July 2007 marked the two year anniversary of our son Isaac's death. It also marked the first birthday of our son Benjamin. This year especially it was a bittersweet month for our family. We absolutely treasure the six days that Isaac graced us with his presence on this earth but I ache for him daily. I am also very aware of how blessed I have been in my life to also have two beautiful healthy boys at home. Until you experience the loss of a baby I don't think it is possible to fully understand the true miracle it is to have a healthy one.
My pregnancy with Isaac was uneventful and textbook. My my first son Luke was born 5 weeks early so around the 35 week mark I began the sprint toward preparing for our second son. At 37 weeks I went in for my routine appointment feeling like the day was drawing near. The appointment went well and at the end I asked the doctor if she could tell if the baby was head up or down because I had a distinct feeling that he was not in position. She agreed and decided to send me for an ultrasound to confirm my fear.
This particular ultrasound on July 14th 2005 would change my life forever and the way I would view an ultrasound. Until this point the ultrasound was a really neat way to get a good peek at the baby and it was so much fun seeing him squirm around. It made everything so real! This ultrasound proved to be different. The technician was especially quiet and she continued to try to measure the baby's head size. After about 20 minutes she explained that the baby seemed to have an abnormally small head and she could see fluid on his brain. We were being sent to meet with a doctor to discuss a c section immediately.
The meeting with the doctor is somewhat a blur to me. I heard what she said but was in shock. Howard and I were planning on going out for lunch together since we had a sitter for Luke and who knew when we would get the opportunity to enjoy eachother's company like that again for a while. Well this day there would be no lunch. We were taken immediately across the street to the hospital where they began prepping me for surgery. It was all so surreal. It was like the world was spinning out of control and I was standing still. Everything was moving so fast that my mind just could not comprehend what was happening. We were told to be prepared for the baby to be flown to a nearby hospital for proper care and that my husbad would go with him. I would be ALONE and without my baby.
The baby was born and I heard no cry. They told me that they were takin him to the NICU for evaluation and they would take very good care of him. I was sewn up and taken to recovery. Howard got to go and be with the baby while I sat and cried silently. I could not sob. If I tried it felt as though my body was being ripped in half.
Soon the OB and the neonatologist came in and told me that it did not look good and they would not be transporting the baby because there was nothing that could be done. I needed to think about what kind of measures I wanted to be taken to care for the baby. They explained that for some reason the baby's brain quit developing around 21 weeks and he did not have enough brain tissue to be able to function normally. They explained that he was blind and deaf and that they were not sure if he would make it through the hour, day, week or month. Howard and I were both just completely shocked.
Two weeks prior Howard and I had been baptized and decided to take our relationship with Jesus one step farther. I could not understand how a loving and compassionate God could allow such things to happen. If this was what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus, I wanted no part! He was a traitor! I shut down for most of the day and told everyone that I didn't want to see anyone not even the baby. Around 8 o'clock that evening a nurse came in and started moving me to a wheelchair. She explained that she was taking me to see my baby. I told her that I didn't want to go and she kindly ignored my pleas. She said he was amazing and I needed to see him. She wheeled me to the NICU and she sure was right! He was a sight for sore eyes. He was perfect! He had the most amazing head full of thick shiny soft dark hair, it was like fur! He was the most precious thing I had ever seen. I held him and I sobbed. My dreams for him dying with him.
I had told myself that if I just didn't hold him, I would not love him and it wouldn't hurt so much when he left me. I could not have been more wrong. I loved him already. We were bonded. I had felt him for nine months moving inside of me. We had a deep connection that I could not deny. I loved him more passionately that I could have ever imagined and my heart was breaking at the thought of being left on this earth without him in my arms. He was my son. My Isaac Matthew.
We spent six long days caring for him in the NICU and on the sixth day when we arrived in the morning the nurse came to me and explained that she firmly believed that he had waited for us. His vitals were dropping and they were losing him. We had chosen not to have drastic measures taken to prolong his life. We knew God was in control and we wanted his will for our son no matter how much it hurt us. I ran out of the room and threw up while a nurse held my hair. I did not want to see him. I was terrified. I could not see my baby struggle or suffer. I wanted to run away. But my wonderful husband brought our son to me and I am so grateful for those last moments with Isaac. I was so blessed to be there when this amazing gift came into my life and I was there as he quietly drifted out. We held him and talked to him. The doctor came in and checked his heart. It had stopped. They told us we could keep him as long as we needed and to let them know when we wanted them to take him. We said our goodbyes. We knew that Isaac no longer lived in his earthly body and we handed him over.
I left the hospital that day, July 20 2005, the most painful day of my life. I went into the hospital to have a baby and I was going home empty handed. I felt angry, cheated and betrayed. My body ached, my milk was coming in and it all reminded me of what I was missing. Thankfully because of my wonderful husband, son, family and friends we made it through this season of our life and though we still miss Isaac each and every day we know we will be with him again. He was a gift to us. A perfect gift from God. For some reason, God knew that we could love baby Isaac like no one else and he entrusted us to be his parents. I am eternally grateful for that opportunity.