Sunday, October 12, 2008

More on Noah

Losing Noah was a horrendous, gut wrenching experience. But remarkably, I was blessed to experience moments of grace through it all. As devastating as it all was, it was rather amazing to find the depth of the care and concern I felt from everyone around me, those I knew well and even strangers. It was during those awful days and moments that I realized how blessed I was in other ways. I had the prayers and support, thoughts and concerns of those who knew me, but also others who didn't. Someone would find out about our situation (while in the midst of it) and ask if they could say a prayer request for us at their church. And then someone else would ask if we could be added to their prayer list at their church. And then another and another. I can't begin to imagine how many people who I never even met were praying for us during those times. People from Wisconsin to Minnesota to California to North Carolina to Virginia and beyond. Anyway who seemed to know anyone was asking for prayers on our behalf. It was a very humbling experience to be sure. And one we were grateful for.

In those dark and depressing days, I learned to count my blessings rather than focus on what I'd lost. You feel pretty guilty focusing on one awful aspect of your life when you have so many other things going for you. We had our health, a good marriage, a beautiful healthy daughter, our parents were healthy, our sisters and brothers and families, I had two of my grandparents still living. I had friends who cared for me. A house to live in. Food on the table. My husband had a good job. We were blessed to have a church home we loved. On and on...there were so many good things and when I was down I just kept counting and counting until I felt better.

Though, I will be honest and upfront in saying I did need some medical help too. I started some antidepressants and took them for a couple of months. I am not sure if they really helped or not, perhaps it was more in my mind than anything.

Losing Noah. It was such a hard thing. I still remember the night before the procedure. I went to bed upset and crying, as to be expected. I had a very fitful sleep, but somewhere in the middle of all that tossing and turning and crying, I did manage too fall asleep. And then the dream happened.

In the dream I saw my grandmother who had only passed some 6 months or so prior. She was with my grandfather who had passed some years before. They looked younger than I'd last seen them, but full of health and happiness. I remember crying to my Grandmother in the dream, saying I didn't want to do this, that I didn't think I could. All the while she was calm and peaceful and happy, almost always smiling as I remember it. She smiled and quietly told me that it was going to be ok, everything was going to be alright, that didn't I know HE was going to take care of him. And then she motioned with her head to one side and in almost slow motion I turned to follow where she was designating and I saw HIM standing there. Jesus. He was so bright and beautiful, the light radiant on his face, it was almost too bright and too beautiful to look at, but in an instant I knew it was him. I was so freaked out, I actually woke up right then and there, but I took some comfort, believing it was a message from HIM, a way of letting me know it was ok. I was doing the right thing.

I took the vision of that dream with me to the hospital that next morning, holding onto that image in my times of grief and despair. I prayed for my grandparents to be there, to help take care of my son until I could see him again. My grandfather had wanted so desperately to see his great grandchildren and now he'd have one to help hold and love.

As I mentioned before in a previous post, they would not put a heart rate monitor on my tummy because they didn't want me to know when Noah passed, but I like to think I know when it occurred. The morning he was delivered, I remember feeling him move in those early morning hours. As heart wrenching as it was, it still gave me comfort to know he was there and we were connected. Some 30 or so minutes later, when all was quiet around us save for the repetitive buzz of the blood pressure machine going on and off every so often and the hum of the machines dosing medicine to me. My husband was dosing in a chair across the way. I was laying there on one side and suddenly I felt a section of my hair on the back of my head slide to one side, as if someone had taken a finger and just gently slid it partway through my hair, making it move and fall a bit to one side.

My closed eyes opened and I became alert, even reached back to smooth my hair back down, thinking it was really odd since my bed was backed up against the wall and there was no way anyone could walk behind me. No air vent was above or beside me. It was curious and I had no explanation and so I started to tell myself I'd just imagined it in the first place. With a sigh, I closed my eyes again and tried to force myself to rest while my body labored. (By this point I'd had an epidural and was given pain meds so it was a matter of simply waiting until my body was ready to deliver.) So there I was, still resting on my side facing my husband, my eyes closed as I tried to rest and wait for the most unpleasant of events to eventually happen. Suddenly, out of the blue, as clear as day I hear the bright and cheery sound of a little girl say, "Hi!" just beside me. It was only one word, but I heard it clearly and the inflection of the voice sounded so happy and sweet.

This time I called out of my husband, asking him if he heard that. He confusingly asked what. I asked if he heard someone say 'hi' or if any of the machines made some weird noise or anything. Nothing. He said it was silent, not a thing was heard. I told him what happened then, a few minutes earlier with my hair and we both sat in relative silence, wondering what it all meant.

And then in a flurry of happenings, I seemed to go from nothing happening to delivering all at once. Within 30 minutes of hearing that Noah was stillborn.

Looking back, this is what I like to think happened. I like to think my hair moving was when his guardian angel came in, preparing to greet him and take him home. And the sweet little 'hi' I heard was her saying hello as she reached for his tiny little hand to take him with her. It was only one word, but it was so sweet and happy sounding and I imagine in that final moment when those of us who are blessed enough to go to Heaven finally do go, what else would that welcoming sound like but sweet and happy and joyous?

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