Sunday, April 29, 2012

Isaiah's Story: Part One

Sunday, April 1, 2012 was a busy day.  We were at church early and spent all morning there - attending Sunday School, enjoying fellowship with friends, praising God in song, taking in the Word.  It was also an exciting day because my parents were concluding a campaign season that day, and whatever happened with that, we knew they would now be available to come watch the big kids when the baby was born.  With all of the pre-term labor I had starting at 27 weeks, I was so glad to have made it to 36+ weeks and was READY to have our baby.  Contractions were an exhausting, almost daily occurrence, so I was eager not to be nervous about them anymore.  Instead we could now be free to embrace the impending arrival of our new addition.

After lunch and naps we played outside while Daddy cleaned out the van and with the "help" of the kids, moved the big kids' seats to the back and installed the infant seat in the middle.  Caleb asked, "Is our baby coming home today?"  We chuckled and told him probably not, but it could be any day - or maybe a few weeks yet.

It was a gorgeous day (and we wanted to be active every day from here on out to get labor moving), so we pulled out the wagon and took a family walk to the park.  We chatted about life as we walked, and I mentioned to Matt that I had contractions coming and going, but nothing regular.  I guessed they were just Braxton Hicks contractions brought on from the activity.  Though I was hoping to get labor moving, I figured that Mom and Dad probably needed a day or two to recover before coming to the cities, and we were also hoping to avoid April 2nd since it was our niece's first birthday.  I decided just to be patient (not that we have much choice in the progression of these types of things).

We got home and had supper, put the kids to bed, and sat down to relax.  Matt decided to go outside and work on his bike since he was hoping to start biking to work again soon.  I checked my e-mail and Facebook, did a few tasks, and then dozed off on the couch.  I woke up around 11:30pm and Matt had already gone to bed.  That was strange, because he almost always woke me up to come to bed if I fell asleep on the couch.  As I sat up to get ready for bed, I realized that I hadn't really felt the baby move much this evening - and I noticed that the baby was very heavy on my one side.  As babies get bigger, it is pretty normal to feel that heaviness after lying on one side for a long time, but this heaviness was very significant.

I brushed my teeth and went to bed, and as I prepared to fall asleep, I decided to do a kick count.  A kick count is done to calculate the number of baby movements in a certain time period (usually 20-60 minutes).  It is especially done when expectant mothers are worried about a decrease in the movements of the baby.  So I remained awake for about 20 minutes and didn't feel anything.  As I dozed off I figured the baby was probably sleeping.

At 2:30am I woke up and again felt uneasy about the lack of movement.  I got up and drank a large glass of ice cold water in hopes of waking the baby up to try another kick count.  As I was lying on the couch for 20-30 minutes, I didn't start worrying until about 15 or 20 minutes into it.  I waited about 10 more minutes and realized I needed to call the doctor.  I contemplated waking Matt, but I knew I was doing what he'd want me to by calling in, and wanted him to be able to sleep.  I think now that subconsciously I was beginning to realize something was wrong.  

I called and left a message with the service that gets in touch with the on-call doctors from our group, and within a few minutes the on-call doctor called me back.  Those minutes in between calls were excruciating.  I desperately tried to poke at the baby to wake him/her up.  I rapidly tried to think through my day to the last time I felt the baby.  We had been so active and busy that day, and I was more concerned with how many contractions I'd had - not how many movements I'd felt.  I knew I had felt the baby on Saturday night when Matt and I were watching TV together, but that was all I could confirm.

When I heard the doctor’s voice on the phone, I broke down before I could even get a word out.  When I could finally speak, I told her that I hadn't been feeling the baby and that I'd tried a kick count at 11:30pm and 2:30am.  In a shocked voice she said, "you mean you haven't felt your baby for 3 hours?"  My heart dropped.  If she thought that three hours was too long, I realized something was probably very wrong.  It was more likely that it had been longer than that, and I told her so.  It was at this moment that I knew that whatever was going on here was already done...that our baby was either OK or not OK…nothing in between.  The doctor told me to get to the hospital as soon as I could.

I ran in and woke Matt and told him I had to get to the hospital.  He asked what happened, and as I started to break down, I told him I hadn't been feeling the baby.  He said, "you mean you haven't felt the baby all day?"  I sobbed and just kept saying, "I don't know.  I can't remember."  In this moment in time I felt like a failure as a mother.  Who ignores the movements of their baby?  Of course I realize now that this is irrational thinking.  All pregnant mommies have to take movement in stride because it can vary so much, but in that fragment of time, I felt like a failure.

One of the ways that pregnant moms can keep themselves from going crazy with worry during a pregnancy is to look on the bright side and assume that things are OK.  Otherwise one could go to the clinic every other day with a symptom that they think could be interfering with their pregnancy.  So I threw my clothes on and collected myself (as I am not usually one to cry about everything), and going with that mindset I told Matt that everything was probably OK.  Then my face immediately crumpled when I continued and said, "but what if it's not?"  We embraced - not knowing how to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Because of the urgency to get there, we decided that I'd go alone to the hospital and Matt would stay with the kids in case the doctor just wanted to check me and I'd come home.  We didn't want to call our friend who was on-call in case of labor if it was just a quick time of monitoring.  I got in the car, drove the two miles to North Memorial Hospital, and went as quickly as I could to the Labor and Delivery desk.  They were expecting me.

To be continued... 

Link to Isaiah's Story - Part Two 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


As I've thought about the blog, I haven't really known where to start. I haven't been sure if I should go back and tell Isaiah's story from the start, or just share my current thoughts. Since I haven't blogged before, I don't have a style or pattern to go by. I also don't want my posts to solely be about our loss (though they may focus on that for a while). As I've contemplated how to begin, the days have been passing by and many things have been on my mind and heart to I've decided that I will just start with today and go back and tell Isaiah's story as I can.

Today is a special day. April 26, 2012 - the date we marked on the calendar and looked forward to...the date I initially was hoping not to get to because we were pretty sure he was due sooner.

Today is Isaiah's due date.

I would pretty much do anything to be miserably pregnant and still feeling his life within me, but never was he to be due to enter life outside of the womb here on this earth.

Today would also have been the 100th birthday of Matt's Great Grandma Edna Hofer (if she were still with us). Oh how I hope she is celebrating with you today, Isaiah. She tells great stories and has been around the world visiting missionaries - and she loved your family very much. I am so grateful to know that so many of our family members are in heaven - loving you and knowing you like we wish we could.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us today (and every day). Today brought new waves of sadness and bitter disappointment for what I wanted life to be right now, but it also brought reminders of hope in many forms. Our Lord is so very faithful. Though I expect to find myself in complete desperation (and sometimes have those feelings), Jesus has kept his steadying hand on me -- keeping me from falling so far into the pit of utter despair that his love or hope or promises would be invisible. Thankfully I can see glimpses of all of those things (though the view is sometimes cloudy). Even though life is stormy and so very sad right now, the depths of my soul knows that I am being held by my Lord. Thank you for your prayers. I am certain that I would not be in the same place without them. You have blessed my life. Thank you.

There are so many things I want to share, but they will have to wait for another post. I'll end with a quote that I read today that verbalized one of my biggest fears about Isaiah...

...I just don't want anyone to forget him.

"When a baby is born, it's a mother's instinct to protect the baby. When a baby dies, it's the mother's instinct to protect their memory." ~Author Unknown

Today we remember you, little Isaiah - and we miss you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's Time

Through the encouragement of friends and the inspiration of one who is going through a journey of loss much like ours, I've decided to finally use this blog I created a few years ago. Hopefully this will allow us to share more of our story that many are asking about...and also keep family and friends updated on our lives.

Hoping to start with Isaiah's story soon. Thanks for reading.