Evan James McAlister

It was the year of our daughters 2 birthday and we thought that now is the time for extending our family. A good 3 years between our children would be perfect. Well, nearly a year later and numerous negative pregnancy tests, we talked with our OB and decided that we needed medical help to get us to pregnancy. The process was frustrating and heartbreaking. Prescription clomid was the first choice, then it went to artificial insemination. Again, frustration and disappointment. We then found ourselves seeking medical help from fertility specialists. Success was made within 3 tries. We were elated with the news of being pregnant. Upon the initial ultrasound and fertility drugs involved we were among the numerous couples that were pregnant with multiples, twins to be exact. This news was frightening, yet joyous to know that our Maggie was not only going to be sister of one but a Big Sister of 2.
Having twins put us immediately put us in a slightly higher risk pregnancy. We received a multitude of ultrasounds to ensure proper growth of our two baby boys. From the beginning we knew that one of our two boys was smaller than other. We also found that smaller one had some other defects that were not life threatening. He had a two vessel umbilical cord vs. the normal 3 vessel cord, also the little guy was also found with just one kidney. He also had an extra digit, instead of a ‘2 thumbs up’ he was able to give a ’3 thumbs up’. Again these were not life threatening. There was one other defect that caused a little concern, but not yet a life- threatening issue. The little one had a small growth in the back of his skull that the doctors continued to monitor during each ultrasound.
We continued to have our appointments and some were very promising and others a little more concern.
Moderate bed rest did come into play at 31 weeks gestation when I started to dilate. Following doctors orders of bed rest and continuing to get monitored 2 times a week, things were still doing, well, just okay.
By 34 weeks gestation, (this was a Monday) I started feeling some pain in my abdomen. I went in immediately to get monitored, both boys’ heart rates were doing good so I was sent home. By Thursday, I had a regular appointment for an ultrasound, this is when we found out that our littlest of the boys, no longer had a heartbeat. We lost Evan James, at 34 weeks gestation. We were devastated to say the least. We really only had to go 2 more weeks in order for the boys to be born without issues of lung development and other organ development.
The cause of death at the time was to be determined after I gave birth, which I was told I needed to carry both boys for at least 3 weeks. Well, I did better than that, I went 4 weeks and delivered both Evan and his healthy brother, Owen.
After delivery, it was a bitter sweet. On one hand we had a very healthy boy and on the other hand we had a child that did not make it to this world for even one breath. We got to hold both boys and spend as much time with Evan as we wanted.
After spending nearly 5 days in the hospital due to surgery recovery, we were sent home with only one baby. ONE, when we embraced the idea of TWO.
There was never any determination of why Evan passed. All tests showed inconclusive results. He was a stillborn.
When we found out we lost one of the boys we didn’t know what to do, how to cope knowing I had weeks to still carry both boys. Our life could not stop to grieve for Evan enough, we had to get home and raise a brand new baby and a 4 year old. Life could not stop for an instant. That is what was the hardest part of losing Evan.
We then, of course, started to look for people and places that were going to guide us on a path of healing. Being Christians we looked to our parish first and found some comfort, but not what we were yearning for.
We looked into the support group at the hospital, again, it was okay, but not what we needed to help us cope of losing one of our precious children.
That’s when a friend gave us a clip from KARE 11 news about Faith’s Lodge. We immediately got our application in and found ourselves pulling up to one of the most beautiful ‘homes’ we had ever seen.
We spent 4 days at Faith’s Lodge with other couples that had also lost a infant or child. The connection was there. They knew what we were going through. We found ourselves being engaged in numerous activities that lead us to conversations about our children that had passed. Never did the conversations seem weird or taboo. Opening up and crying and then laughing with each other is exactly what we needed to help us cope with our loss.
There were six couples total there including us. We become a family of sort, sharing dinners, laughs, cries, talents and most of all the commonality of losing a child. Never did we think we couldn’t talk about our child or how we were feeling. It just seemed natural.
Once we left Faith’s Lodge, we knew we had to become a part of making this a reality for other families/couples that have lost a child. We believed so much in the mission of Faith’s Lodge, we asked how could we get involved. That’s when we were introduced to the Family Outreach Committee. Knowing that we can get the word out of this wonderful organization continues to be a part of our healing process.
We thank Faith’s Lodge for the opportunity to meet some people that were going through the emotions we were going through. We continue to have communication with most of the couples that shared the same week as us. As a matter of fact, we have become very close friends with one of the couples that we met on our most important step in finding some peace with our loss.
Those that have helped Mark and Susan build a place like Faith’s Lodge, well, we can’t thank them enough either.