May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Friday, July 22, 2011


I was explaining Romeo and Juliet (and, incidentally the difference between it and the cartoon Gnomeo and Juliet) to my girls the other day and used the word tragedy. This required a definition. It took everything I had to avoid using this word to describe us, Wyatt and Eli. Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story yet so is ours.

Webster's dictionary defines tragedy as "a dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction." Application of this definition to my life results in: Wyatt is the wonderful baby who is destined by his conflict with Potter's Syndrome, the overpowering force of his fate, to a sure demise. Now, in Romeo and Juliet this is where Shakespeare ended it, leaving the Capulets and Montegues to mourn their great losses and try to mend their torn families. My story however has another act. It is basically the same act just with a different baby years later. Tragedy upon tragedy. No hero or heroine, no last minute cure or magical potion, just tragedy.

Potter's Syndrome is a cruel form of fate from beginning to end. It is an almost universally fatal birth defect yet not often not fatal enough to cause miscarriage. It doesn't even become visible via ultrasound until sometime between the 4th and 5th month of pregnancy. At that point there is little to no fluid for baby and he/she will become compressed within the womb but the pregnancy can continue to term. The pregnancy continues with the disclaimer that the baby can die anytime in utero and so a constant vigil begins for the mother (and father). When baby is born he or she can die anytime during labor or shortly after. Expected lifespan is measured in terms of minutes to hours at most. There is no medical treatment for this condition in almost all cases. No hope and the only sure answer is the death of a precious child. If that isn't tragedy I don't know what is.

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