Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Typhoon Begins

As I walked into the hospital on Thursday morning, August 7th, 2008 I was calm and at peace. Why? I was about to give birth to a child that I would not get to hold and nurture, never would there be first steps, first day of school, first date, first ballgame...yet God gave me a sense of peace that I cannot understand to this day. It was just eerie how similar things were to a normal delivery. I was questioned the same way as a woman in labor. The nurse was very tense at first, which I didn't understand until later in the day. I joked around with my husband and made smalltalk with the nurse. The reality of what was happening was furthest from my mind. As the nurses got this inevitable process started, I was met by my little sister and my mom. My sis had worked all night and was sacrificing sleep to be with me on this bittersweet day. We talked, pain came and went, emotions ebbed and flowed.

Chad and I spent some time together in the beginning of labor and then he spent some time in the waiting room with my dad. My mom seemed to need some time away from the emotion and my little sister and I were alone in the room together. I tried to eat, I puked, she cleaned me up. I had to use the restroom, she unhooked me from the monitors and helped me hobble to the bathroom. God used a miserable experience to show me the bond that I knew was there with my sister and He strengthened my love and admiration for my sister. I spent some time alone with my mom that day. We talked and shared hugs. It was a sweet moment for me to be there alone with my mom. As the pain worsened, the morphine increased! I was so out of it that I vaguely remember Ashley telling me to push the button. I know that morphine is good stuff because once it got ahead of the pain, I felt no physical aches at all. The contractions were more emotional than ever. With each passing contraction, I felt God saying 'It's ok. I will care for this baby. You have to trust that I know what is perfect for you.' In the same contractions, I felt as if a piece of my heart were slowly being ripped out of my body.

The time came for me to deliver and Chad was overcome with pain only a father can understand. He and my dad spent time in the waiting room together. As the moment approached, I was overwhelmed with anxiety. What would the baby look like? How would I ever let go? Why did God take this child before it had a chance to live in this world? The questions were endless. As I spent those moments waiting for the birth of my child who was already dancing with Jesus, my mind spun to a point where I do not recall my thoughts. It was surreal how calm and quiet the room felt. It's funny, but I remember the sound of a mother and baby being united in another room for the first time. I envisioned the new momma with a smile brighter than the sun. I heard that little baby crying with the healthy lungs God had blessed it with.

At 4:09p.m. Josiah David came into our lives and changed the world as I look at it forever. He was beautiful. He was at peace. He was amazing. At 2.2 oz and just 6in. long, he had already developed traits that looked like each of his brothers and sister. What a perfect child! I remember peace in the midst of pain. I felt the hearts of an aunt and a grandmother crumbling for what would never be. I saw the beauty of three generations experiencing something that could never be taken from the hearts and minds of those involved. As I looked at his tiny, still body, I remember kissing his forehead and crying out to Jesus that I was so afraid and so sad. I don't remember all the emotions and I don't recall what words were spoken. I felt the love of my sister and my mother like never before.

My life had been changed by the life of a child that was 23 weeks short of full-term. I was shown the Sovereignty of our Lord and Savior in the storm of sadness and emptiness. Each one of us took our time holding and loving that precious child. How could I possibly give him all the love I had for him knowing that this was the first and last time I would see his sweet face and hold his precious body in my hands? Chad finally decided to come in and though he was overcome with emotion, I could only smile as I looked into his broken heart. I uttered the words, 'He's perfect.' I described his precious face and his perfect little toes and fingers. I couldn't understand why he didn't want to see his son. Why had he not wanted to experience this birth like he had all the others? It was not until later he shared his heart with me and the love and sincerity in his voice nearly knocked me over.

Ultimately Chad made the decision to hold his son and in the end decided to behold the beauty of our angel. It was at this time we decided we had to name him and though we had not talked about it before, both of us were shown the name Josiah. I don't remember why and I don't remember there being a specific reason, but it was perfect. As Chad began to speak his heart about a middle name, I felt God reach out and touch my soul. His middle name would be David, who was called a man after God's own heart. What more fitting a name could there be for our child that was spared the pain and suffering of a fallen world and given his place in heaven!?

The birth was over. We were given as much time as we desired to spend with our Josiah. After what seemed like just minutes, three hours had passed. We decided to say our good-byes and kiss our angel one last time. I knew deep down that God was giving me peace to say 'see ya later' because in Christ there are no good-byes. I knew I had to let him go and feeling at peace I told Chad it was time for me to let go because I knew if I didn't seize this opportunity that God was giving me, I would cling to the body of a child who was already enjoying eternity.

When does the pain subside? Never. How long does the hurt last? Until I hold him in my arms in the presence of Jesus. God gave us the blessing of an angel baby and I must praise Him for what is and what was. I knew that child only in my womb, yet he forever holds a piece of my heart.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Storms Arise

August sixth 2008 can arguably be marked the worst day of my life. I thought I was in the midst of a dream, which turned out to be a nightmare. I walked into the doctor's office that warm summer day thinking of all the dreams I had for the next several months as my belly grew and the life inside me became ready for this world. All the dreams of our family being complete and the next phase of life were diminished as I stared at the screen showing my baby...and no heartbeat. Was it something I had done? Maybe it's a mistake. There can't be anything wrong. God would not do this. Not now. Not after all we had been through. The second the image came on the screen, I knew deep in my soul that my baby was already in heaven and my hopes of knowing that precious child here were but a vapor. I had chosen to end the life of my oldest child. Was this my consequence of that horrible choice I made all those years ago? Questions swirled about all the reasons and all the things I could have done wrong or how I could have prevented such an inexplicable thing from happening. As I listened to the doctor explain what she was seeing, it was as if it didn't matter because no matter what I knew about why or how it would not change the finality: my baby was dead.

As I left the exam room, my emotions bottomed out. I entered the waiting room where my boys were waiting for me. How could I ever explain this? Every part of my being told me to stuff it away and put a smile on my face. And then I saw his face. My older son peered into my soul and as if he already knew, he asked 'what's wrong Mommy?' With three words, I exploded into a fireball of emotion. My youngest wrapped his arms around my neck and hugged me. It was as if he knew and yet he had no clue how heartbroken I felt. As we walked to the van I felt sick. I felt as if someone had kicked me in the gut, knocked me to the ground and was grinding cleats into the depths of my soul. I made the call to tell my husband the tragedy that we were experiencing. God was with me because I didn't know that I could say the words. God spoke when I had no audible voice to tell my soulmate that our youngest child would not be spending life with us the way we had anticipated.

Throughout the rest of the day, I felt numb. I made the phone calls I needed to make so that people would know what had happened. I talked to the doctor and made arrangements to deliver the following day. We were having a baby and as hard as I tried, I could not fathom having a baby at 17 weeks. All those thoughts of what the baby would look like and how things would work and if I would handle it continued to rumble in my brain. I had made plans to go to dinner with some of my best girl friends to celebrate my birthday and all I could think was 'God please don't let them cancel on me.'

God answers prayers. We went to supper and laughed and cried. I spent time with them talking about broken dreams and sharing my heart with those who I prayed would never begin to understand the pain and the emptiness I was feeling. What I didn't realize is that the pain I was feeling was just a breeze in the storm I was about to experience. God was preparing me for the storm of my life and I was oblivious to the terrential downpour that was about to begin...