Our Judah Story-Part 7-Recovery

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It’s hard to say how long my actual recovery took. Even after the memorial service and burial, even after my release from the hospital, I still had to be watched. My placenta had been a poison to my body, and though it was no longer a part of me, there was still a chance that I would develop some serious side effects. For one, we had to make sure that none of the placenta had broken off and remained in my body. I don’t know how much you know about placentas, but normally they come out spongelike-you can pick them up. Mine was in no way, shape, or form, solid. It was basically a gooey mess. My doctor who has been  doing his job for over 30 years said he had never seen anything like it. For another thing, we had to make sure I didn’t develop cancer. I had lots of follow up appointments, x-rays, blood work and the like done. It seemed like forever until I was released from bed rest.

I delivered Judah on May 2, 2012. The entire rest of our summer I was still really weak. I couldn’t do normal things, and taking care of Lane took about everything out of me. Thankfully, my parents had bought a camper that year, and we went camping almost every weekend. There is just something about being outside, relaxing around a campfire. It’s good for the soul. Normally, I’m the type of person who almost never gets sick. I couldn’t even count how many times I got sick that year. My body was still so weak, it couldn’t fight off any sickness. I love to sing, and was on the worship team at church, but singing literally hurt my lungs-in fact, it was physically difficult to sing. To say it was a long road to recovery would be an understatement. And that was just my body. I haven’t even talked about my heart.

One thing that helped hold me together was a phone call I had received from Dr. Harry the day after I delivered Judah. He heard that I had delivered the baby and wanted to know how I was doing. “I can’t believe you delivered the baby so quickly” he told me. “The medicine simply doesn’t work that way. You know, we see miracles everyday, but the fact that you delivered your baby so quickly is truly a miracle.” He said I probably miscarried on my own and my body simply passed Judah-he didn’t think it had anything to do with the medicine. Even when things are terrible, God is still good. I kept reminding myself of this moment, because it helped me to remember that God still remembered me

Friends, this was the worst time in my life. I have seen some really, really hard times since, but this trumps them all. Losing my first baby boy. Almost losing my life. Having to relinquish my motherly duties to somebody else. Not to mention the impact that losing our baby had on our marriage. I have yet to see a darker time in my life. But dear ones, I can also say with total confidence that I felt the Presence of my Sweet Jesus so fully during that hard season. I have never had more peace than I did in that wretched time. You see, even amidst all the pain, and the ugliness, and the disparity, there is still beauty. Jesus is telling a story in my life, through my life. Jesus is using me. He’s using my story. He is using Judah. One friend had to explain death to his little boy when we lost our son, and it resulted in his salvation. That was only one victory. And I know there will be others. I know my Judah’s life was not in vain. I know there is more to the story and I am excited to see what is to come.

Jesus held me during that time. He held me in that hospital room. He held me through the labor, through the delivery, through the sickness, and the pain, and the loneliness and the confusion. He held tightly onto me. He was holding me together. I easily could have died. I know I was close to it. But my Lord and my God kept me here for a reason. For such a time as this. I can’t take that lightly. I can’t just let that sit on the shelf and collect dust. He gave me a reason and a purpose. And I am here to tell you that He loves you too! He has a plan for you. A purpose. There is a reason you are here. There is a reason for the painful things in your life. There will be beauty, there will be peace, there will be redemption. I’ve seen it. I know it. And it is just as true for you as it is for me. So take heart, beloved. For your Savior is near.

I won’t lie to you. This path is not easy. Yes, I have healed, but there is still healing yet to come. I still don’t understand why my son was ripped away from me. This side of heaven I may never know. I still have hard days. There are still times when Blake finds me crying on the shower floor. There are still days where it’s hard to pass by the boy clothes in the baby section. It still hits me like a ton of bricks every time I meet a little boy named Judah. It will always be hard to visit his gravesite and physically see him apart from me. I don’t think those things will ever go away. I don’t think a day will ever pass where I don’t think of him. But even still, my God is good. And He is on my side. And He is guiding me through. I promise you, He will guide you too.

Thankfully, I never did develop that cancer. My body eventually returned to normal. And right around November-December, I got pregnant with our sweet Raegan. I had a great pregnancy, and an awesome delivery. Rae was a perfect little baby. A sign of hope for today and for the future. All of this is only the beginning of our Judah story. I know there is so much more to come. Judah: praised. Let His Name be praised above all other names. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. May His Name be praised. Joseph: He will add. He is not done with our family yet. He will add joy. He will add babies. He will add life. He will add…He is not finished with me yet.

 

Our Judah Story-Part 6-The Aftermath

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I remember little from the rest of our stay at the hospital. I was on so much medication and my body was so drained, I slept more than anything else. A few people came to visit us, and I was so tired, I would wake up just barely enough to see who it was, and then fall back to sleep, mouth open and all, without even caring. There were times I tried to stay awake and visit, but I simply could not keep my eyes open.

I remember talking with our grief nurse, Debbie. She was amazing. I don’t think I would have made it through those few days without her. I think we stayed there two more days before they told us I was well enough to go home. They offered for us to stay longer if we wanted, but left the final decision to us. We thought it would be best to leave that room behind. I got out of bed and took a shower. For the first time since our arrival I looked at myself in the mirror. My color was starting to return, but I looked way too skinny. Never had I imagined I would think that about myself, but there it was, hanging in the air. I was too skinny. I had only gained about 10 lbs during my pregnancy, but I lost around 35 pounds in fluid during the delivery. I hadn’t weighed so little since the very beginning of high school. It ached to see the empty spot where my full belly had once been. I would have gotten pregnant again that day if I could have.

We stayed with my parents over the next few weeks. I still needed to be watched closely-I wasn’t out of the woods quite yet. I was placed on strict bedrest. Because my blood pressure was still so high, I was told I had to keep the lighting in the rooms I was in really low. I could watch t.v., but nothing stressful or too intense. I certainly wasn’t allowed to drive, or do any lifting, or cleaning, or even a lot of mothering, for that matter. That was the part that hurt the most. I wasn’t able to take care of the sweet baby I did have.

Shortly after leaving the hospital, we made arrangements for a memorial service and burial. Debbie had somehow managed to get us a spot in a nearby cemetery that was specifically for babies and small children. There technically weren’t any spots left, so I’m not sure how she swung getting that spot for us. We chose a tombstone. It had lambs on it, with the words, “Little Ones to Him Belong.” In case you don’t remember. We still thought our baby was a little girl. We had named her Ruth Abigail. Her name was going to be engraved on the tombstone as well.

In the midst of planning everything, Blake received a phone call. “We have the final lab results from the amnio and CVS in” the voice on the other end informed him. She confirmed that our baby had Triploidy (three full sets of chromosomes), which we already suspected. “There is one other thing I have to tell you” she admitted. She apologized profusely before finally letting Blake know that the little girl I had given birth to was actually a little boy. As soon as Debbie had heard the results, she insisted they tell us the truth, which we so appreciated.

I had been outside when Blake got the phone call. I knew the news wasn’t good when he called me in. There is a lot he doesn’t remember about this season in our life, but he remembers this specific instance with great clarity. Having to deliver the news to me and the rest of my family just about killed him. For me, I had spent my entire pregnancy bonding with a little boy. It wasn’t a huge shock to me. I was sad, yes, and I was a little bit shaken. But my biggest fear was that it was going to be my only chance at having a little boy. For everybody else, however, they had spent time bonding with and grieving over a little girl. It was a pretty hard hit. I never blamed the ultrasound tech. We should have known it was too early to really be able to tell. We never asked for confirmation when he was born. In fact, going back and looking at pictures, we saw the boy parts. We were simply too grief stricken to even think about it. We were so close to the memorial and burial, and now we had to change everything from girl things to boy things. Thankfully, Debbie helped with the bulk of that. We returned pink flowers and got blue ones. I decided on a blue dress instead of a pink one. Those types of things. It was certainly not what we needed at that time. But we pulled through. We made it.

The memorial service was beautiful. Our worship leader sang, and our pastor spoke. Blake and I each shared a little bit. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out to love on and support us. There were so many people packed into that room-we didn’t even have enough seats set out. And so many of them had traveled to be there, some people I hadn’t seen in a very long time. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I felt so loved and cared for. The burial the next day was much more intimate, but still so lovely. Our friend, Jimmy, who had spent countless hours at the hospital with us, spoke for it. Some of our dearest friends took time off of work to be there with us. We felt so blessed. It was a beautiful day, and while I felt so sad, I started to feel a little bit of hope. We had named our baby boy Judah Joseph. Judah means “Praise” and Joseph, “He will add.” There were so many promises packed into those two little names. My heart held tight to that. My heart still holds tight to that. And my heart needed all the hope it could get to hold me together for the months to follow.