Written October 19, 2010…
In the week since finding out that Adam and I had lost our precious baby, this morning was the first time I have been completely by myself. I spent a great deal of time wrestling with God and crying out for Him to continue the healing process. As I strive to take one step at a time, I felt that putting things down on “paper” would be therapeutic for me. I know many of you have been through the tragedy of losing a child, but all of this is new to Adam and me. Though I’ll NEVER claim to know exactly what you’re going through or have gone through, perhaps your heart can be encouraged by my transparency. Please know that I’m not writing this note to seek more pity or to selfishly draw further attention to ourselves. It’s simply part of the healing process for me, as well as an attempt to give feeble thanks for all of your kind words and prayers, and answer some of the questions that I know many of you have regarding the past week. God is good and still holy, in spite of painful circumstances. Adam and I both want to testify loudly to that fact.
In our desire to be parents and begin starting a family, God graciously allowed us to get pregnant with our sweet Isaiah very quickly. My pregnancy was easy and enjoyable, labor and delivery were quick and smooth, and recovery was short and sweet. When we decided to begin asking the Lord to give us another child, we envisioned that process being just as easy. From the beginning, God gently reminded me that I am NOT in control and that I needed to seek His will rather than my own. I spent 8 disappointing months trying to get pregnant with no success. Those months forced me to deal with some major issues in my heart as well as a stronger desire to want HIM more than anything else. After studying through Philippians with some ladies from church, I asked them to pray that I would want what God wants. That if He would be more glorified through me not having another child, that I would graciously accept it as a way to make much of Him. Evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
While at youth conference this past July and staying with dear friends, I took a pregnancy test that confirmed that there was indeed a tiny person being formed in my womb. We were beside ourselves with excitement and relief. Even then, I felt God gently nudging my heart…reminding me that I needed to be okay with whatever the outcome of this pregnancy would be. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
Before hearing the terrible news last Monday, we had spent more than a week on vacation. We were in Ohio for 6 days being refreshed, encouraged, and challenged by some of our best friends. It was heavenly. We then had the opportunity to go camping just the 3 of us for 3 more wonderful days. We spent time focusing on each other, Isaiah, and our personal walks with the Lord. Because of this, we were able to go into last week with renewed energy and passion for our God and our family. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
We came home to a flooded basement that made our house smell absolutely disgusting. No matter what we did, it was almost unbearable to be here. Because of that, our young adult Sunday School class (which typically meets in our living room) was moved to our sunroom, and the marriage counseling session for an engaged couple, discipleship meeting w/one of my girls, and the youth Bible study that all were scheduled to happen in our home that day were canceled. Mondays are Adam’s day off, so we decided to drive home to my parents’ house to spend the night. Because of that, we had all of our toiletries, changes of clothes, and Isaiah’s bedtime stuff with us at my doctor’s appointment Monday morning. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
We were thrilled at the thought of having another child to love on and disciple and the dreams for this child were taking firm root in our hearts and minds. Monday morning was no different. We went into my routine prenatal check up with excitement anticipating scheduling our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. I had decided to stay with my doctors in Windber for this pregnancy, even though it is an hour from where we now live. I had such an excellent experience with my pregnancy and delivery with Isaiah, adored the nurses and doctors, and felt so comfortable there. Regardless of the drive, we were willing to stick with a place where I felt loved and comfortable. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
The beginning of my appointment went smoothly and everything was still looking good. I had had no bleeding, no cramping, nothing to cause major alarm. A nurse practitioner student came next to listen to the baby’s heart beat. She couldn’t find it. She explained that the baby was probably being stubborn and that she would let the doctor have a try. Dr. Anderson came in next, but even in her experience, found nothing. My heart began to sink. I was then sent over for an emergency ultrasound, during which I wasn’t allowed to see the screen and wasn’t given the results. We went back to the office to meet with the doctor who did not come bringing the reassuring news we so desperately wanted. She explained that there was no heartbeat and that the ultrasound also showed very little amniotic fluid. Though I was at 17 weeks gestation, the baby probably went to be with Jesus 2 or 3 weeks earlier and was only measuring at about 14 1/2 weeks. While my doctor gave us the news and compassionately explained that I would need to make decisions as to when to begin inducing labor, Isaiah sat on Adam’s lap singing “Happy Birthday to You” over and over. While Adam and I clung to each other and cried, Isaiah played with my hair and his big blue eyes saddened as he wondered why “Mommy cying. Mommy sad.” I’m so glad my baby boy was with us. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
Many of you have had questions as to why I had to deliver the baby. Because I was as far along as I was, I would have had to go to Pittsburgh if we decided to remove the baby surgically. Also, from a medical standpoint, delivering the baby vaginally was much safer and better for my body. Because they didn’t know how long it would take, we decided to get started with the process right away. Since the hospital is only 30 minutes from our parents’ homes, Adam’s mom was able to come right away to take Isaiah and my mom left work to come stay with us until I delivered. Our dads, brothers, and pastor were able to come and visit, as well. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
Though I felt somewhat spiritually prepared to deal with the loss of our child, I was in no way prepared for the process of delivering the baby. Labor and delivery can be nerve wracking and painful enough, but going through it knowing that my baby would not be delivered alive (on this earth), felt unbearable. I was given exams and medication vaginally every 6 hours to prepare my cervix for labor. Around 1:30 pm my body started to cramp and was uncomfortable almost constantly. Though we had prayed that the process would go quickly, for 2 days there wasn’t much progress happening. We clung to God’s Word, tried to at least mouth the words of songs of worship, and found comfort in your words and prayers left on our facebook pages and phones. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
Finally on Wednesday morning, the doctor felt that I had progressed enough to start me on Pitocin to induce the labor further. After about 4 or 5 hours of labor, I delivered my precious baby fairly easily. I was able to hold it, though because it had stopped growing a few weeks ago, we were not able to tell externally if it was a boy or girl. I examined its facial features and tiny fingers and toes. As the doctor cut the umbilical cord, I watched and heard my husband cry harder than I had in my entire life. We mourned like never before, but took comfort in knowing that Jesus was already holding this child that would never experience disappointment, sin, or pain…and that we WOULD one day hold it again. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
I still needed to deliver the placenta and after about 4 more hours of labor, the doctor was afraid that my cervix would close before passing it. I was prepped for surgery and the OR was ready for me. The doctor came in to check me one more time and decided that the placenta was low enough for her to get it out without surgery. After a painful process, the labor and delivery were finally over around 5 pm on Wednesday without surgery. The doctors and nurses were incredibly thoughtful, compassionate, and empathetic. They cried with us and protected us as much as they could from being upset more by the successful deliveries happening in the rooms next door. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
We were discharged on Thursday afternoon and as difficult as the delivery was, walking out of the maternity ward without a baby was far more painful and devastating. Everything looked and felt so familiar…we had been in these shoes before. But last time, we were celebrating bringing home a beautiful baby boy. That was the first step in the process of healing. Adam and I knew that we needed each other and the Lord more than we ever had in our entire lives. I was reminded that God has given me an incredibly Godly, compassionate and selfless man who I am blessed to call my husband. There’s been something so soothing and comforting about simply being able to look into his eyes over this past week. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
Before going home on Friday afternoon, we spent time with our families and were reunited with our little boy. Leaving for home was going to be another difficult step…we listened to Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Beauty Will Rise” CD and both cried the whole way home. We dreaded actually walking into our home, but pulled in the driveway to find our garage door covered with cards and notes from our youth and young adult kids. Walking through the door suddenly felt less intimidating. Because of our loving church family and dear friends here, our carpet had been ripped out of the flooded basement, the house had been cleaned and deodorized, and there were flowers in every room. Waves of grief swept over us later, but for those first moments at home, we felt a sense of calm and peace. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
That night, when I was putting Isaiah to bed, he picked “The Captain of the Storm” to read out of his Jesus Storybook Bible. Never before had I wept through his bed time Bible reading. Through my little boy, I was reminded that Jesus hadn’t slept through the past week, that he came to rescue me and the save me through his sufferings, and that he loved me deeply. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
Three of our best friends came to love on us for Saturday and Sunday. They cried with us, prayed with us, read Scripture aloud to us, made us laugh, and hugged us often. We went to church on Sunday morning and though it was hard to get the words out through our tears, we were able to sing out to God and led in worship that made us even more anxious for heaven. Before our friends had to go home, they left Scripture all over our house, and God’s love and compassion on our hearts. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
Because Adam went back to work and a sweet friend took Isaiah for the morning, I was able to have a few hours alone with God. Though I knew it would be a time of weeping, I pictured it being a calm morning with my Bible in one hand and my coffee cup in the other. I was right about it being a time of weeping, but I had not anticipated the wrestling with God that I would have to do. I was anything but calm. I was so weary of the cliches so many people were throwing at me. I felt some anger, released more pain that I hadn’t acknowledged, and questioned everything I thought I knew of this God I grew up knowing. For the first time since last Monday, I didn’t want to pick up my Bible. I felt like I was beating my fists against His chest. After I could calm myself down, I read through Job, Psalm 42, and Jacob’s wrestling with God in Genesis. I felt my heart slowly soften. He had won the match. Though I didn’t get answers as to the “whys”, I was able to see my God in a way I never had before. I still hurt deeply, but I am confident in a God that I can’t explain. A God who wounds, but also heals. A God who allows pain, but comforts in the midst of it. A God who may at times seem silent, but promises to be glorified LOUDLY. A God who I don’t always understand, but I choose to TRUST. A God whose face I’m longing to see more than that of my baby.
Though I usually just put Isaiah in his bed at nap time, I wanted so badly just to rock him and hold him today. When he wants to go to bed, he just wants his bed, but I promised to sing and begged him to let Mommy hold him. As he was drifting off to sleep on my chest, I pictured Jesus rocking my other baby in heaven and I could faintly hear the song that was playing in the living room:
oh gently lay your head upon my chest and I will comfort you like a mother while you rest. The tide can change so fast, but I will stay the same through past, the same in future, same today
I am constant; I am near I am peace that shatters all your secret fears I am holy; I am wise I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires your heart’s desires
oh weary, tired and worn, let out your sighs and drop that heavy load you hold ’cause Mine is light. I know you through and through; there’s no need to hide I want to show you love that is deep and high and wide
I am constant; I am near I am peace that shatters all your secret fears I am holy; I am wise I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires your heart’s desires
oh gently lay your head upon my chest and I will comfort you like a mother while you rest
I was reminded that as I begged Isaiah to just let me hold him and cry over him, God was asking me to do the same. He longs to hold me, comfort me, and weep with me. More evidence of the Lord’s hand on my heart.
I’m still grieving, still hurting, still longing for a family that will never seem complete this side of heaven. I’m fearful of the future, terrified of not getting pregnant again, but at the same time terrified of getting pregnant again. I’m surrounded by wonderful people, but still struggle with feeling alone. I feel times of calm, but still have moments of intense weeping. I’m having a hard time getting back to “real life”, but am trying to move slowly to the next thing God has for me. Still, in the midst of all that, I have peace. God is still holy and I still have a reason to sing.
Thank your for hurting with us and praying for us faithfully. I wish so badly that I could hug and thank each of you individually. Know that you are appreciated.
Privileged to share in His sufferings,
”…We were (are) under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might NOT rely on ourselves but on GOD, who raises the dead. He HAS delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He WILL deliver us. On HIM we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us as YOU help us BY YOUR PRAYERS. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of MANY.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” – Romans 8:18-25