Sunday, May 31, 2009

update on post from 5/7/09

I have a potty mouth, but that is a completely different subject for a completely different post. This is regarding something I wrote earlier this month about the painful decision some friends had to make.

J and J2 chose to induce the baby that could not survive outside the womb for a few reasons, the primary being
  1. They are not certain that this is the last child they will have.
  2. She has had three C-sections already (the first was necessary, though I'm not clear on the details, and Bozeman doesn't permit for VBAC), making a fourth risky and a fifth untenable. This baby was at the critical time for J to be able to deliver vaginally... and that window would not last long.
Since she was only twenty-one weeks along, induction now or waiting full term were about the only two options. She went in on the morning of Saturday, May 9th, and Samuel was stillborn late that evening.

I got to spend time with her on the following Monday, and she gave me permission to share their story, both for your sake and for theirs...

On Friday night, J was consumed with fear and worry that she'd go through labor and deliver a perfectly healthy and perfectly formed child. She cried out to God about their decision, her fear, and their son. She wondered if they should choose another name so as not to "waste" Samuel (it was their boy's name, and they've had daughters thus far), then wept at the pain of such thoughts. Unable to sleep, she prayed and opened her Bible at random. In the first and only time a verse has ever jumped from the page to her heart, she read 1 Samuel 2:20,
Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife [Hannah] and say, "May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one [Samuel] she gave to the Lord."
Weeping, she told God that she trusted Him and His will and direction, despite the painful path He was leading her down, and she knew that Samuel's name would not be wasted.

However, she and J2 made sure to arrive much earlier than necessary at the hospital to allay their fears. They needed to see with their own eyes what exactly was going on with Samuel so that they could trust their decision. Confessing this to J's OB/GYN, a fellow Christian and the dear man who delivered little Blake, he told them that he'd wrestled with the same doubts and had also come in early to confirm once more that this was the wisest course of action for J's health. He showed them numerous things on the many sonograms that, while terrible, also gave them peace that they were doing the best thing for their family.

Throughout a day that could be described as painful at best, God gave them many many glimpses of His mercy. J told me that she and J2 had felt prayers in a way they'd never experienced before - tangible and real. God was with them in the room and gave them peace and even moments of laughter. Having never been in labor before, J was alarmed at what a contraction felt like and asked the nurses how long they'd continue after Samuel was born. She told me that it was an especially tender birth because it was the only one she and J2 got to experience in such a way - largely private and non-surgical.

Though Samuel was stillborn (which both J and J2 felt was a mercy on all three of them), they were able to gaze at and hold him calmly, despite the extensive malformations of his little body (which I will not detail here). From the waist below, he was a perfect baby boy, and they have dear, tiny copies of his footprints. Also, due to the location of the placenta, they had further confirmation of the wisdom of their choice, as Samuel's movements could easily have caused placenta abruptio, further endangering J's health and life.

Their daughters are processing Samuel's death in the curious ways of small children. The youngest, two, is largely oblivious. The middle, five, is deeply saddened by the loss of a brother she wanted badly. The oldest, eight, is mostly quiet about it, though shows remarkable comprehension when discussing it with friends. J said that she left the hospital in subdued spirits, but that she wasn't feeling any painful physical effects of the labor and delivery. They are not sure if and when they will attempt to conceive again.

Please continue to pray for their family, for healing of grief and for wisdom in navigating their daughters' sorrow. J expressed some concern that people who did not know the full extent of the story would judge them harshly for "aborting a baby that was simply handicapped." She is also struggling with fear for the lives of her husband and children, which infuriates her as an attack from Satan, even while she has a renewed sense of how truly fragile life is.

Psalm 27:13-14
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 34:1-8, 18
I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those
who fear him, and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I do not like the circumstances that made me a resource for people in pain, but I love that God continues to use those circumstances for His glory. May He always find me a willing tool in His hands. The Lord's ways are a mystery, and life might be hard even when walking with Him... but I shudder to think of what it might be without Him.

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