Monday, March 16, 2009

Sending Out a Birthday Wish

I struggled with whether or not I should blog about this today. One danger about putting oneself into cyberworld is you never know who might be reading. That's one of the major reasons I don't share my children's names and work hard to only give out vague information on where we live.

Today is a day when I'd like to share a bit about one of my favorite people. I knew him in this life for just over an hour, and really didn't get to see much of him even during the time he lived. I was there, however, when he crossed from this life into the next. I'm talking about my son. You'll see him listed to the side as my second born.

D would have turned nine this month. I say 'would have' because he died just an hour and twelve minutes after he was born. I've blogged about this experience before in posting a talk I gave several months ago (Sunday Inspirations Oct. 26, 2008). You're welcome to click on the link and read the full talk if you haven't done so before. Today I want to share my son with the rest of you, and so will copy a large part of the talk here.

I went into labor in the early morning hours of the baby’s due date. M, who was only two at the time, was sent over to Grandma W’s house around nine or ten when we determined it was time to head into the hospital (i.e., I couldn't take the pain!!!). I remember hoping they wouldn’t tell me it was indigestion and send me back home. Fortunately they didn’t.

In no time at all I was appropriately dressed in one of those becoming hospital gowns, all the right sensors in place, watching the little heartbeat of our son on the monitor to my left. I was a little distressed as my regular doctor would be in meetings all morning long, but his partner would be available when the time came.

As my labor progressed the nurses began to worry. With each contraction the heartbeat of my baby would dip. This had happened as well with M so I didn’t think too much of it. There were other concerns as well, but in my agony and excitement I didn’t pay them much heed. The hours went by in this manner, my parents and older brother in attendance, all our attitudes happy and anxious.

Things went slowly enough for my regular doctor to finish his last meeting and he was able to attend me, much to my relief. I eventually felt it was time for the baby to come, my family exited, and I began to push. It didn’t take too long before this tiny, scrawny baby was placed on my chest. Two things jumped out to me at once.

First was the color of our child. All babies don’t exactly come out looking pretty. Our son was too gray, too dark. The second thing was when he tried to cry. I can still hear his fervent attempts to take in a breath, to make a noise, and all that came out was this tiny squeak. As I tried to take all this in the nurse whipped the oxygen mask off my face and placed it over his, but his skin wasn’t pinking up. She grabbed him, towel and all, told my husband to follow, and rushed out of the room.

I was left alone to wonder and wait for word that all was well, though a part of me knew this was not so. The nurses and my doctor were busy all around me, but I was hardly aware of their presence. I went through many silent prayers, hoping against hope all would be well. Into my mind a quiet voice broke through.

“Everything will be okay,” it said.

I heaved a sigh of relief. “Everything will be okay,” I thought. “My son will be fine. We’ll get to take him home. M will get to see her baby brother. Everything will be fine.”

“No,” came the voice again. So gentle. So quiet. Yet so firm. “No. But everything will be okay.”

My doctor went to check on what was going on, and my mother came in to sit with me. Neither of us said a word. We really didn't need to. Only the occasional thank you to those who kept us in the loop. At last I was told I needed to come with the doctor to visit my son, that it just didn’t look good.

During this time my husband watched with an aching father’s heart all that the paramedics did to try and help our son live. What he witnessed I cannot imagine, but I am grateful that since his own father couldn’t stand there with him, that my own father and older brother were able to be there in his stead.

It wasn’t long before my mother and I joined them. When I first witnessed D's tiny body being worked on, my immediate thoughts were, "Please, just stop. Don't hurt him any more." As my husband and I talked later, he told me his thoughts echoed my own.

Dr. Jung, the physician taking care of my baby, knelt by my wheelchair and told me the 'little guy' just wasn’t going to make it. I nodded, knowing this already, but not able to stop my heart from breaking nor a brief sob from escaping. They took the wires off his body and the tube from his throat, wrapped him in a blanket, and placed him in my arms.

At that moment my husband, my father, and my older brother laid their hands on this little baby’s head, gave him a name and sealed him to our family. For several seconds after not a sound was heard in that room besides gentle weeping. Dr. Jung finally knelt down beside me, took out his stethoscope to place it on my son's chest, and declared what we already knew: he had died.

Several minutes later we were all back in the delivery room taking turns holding this precious little one. I distinctly remember the moment I no longer needed to hold him any more. I firmly believe that was the same moment his spirit left the room.

This sort of experience can scar a person, even destroy their faith in God and His plan for us. For myself, it has been the single most faith-building experience of my life thus far. I have been beyond blessed by this extraordinary spirit encased in a boy for now lost to me. I know more now than ever before the beautiful blessings that come from being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the knowledge I have been given of the eternal nature of families.

I know I will have the opportunity to raise this special child in the next life. I know he is promised to us so long as we live our lives in accordance to the gospel. I know peace. I know love, not just the love of my Heavenly Father and Brother, but that of my earthly family, friends, and church members.

This is not to say I stood strong the entire time. Countless tears were shed. There were moments I found myself crumpled on the floor in agony. I went on depression medication for several months just so I wouldn't burst into tears every time I saw a little boy. And March is a most dificult month for me to get through. Yet I am also grateful for the time of year he came to us, for just after we celebrate his birthday, we celebrate the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior. Easter has more meaning for me, thanks to my little boy.

This is my story to share. He is my little missionary, my way of helping to strengthen the faith and testimony of others who may have experienced something similar. He is my testimony that we can come out of the harshest moments of our lives stronger, more blessed, and at our most able to bless the lives of those around us.


Cynthia said...

Thanks for this tender post.

allan and alysha said...

Thank you for sharing. You are truly brave. You make me want to be a stronger, better member of the church.

kiyo said...

Your story is both heartbreaking and beautiful. Thank you for having the courage to share it. I'm sure the day you are reunited with your son will be precious and amazing.

Debbie D said...

You are beautiful. Thank you for this tender post. I don't know how people can go on after a loved one passes without knowing of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. I'm glad we have this plain and simple truth, that families can be together forever. Thank you.

Anna said...

You are very brave for sharing your story. Here's hoping the month is a little less difficult to get through.

Herbie Shaw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LaurieW said...

Thank you so much everyone for your sweet words. It means the world to me.

I just wanted to tell Herbie the ONLY reason I deleted his beautiful and touching post was because my son's name was mentioned.