Friday, December 19, 2014

For Those Who Have Suffered The Loss Of A Child

Another year has come and gone and here we are...December 19th...again. Nathan Andrew would have been 32-years-old today had he lived, but he didn't live...and, because he didn't live...and grow into manhood...he will forever be that beautiful, tiny, yet perfectly-formed-on-the-outside, boy baby...the one with the teeniest-tiniest fingernails and toenails and...well...everything! that I have ever seen...the one that had more hair on his head when he was born than all of my other babies had during their first year combined...the precious son that came into my life for, briefly, on that cold December night so long ago.

I will share that story with you again tonight. As I do, I can't help but be thinking about another momma who lost her own son just a few short days ago. That momma didn't even get to go to her own son's funeral and, tonight, she lays in a hospital bed recovering from heart surgery. My heart goes out to her and her family. Other mother's, too...and daddies.

I met a man just today who lost his 37-year-old daughter the Sunday before Thanksgiving. He said, "You can bury your parents and your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, but no parent should ever have to bury their child" and he cried. I so wanted to speak with him further, but the opportunity never presented itself, so, tonight, I pray for him.

I have shared this story before...three times, in fact...but tonight I will share it, again, in hopes that it will minister to someone, somewhere, even if just in some small way...

It was 32 years ago that Nathan Andrew was born. Something had been wrong for a very long time. I had been bleeding off and on since my second month of times very heavily.

On the 18th of December I was out Christmas shopping with my mother, my aunt, my 1 1/2-year-old daughter, and my three little cousins. All of a sudden I went into labor. My aunt took my daughter home with her and her children, and my mother rushed me to the hospital. Next thing I knew I was being strapped to a gurney and was being shipped by ambulance to a bigger that was attached by a walkway to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. 

Even though I had been given a lot of medication and was pretty much out of it, I could hear the doctors and nurses talking. If they didn't get me to the other, better-equipped hospital soon, they were going to lose me AND the baby. It was one of the most frightening experiences I've ever had. All I could think about was what would happen to my little daughter at home if I died. 

I arrived at the other hospital in record time and was immediately surrounded by all sorts of doctors and nurses. I was plugged into every kind of equipment they had...which wasn't nearly as good as the equipment that they have now, but, at the time, it was state-of-the-art. Immediately, the head doctor wanted to know who my doctor was and how long I had been bleeding. She said that the placenta had torn away from the uterus wall and that this baby should have been "taken" months ago. What was she talking about? I would never have allowed my baby to be "taken!"

Long story short...27 hours of intense labor later (I had been given every kind of pain medicine available and nothing seemed to help) and Nathan Andrew was the hallway on the way to delivery. He was immediately rushed across the walkway to Children's Mercy and I was taken on into delivery where a DNC was performed. A few hours later the doctor came into my room with a nurse who was carrying my baby. Nathan had fought hard and lived for two hours, but his lungs were just too little. Now days they probably could have saved him, but, back then...there was nothing they could do. There was just nothing that they could do. :'(

Nathan was perfectly formed. He had long, black hair, had perfectly formed features, perfect, tiny, little fingers and fingernails...toes and toenails...on the outside he was just that...perfect! Tiny, yes (he was 10 inches long and he only weighed a pound)! But still...perfect

Not having money for a funeral left me with few choices. I would not be allowed to leave the hospital without signing papers for Nathan's body to, either, be donated to scientific research, or be cremated in the hospital crematory. Not wanting to do either I chose the lesser of the two evils...the hospital crematory. To this day I regret that, but, at that point, I didn't know what else to do under the circumstances. It still hurts me beyond anything that I could ever express and there's never been anywhere to mourn Nathan's loss. I came home on Christmas Eve with two very blurry pictures, a set of tiny footprints on a piece of paper, and a poem that the hospital chaplain had given me.

Until recently, I had never written about all this, but, in recent years, I have felt a need to do so. Perhaps there is someone else out there who has been through a similar experience...someone who needs a word of encouragement. Even though all that I went through was, and still is, very sad...there are two things that have ministered to me over the years since Nathan's death...

#1 - The poem that the chaplain shared with me. It was entitled FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND, and I had never read it until the night that she gave it to me there in the hospital and it is still very special to me.

#2 - There's a verse of scripture that the Lord gave to me many, many years later, and it is still the verse that comes to mind whenever I think of Nathan. The verse is found in Psalm 30...verse5...and it says, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I know beyond the shadow of any doubt that Nathan is with Jesus and that someday I will see him again! Not as a premature baby, but as the spirit man that God created him to be!

And, if you've suffered the loss of a child...whether it be to miscarriage, premature birth, at birth or beyond...know that, if you are a born-again, Bible-believing, follower of Christ, and child of God, then you, too, will see that child again and be reunited with them in days to come because that child is with Jesus right now!

As you remember that trial that you've gone through...perhaps you're asking (or have asked), "Why God? Where were You when I was going through all that? Why weren't you there for me?" I leave you, now, with that beautiful poem that was shared with me by that wonderful, old chaplain at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri on December 19th, 1982...


One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. 

Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.


  1. Replies
    1. No hiding, Laura; just focusing on life right now...especially in the spiritual and physical realms. Thanks for checking on me though. I appreciate it, my friend! Love you! <3

    2. Just reading this for the first time and crying. I lost identical twin girls still-born at 32 weeks. There are no words, except "Jesus" because only He can fill the emptiness in our hearts when we remember the emptiness of our arms. Longing, along with you, to be reunited with our babes... Glenys

    3. Thank you for taking the time to post, Glenys, and for sharing a bit about your own loss with us. Amen! Jesus is, indeed, the only answer to empty and aching hearts. Looking forward to that day of being reunited with our babes with you. Have a blessed day! (((HUG))) <3


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