Maya was born with health problems that weren't caught until a week after her birth. This means we brought her home after the required week in the hospital, had one night with her at home and the next night we were racing from hospital to hospital trying to find out what had gone so terribly wrong. Emergency surgery was performed with very little hope that she would live and we called our pastor to come and baptize her at 4:00 am. I remember the dear man arriving in his pajamas!
When I recall now, I wonder how we got through those days. My Japanese was limited and there were so many things I didn't understand. Tetsu's mother came to help because in Japan all those soiled sheets and diapers had to be taken home to be washed. She scrubbed those things until they were pure white and even the nurses were surprised at how clean the laundry was that I brought back each day.
To make a long story short, Maya didn't live past the second month. More customs to be dealt with like being handed a lifeless baby and told to go home and have another. Cremation ceremonies that I didn't think I could bear. Away from family though they urged me to come home. But I kept thinking that Tetsu was experiencing the same grief. How could I leave him even for a few weeks to relieve my own sorrow?
For a while I stubbornly said I would never have children again and Tetsu was fine with that. We never fell away from our faith though we certainly questioned God for awhile. When Takumi was born three years later I'm surprised we didn't smother him with worry and fear! It's amazing that he turned out fairly normal! And with Leiya, we tried to make sure that she never felt that she was a replacement for another daughter.
Maya's short life is a part of us that we never forget, but it is hard to just add to the conversations... "by the way... our first child..."
I'm grateful for all three of my children and the lessons I've learned through their lives.