My Story: Baby Loss Awareness Week
by Adam Howard
Content Coordinator, CBN Europe
It’s easy to sing when you’re winning. So, what happens when it all falls apart and God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers? This Baby Loss Awareness Week, I’m sharing with you my story. A story of hope in the darkest of times.
It’s March 2010, Lizzy (my wife) and I are expecting our first baby and we are super excited. One day, we notice that our little one is slightly less active, less wriggly than normal. We had had a midwife appointment the day before and all was looking good. We were just three days out from the due date, but something didn’t feel right. It’s already 10:30pm or so, but we call the maternity unit and they invite us to come and get checked out. We hop in the car and drive the short five-minute journey to the hospital. All the way saying to each other I’m sure it‘s nothing, it’ll be fine.
We arrive and they take us through to the waiting area and have a listen in to the baby with the Doppler. We don’t hear anything straight away and a nervous look begins to come over the midwife’s face. We look at each other for a moment with a tense apprehension. The midwife suggests we have a proper scan and calls over her colleague, trying to obviously keep calm, but with an increasing urgency. As we step into the room with the scanner and they begin to search for the heartbeat, I was sure that baby had just been in a weird position for the pads to pick up the trace. Then came the moment that no one ever wants to experience. The doctor looks up and says the words “I’m so sorry, there is no heartbeat.”
In that moment, when the bottom has just fallen out of our world, she turned to me, looked me in the eye and squeezing my hand said,
“This is not the end of us.”
It was so hard to even begin to compute that sentence. I kept thinking what does that mean? My heart dropping through the floor and my eyes filling with tears before my head had time to catch up. The realisation that our precious baby, our first, our boy was gone hit me like I have never been hit before. Questions flying into my head, tears flowing, I look into my wife’s eyes and my heart breaks into a million pieces. This is something that you hear about happening to other people, not us. In that moment, when the bottom has just fallen out of our world, Lizzy turned to me, looked me in the eye and squeezing my hand said, “This is not the end of us.”
In the depths of our pain, in that room we resolved to keep going. Looking back, I believe that it was a stake in the ground not just for us as a married couple, but as a prophetic statement of intent for our walk with God.
As I said, it’s easy to praise God, to trust Him, to surrender to His will when things are looking good and the forecast is sunny. Let me tell you, that it is hard to surrender when you don’t understand why.
The hospital sent us home and we were booked in to come back in the next morning to start labour. We were so close to the due date that that was the only option. We drove home absolutely devastated, carrying our son and the news that there was no heartbeat. I remember getting home around 2am and sinking to my knees in our living room, crying out to God in absolute desperation for Him to step in. We made the worst phone calls we have ever had to make to our families and then cried our way to sleep, knowing that we would have to go back into hospital in a few hours to give birth to our boy.
The next morning came and we set off back to the maternity unit. Walking onto the unit, full of expectant mothers was so difficult. There was something different about the morning though. As we had cried out to God the night before, on our knees in the living room, God had stepped in. The situation was still the same, but the peace was different. Philippians 4:7 says: “and the peace of God that passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” and we were living in the reality of that verse. It didn’t make sense at all, it still doesn’t in many ways, but His peace surpassed my reason, guarded my mind and my heart and allowed me to trust Him.
We continued to lay hands on Lizzy’s belly, praying for a miracle to take place. Even as labour continued, believing that the doctors would scan again and find a heartbeat. With our families around us and some incredibly amazing friends we made it through those few days and our son was born, on his due date; 14 March 2010.
As the midwife took him to clean him up, even then we prayed that we would hear a cry or for the medical team to burst through the door in disbelief that he was alive. The thing is, life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. The miraculous doesn’t always appear in the way we think it should. Our son, Joel didn’t come back to us. As we sat there with him on the bed, surrounded by the peace that surpassed our understanding, we started to thank God for this precious gift. We sat there trusting in His ability to do incredible things and in His sovereignty, that He knows what He is doing.
This is Baby Loss Awareness Week and this story is not as uncommon as you may think. If you have been through a loss like this, at any stage of pregnancy or infancy and would like some support or information, please call our Prayer Center Team on 0300 561 0700 (UK) // 01 513 3738 (Ireland). We would love to pray with you or give you some guidance on where to find additional support or information or you can submit a prayer request here.
For additional support or information, please head to sayinggoodbye.org