Last month marked the 12 year birthday of my son who was still born. His name was Taylor Oran and this is his short, but precious story. I've been asked numerous time to do a blog post on this very hard time in my life, and I've finally gotten the courage to write about it. I do want to add a warning, that if you are pregnant, especially in the last trimester, you may not want to read this. I don't want to instill fear in anyone and I try to keep my blog positive, which is one reason I have taken so long to write about this. But I do want to encourage women who have ever been through anything similar, that you will make it. You will be happy and "normal" again and God does take the incredibly hard things we walk through to mature us, mold us and draw us closer to Himself.
I woke-up that Saturday morning filled with excitement and hope. Today I was 37 weeks pregnant, considered full-term. The baby could be born anytime now! I had my second child at 38 weeks, so I thought maybe I could have this one even earlier! We cleaned up the house, had breakfast and even did a pregnancy work-out video. I told my husband that we needed to make a trip to Target to get the last few things before baby #5 arrived. The closest Target was almost 30 minutes away in a nearby town, so we decided to make a day trip out of it and take the other 4 kids. We had a great time buying some girl and boy baby things (we hadn't found out what sex the baby was), a shelf, some blankets and eating out at McDonald's (I even remember to this day exactly what I was wearing and what I got to eat that day.)When we got back home, I put my 22 month old down for a nap and laid down myself. I remember thinking that I had not felt the baby move lately and I lay there waiting for movement. I must of fallen asleep for about an hour and when I woke-up, I again thought I had not felt the baby move. I got up,had some juice and then went on the back porch. I tried shaking my belly and pressing on it, trying to get the baby to move. I started to get really worried and went to my husband. I told him my concerns and asked him to pray. He did and then he made me some coffee. I though maybe drinking caffeine would wake the baby up. I drank the coffee layed back down, but within a few minutes I knew something was desperately wrong and so I called my midwife. She told to drive over to the hospital and she would check me and the baby. She was calm and said that everything was probably fine. We then tried to find someone to watch our 4 children. We tried basically everyone we could think of. We left messages on probably a dozen answering machines (this was before everyone had cell phones) but no one was home or answering. So, I was starting to panic and we just piled everyone in the van and started the 20 minute drive to the hospital. As we drove, Ron kept asking me if I was feeling any movement at all and I would say no. I knew in my heart that we would get bad news, I just never thought it would be that the baby had died. While riding to the hospital, the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" was going over and over in my head. I knew whatever was about to happen, that it was well with my soul and the Lord was walking with us.
Ron dropped me off at the hospital entrance and he went with the kids to park the van. I walked towards labor and delivery but couldn't figure out where to go. I just wanted them to hurry and check for a heartbeat. I was wondering around and around and I prayed, "Lord, please send someone to help me." All of a sudden, a nice woman was there with me and took me back to L&D. They paged my midwife and the house OB and put me in a small room. The nurse began to check for a heartbeat. Over and over again, all over my belly, but there was nothing. I was sobbing at this point and Ron was there. They put the kids in an empty room next door to us and the OB came in. He had a sonogram machine and started to do an ultrasound. There was my little baby on the screen. There was no movement, no heartbeat and then the doctor began to shake my belly some, trying to get something. Then the OB said, "I'm so sorry, but the baby is not alive." I could not believe. I was living a nightmare. Ron had to check on the children next door and the medical staff left me for a few minutes to cry. I was all alone and I knew I would have to deliver a dead baby. I was begging God to have mercy, to bring my baby back to life, to not make me walk through this, or just take my life too. Then I remember seeing in the spirit women all around my bed. Women who through the ages had delivered still born babies and I knew I was not alone. Maybe they were angels, I don't know, but the verse came to me, "you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses." I know I could do it and I knew I would make it through.
The next 24 hours were so hard. They had to induce me from scratch, basically. They put me on pitocin and some other stronger meds but it took forever to get labor going. God was in control though, because if it had not taken so long then my mother and sister would not of had time to fly in from Louisiana. When they finally arrived, it was only a few hours later that the baby was born. During the long labor, we had so many friends and pastors from our church at the hospital praying and comforting us. Also, sweet friends took our children home and stayed with them. When I finally pushed my precious one out, my mother, sister and good friend were in the delivery room too. I kept hoping there would be a miracle and that he would be born alive. But there was no cry. The room was quiet and peacefull and my baby was still. I heard my mother say, "It's a boy." I felt the sweet release of pushing him out without an epidural. I wanted to experience his labor fully, just as I had all my others. The endorphins were there, even with the grief and we bonded even more. He was beautiful and perfect, 7 lbs. 7 oz. The midwife immediately said that there was a true knot in the umbilical cord. I was relieved to know the reason for his death, even though I had never heard of a knot in the umbilical cord. Apparently it is formed early on when the baby is small and moving around a lot. Then when the baby gets big and turns a certain way, it can tighten and cut off oxygen. So God had watched the knot form early on and knew what day it would tighten and He would take my baby home to heaven.
We all held my precious son and cried. My children were brought back to the hospital and we had a time of praying, singing and just being with him. We took pictures and grieved. We named him Taylor Oran after Hudson Taylor, the missionary, and my Dad's middle name. I wish we had a longer time to spend with him, but after a few hours they had to take him to the morgue. They let me go home a few hours later. We had precious friends help us with finding a burial spot for him, a tiny casket, and plan a funeral. We held the funeral 2 days later. I did not see Taylor again until the day of the burial. Oh, it was so hard to leave him at the cemetery! We had such a precious, God glorifying service, but I just wanted him back. My arms ached for him. All the baby clothes and things we had made ready for him, were still in my room. My milk came in with full force. It was a dark, hard time to walk through. My husband was wonderful and most of the time, I only wanted him. He alone felt the grief and pain to the extent that I did. My little girl Anna, kept asking where the baby was and why we were not bringing him home. I know God used it in my children's lives but at the time I felt so bad that they had to walk through such grief with us.
God taught us so much though. God held us and even though it was so hard, it was never a "bad" time. I felt God's presence so strong. He used the grief to dig a deep well in my heart that He has since filled up with His joy. He showed me His love more fully through the body of Christ. People helped us in so very many ways......meals, childcare, gifts, flowers, cleaning our house, praying and counseling us, etc. We bought a deep freezer to hold all the food and meals we received. It truly was amazing. And God changed me. I know now that He alone gives life and He takes away and He is in control. I never want to be in "control" again. I will take any life He wants to give me. I will see Taylor again and in the scheme of eternity, it won't be too long.
I see my precious children, 6 of them that I have had since Taylor's death, and I know God has given me beauty for ashes. God took something so hard and changed me and then gave me 6 more wonderful children. It will be incredible when we are all together again, but until then I rejoice in God's faithfulness.