Once Upon A Prayer

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Addy Hope - The Birth Story

Today was our due date.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013.

Since it was written in my day planner 8 months ago,
highlighted and with a little heart under it,
I feel like I need to do "something"
today about that.

Every birth has a story.  
This is the story of how our precious Addy Hope entered the world, 
after she had already opened her eyes for the first time
in heaven.

Sunday morning (May 5th) I was not feeling well.  I had been up all night tossing and turning from the end of pregnancy discomforts, and also due to a cold that my four girls so generously shared with me.  Jacques was preaching that morning, so he got the girls up and ready and took them all to worship while I drug myself into Urgent Care.  I was pretty confident I only had a cold, but Jacques wanted a doctor to confirm.  Much to our relief, I was diagnosed with "The Common Cold".  I rallied for a few hours when Jacques and the girls returned home from church, but headed upstairs around 4pm for a nap.  I distinctly remember laying on my right side and feeling a ton of kicks from the baby.  Soon after, I fell asleep.  Little did I know at the time that those kicks would be the last ones I would ever feel.

The rest of the evening and night I was miserable.  I was limited to taking only Tylenol, and that simply did not even touch any of my discomfort.  Monday morning rolled around, and it struck me that I had not felt the baby move since 4pm the afternoon before.  This baby was a mover and a shaker so I remember thinking that this was odd.  I ate a granola bar, and had some juice but still nothing.  I called my OB around 8:30am, and she told me to go to Labor and Delivery for a non-stress test.  I finished packing a suitcase since the nurse told me that depending upon what the test showed, they may choose to induce me.  

The little secret that Jacques and I had been keeping since the week prior was that we were scheduled to be induced on Wednesday, May 8th...my father-in-law's birthday.  Jacques and I were giddy with excitement about the thought that we would get to call and say "Happy Birthday" from the delivery room.

I arrived to the hospital, and was not really even concerned at this point.  I excitedly walked to the Labor and Delivery area thinking that today "might" be THE day.  The nurses were all smiles as I approached the nurses station, and one even commented that she loved my black and white bubble necklace.  Kate introduced herself to me, and said she would be my nurse.  We walked over to Room 8 and talked about my girls while she hooked me up to the non-stress test.  I was in the middle of telling her about Mackenzie when she placed the heart rate monitor on my belly.  Nothing.  I remember telling her that they always find the baby's heartbeat very low.  And then I realized, she was already searching down very low.  Kate was very calm, and kept searching.  Nothing.

At that moment I knew.  I had so many non-stress tests during the past few weeks, and the baby's powerful heartbeat was always heard immediately upon putting the probe on my belly.  Kate said she was going to go and get the sonogram machine, and would be right back.  I frantically called Jacques, who was at work next door, and told him they couldn't find the baby's heartbeat and to come quickly.  Moments later, my OB walked in the room with Kate and she immediately began the sonogram.  She went straight to the heart, and without uttering a word, I knew.  I burst into tears, and my OB hugged me as I sobbed into her shoulder.  

Jacques entered the room a couple minutes later, and all I could say was, "we lost the baby".  We held each other as best we could through our body wracking sobs.  It was awful.

Jacques and I were prepared for so much, but not this.  No one ever is.  I already knew the answer, but asked the OB what would happen next.  Within a short time, I was hooked up to an IV receiving fluids.  The anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural, and then Pitocin was started to induce labor.  I labored for about 8 long hours.  My blood pressure kept crashing very low, so as uncomfortable as it was, my bed needed to be virtually flat during the entire 8 hours. There was no laughter or excitement in the room as I was accustomed to during labor.  No talk of "is it a boy" or "is it a girl" like with our other two deliveries.  The thing about this labor that I will never forget is that there was no heartbeat rhythmically beating in the background.  A deafening silence rang in my ears for 8 long hours.

About an hour and half before delivery, it was decided to bump up the Pitocin.  My OB explained that typically they cannot do this since the concern is always focused on the fetal heart rate.  Unfortunately, this was not a concern for our baby, as much as I wished it was at that very moment.  Before I knew it, I remembered that familiar "pressure feeling" accompanied by a lot of pain.  Sure enough it was time.  

To keep with our tradition, the OB allowed Jacques to put on a gown and gloves.  He stood with the OB at the base of the bed, and the OB walked him through how to deliver our baby.  Jacques' hands have always been the first hands to hold our children.  This baby was no exception.  Jacques carefully pulled our baby from the birth canal, and placed its precious body on my chest.  The OB told him to check out its gender.  To all of you naysayers (I say this in the most loving of ways) who could not imagine not knowing the gender of your child before birth, this was the crescendo of our baby's birth story.  I held my breath until Jacques said, "It's a girl!".  A girl?  No way!  I was 100% sure she was a boy.  So much so that I even had Jacques convinced.  What a beautiful surprise.

After we told the nurses and OB that her name was Addy Hope, I remember closing my eyes.  I did not want to forget this moment.  I could feel the weight of her body against mine.  And she was warm.  So very warm.  The only crying heard in the room was from Jacques and I.  Oh how we longed and continue to long for the cry of newborn life ringing in our ears.

Other than discovering that our "son" was indeed Addy Hope, perhaps the most memorable part of her birth story occurred when Kate waited with me in the wheelchair while Jacques went to go and pull around the car.  Kate told me that she can tell a lot about a couple by they way they treat each other in the labor and delivery room...even in the most normal and perfect of situations.  She said that in all of her years of working as a nurse in labor and delivery, she had never met a couple like Jacques and I.  She was amazed at how we handled Addy's birth with grace, and treated each other.  She said there was something "different" about us. 

It's easy to talk the talk.  I have said a lot of words over the past two years through this blog.  It is a different story to live out your faith.  Addy's death and birth have been the most heart wrenching part of my life so far.  I love the song, "Live Like That" by Sidewalk Prophets.  The lyrics say:

"I want to live like that, and give it all I have
so that everything I say and do
points to You."

"People pass, and even if they don't know my name
is there evidence that I've been changed?
When they see me do they see You?"

I can confidently say that what Kate saw in Jacques and I was Jesus.  He is the center of our marriage and of our family.  Jacques and I did not have the strength on our own to make it through the birth and delivery of our deceased daughter, Addy Hope, alone.  The only explanation is that Jesus was ever present in that delivery room carrying Jacques and I through the most difficult day (and days to follow) of our lives.  

Yes, even through the hurt "I want to live like that".


  1. I do not think there are words any of us can say. Except that through tears and love we stand with you in grief and will rejoice when we stand with you in joy when you meet her precious little self again.

  2. I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

  3. I have no words only my continued prayers for you both as you continue to show Jesus to all of us! Much love and many prayers!

  4. That is one of the most powerful stories I have ever heard and you articulated it perfectly! Prayers to you! Your family is an inspiration to me!

  5. Jesus shines so brightly through you and your family no one can miss it, even in cyberspace. :) I am so very sorry for your loss and you are continually in my prayers. Thank you for sharing Addy Hope's birth story.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for LIVING LIKE THAT, an example to the rest of us, to me, who often needs a reminder to Live Like That. I was just thinking, how glorious for Addy, that when she opened her eyes for the first time, the first thing she saw was Jesus. It gives me goose bumps. I know you're wishing you could have been there too, to share in that sight with her. Someday, in what will seem like the blink of an eye, she will tell you all about it. I continue to pray your family, for these difficult days. I'm so thankful you have Christ in your life, as well as one another, for comfort.

  7. Thank you for sharing...We have never met- however your story has touched so many. I know God is guiding you in this difficult time.


  8. You wrote this so beautiful in such a difficult time. As you may never understand why Addy went to be with Jesus when she did, knowing you, Jacques, and Addy were never alone.

  9. I just visited your blog, because there was a link on another adoptive parent's blog. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I'm praying for God to continue to comfort you through the grief. May God bless you all so richly beyond what you ever could have imagined!

  10. Thank You, for sharing Addy Hope's birthday with us. Your family has been in my thoughts and prayers, almost constantly, and I will continue to walk with you through the good and the not so good days.
    Much Love in Jesus ~ Jo

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your family's journey. Our sweet Neely has Down syndrome and was born with a complete AV canal defect. We are also in the process of adopting a precious little girl with DS from China. Praying for your precious, beautiful family.