Monday, August 1, 2011

What happened?

"Why did Gideon die?"

I wish I knew.

I have gotten the question a few times since Gideon died. But I also think that people are afraid to ask what happened. It's ok to ask. I don't mind talking about it. Not at all. Please don't be afraid to ask me about him, you can ask anything. Ask away, if I don't want to answer, I won't. But, really, I always want to talk about him, his story. And unfortunately, his death is part of that story.

We do know what happened, but there is no medical explanation as to why it happened.

We chose not to have a autopsy performed. If we had chosen to have that, they would have taken him very quickly from us after he was born and we didn't want that. We wanted time to see him and hug him and kiss him. We wanted to be with him until we were ready to let go of his body. Also, the doctors and nurses told me that in most cases, the autopsy comes back inconclusive and they aren't able to find the cause of death from the autopsy. So we chose to not have it done. And honestly, the idea of having an autopsy done on our son was horrifying to us. I understand why people choose to have it, but we couldn't.
Since the cause of death could have been related to something that was wrong with me, I have had every single test run on me in the past 11 weeks that could be run. I have had probably 15 or so tests done on me. I have met with two specialists, my ob/gyn and my family doctor to try and find an answer. After all the testing, it has been determined that there is nothing wrong with me physically and nothing in my body did anything to Gideon. And there was nothing wrong with Gideon. He was perfect and was formed perfectly.
They also tested Gideon's placenta and umbilical cord. That is where we have found the best answer as to what happened.  It was the placenta that caused his death.

The placenta had what is called a membranous insertion. When an umbilical cord implants into a placenta it implants into the center of the placenta. Well, Gideon's umbilical cord was implanted into the side of the placenta; into the membranes of the placenta and not the placenta itself. This happens in 1% of all pregnancies, and in 30% of those cases, the baby dies. So basically this is fatal to 3 out of 1000 babies. We did not know this had happened, it was not picked up in the ultrasounds and in most cases it isn't caught on an ultrasound.. But, even if it had, there is really nothing you can do about it, it cant be fixed. Gideon's placenta seemed to be a more extreme case, which is probably why he died. When this happens, the baby doesn't get enough nutrients, no matter how much the mother eats, no matter how many vitamins she takes. And because of this, Gideon was small for his gestational age, he was physically perfect, just small. He wasn't able to pack on the pounds because the umbilical cord couldn't get enough nutrients from the placenta to him.

In addition to the umbilical cord being implanted into the membranes of the placenta and not the body of the placenta, the bottom of the umbilical cord, where it is attached to the placenta, is not covered in protective jelly like the rest of the umbilical cord. So since it is not protected, the cord can be compressed by the baby and that will cut off nutrients and oxygen to the baby. Usually if the baby has compressed it, they will move off of it and all is fine. But if the baby compresses his or her cord too long, or too often, that can be fatal. We don't know exactly if Gideon passed because he had gotten too big and the placenta being as it was couldn't support his life, or if he compressed the bottom of his cord. Either way, he would have fallen asleep and passed away. My Gideon simply fell asleep and woke up in Eternity to see the face of the Lord.

So why did this happen? We have no idea. There is absolutely no medical reason for why it happened. The Internal Fetal Medicine doctor I saw a couple weeks ago told me it was a medical fluke. And that there isn't any reason why it happened, or any reason why it would happen again. I am at the same risk of it happening again as I was this last time. In some ways that made it harder. If there had been a reason, then there would be something we could do next time, a medicine to take, or a procedure we could do, but there isn't. So, if Todd and I are blessed to have more children some day, then we will just have to sit back and trust the Lord (while going to the doctor lots of times!) and hope that our next child is one we get to bring home. It is going to require so much more faith and trust in the Father.

I had someone basically blame me for what happened because they didn't understand the medical side of things. This person was told what happened, then they said Gideon died because I don't eat enough, that's why it happened, that's why he wasn't getting enough nutrients. Todd quickly corrected this person, but I still don't think this person understands. Maybe they needed someone to blame, maybe that made them feel better if they could point the finger at someone. But, it had nothing to do with how much or how little I ate (and for the record, I ate plenty, I ate the amount I was supposed to eat and I have a big booty to prove it!). It hurt me because this person should know better, they know how much Gideon was wanted and loved. I would never ever do anything to hurt my child. This person supposedly loves and cares about me and Todd and they blamed me! That was so hurtful.

The last thing you want to do is make a grieving parent feel like they did something wrong. Like they were at fault, I can guarantee you, they are already blaming themselves.  Still birth is caused by so many different things. Anywhere from a placenta problem, or a cord accident (like a knot in the cord or a cord around a babies neck), or a genetic disorder in the baby, or a blood clotting problem in the mom that causes clots in the placenta, or an incompetent cervix that causes premature labor, or an infection in the placenta, or maternal diabetes or maternal high blood pressure and many other reasons and some cases there is no explainable reason. 50% of moms and dads never know exactly what caused their child to die. Yes, there are women who do drugs, or smoke, or get no prenatal care and their babies might die, but most mom's take care of their child the best they can. They do everything right, and their child still dies. The statistic for still birth is about 1 in 160 pregnancies. That is a very high number of precious babies who die and that is a lot of parents who have to grieve their children.

I had a lot of guilt after Gideon was born. I blamed myself for weeks. I would replay over and over what happened, what I could have done differently. I would (and occasionally still do) think "maybe if I had gone to the hospital sooner, or maybe I should have known something was wrong." One day I was driving and I was thinking these things and blaming myself, God spoke to me and told me I did nothing wrong and that no matter what Gideon would have died. That there was nothing I could have done and there was nothing I didn't do that caused this to happen. The Lord spoke to my heart and told me that He ordained the number of days Gideon was to live and I am not in control of life and death, He is. Thank you, Lord for showing me that and reminding me that You are the one who is truly in control. Thank you,, Lord for speaking to me and ridding me of those feelings of guilt and please help me to keep my eyes on You and the truth, not lies from the enemy.

Why does this happen to so many babies? Why do Todd and I, and all these other incredible mommies and daddies have to live without their children? Why doesn't God heal every single one of these babies? Because He can, I believe He can. So why doesn't He? The answer is: I have no idea.

The truth of the matter is, we live in a fallen world where there is death, pain and suffering. That is the reality of it. That is the reality of living in a world with sin.  Jesus says that "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." He says you will have trouble. Not you might have trouble. But He says to take heart because He has overcome the world!! We can have salvation in Him, so that in eternity, and when the New Heaven and New Earth are created, we will not have any more suffering. No more pain, and no more tears. He truly has overcome the world.
Earlier I said I wish I knew why Gideon died. But even if we did know why exactly Gideon died, for the exact purpose, it wouldn't take away the hurt. It wouldn't change anything. I would still be a mom who constantly misses her son. Todd  would still be a dad who wants to hug his little boy. Even if we knew the exact reason why Gideon was ordained to live only 33 weeks, that wouldn't erase or minimize any of our pain. But, no matter what the reason, but I do know that God is truly with us holding us in His hands.

I read this verses quite frequently these days, they remind me that we will have suffering in this life, but that God will always be with us and we will not be destroyed.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2 


Allison Fraser said...

I think about Gideon daily. I pray for you and your family more times a day than I can count.

Thank you for sharing this:
"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us, we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." -CS Lewis

Praying now...


Florence said...

Thank you for this post. Having some kind of answer eases the nagging question "Why". Eases it a little anyway. All our questions will be answered one glorious day and you know what, it won't matter then. Praising our Lord and seeing Gideon will be enough for you two sweet parents. LOVE YOU SO,

Stormy said...

Allison, thank you so much. Your prayers mean so so so much to us. You are wonderful. And it touches my heart deeply to know that you think about Gideon every day. That means more to me than I can even express. Thank you.

Stormy said...

Florence, Yes, having some answer really does ease the nagging question. And you are so right, one day all of our questions will not matter anymore because we will be with the Lord and we will be with Gideon and that will be enough. To have my Jesus and my family together. What a day that will be! I love you so much!

Barbara said...

Dear Stormy,
I came across your blog while looking up the meaning of baby names. Gideon was one of the names my husband and I had considered naming the son I am currently expecting and somehow your page came up. It probably isn’t the smartest idea for a pregnant woman as myself to read a blog like yours, or rather a blog that deals with a heartbreaking situation as yours.
But I have to say, that the wonderful way you express your feelings about your terrible loss and the love for your son and husband, transforms this blog into something so much more than a recollection of a child’s death. It is the story of a mother that deeply cares for her child. And as absolutely heart-wrenching your journey has been and still is, the warmth that comes through your words can be felt so deeply. Gideon is very lucky to have a thoughtful, honest and caring mother like you to call his own.

I know nothing I can say will ease your pain, but please know that the words you write about your son are shining brightly and let everyone know what a truly beautiful boy he was.

Stormy said...

Wow. I don't really know what to say, I have tears in my eyes from reading your comment. Thank you for reading and sharing this journey with me. I know it is probably isn't easy to read my blog while you are pregnant. I can understand that. So, thank you.
Thank you so much for your kind words. Your comments have touched my heart. very much so. It means so much to me, what you said. we are complete strangers, yet your heart has touched my heart.Thank you so much. So very much.
We do love our son with all our hearts. He is loved greatly and deeply and we miss him every second. We are looking forward to the day when we get to be reunited with him again in Eternity.
Thank you for reading about my son's life. Thank you.

devon said...

Continuing to lift you and Todd up. I am so sorry someone spoke out of ignorance and blamed you. Only the Lord knows the number of our days and only HE ordains them. You were an incredible mommy to Gideon and it takes an incredible mommy to say good bye to her son in such a special way after only 33 weeks. I can imagine that is the most difficult calling placed on a mommy and you and Todd walked through it together with grace. You are honoring the Lord and Gideon's life with your testimony. Thank you for sharing! Praying for peace and for those future babies!! God will restore all that has been lost in one way or another!

Hannah B said...

Stormy, Aaron and I continue to pray for you and Todd every day and you are constantly on my mind. I really love what Barbara said in these comments. You are a beautiful woman with such a beautiful heart and your, Todd's, and Gideon's story is touching hearts and will change lives.

Though it's sad to read of why Gideon is no longer here, this was a beautiful post.

Stormy said...

Devon, your words made me cry. Thank you. Thank you so much for continuing to life us up to the Lord, and praying for our peace (which we need so badly), and for future children (we hope to give Gideon a younger brother or sister some day)....I think you are right, the most difficult calling on a parents is to have to say goodbye to your child in this life. I hope that we are able to bring honor to the Lord through our brokenness.

Hannah, Thank you both so much for praying for us and thinking of us. It means more to me than I can express. Thank you for your sweet words. They touch my heart....I hope that God is able to use us in our time of despair. I feel like all I have to give Him is my broken and bruised spirit.....Again, thank you so much, my friend.

Stephanie said...


From one angel mama to another ~ I will pray that you are protected from such horrible and stupid things that people feel the need to say.

I have heard my share. . .every parent who has a child die seems to at least one time. It is horrible that we don't have our children, but then to have to endure the crass and hurtful statements instead of all the 'ooooo's and aaaahh's, your baby is so cute, your little one is sure growing, etc." is just wrong.

Gideon is precious and perfect. You both are parents and he will always be yours just like you will always be his. You just have to wait longer than most families to be together. And for that, I am sorry.

One thing that helps me sometimes is to talk to my daughter. She was stillborn in March 2011, and not a day goes by that I don't whisper to her.

Holding you in my heart

Anonymous said...


Thank you for continuing to share your heart with all of us. It is amazing to read your blogs and be able to see and feel what you and Todd are experiencing. It touches me in a way I could never explain.

I appreciated learning about the results your doctors found. While we will probably never be able to understand the big WHY (which only God can answer), it does help a little to know the medical why.

I'm sorry you had to hear someone blame you. That is so sad and hurtful. I think people do that without having any idea how much pain they just caused. After my miscarriage, I received this advice from a friend: "Some people will say wonderful things that help you and others will say things that hurt you. Take the words that help to heart and forget about the hurtful words." Even though it is difficult to forget hurtful things, I tried to heed her advice.

I love you and Todd and I know God has a beautiful plan for your life.

Sarah Zeller

Stormy said...

Stephanie, Thank you so much. My heart is reaching out to yours right now...
You are so right, Gideon will always be ours, and we will always be his. We just have to wait until we are reunited in eternity...I am so sorry you have had to hear hurtful things too. I, fortunately, have only heard a few hurtful things. I am thankful that most people I am around have been wonderful.
I am so sorry you have to live without your daughter.

Sarah, thank you so much. Thank you for your sweet words. They mean more to me than you could know.
You are so right, we will never really know the big reason why, but it does help to know the medical reason as to what happened. And it does help to know that I did nothing to cause it and I could have done nothing to prevent it. It really has taught me that God is the only one in control, he controls life and death.
I think you are right here too, people say things without knowing how much they hurt with their words. I wish people would think for a little bit before they spoke, maybe if they thought "If I was in her situation and someone said this to me, would that be helpful." people might say less hurtful things. Thankfully I have gotten very few comments like this. And thankfully when I have gotten them, I know the truth. Most all of my friends and all of the family have been amazing and supportive and have said wonderful things to us and spoken truth into out lives. For that, I am so thankful.
Thank you so much for your encouragement. I love you.

Laura said...

I can so relate to so many of your posts. I blamed myself so much for my little girl being born too early when really, there WAS nothing I could have done differently. I was doing my best to keep her safe. And just as the Lord spoke to you about Gideon's passing not being your fault, He also showed me the same. No matter what, this was His plan and we need to just trust Him and what He will show us through this. I'm so thankful you are being shown the same thing!

Your friend from HP,

mommyof6(1inheaven) said...

I was told about your blog from my friend niki. She knows you IRL. She told me about your blog, after we lost our Son, Isaac. He was our 1st loss and I miss him so much.

We have been blessed with 5 wonderful babies here on earth, but Isaac unfortunally left us when I was about 15 weeks pregnant. We don't know why he passed away so early. I miss him everyday and am grateful to know he is with my Heavenly Father and earthly Father.

I agree with what you said, there is nothing we could have done to change the out come. I know that God didn't cause Isaac to die, but he let it happen. It was God's Will for Isaac to bless our Life for a short time and that he did.

I am blessed to have had my Sweet Son for 15 1/2 weeks. He changed my life more than I could ever imgaine.

One of the hardest things was after I saw on the sonogram that he had passed away, to have to come home and tell the kids their baby brother had died. We didn't know at that time he was a boy yet. I went into labor 3 days after I found out he had passed away. I delivered my Sweet Son, July 21 2011.

I have friends that too are pregnant still, and some of them are due when I was. That is so hard. I have had to block them on FB, because it's too hard to see their updates on how their feeling or how their baby is doing. I would give almost anything to be pregnant again with Isaac. So it hurts so much to see them complain about morning sickness, being tired, or just whatever they complain about.

I don't wish lossing a baby on anyone! But I also wish people would be more thoughtful on what they post and say to a mom that has lost a baby.

I love when you said you that you want people to ask. I agree, I feel the same way. I wish more people would ask and not just ingorne what happened. Isaac may have only been with my 15 weeks, but it was long enough to fall in love and want more.

Anyways, I am sorry if this doesn't make sense and is all over the place. Still not all not together in my thoughts.

Mommy of 6 (1 in Heaven)