CHAPTER 2 (Ben’s words in BOLD.)
We were young and in love, but our relationship was pretty rocky. We were great friends but we fought a lot. We were not on the same page in several areas of our lives and we hadn’t learned about our roles as husband and wife and the importance of respect. Most importantly, we didn’t share a love for God and He wasn’t the center of our relationship.
We dove right in and bought our first home, got pregnant with our first son in 2004 and selected a pure bred Chocolate Lab puppy out of a newborn litter. Things were looking picture-perfect. We began preparing the perfect nursery with coordinating paint colors and a wallpaper border that matched the crib bedding. We were having a baby!
At our routine 20-week ultrasound, my mom met us at the hospital and we eagerly viewed our first-ever ultrasound. It was all new for us and we honestly had no idea what we were looking at. Our baby’s heartbeat was precious and strong. We could see our baby moving around and full of life. We were ecstatic! The ultrasound went on for what seemed like forever and, when she was finally done, the technician left the room for a bit. She returned, stating there was something wrong with our baby and we needed to head to our doctor’s office immediately to discuss the ultrasound results with our obstetrician. We were just sick as we hopped into the car, completely deflated and silent. We arrived at our doctor’s office in a mess of nerves and tears. She was so compassionate, kind and gracious, a real Godsend. Shockingly, our baby had a rare form of dwarfism called thanataphoric dysplasia. “Thanatophoric dysplasia is a severe skeletal disorder characterized by extremely short limbs and folds of extra (redundant) skin on the arms and legs. Other features of this condition include a narrow chest, short ribs, underdeveloped lungs, and an enlarged head with a large forehead and prominent, wide-spaced eyes. The term thanatophoric is Greek for “death bearing.” Infants with thanatophoric dysplasia are usually stillborn or die shortly after birth from respiratory failure; however, a few affected individuals have survived into childhood with extensive medical help. This condition occurs in 1 in 20,000 to 50,000 newborns.” (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/thanatophoric-dysplasia) This news was devastating to say the least. We tried to believe that God would perform a miracle and heal our baby.
At the young, naïve ages of 21 and 23, we never dreamed that this could end up our reality. Our baby was probably not going to survive birth. After meeting with a wonderful, Christian, high-risk-pregnancy doctor, the results were confirmed and we found out our precious little one was a boy. The doctor prayed with us and we clung to each other and wailed, deep, heart wrenching cries right there in the doctor’s office. It is a very sobering thing to carry a baby to term, knowing that it could all be over when that baby is finally born. We didn’t want that day to come. However, it did, in February of 2005. At just 31 weeks pregnant, I began leaking amniotic fluid and my doctor decided to induce labor. Our precious, firstborn son, Isaiah Nathaniel was born directly into the arms of Jesus. He was spared of all pain and discomfort and we were denied hearing the joyous cries of our baby boy. All was eerily silent as our lifeless son was placed on my chest. The months of his gentle tumbling and poking and kicking inside my belly suddenly came to an abrupt stop and his life was over. We held our sweet baby and introduced him to our family. We spent time alone with him, loving him and rocking him. I watched from the hospital bed as Ben held him close and sang to him. Isaiah was desperately loved and greatly mourned. It is a devastating thing to go into the hospital pregnant and to leave your baby behind, never to come home with you.
There we were holding our firstborn son, at a small 3 lbs 13 oz, and crying because of the pain of losing our first child. Anger towards God and the world was definitely one of my emotions that day. I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen. I blamed myself, because it must be all the bad stuff I had done that caused this punishment. We grieved a lot and rightfully so.