Thanks for bearing with me as I slowly write out our experiences with Isaiah. It means so much that you care to remember with us.
The final pictures that our nurse, T, took were of Matt and I with Isaiah and some of Isaiah himself. Here are some of those pics.
After Matt took his parents and the kids home, my parents helped me pack my things so that I could head to a different room for the night. The nurse explained that I would be put in a room on the Women's unit down the hall, not on the post-pardom unit with the new mothers and babies (thank goodness). Matt and I had decided to keep Isaiah with us every moment until we left the hospital, so they arranged for a bassinet to also be in the room in case we wanted to use it.
After getting changed and packed up, I got ready to get into the wheel chair to be wheeled to the other room. I realized that we would be going past the main desk for the mother/baby unit, and I realized that my good friend K might be working there that night. Not wanting her to see me rolling by with no warning about what had happened, I asked the nurse if they could go look to see if she was working and tell her what had happened so she knew. I invited her to come visit us if she was working.
After they returned they told me that she wasn't working at that desk but was working in the NICU. She would come visit me in my other room. I held Isaiah as we were wheeled through the delivery unit. We heard a new baby and his/her family. Every person that saw me - including the people at the desks or nurses just smiled wide when they saw us - thinking I was carrying a sleeping newborn. Little did they know that my baby was stone cold and still in my arms. I worked hard to focus on getting to my room to have some time alone.
Shortly after we got there, my friend K - who was working in the NICU that night - came to visit. She came in the room and embraced me and cried with me. She told me that she had been working much of the day and saw my name on the "board" with a stillbirth code next to it, but she couldn't come to see me because of HIPA laws. She is my only friend who got to meet Isaiah. It was special in several ways, not only that a friend got to meet him, but she is also my only friend that has also buried a child. She knew what I was going through. This made me sad at one level, but made me feel not quite so alone in another. She was proof that one could live after loss and even find some type of peace and happiness. That was very hard to fathom in those moments of numbing shock and sadness, but K would continue to be a source of encouragement and hope for me in the days to come.
My parents stayed and helped me get settled until Matt came back to the hospital for the night. Once he got there we explained to my parents that they were welcome to come back in the morning if they wanted - to say their last goodbyes to Isaiah - but we wanted most of the rest of the time with him to be for us. It was evident that they had just as hard of a time knowing how to say goodbye...how does a person do this with a child they haven't even really gotten to meet?
My parents headed to our house and we settled in for the night. We were exhausted - having been up all night the night before and all day for the delivery. Our night nurse was sweet, but didn't speak very much English and didn't say much about Isaiah. She focused on caring for me and suggested we sleep.
Somehow we both slept for a couple of hours - and I had laid Isaiah in the basinet right next to me. When I woke up a few hours later, it took me a moment to figure out where we were. The room was silent and pretty dark. After a moment, I knew. This was the start of many days that as I woke up, the cement slab slammed against me once again - reminding me that my child had died. I went to the restroom and as I saw Isaiah as I came out, I completely lost it. I couldn't believe that the baby next to us was not alive -- how could this be true?
Matt woke up and consoled me. We spent the rest of the night dozing while taking turns holding Isaiah. We couldn't waste this time with him.
Later in the night my nurse came to give me pain medication, etc. She asked if the crying she had heard was due to pain from the delivery. With tears in my eyes I shook my head. She grasped my hand and simply said, "It will be OK. It will be OK." I didn't believe her for one second - but nodded. It was a simple act of kindness that I appreciated.
The morning came and Matt and I realized that since all of our family had been contacted, it was time to share with our friends and extended family what had happened. The words for that message could only have come from God.
It is with a mixture of utter sadness and joy that we share with you about the arrival of our son.
Isaiah Christ Albert Kleinsasser arrived stillborn on April 2, 2012 at 5:45pm. He was 6lbs 12oz and 20 inches long. He is beautiful.
Becky came in to the hospital early Monday morning after feeling less movement - which is when we discovered that Isaiah was no longer with us. Upon delivery, Isaiah had a knot in his umbilical cord, which was also wrapped tightly around his body.
We rejoice knowing that Isaiah is with our Lord before we are, but are surely heartbroken to miss knowing him here. Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you all!
Matt and Becky
We posted the message on Facebook and e-mailed it to our address books and anyone we knew wouldn't be on Facebook. We had no idea how to share this news with the world when we didn't even know how to respond to the news ourselves.
We had decided the night before that we would spend as long at the hospital as we wanted or needed, but we would probably go home mid-day. Our morning nurse, K, was very kind and sincere from the get-go. She cared for my needs, but seemed most focused on supporting us through what would be the hardest thing we would have to do - leave without our baby. She gave us a book and several other things to look through and encouraged us several times to stay as long as we'd like - even another night. Matt and I knew we didn't want to do that, but we appreciated the encouragement to savor our time with Isaiah.
One of the things running through my mind through all of this was the sermons we'd heard recently about the wills of God. Although I knew the loss of Isaiah was overall part of God's will because it had happened - and God uses everything that happens for ultimate good, even when it seems impossible (Romans 8:28) - but I also remembered the sermon about God's intentional will (from before the fall) where death was not intended to be part of life. I knew this loss, or death in general, was not part of God's intentional will...and for some reason that gave me comfort...to realize that God was mourning with us over this loss -- for he never intended that death be part of life. I wrote more about this early on in a post here.
Our pastor came to visit us mid-morning and we were thankful that he got to meet Isaiah. One of the first things I said was that I knew that this was not part of God's intentional will. It is an odd thing to know that losing Isaiah wasn't meant to be (in some senses), yet we were confident that it was entirely meant to be in others. It is hard to wrap your mind around these two truths that seem to conflict, but can both coexist.
Pastor left and my parents came back one more time to hold Isaiah and say their last goodbyes. Watching them gave us a view of what we were to go through - struggling with knowing how many more times to hug him and hold him and memorize him. My parents then went back to our house to help with the kids and wait for us to come home.
Many, many hospital personnel were in and out of our rooms - my doctor, labor and delivery nurses, social workers, meal attendants, our regular nurse, etc. By about 10am - we finally had some quiet time alone in our room.
After Matt had made the final plans with the funeral home to pick up Isaiah later that day at the hospital, we spent our last hours with him. Isaiah's body was starting to break down, and we knew that the time was drawing near for us to leave. His body was so lifeless - and we knew there was nothing to do to help this situation - yet at the same time being willing to leave our son in the hands of strangers seemed impossible. It was one more thing that we just "had to get through," I suppose. None of this seemed like something someone should have to go through.
Matt holding Isaiah here is the picture that is branded into my memory forever. This is how Matt has always held our babies - and they all slept so soundly on his chest.
We knew that the time would come when we would feel as ready as we ever would be. Matt took our belongings out to our vehicle so that we could say our last goodbyes and head out without so much to carry. When he returned, we loved on Isaiah and prayed. With our other babies, Matt was the master of the swaddle. Before we called our loving nurse to take him, Matt wanted to do what he could for Isaiah...he slowly and lovingly wrapped him in a tight swaddle - to keep him safe and warm. We laid him in the clear glass bassinet and stood with him as long as we could - not wanting the time with him to end, but knowing that it had to.
Our nurse, K, came when we called and asked if we were ready. She gently grasped the bassinet and rolled Isaiah toward the door as we let go and embraced. Tears rolled down her cheeks as we cried and watched them leave the room. Our hearts broke for what felt like the thousandth time. Letting him go was one of the hardest things we've ever had to do.
When she returned a bit later, our nurse gave us hugs and told us she'd be praying for us. She said that she could see what a strong couple we were - and not to let this tear us apart, but bring us together. An attendent came to wheel me down to the front entrance. I refused and wanted to walk - not wanting to sit in a wheel chair with empty arms, but they insisted. I finally agreed and we almost ended up in an elevator with a new mom and baby being discharged. I felt relieved, but sure enough when we got to the main floor, she wheeled us right next to the new family and parked me next to them to wait at the entrance for Matt to drive up with the car. I immediately got up and started walking toward the parking garage with Matt...there was no way I was going to sit there without my baby and next to another for 10 minutes. We walked out silently - hand in hand.
As hard as all of this was to go through and as hard as it is to sort these memories and write it out, I want to make sure that people know that we could still feel God's love and goodness amidst it all. This may sound strange to some, but we felt God's mercies, grace, and love - and we are thankful for that. We don't want it to seem like we went through this without hope. Yes it was raw and painful and I wrote this exactly as I felt it, but deep within our souls we had overarching peace through it all - even the saddest of moments. We don't want to forget to praise God - even amidst the hardest moments of our lives - for he deserves our praise and loves and cares for us in unimaginable ways - to depths we cannot see. That may be hard for some to believe - but that is the truth - and we trust in God. Thank you, Lord.
When we got home we had many, many arrangements to make. How does one go about planning a funeral for an infant - having never planned a funeral before and never having attended an infant funeral? How does one try to focus on planning a funeral when all we could hear in the house was silence - the absence of an infant cry - even with family filling our home? It is only by God's grace that any of this occurred.
Click HERE to go get to Part Eight.