1.03.2015

twenty-five weeks: stillborn

I felt the darkness when I knew I'd never hold you again.





We weren't ready. I could have been your mother for sixty years and not been ready to say goodbye.

Like I have every month, I had a routine maternity appointment. This appointment included a glucouse test. Needles and blood. Not a fan. I hashtagged #onlyworthitcauseillholdyousoon on a baby bump photo on Instagram. I meant fifteen weeks soon, not less than twenty-four hours soon. I wasn't ready to hold you yet. At the end of the visit, the doctor checked for your heartbeat. I could hear it playing in my mind, a quick and steady rhythm, but only static filled the room.

The doctor made a lighthearted comment about how good you were at hide and seek when she gave up searching for your heartbeat and went to roll in a rather primitive ultrasound cart. The machine took too long to boot up, and then I was laying staring at a white doctor's coat while she moved a new tool across my skin. I couldn't see the screen with your body on it, but I could feel it in her search that she hadn't found what she was searching for.

She closed down the machine with some comment about lack of heart activity. I had felt you move just the night before. Just the night before you were alive. Then she was giving me pointed instructions about calling my husband and driving to labor and delivery at a hospital I'd never been inside. On our hurried way back up to the front, a nurse called to me, and the doctor silenced her. The last thing she said to me was, "Labor and delivery. They'll be expecting you."

I had been calm and quiet in the doctor's office, but calling Matt brought tears. He would meet me at the hospital, though I still thought there was a chance he'd be leaving work for nothing. After I got off the phone with Matt, I called my dad. He cried with me in prayer. He already knew what I hadn't accepted. He thanked God for the peace He had previously given Matt and I about His plan for you.

When Matt arrived at the hospital, I laid down on that hospital bed for the first time while a nurse and doctor set up the ultrasound machine. We'd only seen you twice on ultrasound, but both times, even when you were only twelve weeks old, you were moving like crazy. This time it was too obvious too quickly. You were too still. Your heart wasn't beating on the screen. She kept looking, moving, stopping, checking, and though I wanted your heart to begin again, I knew then that I was going to have to give birth to you dead. I wasn't ready.

I won't bore you with the details of the afternoon, evening, and night. Your daddy and I cried together harder than we ever have, because we love you. Neither of us had ever lost anyone, and we weren't ready. This morning, January 3rd, 2015, at 8:23 a.m., I gave birth to you with one push. You were 1 pound 4 ounces and 12 inches long. You had my lips and your daddy's blonde eyebrows. I spent hours today touching your little parts, staring at your tongue, fingers, and nose. I could name every part of your body with such affection that you might believe you were the only baby I've ever held.

But holding your beautiful, lifeless body made it painfully obvious that you weren't there. You were never in that room with us. All the soft kisses and whispered words were lost on your empty shell, because you, my beautiful son, were in heaven before I even knew you were missing. When I thought I was holding you, you were in the arms of God, which is far better. I can't wait to meet you someday. I can't wait to thank our gracious God for allowing us to love you. I can't wait to thank Him for loving us enough to allow His only Son to leave Him.

Hundreds of people here on earth love you. They're weeping with your daddy and I as we say goodbye before we got to say hello. I've dreamed of you my whole life. You made me a mommy.

We love, love, love you.

15 comments:

  1. In my heart I have so much I'd like to say, but really just have no words right now. I feel very close to you right now, because my mother went through something very similar, and I was with her every step. We love you, and promise to pray for you both through this heartbreaking time in your lives. Thank you for sharing your beautiful little boy with us!

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  2. Christine Balakitsis1/3/15, 11:01 PM

    Praying for you both right now! May Christ's sufficiency uphold you during this time. Love and prayers!

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  3. Read this with tears. Praying for you during this difficult time.

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  4. Crying with you right now. We love you and pray that God will comfort and sustain you as only He can.

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  5. I wish there were words to say that would help to ease your pain, but I know there is nothing. Please know we are thinking of you and Matt and praying for you. Thank you for sharing pictures of your beautiful son and thank you for your testimony of faithfulness to the Lord during your heart break.

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  6. We are crying with you and praying for you. Thank you for your words, these beautiful pictures and your faith. We love you, isabella and tim

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  7. We're praying for you now.

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  8. Dear Amanda,
    I cry with you as I read your blog and heard the news from your mother's post on Facebook. We are missionaries that your parents and Tidewater baptist church supports through their missions program. I remember you from Crown. Please know we will be uplifting you and your husband in our prayers was you go through this very difficult time.I know there are not words that can help you feel better, and i know every morning, for several mornings, you will wake up remembering your loss. The hurt you feel is very real, and you and your husband will grieve very differently, yet, you will grieve at the same time. Through trials, God gives grace, and he give healing of a broken heart. As humans, we want everything now...but healing takes time, and although people will forget, you will not and you will still be healing...and that is completely normal and fine. I'm so thankful you were able to write on your blog about your son and your experience, and that through it all, you are still honoring the Lord and His will for your life. I know it was hard to write, yet, it truly helps to grieve when you transfer what is on your heart to "paper". The Lord has given us grace to get through loosing our precious baby boy, and i know He will do the same for you. Keep trusting Him, and know that across this world, there are many praying for you- specifically a couple in Burkina faso.
    Love,
    Julie Knickerbocker

    P.s.- i know you may not wish to read right now, but I wrote a blog post after our son died to help me grieve, and to help people understand what we were feeling. I hope it can be a blessing to you, knowing you are not alone facing this difficult trial.

    http://www.knickinburkinafaso.com/blog/from-a-mothers-heart

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    1. We prayed for you and your husband during your hard time (as a church and family), and I appreciate your testimony of trusting the Lord through it. Thank you for praying for us!

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  9. Michelle Reis1/5/15, 12:59 PM

    I am so so sorry, Matt & Amanda! I am praying for you...that God would grant peace and grace and comfort as only He can!
    Love and Prayers,
    Michelle Reis

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  10. I am so sorry. You are your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  11. There is so much that I wish I could say or do to help ease the pain you and your family are feeling... But I know that I can't. Please know that I am sending nothing but positive thoughts and prayers your way.

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  13. I'm a random Internet person who just stumbled across your blog while putting in time on a train this morning. Except I think it maybe wasn't so random that I found your blog. My sweet Abigail was born on November 18, 2014 at 37 weeks. We snuggled her close and whispered in her ears how much we desperately loved her. She was with us for 1.5 hours before she went to meet her Creator. My grieving mother heart reaches out to yours. May you continue to feel Christ's peace on your journey - He truly has been a strength to me that I could never have imagined before. And maybe my precious little girl and your sweet little boy are snuggled beside each other in Heaven.

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    1. Thanks for reaching out! I'm sorry that you didn't get to watch Abigail grow. I would never wish this kind of loss on anyone. Our Father has given us a peace beyond anything that makes sense to my human mind. I'm thankful for His strength in the midst of this awful, heart-wrenching thing.

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