11:45 p.m. July 10, 2010
Devon: “Please come home. I need sleep. Drew won’t sleep.”
Dan: “I’ll be right home.”
How many of you have found yourself muttering these words to your spouse at some point during the first few weeks of your child’s life? The lack of sleep in the weeks after a child is born is like no other. Unfortunately for my husband and me, that short conversation lead to a tragedy that has forever changed our lives and who we are to a core.
On Saturday night, July 10th, 2010, my husband did what any loving father and husband would do when called upon. He rushed to my bedside as I had been trying to get our 2 ½ week old baby boy to sleep for what seemed like hours. Every time little Drew would drift off into a milk comma, I would set him in his bassinet that was literally connected to our bed. Two seconds later, he would stir, and in two more seconds he was starting to fuss. The only thing I could do to quiet him down was nurse him and hold him close.
As soon as Dan entered our room that night, I handed Drew over. Dan closed our door and took him into our living room so that I could get some much needed rest. The next thing I remember is waking up to the most blood curdling scream I had ever encountered. As soon as the scream registered in my brain, I knew exactly what had happened. My husband had fallen asleep with our baby and Drew was dead. I grabbed my glasses from my nightstand and sprinted down our hall in hopes to prove myself wrong. My husband was leaning over our pale little baby boy, pleading with him to wake up.
I cannot begin to explain the feeling of heart wrenching pain you experience when you lose a child. The days and weeks after Drew’s death are so cloudy. I remember thinking, I am willing to do whatever I can to get through this and to ensure that my marriage doesn’t fall apart. A friend and mentor who was instrumental in our healing process, quickly made us aware of the statics of marriages that dissolve after a child has died. He wanted us to know this, so that we could put boundaries in place to ensure that didn’t happen to Dan and me. We worked with our mentor Keith on a weekly basis, tackling the issue HEAD ON. Not around it. Not over it. Not under it. We knew we had to trudge through this horrible incident and understand that we would never know “WHY” while we are here on earth. It would have to be something to understand when we meet the “big guy upstairs.”
About eight weeks after Drew died, Dan and I were very excited to announce that we were expecting again. We were scared that it was too soon, but we also knew no baby would EVER replace Drew. We just wanted our family to grow. We wanted to hold a teeny baby again. After a few puzzling questions from our ultrasound technician, Dan and I found ourselves in disbelief. We were expecting not one, but two babies! TWINS! I had never even thought about twins!
Needless to say, my pregnancy went fairly smooth other than the fact my body was going through back to back pregnancies. Due to intense pressure, I was on modified bed rest throughout my 2nd and 3rd trimester. Up until 32 weeks, I was having several ultrasounds to ensure I wasn’t dilating. However, at around 32 weeks, things looked great, so I didn’t schedule another ultrasound until week 36.
My 36 week ultrasound was the Monday after Easter. Prior to my appointment, I went for lunch with my mom. We were talking about how much my Baby B (Owen) was moving on Easter. There were a few times he had jerked so hard, he pushed my belly off the armrest on the couch. When I got to my appointment, I hopped up (well maybe hoisted myself) up on the table. The ultrasound tech had become a friend of mine due to all of my appointments. She was asking about the upcoming race we were hosting in memory of our son Drew that was only weeks away. As I was answering her question, I quickly noticed, she really wasn’t listening to anything I was saying. Her eyes were glued to the screen. It was at that moment, I felt my heart in my stomach. I knew something wasn’t right. Within minutes, my doctor was in the dimly lit room delivering the news that Baby B had died.
“You have GOT to be kidding me!” I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. During the 8 months of my pregnancy, we just kept saying, “God has a plan.” But I just couldn’t understand how this plan made any sense. How could this be happening again. Another funeral, another burial?
We were given the options of what would come next, induction or c-section. I wanted to get our healthy baby girl out as soon as possible, so we opted for the c-section. Plus in this mental state, I had no idea how a natural labor would pan out. Within 20 minutes, I was off to labor and delivery to be prepped for a surgery, I didn’t intend to have.
Because I had never had a surgery prior to this experience, I felt the anxiety rising in my body. Several friends had shared their c-section stories. It always seemed so easy and routine, however, now it was my body they were cutting open, and they were my babies, they were pulling out. There are so many protocols that go with surgery that just didn’t excite me…an IV, catheter, cuffs on my legs, drinking a bitter florescent looking liquid, a spinal block. My biggest fear, however, was wondering how I would react to seeing another lifeless infant. This was an image I have worked to delete from my brain for the past 9 months. Never in a million years would I have expected to see this again. What would it be like hearing one baby announce her arrival while the other had no voice?
Thankfully, God gave me a sense of peace and bravery during the surgery. I felt calm and all the things I worried about hours before had disappeared. I will forever feel grateful for all of the people who were praying for us. As they rolled me out of surgery, I noticed a room full of friends who had been holding a small prayer vigil for us. What a feeling of comfort.
It has been exactly 1 year and 6 days since our baby Owen passed away and 1 year, 9 months, and 19 days since Drew passed away. We miss them like crazy. Our life will never be the same, however, Dan and I continue to live each day to the fullest for each other and Hayden and Reese.
To celebrate the lives of Drew and Owen, we invite you to join us on May 12th for the 2nd Annual, Drew’s Faithful Feet 5K Walk/Run in Geneseo, IL. For more information, please visit www.faithfulfeet.org.