*Disclaimer. This post is about my experience in the loss of my firstborn son. If you are looking for a happy post today, please go read about our trip to Disney World last year. 🙂 Even though this post is a more difficult one, I do hope you can find some encouragement.
The nurses set us up in a room not far from Joshua’s private NICU room. In fact, it was just down the hall. Their hope was that we would be able to get some sleep, but still be close by if anything were to happen. After our prayer time in the little hospital chapel, we went back to “our room” but we couldn’t sleep. Our sleeplessness wasn’t a result of fear (although, looking back, it would make sense if it was), on the other hand, I think we were just very expectant, and maybe even borderline anxious to see God’s hand move in front of us.
We had no idea. The thing you have to remember is that throughout this short journey, in the midst of such horrible circumstances and heartache, we have also seen many miracles occur, which only built our faith in God.
If you are just reading this part of my story, please go back and read the last 7 parts to catch up.
Expecting God …
When I say we were expectant to watch God’s hand move in front of us, I can’t tell you what that meant. We didn’t know. We knew what the doctors were telling us. We knew there wasn’t any good news. As a matter of fact, it was all bad news. We got as comfortable as we could, in our make-shift-chair-beds, and decided to read some scripture, and then dozed off for a few minutes.
At some point around 6 a.m. my mom woke up and decided to go to Joshua’s room, and sit with him. He was sleeping peacefully, however, within 15 minutes or so, there seemed to be some problem with his heartrate monitor as it began to alarm and show erratic heart rates. Based on what the monitor said, his rate would go from normal 140’s to 60 to 120, to 35, and back to 130’s. It did this a few times and so the nurse determined there was a problem with the battery on the monitor and decided to switch it out with a new one. New monitor by 6:30 a.m. Everything seemed to be back to normal. And then … it happened again.
The nurse decided Mom should go wake us up because it appeared that his heartrate was erratic. Mom opened the door to our room and spoke gently to wake us up saying that we should come to the room now. We jumped to begin putting on our shoes. Mom closed the door, but then suddenly re-opened the door to tell us to come now. The nurse had run down the hall after her to get us in there immediately. We rushed to go wash our hands (which of course, was protocol) but the nurse told us there wasn’t time. We quickly entered the room to see my sweet baby Joshua Caleb laying peacefully asleep.
We loved on him and talked to him for his last few minutes of life on Earth. He went from our loving hands directly into our Heavenly Father’s within 2 minutes of us coming into the room.
I can’t explain the heartache I had at that moment, other than to say that it felt like someone had ripped my heart from my chest and stomped on it 10,000 times. The pain was so great, yet I stood right there, holding his hand and softly whispering “Mommy loves you” and “It’s all going to be okay.” The nursing staff gave us some time with him. My Dad and my step-mom made it to the hospital after he had passed. The doctors said that whoever was at the hotel would have time to get there. They said that the ventilator would likely keep him living up to a week or even longer. They said we had time to make decisions. None of it happened the way it was supposed to.
Oh … but it did.
We just didn’t really know it at the moment. The reality was that even in this torturous, heart-breaking moment, God’s hand was the authority. In our prayer, we asked God to move in this situation. If it is His will and Joshua’s plan had been fulfilled, then to take him quickly. Don’t let him linger. Let me be clear. I do not believe that God killed Joshua Caleb. I believe that Satan took his life. I do believe that God allowed it to take place.
I also believe that what Satan meant to use to destroy us, God used to change our lives and build our faith so that we would give Him glory in the end. You see, his doctors and nurses were very confused at how quickly his passing occurred. They couldn’t explain it. But I can. God is sovereign in all things. Even when we can’t see it. Even in the pain. Even in chaos. He is faithful.
My sweet Joshua Caleb passed away barely 14 hours after he came out of surgery, while still on a ventilator. It was a Saturday morning, at 6:42 a.m. He was 14 days and 1 hour old, to the minute. Yes, that’s right. He was born on a Saturday morning at 5:42 a.m., 14 days and 1 hour earlier. I tend to believe there is great significance with numbers. I’m not going to get into all of that, but if you are curious and desire to know a little more, look up the Biblical significance of 14.
Just a little something to ponder …
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I didn’t plan to publish this post this month, it just worked out that way. We don’t talk about infant loss or miscarriage because it’s not a fun conversation. Nobody knows what to say. There is too much pain involved. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to remember. It’s okay to admit the hurt. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It’s okay to not know what to say. It’s okay to just hug someone. It’s okay to acknowledge it all.
My belief is that God is sovereign, even in my pain. It took me a long time to get there. I don’t expect everyone to believe the same or to look at my experience the same way I do. I just don’t. This is my journey. My hope is that it will touch you in some way, maybe even build your faith in who He is, and you will come back to read the continuation of it, because there is more. Sometimes when God moves in our lives, it doesn’t look like what we think it should look like.
If you have struggled with the loss of a baby, then I want to encourage you to read some of these books below. They are all highly recommended reading!
***Below are affiliate links, which means when you click on a book, the link will take you to Christianbook.com where you can read about the book, the reviews, and then if you make a purchase using any of the links, I will make a little money. However your price remains the same. See my full disclosure here.