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Three years ago, in the infancy of MakingStarWars.net I wrote an article here about how Star Wars has affected and helped my family’s grieving after the loss of our daughter Hannah Solo Ward in 2012.
My due date with Hannah was May 4th, 2012. Today is always extremely bittersweet for me. Honestly, the entire month of May is very difficult. It’s a busy month for Star Wars, something we’ve chosen to make a big focus of our lives, and it’s a busy month for our family. On top of remembering and grieving for Hannah whose birth date was to be May 10th, we also celebrate our daughter Penny’s birthday on the 11th. Penny’s due date was also May 4th but some of the doctors we saw went with May 5th (Revenge of the 5th). It is so strange that their delivery dates are just one day apart.
Losing Hannah in the way that we did and when we did propelled Jason and me on an emotional trajectory that still isn’t clear, but it certainly has been a journey. When Jason wasn’t taking care of me, for his own sanity, he began developing what would become this site. To help him get through his struggles, I began to help him with the site and we eventually had a family project of sorts. I feel fortunate to get to celebrate Star Wars with a cool community of friends as a way to process this month and what it means for our family. Out of tragedy came something positive in this instance. But it doesn’t dampen the difficulty of the situation at all.
Our situation is pretty unique but it’s not uncommon at all. Stillbirths are still an issue parents should be educated about as umbilical cord accidents can cause stillbirth. Even in 2017 there is still much confusion and conflicting information about cord accidents and stillbirth. Pregnancy is plagued with scary what-ifs but you owe it to yourself to over-research these topics. Hannah was fine just five days before her death, five days before they were going to induce my labor. We were at the finish line. Jason was getting his hair cut because he assumed he was going to get a picture with her that day and he wanted it to be a good one.
Doctors and nurses do not actively encourage “kick counting” as much as they should with first time pregnancies. Some have said the medical industry do not want mother’s freaking out when there’s some irregularity and “wasting their time.” Encourage anyone that gets pregnant to do kick counts. More than not, like in our case, it was only suggested after we had a loss. It is reactive more than proactive. There are lots of good apps to help too.
I feel comfortable with sharing our experience because I think it’s important to keep informed and part of that is being available to others, so I’m here if any moms and dads out there want to share or ask questions. Do not be optimistic–be proactive.
I’m humbled by and devastated by the loss of our baby, but I’m not ashamed. Death and motherhood are two things that our society doesn’t handle very delicately and when it comes to infant loss it is hugely swept under the rug, and that does not help anyone. Jason and I were extremely fortunate to be blessed with two beautiful children in the aftermath of Hannah’s death.
Jason constantly reminds me that without the loss of Hannah Solo Ward we wouldn’t have had Luke Danger Ward and Penny Rebel Ward. It can be hard to not get mad at the universe for the simple fact that having great things requires great sacrifices and struggles. I hate it, but that is the way it is.
For us, May 4th is a special day. It really is our “Life Day.” All of the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, are rolled into this week for us. While this is our story, as time goes on, this day will likely take on new meanings as on Star Wars Day we think of the good times with our friends and family and those that we lost along the way. We experience so much of our lives and culture through the lens of Star Wars at times, how could we not?