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Jacob Ryan ~ Our Angel
by Aline Pavao
My son was stillborn on July 1, 1999 at 5:45 p.m. He was 21 inches long, weighed 5.9 pounds, and was a beautiful little boy. We went in for a routine prenatal visit at 36 weeks and that's when we found his heartbeat was missing. After numerous tests and ultrasounds, our nightmare had started.

I choose to go into the hospital that day to be induced for labor. It was the most terrifying day of my life. I just kept thinking there has been some mistake and until I could hold him, I wouldn't believe this was happening.

Unfortunately, when he was delivered six hours later, I saw for myself that this was reality. My husband and I did the best we could considering the shock we were experiencing. We held our son, looked at every little feature, and had pictures taken of him. Some of our family was able to hold him and see him. Giving him to the nurse was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life.

We left the hospital the next day; we both felt so lost. Two days later, we had a beautiful burial service at a cemetary near our home. Although this was bittersweet, I know now that it was the right thing for us to do. He lies near a beautiful oak tree in a very peaceful place. This is comforting in a difficult way. It's been 11 weeks since he came into our life. I have found the sadness to be as profound but with time the ache in our hearts has become lighter.

Jacob has a 2 1/2 year old brother who for us is our saving grace. Our relationship with our older son has strengthened and has become a more vivid reminder of how precious life really is. Our family is slowly become normal again. Returning to our earlier routine took awhile but in the last three weeks, it has almost fully returned. To anyone experiencing the loss of a child, I express my sincere sorrow. I wonder what our life would be like if Jacob was here living with us physically. The only way I've found to go on after losing my son is to believe with all my heart that although he is not with us in a physical sense, he lives within us in spirit and will always be in our hearts. He will never be forgotten.

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