We sat and wept in that observation room for over an hour. So much still laid before us. It was only the beginning of both the longest and shortest 24 hours of our lives.
The doctor came back in and gently asked if we would like more time. We were ready to take the next step. She gave us our options : 1. Go home and wait to begin labor naturally. 2. Go home, gather some things, and head back up to the hospital when we were ready. 3. Be admitted and begin inducing labor. The last option was the only one our hearts could bear. We couldn’t take on the burden of delaying the delivery of our stillborn son any longer than necessary. They began the paper work to get us admitted and into a delivery room. We asked for a bit of time to make phone calls.
Making phone calls. My goodness. For every person that has had to make a phone call filled with the despair and heartbreak of sudden death, you have all of my love and empathy. It is a somber and heavy burden to be tasked with. You have to deliver tragedy to your loved ones while barely mustering up the courage to form the words.
We called our parents first. I don’t remember a lot about each phone call. Your brain goes a bit numb in self-defense I think. One of the first things my mom said was, “I’m coming.” “I know Mom.” “I’m coming right now.” “I know you are.” I knew without a doubt my parents would be on the first possible flight to San Jose. What a privilege to be loved so deeply. What a steadying comfort to have the one who delivered you into this life stand by your side while you work to deliver your own stillborn son. Nathan was unable to say much more than “We lost him.” to his parents. We called my sister. I remember sudden and complete heartbreak. She wept bitterly. “No. No. No.”
These phone calls were particularly difficult because, keep in my mind, it was my due date – September 15. Each person, asleep only seconds ago, answered the call with an excited and expectant, “Is it time?”. Instead, we delivered the news of Keller’s death. We had to break the hearts of those who already deeply and eternally loved our son. It is a brutal and sobering task. We called our neighbors. Christine was on the couch waiting for our call. “We lost Keller. He’s gone. There’s no heartbeat.” Heartbreak and love poured out. We knew without a doubt that Mary would be loved up and tenderly watched over no matter how long we had to be away. (I highly recommend convincing your best friends to become your neighbors – nothing but blessings await you.) We called our preacher’s wife whom we knew would be awake, and she humbly took on the task of sharing the news with our church family. We called our Wendy. She was expecting a call from us soon. She was not expecting this call. “Can I come?”. We had already decided that we still wanted Wendy to be a part of Keller’s delivery. She was at the hospital within 30 minutes and labored along side of us for the next 24 hours.
Thank you for answering the phone. Thank you for meeting darkness with love and compassion. Thank you for such a deep love that it can’t help but rush to selflessly serve. Thank you for pouring out your souls on our behalf.
Our story is not one of darkness and tragedy. We are by no means unique because we have seen death. Death and trials are in the lives of every person we meet. So many souls have experienced a magnitude of losses and tragedies that my heart and mind cannot even begin to comprehend. Many, most maybe, do not have the blessing of meeting death surrounded by a host of loved ones ready to do battle by their side. The bulk of challenges we would have to face still lied ahead of us, but we had total confidence that we would be constantly encircled by love and support. For this very blessing, we shout praise to our God. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord oh my soul.
Thank you Jesus for living your life to show us how to be selfless servants to humanity. Thank you Jesus for teaching us how to abase ourselves to lift our brother up. Thank you Jesus for coming down from glory as a humble servant. Thank you for living, dying and rising again. Thank you for your army that desires this very same humble servitude. This is good news. This is life.