I am a 30 something year old mom of five precious boys and two sweet girls. Five of our children are here with us and two are in the arms of Jesus. Our sweet baby girl Hope was diagnosed with Dystrophic Epdermolysis Bullosa and our youngest son came to us through adoption, our youngest daughter through foster care, and I've recently been diagnosed with malignant melanoma the Lord has shown us just how Faithful He is. We will continue to Journey and follow Him where ever He leads. We feel very blessed that God chose us to be the parents of each of our kids, and we look forward to what He has in store for us in foster care!
Since this is basically my way of documenting my pregnancy and all of the feelings that go along with it I would REALLY appreciate it if those of you who are taking the time to read also took a moment to leave a message or comment. It could be a comment to me or just a prayer for Happy! I am going to put them in the baby book I am starting. I have changed the settings so that ANYONE can leave a comment or message. I think it would really help to know that we have people thinking of us each day. Thank you all! We love you so much!
Today I feel a range of emotions. I barely slept last night, each night I dream of this little baby. Most nights I dream that everything works out just fine. I am tired, agitated, and feeling like no one in the world could possibly understand. Most people avoid talking to me about the topic and those who do just don't know what to say. Thankfully I don't know another soul who has been in this situation and I certainly wouldn't wish it upon anyone. Having already lost one baby I know the immense physical pain and heart ache that came with that and it is all too fresh in my mind. They say that the pain of childbirth fades after you get to hold your baby and while i find that to be true for the MOST part with Luke and Ben's births, Isaacs is still so fresh. So many questions overshadowed his birth. I have many of these same questions today about this new baby boy.
I am confused and frustrated when each and every day someone comments on my "strength". I cannot even say how many times I have heard things like..."God doesn't give us more than we can handle." or "I know that I would never have the strength to go through what you are going through and God just knows what people can handle certain circumstances." Well both of these comments frustrate me. I will start with the God doesn't give us more than we can handle comment. When I hear this it makes me angry because quite frankly I don't want to handle it! If that is really what it is about I would much rather be weak. It has been my experience that God ALWAYS gives more than we can handle so we have to lean on Him. I don't feel strong in any way. Now, to the second comment. God knows what people can handle tragedy so he must just bestow it upon those who can handle it....give me a break! That just makes me feel even more targeted than I already do! So with this theory if we handle circumstances we are given with God's grace and lean on him and make it through victoriously he will continue to know we can handle these things and forever bestow tragedy upon us. I surely hope that that is not the case because if it is I just want to crumble to avoid this heartache ever again!
The thing is...I certainly don't want to be sensitive to everything anyone says to me to try and provide comfort. I KNOW that no one knows what words to give me....that is because there are NONE! No one really understands what I am going through right now and that is OK! I just need friends who will show love to me and listen. When unsure of what to say I find it best just to give a hug and say, I love you, support you and am praying for you. It isn't helpful when people avoid the topic because it just causes awkwardness. (as I use that word I can only think of Andy's description of awkward which is funny for anyone who knows him) I can assure you that I am thinking of Happy every moment of each and every day. I am praying with every ounce of my soul that he makes it through this a healthy boy who will show the world the amazing miracles God is capable of.
Which brings me to my next struggle I am praying each and every day that God will heal Happy and we will all be amazed by God's miracle in our family. I want to believe that that is what WILL happen. I am having trouble with this immensely. I know that God wants us to have a positive attitude and believe that he will deliver us from circumstances such as this. We are to ask and expect him to deliver. This is what I have a problem with. I am asking and I know he CAN deliver but because of my previous experience I am not convinced that he WILL intervene. We prayed very hard for Isaac and had everyone praying for him and yet God chose not to change that circumstance and I will be the first to tell you that I am a better person, mom, wife and friend because of him. Though he did not live he was a miracle and I firmly believe that but we prayed for him to be healed and he was not. So, how can I know that God will heal this baby. His track record with me isn't so great. Yet I want to believe he WILL. So, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt and anxiety because I know that I should believe and expect a miracle and yet I have doubt. I know that my plan and God's do not always match up. I want a healthy baby with every ounce of my being. I have never wanted anything more, and I want to believe that the God who loves me will hear my cry and feel my pain and deliver me the miracle I so desperately wish for, but someone tell me how to do that!
I am feeling SO tired today...I feel like all I want to do is sleep. I am feeling frustrated. I am mostly frustrated with doctors right now. I dread going back to Pittsburgh. I want someone to talk to me as an intelligent mom not just some random number. I so do not understand what is going on with this baby. It would be nice to have someone sit and thoroughly explain what they are seeing and what they think the prognosis is. I know that doctors are certainly not the end all be all and I know that God can intervene and change circumstances at any time, I am just having difficulty rationalizing why I even am going back to Pittsburgh.
On a positive note, the Mischler family I spoke of earlier did have their appointment yesterday and God DID perform a miracle. Their little girl is going to live! She does have Spina Bifida but it is a more mild case and while she will have a few medical issues to overcome they expect great things. I am so glad to know that this family will not have to go through the intense heartache of losing a child. God is good.
Tonight Howard is taking the kids to see Santa, Luke is excited. I am having a Pampered Chef Party. I am looking forward to that but am very tired. I just want some answers and it seems there are none. Well, I better get to cleaning!
This morning I find myself struggling more and more. I am trying so hard to just be patient and wait to see what God has in store. I am eating well and resting so that I am giving Happy the best chances possible, but ultimately I know that this is completely out of my control. No matter how hard I try, I cannot control this situation. The thought of going back to Pittsburgh makes me nauseated. It is still 3 long weeks away but it was not a pleasant experience and it was very difficult to be positive there. Today I am feeling a little sorry for myself. I am wondering what God is trying to show me. I am trying so hard to live and learn and yet each and every time I think I may have a moment to breathe, tragedy strikes again. I have joked that I wouldn't dare walk outside in a lightening storm but in a way I am not joking. I feel kind of targeted. I mean I am totally losing the odds game. We all have bad things happen in life but as I look back at my life I see a trainwreck and good always comes out of the pain, but I just need a moment of rest. I am tired today. I am feeling weak and am questioning everything yet have no answers. I pray that God will deliver me from this situation and heal my little guy. I long to hold him in my arms and let him know how deeply I love him. His brothers are anxiously awaiting him. Luke is so sensitive, and he knows something is up. If he doesn't know where I am he constantly will come to find me and "check on me". It breaks my heart that he is worried. His view of what it means to get a new baby is so different from most children. He knows what happened with Isaac and was confused when Ben came home. Now, I am just praying I don't have more to explain to him after this. He already hugs the baby every morning and talks to him through my belly button...as if that is the microphone to Happy's heart! It is so sweet. Today I am just praying for God's grace and strenghth. I cannot do this on my own. I am growing weary.
I firmly believe that sometimes miracles hide. That was the song that played during Isaac's memorial DVD. In the last few days I have had a few people ask what we are going to "do" about this pregancy. It baffles me really...I mean what does anyone "do" when they are pregnant...they have a baby! I see that as my one and only option. I will carry this baby for as long as God will allow and I will rejoice in every moment. Some women NEVER get the opportunity to feel what it is like to grow a life inside of them. That in and of itself is an amazing blessing. I do not believe that God gave me this baby so I could choose to terminate the pregnancy. God DOESN'T make mistakes! This baby was placed inside my womb for a reason and just because he is not perfect according to world standards does not make him any less important than any one of us! All lives matter! It is what we do with them that makes a difference. So, I don't even really see carrying this baby as a choice...it is what you do when you get pregnant. When you choose to get pregnant you are never guaranteed a smooth ride. This baby will be perfect because all things that God creates are perfect! Who am I to stand in the way of that.
I know that Isaac's brief life has made such an impact on myself, my family and so many others that I cannot think of this baby as anything less than an amazing miracle. His life is precious. None of us know what tomorrow brings. I would rather experience 9 months of exceptional circumstances than a life filled with mediocrity. None of us are perfect and some of us show it on the outside...like with physical disabilities...others have much deeper issues. But regardless we all have them and I believe that we are all in for an amazing experience with Happy Bolte!
Today was a pretty good day. I took the boys to a friend's house to play with her boys and we all had fun. It was nice to get out and do something normal. Then we all had lunch and rest time. We went and had dinner and ran to Target. Overall a typical day. Uneventful and nice. It has been nice having Howard home the last few days as it has given me a chance to rest a bit and spend time as a family. We are happiest just hanging out with the boys! I feel good today. Full of hope and life. Happy has been very active today. It is such a blessing that I get to feel him move. I cannot wait until Howard and the boys can feel him from the outside! He is a miracle!
On another note I need to ask for prayer for another friend. Oddly enough I got an email from today that informed me that the Mischler family who attends church with us is expecting another baby at the end of April and they had a sonogram earlier today and found that they are having a girl. The sonogram showed that the baby's brain was not developing properly and there was some swelling. They are being sent to Pittsburgh on Wednesday November 28th to have further testing. This is their fourth baby also. they have two boys and a little girl...all 5 and under. They are a wonderful family and it breaks my heart to know that they are going through this. So I ask that you all pray for them and their new little one on the way. We all know that God is in control and that he performs miracles each and every day. I pray that they have a positive experience on Wednesday and that the doctors are very kind and supportive as this is a trying time.
I am off to bed... I love to lie down...the first 10 minutes Happy dances in there and it is so fun to feel him moving! It is my favorite time of day! Thank you all for continuing in prayer for us and please add the Mischler family to your list also as this is a time of uncertainty for us all!
Each day I find that my feelings are just a bit different. We got up and went to church this morning and I found myself having a difficult time praising God. I am still having a bit of anger toward him. I know that this baby is a blessing and I have been ultra blessed in my life but I want this baby to be healthy. As I stood there reflecting and crying amidst the praise music I realized that what I may be getting so angry with God for may first of all not even be an issue. It isn't over yet, and God may heal this little guy and there is always the slight chance that the doctors are wrong.
Then came the sermon and today the sermon was about prayer and it really put things into persepective for me. I pray continually that God will heal this baby. See, I have been confused as to what to pray for. I know God CAN heal him and I know the Bible says that we should ask and expect God to answer. I struggle with that because I know that my plan may not be the same as God's plan. I have been a witness to that before. Today I learned that it is okay to pray for both. I can pray for God to heal our baby and I can also turn myself over to His plan and submit to whatever comes our way knowing that the blessing is that I am not in control and my plan does not matter. God has it under control and it will all work out for good. That is not to say that I don't still struggle with this idea, I mean sometimes I think to myself, I already lost one child and endured unbearable heartache and overcome it, so I have paid my dues! But I know that is not how God works. We are all a work in progress and I am no exception. Yes, we came through the trials and tribulations of yesterday but that doesn't mean that the battle is over. So, today I submit, "God my life is your life and I pray that you work in me and through me whatever will bring you glory. I pray that you allow us to give birth to a healthy happy baby, but if that is not your plan I know that what ever you bring us to you will bring us through. Use our family, we submit to your perfect plan."
I will rejoice in today because for today I still have hope. For today I am the mother to two healthy happy boys here, one in heaven and one performing a miracle inside my body. None of us know what tomrorow brings so I will rejoice in today! We are very excited to have been chosen to be the parents of this special little boy no matter what and we know that God chose us to be his parents because we are the perfect people to love him JUST the way he NEEDS to be loved!
Howard has named him Happy! He is convinced that this little guy will be born happy and will make everyone around him happy...therefore Happy. I have tried to argue that Happy is not a name but he throws Happy Gilmore in my face and it is difficult to argue with that, not that Happy Gilmore is someone you want to name your child after.
So friends...continue to pray for us and for Happy! We are praying for a healthy little boy but also for God to use us how he sees fit. The control lies within Him!
My heart is still aching...the wounds of Isaac's death are fresh in my mind as I anticipate the birth of my new son. I have so many questions but the reality is right now I MUST wait for answers. I will have another scan on December 18th. We pray that this scan shows major brain development. I pray that this baby is completely healed. Many of the answers I want will not come until birth. Sonograms are limited. I know that this is in God's hands and he will work it out for our good. I will love and cherish this child no matter what package he comes in. Continuing to trust god in the midst of painful and seemingly unjust circumstances is the only way for survival and victory. I know that when I no longer know what to say or how to pray that the Holy Spirit takes over for me and these prayers move the hand of God.
We have to go through difficult and painful circumstances to become more like Jesus. Hebrews 5:8 says that "although he was a son, He learned obedience through what he suffered." In becoming more christlike it is often a painful process. I have heard it described this way...Imagine clay when it is pressed into a mold. There is always excess clay and some must be pushed out and trimmed off. Imagine if clay had feelings...this is what it is like to be molded in Christ's likeness.
So, each and every day I am hurting and confused. I am using my energy to care for myself, my family and this baby. I must surround myself with positive people who will support our decisions and will understand. If you are a friend of mine and you are reading this...please DON'T be afraid to call or ask about the situation. I guarantee I am already thinking about the baby. I feel like everyone is afraid to talk about him because no one wants to hurt my feelings but the truth is that he is just as much my child as Luke, Isaac, or Ben and my love for him is deep and true. My heart is aching but I know this is not over yet! Please pray for us, and continue to be my friend. I am the same person just hurting a little more these days and I need my friends now more than ever. We are going to need an army to get through this and I pray that a healthy baby is the end result! Help me to stay focused and positive. Send prayers and scripture my way. I need to surround myself in faith because that is the only thing that can get us through this!
Over the next few days my emotions teetered. One moment I was filled with hope and knew that God would bless me with a healthy baby, even if we had medical issues or disabilities to overcome I would give it everything I had because of my love for God and for this new son. Other times, I just wanted to hide. I barely talked to anyone because no one knows what to say to me. No one wants to call and bother us. Sometimes I felt alone and depressed. My mother ended up committing suicide when I was nine. Some say that she never got over the loss of my stillborn brother. My father and my grandma called to be sure I wasn't going over the edge myself.
I am angry, angry that there are these questions fogging my pregnancy. This is supposed to be a joyous time for our family and we are riddled with stress and apprehension. I am angry that I asked for genetic counseling after Isaac was born and I was told it was unneccessary. I am angry about that until I realize if something had shown a genetic cause I may have never had Benjamin and he is such an amazing blessing! I realized that despite my anger and confusion, this was all out of my control. This was in fact how God had planned things to go. As difficult as this road may be this is the one I must travel. I am a mom and I love my children and I want to believe with every ounce of my being that this will all turn out just fine, yet with every kick, I wonder if my eyes will ever meet the eyes of this little guy kicking me. I never did get to see Isaac's eyes. I do know that whatever happens that it will be great because God's plan is always great and though we don't see what he sees and we cannot understand, we have to give it to him. I am struggling to do that each and every day! Day by day and hour by hour I will make the most of the time I have with this amazing little guy. That is the reason for this blog. I want to remember this pregnancy and all of the ups and downs no matter what happens.
I was so glad to see Luke and Benjamin when we got back. I am so thankful to have such blessings in my life. They light up a room and make everything seem right again. I was so exhausted and we had so many people praying for us all day and waiting to hear the news and I was just plain too tired to deliver the news. I got home and took a nap. I then sent an email to friends and family explaining everything because I was to weary to go through the whole story over and over again.
I needed to stay positive and focus on taking care of myself and this life inside of me. This battle is far from over and I will not give up! I may only have the duration of this pregnancy to enjoy this gift God has bestowed on me but I am going to treat it with extreme reverance. While I know that this is entirely out of my control, I will do everything that is within my power to take care of and protect this unborn life! So in an act of self preservation, I wrote the email, ate dinner, played with the kids and we all went to bed!
The two hour ride home was mostly silent. I had so many thoughts rushing through my head. I am sure Howard did too. I read from a devotional we have been reading and the message was profound. The message was titled " A perfect plan" It used scripture fom Phillipians 1:6 - "And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, developing and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.
Ephesians 2: 10 "For we are God's handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, that we should walk in them.
I began to think...as imperfect as I am and as this baby may be, God IS perfection. The plan he has for our lives IS perfect because he IS the Perfect Planner. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus and his ablility NOT our selves and our own disabilities. The book went on to say that as soon as we turn our attention and say "but wait, I am not perfect, I fail." We have taken our attention off of God and allowed Satan in to distract us with wrong thinking. Too often we cry to Jesus to heal us and to take care of our issues and deliver us from our problems, but we don't expect good things to happen. we allow our minds to dwell on the negative aspects.
As I sat in the car my mind kept steering toward the negative and I was constantly trying to pull it back. I truly with all of my heart believe that God CAN save my baby, but I am just not sure he will. I mean, he didn't before. I have been down this windy, painful road. I am just not sure what to think. I mean I believe in God's power but I know that our plan is not always His and so our prayers go unanswered. I believe that Isaac's six days on this earth made me a better person. I have a richer life for knowing the love I have for him, but the pain remains and still stings each and every day. No one WANTS to go through that again. I want a healthy baby and I know that that is what I need to pray for. But will God answer?
So we met again with Michelle. She had spoken with the cardiologist and he had confirmed that he thought too that there may be a hole in the baby's heart. She expressed concern that because there were multiple things going on with our son that he may have a chromosomal abnormality and that the amnio was the only way to find out for sure. She explained that they generally only do an amnio before 25 weeks or at the end of a pregnancy due to the risk so I would need to either do it today or the next appointment or I would have to wait until the end. I decided against it. I want to know what is going on but in my mind I was already losing the risk game. I mean come on what are the chances that a mom gets pregnant four times and two of the four children have serious defects. I knew that regardless of this baby's condition, he was a gift from God. All children are and I was being trusted to care for and nurture him. I knew I would continue with my pregnancy NO MATTER what and so the reasons didn't really matter and the test wasn't even guaranteed to give any definitive answers. So, no amnio for me. We scheduled our next scan for December18th and then it came...she was respectful about it and I know she HAS to ask but, she asked how we felt about terminating the pregnancy. She said that in PA 22 weeks is the limit so if we are going to go that route we would have to act soon. Howard and I both answered "out of the question" immediately. There was NO hesitation. It was not our place to take this situation into our own hands and we know that God CAN heal this baby. God doesn't make mistakes and we are not in control so we just gave it to Him.
Now we were in another exam room and I was again lying on a table while someone performed a sonogram test. This time it was on the baby's heart. They used an echocardiogram to examine the chambers and development of my son's little heart. I didn't even watch the screen this time because nothing looked recognizable to me. The doctor came in and he looked at the pictures and examined the heart. He then drew us a diagram of what he thought was the problem. There was a small hole between the two bottom chambers of the baby's heart but otherwise it was functioning just fine. He also noted that the muscle seemed a bit thick but everything seemed to be working. He also said that sometimes these holes close on their own before or shortly after birth. Because our baby had multiple problems he thought this one likely would not heal itself but it could DEFINITELY be fixed he said. He said it would be a major surgery but the success rate is extremely high and they perform these surgeries all the time. It was hope! He led us back to the genetics waiting room .
This room was filled with crying pregnant moms and stunned expectant fathers. The pain in the room was thick. We sat there with a little hope knowing that two of the known abnomalities were repairable and the third was still unknown and would be until the next ultrasound. I sat there praying that God would help this baby's brain to grow and prove them all wrong. I also sat there pondering the exact accuracy of these tests. It seemed each time someone looked they found something different. I prayed they were all wrong.
The next step was meeting with Michelle, a genetic counselor. She was very kind and asked if we had any questions, ANY QUESTIONS??? All I had were questions and virtually NO answers. I tried to collect myself and I asked her what the prognosis would be. She said she did not know and recommended an amniocentesis to try and find the cause of these problems. She explained that a needle would be inserted into my abdomen and about a tablespoon of amniotic fluid would be extracted. Sonogram would guide the needle to keep the baby safe. This test would tell us if the cause for the abnormalities was chromosomal.
I had gone to this office dead set against the amnio but was considering it. I asked how it could help the baby in the long run and she said it would help by helping us to prepare for what was to come IF the problem was in fact chromosomal. If a name was given to the diagnosis they would know what other problems to look for and I could plan on and prepare as needed. I was confused. I asked about the risk as I had seen the risk for this procedure to be 1 in 200 babies lost. She said at this particular facility the risk was 1 in 1000. I told her I needed more time to consider it. I then asked about the clubfoot. She said it was definitely treatable. I asked about his heart...they said there "might" be a hole in his heart. I wasn't sure what to do with a might. She said she could talk to the cardiologist and see if we could get in for a fetal echocardiogram. I said I would appreciate that. That left the problem with his underdeveloped brain. At this point it is about two weeks small. This is the BIG problem. IF his brain continues to develop that would be a very good start. If it does not there would be little hope. At this point he would be born in a similar state to Isaac.
She said we could go see the cardiologist and she would meet with us afterward so we went.
We left very early in the morning to be in Pittsburgh on time and continued to hope and pray that the baby was just fine. I was nervous but knew God had this in control.
At 10 they called me in to begin the scan. These tests just make me sick! I think it is horrible to sit for 30 minutes with a tech who is probing and measuring but cannot tell you a thing! The tech was great. She explained everything. She told us that the baby's head seemed to be measuring just fine and that everything looked okay to her. Before she went to get a doctor she said that she did not see any major abnormalities other than the nuchal fold seemed a bit thick but that it wasn't necessarily an issue. We breathed a sigh of relief.
THEN...the doctor came in. She was very cold and abrupt. She scanned my belly for a few minutes before sitting down and asking what we already knew. Which was basically NOTHING. She put her hand on my knee and said..."Your baby has significant issues" from what I see I see that the baby's brain is measuring quite small, he has a clubfoot and a small hole in his heart. There is obviously something going on here and it may be chromosomal. I am referring you to genetics where you will meet with a counselor to discuss further testing. I am so sorry. And she left....I despised this woman. I shut down completely. She treated my baby just as another case. Significant issues?? What does that mean? We are talking about my son! Not some fetus! I wanted answers but was feeling so shut down I didn't want to talk to anyone!
On November 15th we were scheduled for our routine ultrasound to check the baby's anatomy. We were also hoping to find out the gender and we felt the appointment would go just fine. WRONG again! We did find that we were expecting a 4th boy! That was a bit of a shock to my system, but I truly was excited! The ultrasound tech did not lead us to believe anything was out of the ordinary and we went on to my appointment with the doctor. This is where things changed. Howard and I were in the exam room waiting and joking that there weren't any good boy names left, as we had used them all. The doctor came in with that look on his face. He said, I am so sorry to tell you this but we think something may be going on with the baby. Like Isaac, his head is measuring small. It may be nothing but we are going to send you to Pittsburgh to get it checked. If it were anyone else we would probably wait it out and see but we cannot ignore your history. I am sorry.
WHAT!? I was so confused. I had been told that Isaac's illness had been caused by an infection and that it was not something I needed to continue to worry about. I had asked for genetic testing and had been told that it was unnecessary. How could this be happeing again? The doctor said that there may be a genetic link and we needed to get it checked out.
I felt completely betrayed. I had been told that genetic testing was NOT necessary. What is wrong with me? I can't even grow babys well! I was in total shock. I didn't know what to think. Isaac was a blessing to us and I would never regret having him, but the thought of going through all of that again made me nauseated. I relived Isaac's birth and death over and over in my mind for the next day or so.
The next morning I called first thing to schedule my next appointment. Finally around 3 pm I got a call and my next appointment would be November 20th at 9:30. I clung to the hope that it was nothing. I prayed ever so passionately that my baby's head and brain would grow and develop.
July 2007 was an emotional month for me. July 20 marked the death of Isaac and I had been asked to speak and give my testimony at chuch on July 21 and 22. I was so honored and could not have thought of a better way to honor my son. This testimony can be heard by going to www.mclanechurch.org and going to the podcasts and chosing THS Kristy Bolte. It was a very difficult thing to do but also very healing. It has been an amazing journey.
But that weekend I wasn't feeling quite right and it was a feeling that I found all too familiar. I knew it wasn't the stress. I was pregnant again! AAAAAAAAHHH! But I decided not to tell a soul until after the weekend was over. I took a test and it confirmed what I already knew. I was not sure how my husband was going to react, but to my delight he was overjoyed. We would be having another baby this April!
We decided we woudl keep it to ourselves for a while just to enjoy a special secret between us. But at 9 weeks I began bleeding and had to go to the hospital for an ultrasound. We ended up telling Howard's mom so that she coudl watch the boys while we went to get checked. As I have stated, my feelings toward ultrasounds are very different and I was in agony over this one. The first tech could not get a heartbeat so she had to call in a second tech who found it right away. they sent the tests to my doctor who confirmed that everything looked just fine. We went home and breathed a sigh of relief.
The pregnancy progressed as the others had and we were beginning to feel comfortable that things with this baby would be just fine.
About three months after Isaac's death, I found out I was pregnant with another baby! I was not expecting this just yet, but we had gotten all of the results from Isaac's autopsy and they had determined that he had died from an infection he contracted in the womb. It was not genetic so there was no need to fear that the incident would happen again with this baby. I found out that my due date was August 12. Isaac's due date had been August 6th the year before. These baby's would be almost exactly one year apart.
I had so many confusing emotions throughout this pregnancy. I was desperately hoping that the birth of a new baby would take away some of the sting of the loss i was still feeling. Again my pregnancy went on uneventfully. I was monitored closely and dreaded each and every ultrasound. They constantly monitored his growth and he constantly surprised us all. My first two babies were 5 lb 3 oz and 4 lb 13 oz and this baby was going to outweigh them both! On July 27th 2006, six days after the anniversary of Isaac's death, Benjamin Oliver was brought into this world a healthy 8 lb 6 oz gift from the Lord above! We were so excited to have Benjamin.
It was good to know that my body could still produce a healthy baby. Despite my efforts I feel that my body failed Isaac in some way. I felt defective and this proved that I could do it. Having Ben did not take away from the pain I still felt but it added so much joy! He is an amazing little red headed hot tempered toddler who lights up a room! We have a wonderful bright and adorable 4 year old, Luke and a rambunctious toddler, Benjamin.
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.
Go ahead and mention my child, The one that died, you know. Don't worry about hurting me further. The depth of my pain doesn't show. Don't worry about making me cry. I'm already crying inside. Help me to heal by releasing The tears that I try to hide. I'm hurt when you just keep silent, Pretending she didn't exist. I'd rather you mention my child, Knowing that she has been missed. You asked me how I was doing. I say "pretty good" or "fine". But healing is something ongoing I feel it will take a lifetime. ~ Elizabeth Dent ~
"When I Lay My Isaac Down" - Carol Kent "The One Year Book of Hope" - Nancy Guthrie "Holding on to Hope" - Nancy Guthrie "Empty Cradle Broken Heart" - Deborah Davis "Waiting With Gabriel" - Amy Kuebelbeck "Streams in the Desert" - LB Cowman "It Takes a Parent" - Betsy Hart "I'll Hold You in Heaven" - Jack Hayford "Crazy Love" Francis Chan "Radical" David Platt