heartbroken and thankful
There are things you need to know; namely, Matt and I appreciate the outpouring of love we've received this weekend like we can't explain. People from all areas of our lives, from states and countries we haven't been to in years, reached out to say they were praying, and that's the only thing we need more desperately than dry eyes.
Also, I want you to know why (medically) Christian died. It wasn't something they picked up on ultrasound, but as soon as he was out (and he came out in a hurry once it began) the doctors saw it. They called it hyper-coiled umbilical cord. Some babies (I was one of them) are born with their cord around their neck, and it could kill them, but hyper-coiled cord means that his cord was twisted so tightly at his belly button that the oxygen and food weren't able to pass through. They called it a defect, like the cord hadn't developed properly. All I know is that it allowed him to grow to the right size and weight of a twenty-five week baby, and then he couldn't get what his little body needed. The condition shouldn't affect future children, which was (of course) our main concern in his cause of death.
Labor was soul-tearing painful. How do you lay there contraction after contraction knowing that when the pain climaxes you'll be delivering the child you've always wanted without a heartbeat? There was no end goal to strive for. There was only pain and death.
My mind understands that he's gone, and my heart accepts that it's true, but my body doesn't know. My body thinks I'm a new mommy. In a weekend full of heartache, one of the hardest parts has been my body's gift of milk. It's something that should be treasure. I've dreamt of interrupted sleep, breaks for time spent in darkness, cuddling quietly with my son. My body works beautifully so that my babies will never be hungry, but I don't need it. I don't have a baby to feed. The smell of cabbage follows me from room to room, reminding me of my body's confusion. My hand absentmindedly finds my stomach, where it recently rested in anticipation, reminding me of the new emptiness. A blonde boy at Wal*Mart brought me tears instead of the normal excitement over my own future beautiful, blonde children. Matt and I take breaks from family to be alone, laying together, choking on words. It's the hardest thing I've been through. It's the hardest thing he's been through. It's the hardest thing we've been through. I couldn't make a list of every dream we had dreamed for him, every situation we had pictured him in, and every future moment of pain because he's missing from our family, but it isn't only pain. There are many things to be thankful for.
Most of all, I'm thankful that we were far enough along that the hospital treated him like a dead baby, instead of something else. I needed the nurse to look at his body and call him perfect. Matt and I both needed it. We weren't sure if we even wanted to see him at first. Now, I can't imagine having not held him close, but when we received the news that he was dead, we weren't sure we could look at him. We'd always pictured him a certain way: Smiling, wiggling, bright-eyed, alive, and knowing that he'd come to us still and discolored scared us both. But after I'd delivered him, and we cried together for his lost life, I couldn't let his body lie there unheld. Oh, his beautiful little face. I'm so glad we saw him. All four grandparents and some of his aunts and uncles held him too. Even though we all knew he was already a world away, they loved him, and their love encouraged us.
Eve and her selfish disobedience, multiplied my sorrow. I can't blame her. Had I been there I would have made the same decision, but death, the end result, hurts my heart. Still, there is a continued list of things to thank God for.
I'm thankful that the day I delivered our son was already planned as the first day of vacation with my family. We both already had work off for half of this week.
I'm thankful that the little girl I watch was already spending the day with her grandmother the day I had my doctor's appointment. We didn't plan that, God did.
I'm thankful I had a doctor's appointment before our trip. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have known that he was gone. I would've gone out of town with Matt and my family, and at some point this week, two hours from my doctor, I would have gone into early labor with our dead baby boy. God had worked that out.
I'm thankful we knew he was a boy. I'm thankful that he already had a name. I'm thankful that people loved him already enough to love him still.
I'm thankful for the husband God gave me. I'm thankful for his hot tears of grief. I'm thankful for the way he speaks of our son. I'm thankful for the way he's held me. I'm thankful for his selflessness in helping me. I'm thankful that we don't have to sorrow as ones who have no hope.
I'm thankful for God's Word. "I know the plans I have for you..." "He cannot come back to me, but I can go to him (in heaven)..." "Be still and know that I am God..." "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven..." "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you..." "To be with Christ, which is far better..." "To die is gain..."
Even in the midst of heartbreaking tragedy, there is ever much to be thankful for.