This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.
Travis and I got the opportunity over the weekend to share our story with a friend. We just sat in our living room and told her about what we’ve been through along the way. He reminded me of a few things from his part of our journey with Jonah (and told me something new, also).
When he wasn’t able to let go of our son that night, he kept imagining that his tears could bring him back to life. These things can sound silly to someone on the outside, but I did the same thing the day we learned that Samantha would not survive her illness. I kept trying to bargain with God, and imagined that if we laid hands on her and prayed that she would be healed. Yes, sometimes that does happen. But more often, the healing that God gives is coming to a place of peace and acceptance (for more on this, watch my husband’s sermon from Sunday).
That night, after giving birth, the hospital was not going to immediately discharge me. And for the sake of my health, I needed to stay on the maternity floor. But they also didn’t want me to have to be next to the mothers with their newborns. So they put me in a special wing reserved for the doctors who were on call, working round-the-clock shifts. These rooms were where they would go to catch some sleep in between deliveries. They even brought in an extra mattress for my husband to sleep on the floor.
What I didn’t know before was that he kept getting up in the middle of the night to search for our son. The nurses were kind and sent him back to my room again and again. I knew that our son’s death tortured my husband greatly, but I didn’t know how much he went through during that time in the hospital. How could I? My body was recovering while I was also in pain. Sometimes when you’re hurting, it’s almost impossible to comfort another person.
I ended up staying in the hospital for another night (maybe two? I can’t remember) because my blood pressure spiked. Sound familiar? With Samantha it went up and I was put into the hospital while still pregnant. With Jonah, my blood pressure went through the roof after giving birth. It was the start of my journey with medication for it, and I still have a prescription to control it today.
While at the hospital, the staff encouraged me to go and take a look at the nursery as part of my healing process. I didn’t want to, but finally made myself do it. I was scared that it would be too painful.
Ironically, it ended up not being emotionally painful. Instead, I stared at those babies, all of which looked HUGE to me (remember, Jonah was only 2 pounds). I marveled at the women who could birth these gigantic children (who were probably standard sized newborns, but to me they were enormous). I knew how much pain I had experienced with labor, and I could not fathom how much MORE it would hurt given the size difference.
There was a significant amount of time in between the hospital and getting Jonah’s cremains back, because they did an autopsy. In fact, I had to go through a bunch of tests also. I think I mentioned we brought him home during Holy Week. I checked the date and Easter that year was April 20. But I gave birth on April 7. So at least a week and a half in between the two.
Good Friday that year was my first foray into identifying with Mary. I sat in church, listening to the seven last words of Jesus, and began to think about what she must have gone through as a mother to watch her son die. I also latched onto a verse from the traditional Good Friday Psalm reading, Psalm 22:10, which says, “On You was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb You have been my God.” Those words brought me so much comfort. I know Jonah is safe in the arms of the Lord.
Next post coming tomorrow.