And then the world changed forever.
It was May 9th, 2011, an evening that was filled with anticipation and jittery excitement. My sister was on her way to the hospital to have my nephew Isiah!!! She told me that the doctor sent her to the hospital to maybe get induced, but that if not she would have to go back to the doctor the following week. At 39 weeks and 4 days, most pregnant women want their baby out by any means necessary! My sister was no different, she had a hospital bag packed, had already dropped her older children off to me, and set out with her husband to the hospital to bring her baby home. Little did we know she was on her way to receive jolting information that would forever change their lives.
“Hello?!” I answer happily when I saw my sister’s name light up on my iPhone. I was expecting her to say “I’m at an 8!” because she always has THE fastest deliveries ever and NEVER needs medication!
“They tryna tell me my baby dead.” She manages to say.
The chaos of watching 3 little children that included a sassy 5 year old little girl and two 2-year old toddler boys all instantly faded. It felt as if someone palmed my heart and clenched it with their fingers.
“Wait WHAT?! What did you just say?” I rushed over to the window away from the children so I could make sure I heard her correctly.
“They tryna tell me my baby is dead! He don’t have a heart beat.”
And honestly that’s all I remember. I rushed out the house, called my older sister, texted my #sisterskeeper and started a prayer chain. I prayed in the spirit the entire way. I was numb. This was NOT happening. I left my husband with eyes wide in disbelief to continue caring for the kids and I promised to update him as soon as possible.
There seemed to be no life there.
I was the first in my family to get there. The drive there was a constant pleading with the Lord. “No Lord. This is not happening! Isiah shall live and not die!” I tried to muster every bit of faith that I had and focus it on the healing of whatever was happening with my sister and her unborn child. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! was the only name I could call on behalf of my family. Jesus HELP! WE NEED YOU!
The hospital felt cold, empty, and scarce. There seemed to be no life there. No groups of family with pastel colored balloons and carefully placed ribbons on boxes. No waiting room filled with nervous energy, rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes. Just appropriately empty.
Born still, born loved.
I found my way to my sister. I watched as she sat in the hospital bed with a bulging belly that would eventually have to release her sleeping baby. Little by little the room became filled with family. And we prayed, pleaded, and prayed some more. But the Lord had other plans, and Isiah James Gonzales was born still on May 9, 2011 where he was welcomed by his loving mommy & daddy. He was a healthy 7 lbs 11oz baby boy with a head full of hair and big hands with long fingers! He was BEAUTIFUL! And we could not begin to fathom why he didn’t make it out with breath in his lungs. There was nothing wrong during her pregnancy. Every check-up went seamlessly. Every test and ultrasound was perfect. Turns out, it was a cord accident.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
There are so many moms who experience miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss with no answers. Nothing to “blame” for the pain that’s in their hearts, or the reason they can’t sleep, or the reason there is an empty bassinet in their room. No reason to give the many questions and sympathetic eyes that comes their way. The fact is 1 in 4 women experience this loss. Its unfortunately common. It happens to more of our family and friends than we can sometimes count. And here lately on social media particularly, more women are finding a renewed sense of healing and hope through breaking the silence. Its nothing to be ashamed of. Its nothing you were somehow punished for. Nothing you did wrong. And nothing you could have prevented. For too long, women have had a sense of shame surrounding pregnancy and infant loss.
One thing I watched my sister so passionately do was include her son in their family discussions. She sought counseling to help her heal. She talked about him every chance she got. She carried his photos with him and she shared them every chance she got. She wasn’t afraid to talk about him. He was not here on earth with them, but he was here, he existed, and he was loved and had purpose. He is still her son and still her children’s brother. They celebrate him during annual memorials in October. They, along with countless other families, release balloons in their children’s honor. Never forgotten. Always in their hearts.
We don’t talk about it enough. Normalize the healing womb.
If you or someone you know experienced the pain of pregnancy and or infant loss, I pray continued love and healing over you and your family. That in the end, God will still be glorified in your lives in spite of. That He is still good and that He is taking care of your precious children until you meet again. I look at my sister and I know that she is living proof that God is indeed a healer, sustainer, and finisher of our faith. She was blessed with another baby, this time a girl, where she was able to see and hear her heartbeat on May 9, 2012, the same day exactly one year after her son went to be with the Lord! Isn’t that chilling how God gave her some joy on a day that she had no idea how she would feel? A rainbow baby was born.
Although we didn’t get a chance to know Isiah, God knew him before he was ever in my sister’s womb! I don’t know who will read this, but I love you dearly, and may the Lord’s blessings be upon you. Hugs!
“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you ….” Jeremiah 1:5
One out of every 160 babies are born sleeping. Chances are, you know a mom who has experienced this heartache. Please share this blog, as we normalize grief that doesn’t always have a voice.
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This blog was originally published by My Life With These Kids.