Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To my sweet Brody... a summary of our story.

My dear baby boy, I don’t know how to begin except to say I love you.  These past nine months have been life changing. I count every single day as a blessing from God, and would do them all over again.
June 13th, 2013 was a rather exciting day! We were gathering our things to leave for the airport. Nine of us from FBC Waynesville were headed to serve in the church I worked with when I lived in France! Before I hopped in the shower that morning I had my suspicions so I took a test – positive! Then another – positive! And yes I took a third – positive! I was floored! Miah came in moments later and just couldn’t believe it. We were told we had less than 1% chance of getting pregnant, but our God is far bigger than medical statistics! The whole trip I was distracted as I contemplated your tiny life forming inside me.  I had wanted to take Jeremiah to France since we started dating and share that part of my life with him and I was so grateful we were finally able to be there together, but again, I was a bit preoccupied! J
Coming home we confirmed the tests at the Dr.’s, and began the exciting process of telling family and friends. The joy we felt… the pride we had in you our child… the genuine love and happiness we felt from everyone as they celebrated God’s gift with us… it was truly a blessing from God!

October 2nd will remain engraved in our hearts and minds forever. Our 20 week ultrasound. I couldn’t wait for that day to go find out if you were a boy or girl. Still, I was uneasy that morning. I couldn’t decide why other than wanting to be sure you were healthy above all else. Seconds into the ultrasound we found out you were a boy! Another joyous layer of reality to this unfolding story. The ultrasound was taking a long time, but we didn’t know that was unusual. The tech kept saying she couldn’t get a good angle and that you were moving too much. I felt nervous, but was more just wanting to see your little profile and face. That however was the one thing we couldn’t see as she pressed harder and harder into my abdomen.  She left the room and came back in with our OB. Then the unreal blur began. She placed her hand on my leg and her face looked extremely concerned. She explained that if she was right about what they were seeing that you were a baby that would not survive. I was convinced that they just weren’t seeing things right! But still… I felt like I was dangling over the edge of a cliff from a thin thread. We were sent to Miami Valley Hospital to confirm the diagnosis with a specialist who again took a long time… but then the Dr said one word, “unfortunately…” and our tears began to stream. Was this really happening? Is this our story? Am I awake?

The days and weeks that followed were flooded with moments of despair, anger, confusion, and yet other moments of peace, hope, and trust in our God. The prayers of so many people were probably the only thing keeping me from letting go of that thin thread. My dear husband, your daddy, was and still is amazing. He constantly reminded me of God’s promises and the fact that he had not only us, but you, our dear son’s life in His hands. We quickly decided on your name – Brody Micah Whitsel. Miah had thought of Brody before we were even pregnant, and Micah randomly popped into my head during the ultrasound before the devastating news. We learned that Micah means, “Who is like our God”, and Brody comes from a Gaelic name that means, “ditch”. Oh no! I thought… can we still use it? But Miah was quick to point out that when we are in life’s ditch… who is like our God?! J

Brody, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed carrying you to term! Some days it felt like you would never come as I couldn’t wait to see and hold you, and others felt like each moment of each day was slipping away too fast as I cried in anticipation of having to let you go. We were determined to be obedient to God and not end your life earlier than He intended. In our last month with you I would cry most nights as we went to bed, but your daddy just kept saying, “We get to hold him! We get to see him soon!” We clung to this hope and also the fact that you would soon get to be in Jesus’s arms.

At our last OB appointment it was suggested we induce soon as I was having some hypertension. Driving home that Wednesday before you were born I sobbed. It was as though the eminence of your arrival took me by surprise. Friday we went in for a ripening treatment. Emotionally I was doing well, but physically it was rough! I didn’t care though. I wanted to do whatever was necessary to bring you safely to our arms. We spent the night at home and then went back in on Saturday afternoon. It was a beautifully sunny, blue sky day. I felt a peace as we drove. The sun was like a reminder of springtime coming. There are times of dark and cold, but warmth and new life are around the bend.

More treatments came to help get my body ready and the Pitocin kept being delayed. I was growing anxious, but thankful as well for each extra moment I had feeling you kick inside me! Sunday morning, after they broke my water, the pain really kicked in. Your daddy held me as I tried to walk the hallway and the contractions began coupling. We were finally able to get an epidural, though it took a while and had to be re-dosed when it didn’t work on one side. Then God blessed me with some deep sleep! Good thing too as we didn’t realize yet what was to come.

We were so thankful to have so much family and some close friends there to encourage us and pray for us before you came. As I started pushing I was having some pain but we decided not to re-dose again so that I could feel when I should push. I remember thinking during the first hour – this is kinda fun! Thank you epidural! Your daddy was making jokes and keeping everyone entertained. I was just so excited to see and hold you! It’s all I could think about! I didn’t think about what would come after. The joy of meeting you and sharing you with the world surpassed all else.

Then the pain began. We discovered you were turned face up and face first. Your little mouth was the first thing we saw and you were sticking your tongue out at us! Definitely daddy’s boy. J The pushing and the pain seemed like it would never end! Your broad shoulders gave us issues, but everyone was so encouraging – especially your daddy. For a soccer player he made a good cheerleader! Plus there was quite a crowd in the waiting room praying for you and me for hours. As were people all across the world! Brody, who knew you would make such an impact! More people have reached out to us and told us how much you have meant than we ever could’ve dreamt!

When you finally came I knew immediately that your delivery had put too much stress on you, and that you were already safe in Jesus’s arms. I didn’t mind. I just wanted to hold you and take in every inch of your perfect body. The flurry of nurses and everyone around us disappeared as I took you in my arms. Voices sounded distant, my pain seemed irrelevant. Your daddy and I stared at you and took your tiny hands in ours. I can’t explain the love and joy I felt. You were here! And you are ours. How could God be so gracious and loving to grant us this gift?! The hours that followed, so very early Monday morning, were precious. Your daddy and I were surprised by how quickly we wanted our family to come in and meet you! I was so sad that you were so bruised, but Miah kept saying – he’s perfect! And I couldn’t have agreed more.

At one point we had everyone who was still at the hospital join us as Pastor John and Louann led us in a few songs, read some scripture, and prayed. We thanked God for you. We praised Him as the giver and initiator of life. And we, with tear filled eyes and deep sorrow in our hearts, gave you back to our Savior. Your daddy and I so enjoyed spending some time alone with you. Then, we were thrilled to learn that we would still be able to donate your heart valves! Later that morning as the time came for the nurses to take you to surgery, we wept together and prayed that your little heart would give someone else a chance to live.
My dear Brody, I could go on and on about our sweet moments with you, and just how very happy I, your mommy, and Miah, your daddy, are to call you our son. As I’ve contemplated this journey and all the details surrounding your birth, I’ve certainly had my questions. I asked God… why, after all we’ve been through did it have to be so physically painful? Why did your precious little body have to be so bruised? Why couldn’t He have given you to us alive – even if just for a few minutes? God, in His loving graciousness gave me some answers. It was your daddy who first said; perhaps it was God’s grace to us that you were stillborn. Maybe it would’ve been too hard to see you breath and move, and then have to watch you pass. When you were handed to us you were already in perfect peace – free from pain, and in the presence of our Lord!  Later when I thought of the pain… I was grateful. Most moms look forward to a lifetime of giving everything they can for their children. This was my only chance. I would’ve suffered a million times more for you, well, because I love you. As for the bruising and trauma to your body, I’m not sure why, but I know this - it reminds me of how fragile and temporary this life is. We were made for so much more than this! God created us to spend a glorious eternity with Him! But our sin has separated us from Him and caused us all great suffering. We have all experienced different pain and loss that brings us to a common ground – our need of a savior to bridge the gap of our sin, back to our sinless creator. Jesus is that bridge! I praise God for sending His Son to die on the cross for us, and for raising Him from the dead thereby conquering sin and death!
““Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:54-58
We don’t have to work towards or deserve this salvation that God offers – we’d never make it! Thankfully it is a free gift that we simply have to accept! Romans 10:9-10 tells us, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

My precious Brody Micah I thank you for pointing us to God. For allowing us to marvel at His works, and for reminding us of the hope we have in Christ and His gift of eternity with Him (and you!) in heaven. Your daddy and I love you so very very much, and can’t wait to see you again.  Love and kisses, with all our hearts, Amy and Jeremiah, who will always be your mom and dad.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A good article my brother sent me about ministering to grieving moms (and dads!).
Which so many already have! We can't thank you enough!!!