Our Baby’s Story
“When did you last feel the baby move?” was a question from my obstetrician that I would never forget even three decades later. Oh, the joys of having our first baby — a handsome little boy. When he was ten months old we received a surprise that I was pregnant with our second child, a girl. I had an uneventful pregnancy. I had even made it through nine months of pregnancy while carrying for our rambunctious young toddler.
Thoroughly ready for delivery, I rushed in for my last prenatal visit eager to schedule the C-section for the next week. We had the home all ready to welcome our new baby. Baby showers had resulted in numerous items just waiting for the baby’s arrival. I was ready! I waddled back to the exam room and with assistance climbed onto the exam table. Within minutes, the obstetrician came in and after a few formalities, he put his stethoscope on my huge belly moving from place to place and then he asked the dreadful words, “When did you last feel the baby move?”
Without him saying another word, I knew then that my baby must have died while I slept at night! I can still recall going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. When I changed from a standing to a sitting position, I felt a very odd move from the baby. I recall saying in a playful baby talk voice, “little baby, what kind of move was that, what are you doing in there?” Sleepy and not thinking anything was wrong, I went straight back to bed. Now that I hear the doctor asking this question, I knew the weird move I thought my baby was making was actually gravity pulling her down in the womb.
My husband met me at the hospital where the death of our baby was confirmed with a sonogram. I was hospitalized with plans to perform a C-section to “remove the fetus.” I was devastated. Did I do something wrong and hurt my baby? Should I have known earlier? Could I have saved her? Did my doctor miss something? This can’t be happening! Why, God? Why? Why? Questions flooded my mind.
To maintain my sanity, my brain searched for a comforting scripture. I had a Gospel of John in my purse so I frantically searched to find John 11:34. Somehow I thought I would be comforted if I could just read how “Jesus wept” when Lazarus died. I started reading at John 11:1. John 11:4 seized my heart, “…this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Could it be that? Did God allow this for His glory? Did the Giver of this life, take the life before she could live outside of the womb? If so, why? Why, at nine months after bonding through kicks and her playfulness and after she got to know me through my numerous talking and singing sessions? I had even shared the gospel with her.
Amazing Grace and Courage
I had to pull myself together because the saga was not over. I still had to face a delivery and numerous tests on me and the baby to determine the medical causes of her death (excessive placental infarcts were later found). Though a C-section was planned to remove the baby, the Lord graciously sent me into full-blown labor. I delivered naturally. I say graciously because I was spared having a major surgery during this period of great grief. I delivered a pretty little girl who looked as if she was sleeping. Through tears and pleads, I asked the doctor to please do something to save my baby. My doctor nodded “no” and cried.
Later on, hospital staff pushed to cremate my baby and resisted our efforts to name our baby, insisting that we call her just a fetus. All this caused my resolve to strengthen, and God gave me great courage to speak that life began at conception and her life, though brief, was a precious life given by God. We named our baby Lori Annette. Our pastor encouraged us to have a funeral and burial because funerals help in the grief process. It did indeed. Even 33 years later, I still periodically cry and find it too hard to visit the gravesite, but we periodically read the program, obituary, and recall all the people who poured love on us. It still encourages us.
Changing the Question
God never answered our Why? questions. So we stopped asking. Through the tender counsel of our pastor, he guided us to change our Why, God? questions to What, God? and How? What, God, would You have us do now this has happened? How do we survive this? How do we glorify You in this? God gave us Job as an example of someone He never gave Why? answers to. God allowed all of Job’s seven sons and three daughters to die all at once on the same day (Job 1). And God never told him why. We have the benefit of reading the book of Job and can see God’s vindication of Job against the devil’s accusations against God’s righteous servant, Job. And even with that we will never know the full answer to the Why? questions about Job. In Job 42:5, Job said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” Likewise, God allowed my husband and me to “see” God and know Him better as we grew in faith and trust in the God who is Sovereign. Though another baby can never replace the baby who died, two years later, God gave us a bundle of joy to keep, another healthy baby boy.
- Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15 a).