The Sufficient Grace Ministries blog is doing a bereavement support called Walking With You in which families share part of their child's story each week on their blog so we can pray for each other and support each other. There is so much healing in walking this path together. So, I decided I wanted to participate in this; to help continue to mend my own heart, and maybe allow another mommy to have her heart mended. The first week is called The First Steps and they ask that you share when you found out something was wrong with the baby. So, here goes....
We had no idea something was wrong. We didn't know.
We were 33 weeks pregnant and every single doctors appointment had gone perfectly. Gideon's ultrasound at 8 weeks and at 21 weeks were perfect, his heart beat was always strong, always in the 130s range. I had a doctors appointment just a little over a week before he died. We didn't know. We didn't know he might die. Sometimes I wish we had known, we could have prepared ourselves, prepared our hearts a little more, but then other times I am glad we didn't know, so we could just enjoy every moment we had with him in innocence and ignorance. So we could experience an unencumbered joy.
I slept in that Sunday, May 15th 2011 with no idea that this would turn into the most horrifying day of my life. I was exhausted from the day before, we had my baby shower for Gideon. I missed church because I was so tired and Todd had to work that day. I noticed that Gideon wasn't very active, but that was his pattern. Active one day and then took a break for a couple of days where he was less active. In the back of my mind I kept thinking that he wasn't active the day before either and that on Friday he wasn't moving very much. I started to get really worried and in the deepest part of my heart, I knew something was wrong. So after Todd got home from work, I laid down to do my "kick count" for the day. That's where you lay down on your left side and count how long it takes the baby to move 10 times and then write down that time. If the baby doesn't move within the hour, you are supposed to eat something and drink something sugary and then lay down for another hour.
At the end of my kick count, I got a zero. I thought I felt some movement in that time but wasn't sure. I think it was simply wishful thinking. I later found out that sometimes after babies pass away, when you move their bodies will shift inside of you and that can feel like movement. I was so afraid. Actually, afraid doesn't even cover the emotions I was feeling. I was terrified.
I walked into our bedroom and told Todd that Gideon hadn't moved. So we got dressed quickly to go to the hospital. I was grabbing my purse and noticed my camera in there, I almost pulled it out and left it at home, but I thought "I may need to take pictures of Gideon, I need to bring this." I am so thankful that the Lord gave me that thought, so I could have pictures on my camera of my sweet boy. Then we left our apartment and made the 45 minute drive to the hospital. On the way out of the parking lot of our apartment complex, Todd put his hand on my belly and said "Gideon, we need you to move for us, baby." We didn't know that he would never move again. I sent my mom and sisters a text telling them we were going to the hospital. My sisters encouraged me that everything was going to be fine. They didn't expect that their nephew had died. They didn't know. My mom and dad decided to come to the hospital and that they would meet us there. That was one of the longest car rides of my life. Todd and I made small talk and tried to convince ourselves that everything was going to be ok. That Gideon was fine, that he was just resting. We didn't know.
We walked into the hospital hand in hand with our son in my womb. We didn't know that when we walked out of the hospital, my womb and my arms would be empty.
We didn't know that as we walked through those doors, the entire course of our life would change. They checked me in at Labor and Delivery. After I told them my baby isn't moving and I went into their triage room. I changed into a gown and waited for the nurse to come in and check for his heartbeat. We didn't know that we would never hear his beautiful heart beat again. The nurse took out the doppler and searched around my abdomen. And keep searching, all the while, all I hear is crackling. I was waiting for the "thump-thump" but it never came. She asked me, "where does your doctor usually find the baby's heartbeat?" And I pointed into the middle of my abdomen, and I said "here and here." So she kept searching. Finally she said "well, sometimes babies like to hide, so we are going to get an ultrasound." And I thought, Gideon never hid before. It was always so easy to find his heartbeat. The nurse then told us that when the ultrasound tech came in, that he cannot say anything, he isn't allowed to mention anything about what he is seeing. I sent my parents a text and told them that they couldn't find Gideon's heartbeat. My parents were at the hospital and were in the room within minutes.
We didn't know what to expect next. When the ultrasound tech came in the room, it was completely quiet. Todd stood next to me and I held his hand so tightly. I was so scared. We all were terrified. I struggled to see the screen, but I could only get glimpses of Gideon. He looked for about 30 minutes, never saying a word. He left the room, and I went to the bathroom and after I came back the ultrasound tech was back in the room and he said out loud "the baby is breech." Gideon was basically standing up in my uterus, so he was a footling breech. I have heard that some babies are breech so they can be closer to their mommies heart. It is so incredible to me that maybe he wanted to be close to my heart. I hope that is true. And my heartbeat was the last sound he heard before he heard the voice of God. Wow.
Then the ultrasound tech asked me if I had been leaking amniotic fluid. I hadn't been. (I found out later from my doctor that the fluid was low because Gideon had been gone for probably 18 hours at that point. And amniotic fluid is mostly just baby pee, and since he hadn't been producing urine, the level was low). After the ultrasound tech asked me those two questions. My heart started to sink. Why would they care if Gideon was breech, unless I was going to have to deliver him? I finally let go of Todd's hand and he made a joke about me squeezing his hand so hard. And we both halfheartedly laughed. I told him, that I was really scared. He was too. I could tell he was scared, just by the look in his eyes. I asked my mom if she could see anything on the ultrasound and she said "no I couldn't tell anything" but she looked so afraid. I just stared at my husband and hoped and prayed that my son was ok. We didn't know he wasn't. I kept wondering "when are they going to come back in here and tell us something?" I didn't know what was taking so long. That 15 minutes felt like an eternity. But I knew something really bad was about to happen.
The nurse walked into the room. She had a box of kleenex in her hand. And I knew. She said "You arent stupid people, I know you know what's going on....I am so sorry." And she began to cry. My heart stopped. Our son, our little miracle was gone. It was like time stood still for a moment and the world crashed down around me. Todd said "No, no, no God." as he started bawling with tears streaming down his face. And I was saying "No please God! No." as I was being choked with sobs of grief and disbelief. I looked at Todd and I have never seen Todd look like that before. It was like I was watching a building crumble, only the building was my husband's heart. Todd hugged me with everything that was in him. We bawled and desperately clung to each other. All we could do was hold each other, because we had nothing else. Our hearts had been ripped in two and had been smashed into a million pieces. My mom fell onto my stomach and wept. My dad silently cried, tears filling his eyes.
We did't know that the night before, our son had been ushered into Heaven.
We didn't know it was possible to hurt this badly, to feel this much pain. It was if someone sucked all the oxygen out of the room. As if, each one of our hearts were pierced with a sword. And as if someone punched us in the stomach. As if someone put their hands around our hearts and squeezed. It was like my life was ripped away from me. As if every molecule and cell in our own bodies had suffocated. It was like every ounce of comfort, happiness and hope had been sucked out of that room. As if there was nothing good left in the world. The walls of our life came crashing down around us. And we were left there, in the rubble. Each one of us with broken, bleeding hearts. And I with a womb that should have carried life, but instead was a tomb for our son.
Our son died.
In that room was a family; and that family's world ended in that moment.. The child they all loved so much, had gone to be with the Lord. Our miracle died. Our little love. Our sweet boy. Our heart. Gone to be with Jesus.
We didn't know that God would call Gideon home that day. We didn't know that Gideon's days would be so short. We didn't know something would go wrong. We didn't know that God had only ordained 33 weeks and 2 days for Gideon's life. We didn't know. We didn't know the depth of grief and pain. We didn't know the feeling of complete loss. We didn't know.
But we do know; we know that Gideon's life has purpose. We know the depth of love. We know how strong love is, even at times of separation. We know that separation is only for this lifetime. We know the immense love of a parent. We know what it is like to love someone more than your own life. We know that God holds us every single day. We know that He is good. We know that God will never leave or forsake us. We know that God does not make mistakes. We know that Gideon is with the Lord. We know that Gideon is standing in Eternity with Jesus. We know that one day, when the New Heaven and New Earth are created, Gideon will be embodied again. We know that we will be with him there. We know because we know Jesus. We know because we know that Jesus is our light and our salvation.We know that Jesus is.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 15-16
"...he was the delight and expectation of our hearts, but the gift was claimed suddenly and the child, who was to have done, according to our idea, so much service on earth, went to sing God's praises with the angels."---Mrs. C.H. Spurgeon