Walking With You was created by Kelly of Sufficient Grace Ministries to help support those who have lost a child. Together we share our stories, helpful information, scriptures, encouraging words, prayer requests, and more. To join in on Walking With You please visit Kelly's blog.
This 3rd week of Walking With You we have been asked to share about the birth of our babies and the moments we spent with our children after they were born.
I remember waking up early the morning of October 7, 2008. Needless to say, with a scheduled c-section, I hadn't slept well the night before. We were to arrive at the hospital at 5:30, and I am pretty sure I woke up at 4:00... having finally fallen asleep somewhere around 2am.
We sat in the waiting room, joined by my mom and stepdad, then my dad and stepmom. My nurse, who we had already met with ahead of time, took us back to the room that would be ours for the bulk of the day. The hospital was fabulous about getting us a private recovery room so that we could have family and friends back to meet Isaac and spend time with him without the distraction of other patients and doctors.
When we got back to that room, there was already a little birthday gift for Isaac waiting there that had been dropped off by my friend Taylor that morning. We put our (many) bags down, got settled, and I got prepped for surgery. Various family members came back to visit, and our pastors came in and prayed with us. Than I began the (not so) long walk down the hall to the OR.
Until this point, I had really put far from my mind the whole spinal thing. I was petrified of it, and just couldn't deal with being afraid of it on top of everything else. I had talked with the anesthesiologist ahead of time, and had told him that regardless of what I said in the OR, I wanted to be coherent and fully present during my time with Isaac... even if it meant enduring more physical pain. And believe me... it did.
The procedure started, with numerous medical staff in the room: two doc's from my OB office to do the delivery, the anesthesiologist, the neonatologist, a respiratory therapist, and at least two nurses that I remember. Spencer and I began reciting Psalm 121 together, something we had memorized specifically for that time. We wanted our focus to be on the Lord as Isaac was delivered, not on all the medical things that were being said among the doctors.
Isaac was delivered breech at 8:33am, and was quickly cleaned up and brought over to us. I know I am biased, but he was seriously the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. I just remember crying and thinking, "I can't believe this is my child." We could tell that he had my eyes and nose, and Spencer's ears and lips. It was absolutely amazing... and he was absolutely stunning.
Spencer held him for a little bit because it was important to me that Isaac felt what it was like to be held by his parents. Spencer then brought him over and nestled him right up next to me so I could talk to Isaac, kiss his little face, and just... be with him. I remember telling Isaac how proud I was of him and how proud I am to be his mom. I remember telling him how much I love him.
The neonatologist came over and told us that his heart had slowed to 30 beats per minute, and I knew we didn't have a ton of time left with him. Spencer and I just kept telling Isaac over and over how much we loved him and how proud we were of him. I guess when you're given such a short time with your child, you want them to hear the things that matter the most.
A few minutes later, the neonatologist came over again, and she told us that Isaac had passed away. This may sound strange, but I couldn't believe it. I think there was something in me that, even in those final moments, knew that it wasn't too late.
Eventually, the doctors finished the surgery and I was moved back to that recovery room. The doctors took Isaac for a few minutes to do what they needed to do, and then brought him back to us. Spencer and I spent a while with Isaac first giving him a bath, getting his footprints, and trimming some locks of his hair.
Our photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came back and took photographs of the three of us, and then we eventually began to invite our family and friends back to meet Isaac. Everyone had the chance to hold him and just be with him. I was just so struck by how each of them just emanated so much love for our son... particularly knowing that they had walked into a very difficult and heart-wrenching situation.
Once many of our friends and family members left, our nurse helped us make molds of Isaac's hand and foot... two of my most favorite things from that day. We were then moved to my room on the mother-baby ward. We were given an extra large room at the end of the all to both keep us a little more out of the way, and to accommodate our many visitors.
My dad and sister-in-law helped us get Isaac's footprints on Christmas ornaments, and we took some more pictures of Isaac wrapped in the different blankets he had been given. Once everyone had left for the day, we had some more time to spend with him ourselves. Spencer and I just took turns holding him, loving on him, and beign with him.
It was difficult knowing that the time when we would have to say our final goodbye was looming... it was like I just wanted time to stop because I just wanted more time than I knew I had.
I wish I could share what it was like to say that final goodbye, but truthfully, even almost 9 months later, I can't. Suffice it to say that it was nothing short of the most excruciating physical and emotional pain that I have ever experienced... and I really need to just leave it at that.
Spencer and I are both really thankful for the 16 minutes we did have with Isaac while he was alive, for the many hours we had to hold his little body afterwards, and for the numerous family members and friends who were there that day. We're thankful that the hospital was so accommodating, and that we were able to make so many physical mementos of Isaac's presence. We're thankful for our hundreds of beautiful photographs from our photographer, and for the pictures that our nurse took in the OR so that we would have pictures of Isaac while he was still alive. Though our deepest prayer for Isaac to be healed on this side of heaven wasn't answered the way we had hoped, God's provision for us on October 7, 2008 was still abundant.