I have been dreading this post the most. More than once I have called the observation room “my dark place”. It’s a place that’s difficult for me to go. It’s where Keller died.
We got checked in and they sent us to an observation room. I got into my nightgown, laid down, and waited. This was when I first remember getting nervous. He still wasn’t moving. The nurse came in and attached a fetal monitor. The mood was light. We all fully expected the monitor to pick up a tiny heartbeat within seconds. We’d all breath sigh of relief and head home. She moved the monitor all over my stomach. It couldn’t pick up any movement or heartbeat. Silence. Our hearts started to beat a bit faster. The nurse decided to bring in an ultrasound machine. She searched. Something in her face changed. Silence. She quietly got up and left. She decided to defer to the resident on staff. He came in. He smiled gently, but there was nervousness in his voice. He prodded the wand in every direction. The room filled with tension. More silence. He didn’t want to say the words. He didn’t want to tell us. Truth was starting to settle on top of all of us. His eyes said that our worst fears were likely.
Our hearts were beating out of our chests. We sat there blankly. We stared straight ahead and didn’t say anything to each other. Last chance. They sent in another resident. They assured us that she was the best at navigating ultrasounds. She came in. She had a kind face and warm demeanor. She had hope in her eyes. Our minds pleaded with God for her to find something moving. Even the slightest heartbeat. Even a little twitch. Anything. She searched and searched. She looked in every possible direction. And then – she stopped looking. Silence. Oh God. She just looked at us and said, “I’m so sorry.” Oh God. She moved the wand to show us where his tiny heart was. That little beating heart that we had seen and heard many times over the previous seven months was no longer moving. Nothing was moving. He was perfectly and completely still.
These were the only words I could say. I continued to cry out, “Oh God!” We both broke. Instantly.
“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.”
Panic set in. When you are met with sudden, tragic, and final news it takes a really long time for your brain to process it. I think our brains are still processing it in a lot of ways. Our heads were spinning, but also fully aware that our lives were never going to be the same.
The doctors kindly gave us all the time we needed to be alone. I didn’t really want them to leave right at first. I was scared of sitting alone with the fact that our son had just died.
As soon as they left, Nathan just shattered. We sobbed. We cried out to God. We shook with sorrow. We held each other and all I could say was “I’m sorry. I’m just so sorry. I’m so sorry Nathan. I’m so sorry you don’t get to have your son. I’m so so sorry.” I felt sick. Nothing could undo this. He was dead. It was final. Nothing could make his heart beat again. It was infuriating. You want to crawl out of your skin and scream. There was no re-do button. We thought about Mary never getting to meet her brother and absolutely collapsed in grief. We had to tell our daughter that her baby brother was dead. He wasn’t going to come live with us. She wouldn’t get to hold him in the hospital.
We cried in each others arms for nearly an hour. So many questions run through your mind. So many fears chase after you. It is a dark place. Death is darkness. It’s a heavy, thick, almost tangible darkness.
“We’re going to Hawaii.”
This was one of the first things I said when we were alone. I think I just wanted to get as far away from this horrible truth as possible. I wanted to jump in an ocean and cry out to God. Shout out to the Lord in the deep waters. Sudden death just rattles you to your core.
Death breaks Jesus’ heart too. Jesus saw the destruction death leaves, and He met it with compassion. He wept. He wept with compassion and love for his friends. My Jesus wept.
Taking time to think about Jesus as filled to the brim with compassion is comforting. Compassion means He sees our sorrows. He knows each grief plaguing our hearts. He intimately knows me and is filled with compassion just for me.
I cannot sort out all of eternity and the spiritual realm. I cannot make out a map detailing the end of times or the inner workings of the Godhead. I cannot explain the intricacies of God’s providence and intervention. I can only rest in what I do know. I do know that the Lord has compassion for me. I do know that Jesus saw our broken state and had absolute and perfect compassion. He held us tight and said, “Peace. Be still.” The storm raged violently all around us. We were blinded by roaring waves. Jesus in His perfect love, held us in His arms through the storm.
“And Moses said to the people,“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
“To Him who divided the Red Sea asunder,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And made Israel pass through the midst of it,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;”