Baby Noah

Posted by  | Wednesday, July 16, 2008  at 12:00 AM  
I thought I’d start out by introducing you to my family. Mike and I (Kristin) have been married for 8 years…boy time flies! Our son Trent just turned 6 and Drew will be 4 in September. Our third son, Noah was born December 14, 2006 – 19 months ago. It was August 1, 2006 that I went in for an ultrasound to find out how far along I was. The measurements not only showed I was 15 weeks along, but a large sac of fluid that was growing just above his neck. Noah’s kidneys were also enlarged and cystic. After a myriad of potential diagnosis, our doctor told us the worst case scenario… “he would not survive outside of utero.” I held it together until I heard those words. Was he really talking to me…about my baby? We went to see the high-risk specialist the next day. He gave us a preliminary diagnosis of Meckel Gruber Syndrome, but was not 100% because he thought it was too early to tell for sure. However, Noah already had two of the three diagnostic factors. This syndrome is genetic, so there is a 25% chance for each of our children to have this fatal syndrome. There are only 1:140,000 live births. Another statistic I came across says that it occurs in 1 out of 13,000 pregnancies, but because of the 100% mortality rate many pregnancies are terminated, or “interrupted” as many like to say.
After four months of seeing our doctor every two weeks (and our son by ultrasound!) I went into labor. I was 34 ½ weeks along and Mike and I were on our way to a fancy work Christmas party. Just before dessert, we headed to the hospital and our sitters took the boys to another friends home to sleep for the night. My parents made the 2 ½ hour drive in time to meet their grandson, along with many friends and our pastor and his wife. I never would have planned laboring with SO MANY people in the room, but it was really a time of joyful expectation. (Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s really the truth.) He was alive for 1 hour and 42 min. God had answered the prayer of my heart, to see him alive and love him into his Heavenly Father’s arms. There are so many more things that happened that night, so if you'd like, you can see the memory book I created here. One of my dear friends came to the hospital (I had no camera because we were at the party.) and took 7 rolls of film. Here you can view the video she made for Noah’s memorial service.

My mom started my collection of Willow Tree figurines shortly after we learned about Noah. They are so telling of my journey, I thought I would use them to help illustrate.
Cherish
It was a conscious choice each day to cherish, love, and parent Noah though I couldn’t see him. I felt myself distancing from him emotionally. It just hurt so much and I wanted that to go away. I knew this would be my only time with him. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to start wearing my maternity clothes because it would make my situation all too real. What would I say, and how would I react or respond when people asked me about my pregnancy? How could I possibly experience all the same joy of carrying a baby I knew I would not see grow up? I was reminded that my baby was not dead yet and to think about the regret I might have from not enjoying all aspects of being pregnant.
Angel of Prayer
Never have I prayed so much in my life. As painful as it was to go through, I never experienced such a sweet time of God’s deep love and provision for me. I can approach Him at any time with any praise or burden or request. He has become such a personal God…a lot less abstract.
Never have I felt the prayers of so many, on my behalf, as I did at that time. It is such a humbling thing to be on the other side of a prayer request. I’m usually the one interceding of behalf of others, and now I’m asking for others to do that for my family. Now, when I say “I’m going to pray for you”, you can be assured I mean it! I don’t take that lightly. Knowing family, friends, and strangers were praying for my family brought me much comfort. The body of Christ is such a beautiful thing. It is amazing to experience the arms, feet, mouth, and ears of the body of Christ. We each have a role to perform and when we act on the leading of the Holy Spirit, it is truly a blessing. We also experienced Gal. 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens.” God gave us understanding friends to share some of our heartache.
Sign of Love
There were many tangible ways in which we felt loved. We received many cards in the mail. I can’t even tell you how much this meant to me…I remember days just watching out the window to see the mail carrier drop off the mail. There were a few other special gifts we received that would obviously honor Noah’s life and keep his memory alive. We were given a special candle with flowers from his service in the wax. We also got a wooden block with the letter ‘N’, his name, and “statistics.” Simple, yet so thoughtful. We proudly display them on top of our piano along with my Willow Tree collection.
A couple of months after we learned of Noah’s diagnosis, I found a support group for perinatal loss that met in our area. This has been a huge blessing for me. Being able to share and remember with other moms who “just knew” how I felt was so helpful. I knew my friends would have done anything to help, but I was paranoid of being the party-pooper. I was also scared of friends distancing themselves for fear of not knowing what to say or how to respond. After losing a child, you are forever changed and I feared losing friendships because of how I would change. In God’s loving kindness and provision, he gave me wonderful friends who have gone out of their way to love and support me in so many ways. God truly is powerful enough to meet my every need, and kind enough to do it!

Loving/Healing Words:
“I’m sorry for your loss.” - “Would you like to talk about it?” – “We love you and we will pray for you.” – “I’m sorry you have to go through this.” – “I know it hurts.” – “I don’t know what to say.”
I actually sent an email to friends and family about 1 month after Noah died… “Even though loosing him is painful, it is worth the pain of missing him to have carried him, seen him, held him, known him, and love him. Only God understands how Noah blessed and added to our lives and the void we feel without him now. Emotions come at any moment and without warning, this makes for some awkwardness, but God has given us hearts that love and care and emotions to feel, so I must give myself permission to let it out. Thanks to many of you who cry with us, offer a hug, or just extend grace through your patience in these moments. We can't thank you enough for the prayers of strength, grace, peace and rest that have sustained us thus far. Our God is gracious to give us what we need, just when we need it! Thank you for your notes and cards of comfort and love for us. We also appreciate the concern you show through calls and conversations at church. I'm sure its hard for you to know what to say or do, I've gone through it and it doesn't make it any easier for me to know what to do or what to say. It does mean so much though, when you step out of your comfort zone to reach out to us. We will never forget his life and so please don't feel you have to avoid mentioning Noah's name for fear of "reminding us of the pain"...knowing you haven't forgotten is a huge encouragement to us. “

Reckless Words:
“You can always have another one.” – “You’re young, you can try again.” – “At least you never got to know them.” – “Be thankful you already have two children.” – “It’s God’s will.” – “Your baby is in a better place.” (Even though these are true, what a mom wants is her baby in her arms. I knew its truth, I just didn’t want to hear it from others who had never experienced a loss.)

Courage
Facing the grief was and is still difficult. Just thinking of “moving on” to a new normal is overwhelming. It is definitely a process and they don’t call it grief WORK for nothing! It was hard to find a balance for my grief and caring for my husband and two other sons. I wanted to “be with”/ “do something for” Noah, after all, if he were here I would be doing that without a second thought. Yet he was gone, my arms were empty, and it felt like the rest of my family demanded more time and energy than ever. I felt that need to still parent and care for Noah in some way. (So, I made a memory book – spending hours pouring each detail of our journey out on paper and staring at his pictures, and I continue to take flowers and pull weeds at his grave.)
Asking the hard questions…I’ve been asked this a few times… “Aren’t you angry with God for doing this to you?” I guess I look at it like this…He didn’t DO this to me. He hurts with me. Noah died because this is a sinful world where sickness and death occur all the time. I’m seeing more and more how God chose to use Noah’s death to draw people closer to Him. It makes Rom. 8:28 a bit easier to grasp. He allows these tragedies in our lives, but he doesn’t create them. In his sovereignty, he causes everything to work out for the good of those who, by faith, choose to trust him. In reading John MacArthur’s book Safe in the Arms of God, I was reminded of Matt. 18:14. “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” MacArthur suggests that “the analogy of this verse is unmistakable. Jesus was saying that God no more wants a spiritual child to perish eternally than God wants a natural child to perish eternally.” I take comfort in the fact that He didn’t need another “angel” in heaven, and even if he did – he could just have created an angel! He hurts with me.
New Life
This was attached to one of the beautiful flower arrangements we received. I return back to that night…one hour and forty two minutes we spent with our sweet Noah. I couldn’t believe it when our time was up – how I wished he were still with us, and yet, in reality, not even one more minute would have been enough. But I looked down at him and said, “Thank you, thank you!”
I was amazed at the time we were able to parent our dear child. I just remembered being so appreciative of the time we shared. It was above and beyond what I imagined as the reality of our situation. My mom leaned over my shoulder looking at her grandson and whispered, “Who would’ve wanted to miss out on this day!” Again, this confirmed that our choice to carry Noah as long as I could was the best decision we could have made. What a reward, especially for me as his mommy, his safe place to grow and be nurtured and nourished.
Angel's Embrace
Heaven. My “eternal” perspective has been ignited - no longer a flicker of curiosity, but a raging fire. What will it be like? What is it like there now for Noah? Will we recognize each other? Will he be a baby or a different age? Will I even care about these little details when I sit at God the Father’s feet? How do I explain heaven to my other children? I long for my Heavenly home. I pray we would all have a passion for our real home. No more tears…all is made whole and perfect again! I know the angels will embrace you until we see again, Noah.
Remember
I was just telling my friend the other day, I went back to support group for a maintenance tune-up. It has been a couple of months since I’ve attended and I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’m thankful for the freedom to grieve in my own way. Everyone’s journey is different, and that is OK! Remembering for me now doesn’t always mean sadness…there are memories of joy that resonate in my mind. This hole in my heart will never be filled on earth, but in that hole a new hope will be rooted and one day realized…I was encouraged, in my grief, to not rush through any emotion, but to feel it until I didn’t have anything left…and I’m blessed to find THE gracious companion take hold of my hand and pick me back up and continue to walk beside me on this journey. What a marvelous and comforting Savior!
Hope
As I reflect on our experience, I am thankful for the reminder from Isaiah 61:1,3. “He [God] has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners . . . and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” The God we read about in the Bible – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Paul, and Timothy – is our same God today. He knows our situation, our feelings, our pain. It doesn’t matter how large or how small, He sees our sorrow. And, just as in the case of these men, we trust Him to create something beautiful in and through us. We sense His healing presence in our life, and are thankful for the opportunities to share our son Noah with others. In many ways, Noah Scott was the canvas through which God displayed His sovereignty and character not only to our family but others as well. We pray that you would experience the blessing of knowing God more deeply.

Lamentations 3:21-25, "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him."

3 comments:

Robin Baker said...

how great of you to be strong in the Lord and your faith and let the natural process of birth and death occur...it really is against the norm of our culture and I'm sure you had pressure to abort. what a great example to all of us to trust and follow the Lord even when we're hurting and don't understand. I love those figurines and have many myself - what a great explanation you gave for each one. may the Lord bless you as you bless others in your faithfulness. so sorry for your loss.

noahandlylasmommi said...

thank you so much for sharing your story. you did a wonderful job. I will be praying for your family!

Raisingarrows said...

Angel's Embrace is one of my most cherished Willow Trees. We received it from a friend after our daughter, Emily, died in February of 2008. We have a stand it sits on that has her birth and death dates.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
~Amy

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