exist. For another, it was a private matter, and we did not want to upset a group of fellow baby carrying friends that we were friends with at the time. The next few days we mourned and fought with the battles between sorrow and anger. Mostly alone.
I asked Cindy if she wanted me to be there during the procedures. As they were going to admit her in the hospital for the night and the time frame was unknown, we thought it would be best for me to stay near home and watch our daughter and puppy instead. All I could do was pray for her safety and wait after taking her into the admission room at St. Ann’s.
After what seemed like an eternity I received the call that all was over and headed to the hospital. Anger and confusion rolled through my thoughts as I drove and thought about others our age who seemed to be popping babies all around us. I also could not understand those who were willing to give up their baby via abortion.
I also wondered if we could ever have a child again? Was it the unhealthy lifestyle I had lived in the past and now my gene pool was messed up, and this was the result. I wondered if my days in the service, where I years later found that all the chemicals developed by the Army with evil Monsanto (agent orange was turned into Round-Up you know) surrounded my body, had contributed to this demise. I wondered if adoption would be an easier route that going through this hell again for another child. And what about the ‘IT’ that was probably being disposed of by now like happened at our last miscarriage.
But this hospital in Westerville, Ohio was different. I met up with Cindy, and we hugged and embraced and cried. I asked how she was. She could not talk about what had happened, at all. But the nurse came out and asked if we wanted to spend some time alone with our baby? I was a bit perplexed with the question. It, was no longer alive. What would that accomplish?
The nurse seemed to sense my confusion and explained that some people find it comforting and an opportunity for full closure to spend time ‘with the baby.’ I asked Cindy what she thought, and she said it was up to me. I decided, yes, I wanted to see ‘it.’
Wrapped in a blanket with a tiny newborn hat on, was not an ‘it.’ Wrapped in a blanket with a tiny newborn hat on was my son Cory.
My whole perspective on abortion, miscarriage, babies, and life itself was changed at that moment. A part of me and a part of my wife was there in my hands to hold and see. I know I could see features of both of us in him. Cindy did not really want to go through the process (which when this happened again a year later she and I both decided not to do this again) as for her it was very painful. Still, she lay him * on her stomach and caressed him, feeling as if he were inside her again.
I could feel her separation feelings in her hands. We cried. We prayed, sort of. We asked God, why. And the thought came to me that God had some plan that required Cory, at the age of five months, to have an instant ticket to heaven. Perhaps He wanted to spare him of the difficulties of this world. Perhaps He knew Cindy, and I could never handle more than two kids and spared us. (yes later God blessed us with a son, and he is a junior in college this month (story updated in ’19) – Read about our son here)
Most importantly, we saw that a child is born at conception. My thoughts of ‘it’ were erased. Inside my wife’s body was a real human being. I wished I could have known Cory for those five months. I, of course, wished I could have spent more time with him. But at least I could savor the time spent holding him and looking upon his face and little body. Forever etched in my brain and mind, was a bonding with my son. I can’t wait to see him again in my after earth life.
Why would I write about such a thing out of the blue? Aside from the Cory Snyder jersey trigger, the topic hit me with the latest political wrangle. We are down to two candidates where we seem to have no good choice to make. And the choice was the topic from a video of one of the candidates. The matter-ness of life has become a hot topic, and as usual every four years abortion has become a topic of discussion again. We thought all of that was over now, but I guess some people think it is not, including one of the candidates who stated ” An Unborn Child Just Hours Before Delivery Has No Constitutional Rights‘. I thought at first, maybe that was taken out of context as the media often twists stories, it was not, as the whole interview reveals.
(2019 update) Worse yet, since that time the coldness towards life by some politicians was revealed on January 22, 2019. Headlines were made that the state of New York’s group of congresspeople passed a law allowing abortion to be legal all the way to the 3rd trimester. That is well past the age of my son Cory. To add to the sickening headlines were videos posted of the whole room in New York of people cheering for the passing of this ‘right of freedom for women.’ Yes the point of protecting a medically dangerous situation for the Mother is important, but it is a medical decision, not a decision of ‘rights’ that should bring cheers. It seems the It’s are the last ones considered in the equation.
My wife did have to have a post delivery procedure after we lost Cory. I did not have much education on the topic at the time and only afterward found it is one of similar procedures or methods that are done when someone chooses to have an abortion. Here are details from a doctor who performed a number of them.
What a horrific way to die. And to think how many babies, not ITs, are tortured in this way every day, legally. Technically, a miscarriage is the same thing as an abortion, it is totally involuntary though. Because of the change in laws, the medical professionals worldwide opted to use a different word than abortion, thus the term miscarriage was adopted and abortion became the term known as pro-choice versus being against a woman’s rights. (Read more details on the terminology changes if interested here.)
I personally do believe in choice. After our experience with abortion and seeing our live 5 month old son, my view turned more towards feeling there are choices to be made before becoming pregnant. It is indeed a sensitive subject and thus my neutral is just enough to make both staunch sides unhappy as I do believe medical procedures should be available for extenuating circumstances such as rape, incest, and health-threatening circumstances for the mother. However, some choices often create tough circumstances that can lead to negative results, easy ways out should not be the primary criteria in law-making. While I know this is a very sensitive subject for many, ones should be careful to flaunt views of the ‘go-ahead it is your right’ fashion, that show no regards for the IT’s of the world. I’ll let others continue to debate the topic, not here.
I know my boy Cory was not an IT. Perhaps our real experience and story will motivate someone about to make a choice to take a life, to consider that all lives do matter, including those without an official birth certificate to prove their earthly (and constitutional I guess) right to life.
This topic is one that has pulled at the hearts of many. I try to save the heavy spiritual thoughts for later, this story was heavy enough as our own hearts felt it deeply. There is more to consider from our spirit side mind, but only for the daring…
If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, every post is written in two parts. You have just read the portion challenging the mind, body, and soul. In The Portico I seek to tap into your spiritual side, but only IF YOU DARE. Tap the Red Line Below to hear the Spiritual side of the story. (For more info – read the ‘Do You Dare’ Tab)
* Note, The background picture of the woman and the baby is from google images, due to the sensitivity of the matter we chose not to show the actual pictures of Cory.
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I admit that I could never have been a teacher or working in a day-care center watching over children 10 hours a day. I would most likely have been like the disciples telling the parents to get those kids away from Jesus as depicted in Mathew 19:
‘One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.
But after having my own children, I have grown to love and understand caring for my own flesh and blood. Had we not had three miscarriages and been through the pain of those losses I am not sure I could have grasped just how important the life of every person is. Jesus knew (and He also has changed me in many ways), and it is from those statements above I know our three losses of children were only temporary.
Call me crazy and a dreamer if you’d like, but I know I will see Super Joe, Cory, and Justin (whom we named our other miscarried child) in the afterlife in the kingdom of heaven.
God values every hair on our heads, and every single bird, dog, cat, animal, fish, tree, plant and being on the earth He created.
Matthew 10:29-31 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
Interestingly the Bible also wrote about an encounter between two fetus’s. It happened in the story that a large portion of the whole world talks about every year during the season that is losing its name a little more each year, Christmas. It was an odd thing to be written about nearly 2,000 years ago as I am not sure how educated on the reproductive system of humans the authors were. But it describes the scene between two of the most significant men on the face of the earth that met while in their Mothers wombs:
“Mary Visits Elizabeth – A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:38-45 NLT Version
While it is easy to get into arguments over which of our Presidential candidates is the best or worst or which party has the best morals or as we keep reading about lately even any morals, one thing I care to tell about the most is God’s Love. He is always loving. He cares about every human being, even those whom WE do not agree with politically. He knows all intimately.
But, God will never force His will on us. God is Pro-Choice, that is – He gives us the choice to choose or reject Him. More importantly, He is Pro-Love. But the choice is up to us to choose Him. I won’t force (although I’d really like to as like God – I’d love to see everyone choose Him and receive a ticket to heaven just like my four boys) anyone to believe the way I do. May the experiences we’ve had, lead you to the One who loves way more than I ever could.
May the revelation my dull mind had opened in the passing of my son Cory, soften even one heart.
Psalm 139:13 -18 (NLT)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.