While there are good sites that offer advice for moms, coupons, time management techniques, etc., I desire that this blog be different. My hope is to use this as a forum to encourage all women in their walks with Christ. When an occassion presents itself, I hope to draw from the rich, deep Christian friendships that I enjoy with other women and share their stories with you. These are strong women who have walked through difficult periods in their lives while trusting their God to guide them. I have the opportunity to share one such story tonight.
My husband and I met the Melton family on November 8, 2006. I remember the circumstances, perfectly. On that day, Amy and I both gave birth to our daughters. Lydia Catherine was born earlier in the day and our Abigail Grace made her entrance at 2:27 pm. When both babies were taken to the nursery for hearing tests, we met Frankie, Amy’s husband, in the hallway and began to visit–in our pajamas. He invited us to visit the church that he pastored, and so, about a month later, the two babies and mothers finally met. Since then, we have kept in touch via the internet, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to know such a strong woman of faith.
Amy originally wrote this document as a note on Facebook and has graciously allowed me to publish it here. She, Frankie, Lydia, and their infant son Noah Franklin, now live in South Carolina.
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We found out I was pregnant with our second child early in February 2008. We were so excited about having another child, and a sibling for Lydia Catherine. When I was around six weeks pregnant, I had some bleeding and my OB was fearful I had miscarried. Weeks later we were told that everything was fine and normal. From that point on, the pregnancy proceeded normally. The baby grew just as she should and at each doctor’s visit we were told the heart rate sounded great. On August 13, (30 weeks and 4 days or 7.5 months) there seemed to be little movement from the baby. By the following morning, there was still no movement so we hurried to the hospital. In the Labor & Delivery Triage, two nurses struggled without success to find a heart beat before an obstetrician came in with the ultrasound machine. As the image of little Sarah Elizabeth came on the screen, she was motionless and there was obviously no heart beat to be found. After several attempts, lasting about five minutes, the obstetrician quietly said, “I’m sorry.” There are no words to express my emotions at that time. Our world was completely changed.
My doctor came in shortly after to discuss what would happen next. I was to be induced and elected to do so on Friday morning to allow time for family to arrive to help with Lydia Catherine. That night also gave us a little time to prepare emotionally for the physical difficulty the next day. Birthing is a difficult process, but it’s typically followed by feelings of elation & joy because of the new life. To have to go through the difficulties of contractions & delivery without the precious sounds of a crying baby at the end was not something I was looking forward to.
On Friday morning at 10am, my induction began. By 2am Saturday morning, contractions were getting fairly uncomfortable. At 3am, the doctor broke my water and told us to expect the baby in about 3-4 hours. The nurse went to order an epidural around 3:30 am. Around five minutes until 4:00 am, Frankie stepped out to get a drink and make a phone call. My nurse had yet to return . . . apparently she had forgotten to order my epidural. I had two strong contractions and felt quite a bit of pressure. At 4:02 am Sarah Elizabeth was born. Within five minutes I was joined by nurses, my doctor and Frankie (all were shocked that I had delivered her alone so quickly). In hindsight, I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to give birth privately. Sarah Elizabeth weighed 3lbs, 5 ounces and was 16.5 inches long. She had dark hair like Lydia Catherine, which was just as we had imagined.
Frankie and I had the opportunity to hold Sarah Elizabeth for awhile and we took pictures of her. The time was bittersweet, but we were not nearly as emotionally overwhelmed as we had expected to be.
We are thankful for that pregnancy and that experience.
We had someone ask what Scripture has brought us comfort. Frankie’s answer was in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, when Jairus came up to Jesus imploring Him to save his dying daughter. Jesus was delayed with other healings (the woman with the issue of blood) and the little girl died. So Jesus arrives at the house eventually and verse 38-42 says:
“And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded.”
Neither of us were under any illusions that this baby would be raised from the dead on Saturday (although our Lord certainly has that power if He so desires to use it). Even though our baby is not with us now, but resting with our Lord, one day Christ will tell Sarah Elizabeth “Talitha kum!” Little girl, I say to you, get up. Sarah Elizabeth, along with all other dead Christians will arise and meet our Lord in the sky.
We have so much comfort in knowing that Sarah Elizabeth existed here for a short time and exists now forever. Without conception she did not exist, so this difficult journey has not been in vain. Even though she did not live after birth, we will see her again and know her for eternity. That is a comfort.
One of the first things I thought in this was, “Why” …even though there is no answer. I know God has a purpose and a plan. I thought of Romans 8:28 : “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
For me, this is a comforting promise. God will use this for good. He is merciful and kind. Although I may question why and not understand, there is comfort in knowing His thoughts and ways are well above my own.
Everyone knows Psalm 139, especially the verse . . . “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . .” One thought that gave me comfort was that my baby was not an accident. Something did not just “go wrong.” The verse is true for Sarah Elizabeth. God did form her inward parts. She was fearfully and wonderfully made. God did not forget about her and nature did not just weed her out. This was God, not nature or a freak accident. And we trust God fully in all things, even this.