"Healing...Being a Christian, like rollerblading, is not for the weak hearted" by Vincent Ingram - fall 2006
"A Father's Grief" by Michael Kline (4.07)
HE IS AT THE GATES PLAYING by Andy Poss(4.07)
Beloved Son by Mark Ingram 4.07
Dedicated to all the 'forgotten' fathers out there. First, the "forgotten" is not meant to be offensive in any way. I know we, as fathers, are far from forgotten...especially by friends and family. But, sometimes the focus is completely on the mothers and that is where it should be. But, please remember, it is ok to grieve as a man in today's world.
Now, let me tell you the story of Baby Mikey (Michael Alan Kline, Jr, and how he touched so many lives in a short amount of time.
My wife, Rebecca Kline, and I met in a fairy tale, whirlwind way. We met on the internet and knew immediately that it was what God wanted for both of us. Shortly after our marriage, we found out that she was pregnant and was due on July 7, 2006. Our excitement and fear was overwhelming.
But, we had no idea what fear was until that fateful day in January 2006. It started just like any other day. We had gone to a local hospital to visit my father who was having some health issues of his own. All of a sudden, my wife started leaking a red fluid and we rushed her to the emergency room. They just informed us that there was a blood mass in her uterus and that was just leaking out, not to worry and sent us home. But, we were concerned and made an appointment for her OB/GYN for the next day.
Immediately, we were sent to a Fetal Surgery specialist and our lives began to change. He said that what was seen on the ultrasound was not a blood mass...it was our baby's bladder. What our child had was called Posterior Urethral Valve Syndrome. We would find out from him that this is a condition where the urethra in baby boys does not develop and therefor the baby is unable to empty their bladder.
After many tears, we decided that we would not terminate the pregnancy (which was an option given by the specialist). And, after many hours on line studying this condition, we found that there was a way to correct it by fetal surgery. But, there were several steps to take before this. The baby's bladder would need to be drained 3 times with tests being run each time to test kidney functions. As the tests took place, the numbers continually got better.
The ultrasounds and test results were sent to a doctor in Tampa, Florida for evaluation. He thought we would qualify for the surgery but he had stopped doing the surgery. So, it was off to Philadelphia to see if the doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) could help us.
We went through a battery of tests there and were one step away from having the surgery when our world stopped yet again. The amniotic sac had tears in it and there was no way for fluid to remain in the sac to assist the baby in complete development. Therefore, the surgery was canceled and we were on our way home to Georgia.
From day 1, people all around us have tried to be supportive. But,unfortunately, many had no idea how to be there for us. I was told by my boss, while we were in Philadelphia, that I needed to get back to Georgia, to ensure that my job was safe, and leave my wife there alone to deal with the issues. After we returned, he told me to get over it and move on.
Friends, family and pastors just said we should grieve and move on. If they only could understand. If I could only explain it to them.
All along, our baby was trying to show the miracles of God. Every test on his urine came back stronger and better. That is even after we realized that one of his kidneys was completely shut down and the other was severly damaged. The tests should have gotten worse. The looks of amazement on the doctor's faces was worth all the ministry.
On February 17, 2006, we made an appointment with the OB/GYN and the specialist. We decided it was best to deliver our son and give him a chance to have some life. My wife was only 20 weeks pregnant when we delivered a 1 lb 1 oz baby boy. His bladder was larger than his body. All 10 fingers and 10 toes were there. He was a fully developed baby at 20 weeks.
For 15 minutes, we had our angel with us. When he stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating, it was ok. We had our time with him that most families dont get.
Presently, our son, Michael Alan Kline, Jr (aka Baby Mikey), is burried in a memorial garden in our back yard. We can talk to him and visit whenever we want.
On February 17, 2007, our family did just what every other family does after one year... we had a birthday party. There was cake, ice cream and balloons (much like anyone else's 1st birthday). But, we released the balloons to Heaven for Mikey. It was a nice end to a joyful and sad day.
The past year has not been a cake walk. It has been full of memories, tears, crying uncontrolably, and misunderstanding. But, all in all, I would not change any of it. We had our angel with us for a short time. But, in reality, our angel in always with us.
So, dads...dont let anyone take away our opportunity to grieve and cry. Grieve your loss. Cry when you need to. Laugh whenever you can. Smile often. And, last but not least, remember that your angel is with you forever. But, most importantly, you are NOT forgotten!
God Bless !!
Michael Alan Kline, Sr
6/15"This is to all the 'forgotten' fathers out there." by Michael (9/1/06)
Marcia's thoughts: Thank you, Michael, for sharing your family's story. I love what you did for Michael, Jr's anniversary and birthday. Families can find more information about ways to celebrate and remember their baby on our site at this link:
Holidays, Due Dates, and Anniversaries
There is a beautiful book, Letters to Gabriel" by Karen Garver Santorum, that has a similar story to your story. We have had several of our parents who have experienced a similar type of condition with their baby. All three, with support from their specialist, went on - as they were ready - to have children who did not have this condition.
In our group, fathers have been a corner stone to our group. They have been very active and we so much appreciate their sharing with us. Through the years, we have had fathers participate through: designing and building our angel memorial garden in Sandy Springs, hosting our website and chatroom, walking in our March of Dime's WalkAmerica "Walk to Remember" campaign...coming up on April 28, 2007 for the 10th year, attending our groups and annual Memorial service (and reading at this); babysitting children at home while mom comes and volunteers or attends our Women's group; writing poems and thoughts just as you have.
What we have found, though, is that Dad's for the most part, handle their grief in a different manner than their wives. What you have shared and what many of our dads would share and do for their baby. But, it is usually the moms that wish to do more of the memorial traditions and attend our groups for longer than dads. We are open to what works for each of our couples and parents. Most of our dads do not visit our chat room or bulletin boards...even though it is open to them. Most do not write...even though we have pages dedicated for them. Theirs, for the most part, is a much more private sorrow and maybe it is because of the way society has reacted to them, but I believe it is also because it is the way men handle grief. Many wonderful books are written on the topic...each of us is unique in the way we handle our pain..God has granted us that. So, at SA, we accept the way each parent wishes to walk their walk through their pain.
A poem my brother wrote and gave to me Christmas 2004 after I lost my son Sept. 9, 2004.HE IS AT THE GATES PLAYING…
Marcia's thoughts: Cristy,
The poem that Andy wrote is absolutely beautiful. I would like to include it in our next newsletter if that is okay. Do you happen to have a picture of you and Andy? If I could, I will include it with his poem.
When our son was 9 and 10, he played the part of the Littlest Angel in the play. Andy's poem reminds me of the play and how I felt when Aaron acted in it. He did it in memory of his brother, Seth. Do you know the story? It is really a child's story.
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful poem with me. It touches my heart...
I was also wondering if you could add the poem my husband wrote it would really mean a lot to us both:Beloved Son
Hayden Chase Ingram - 3 Years Later...by Rebecca Ingram sent 9/06 and posted 4.07- For the rest of this families story...
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