Josh and I lost our baby, Luke. He was our first child. The story below is what I sent in a letter to relatives and close friends.
I went to the doctor on Thursday and everything was good. Luke had a strong heartbeat. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, Luke was kicking and active all day. We went to church and had family dinner with my parents and sister at my parents’ new house and my family enjoyed feeling my belly and talking about him coming soon. On Monday morning, one week before the due date, we went to our 39-week doctor’s appointment to talk about the upcoming delivery and possibly inducing birth. I took Josh and my mom with me to the appointment because I wanted their help and support in that conversation and in making decisions in the timing of that. At the appointment, the nurse and then the doctor could not find the heartbeat with the Doppler or the ultrasound equipment. The doctor sent us directly to the hospital, where they admitted us and put us in a room. They did another ultrasound, confirming Luke no longer had a heartbeat. Hospital staff began saying “I’m sorry for your loss” before I even understood that there really was a loss. I was in shock for awhile at first. They began trying to induce labor. After 2 days of trying to induce labor with little progress, the doctor said we needed to do a C-section late Tuesday evening.
Luke Hudson Hopper was born on 5/14/13 at 11:00 p.m. at 6 pounds15 ounces and 21 ½ inches long. When we were all back in our hospital room, they brought him in for us to see him, hold him and say goodbye. He was beautiful and perfect and his skin felt incredibly soft like any baby’s. He had lots of light brown hair with some curl to it, Josh’s chin with the little cleft in it, my nose, and long, skinny feet like we both have. My mom, my sister and I held him and kissed him and said goodbye. Josh and my dad looked at him, but did not choose to hold him. Josh did pinch his cheeks as that was something he had been looking forward to doing. They gave us as long as we wanted with him before they took him away. During Tuesday night around 4 a.m., a company called Now I lay Me Down to Sleep came and took professional pictures of him that will be sent to us for us to look at when we feel ready to do that.
We stayed in the hospital through Thursday, healing from the C-section and dealing with the physical parts of having a baby. We had visits at the hospital from our pastor and his wife, a hospital chaplain, a social worker, and a former bible study leader of mine and a nurse who both had lost babies at full-term who talked to us about their own experiences with their similar losses that were helpful. Because Luke was full-term, we had to choose a funeral home to handle his physical body and the hospital staff helped us with that. We are having him cremated. When we left the hospital on Thursday, they gave us a box with his foot and handprints, a lock of his hair and some other items like the white flower they had on the door of our hospital room to warn people coming in what the situation was.
They are doing an autopsy, but may or may not be able to tell us what happened. The only thing the doctor could see wrong at the birth was that there was a blood clot in the umbilical cord. They don’t know if that caused his death or happened afterwards. (My OB later told us that this clot likely happened after his death and didn’t cause it. They ran lots of tests on my blood, the placenta and Luke and could not find anything to account for his death.)
We are obviously heartbroken. This baby was so wanted, loved, and waited for. We had a nursery prepared for him full of wonderful things and were so ready for this new purpose in our lives. The last year has been devoted to preparing for him, dreaming about him and being excited for his arrival and the changes it would bring. We feel very empty and unbearably sad. It is hard not wonder what I could have done differently or feel guilt. However, I believe that God allowed this. He let this happen for some reason and I could not have changed it no matter what I did, although I do go in and out of “what ifs” and “If I had only…”. It is hard not to know why this happened or to be angry at how unfair it is. It doesn’t make sense. I am holding on to my favorite verse Romans 8:28 that says “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.” I cannot fathom at this point how this could be worked for good, but I have to trust that somehow it will be someday. I also believe that God does not give us more than we can handle, so even though it feels like a bottomless pit of loss and sorrow, I know I will survive and God is there for me always. Josh and my family are too.
I am so thankful for my wonderful husband who is holding me, caring for me, crying with me, worrying about me and telling me that I deserve a chubby-cheeked baby more than anyone else in the world and that we will have one.
I am also thankful for my special family who sat in the hospital with us all day the whole week and are continuing to care for us. I am thankful that my parents have moved close to us and are nearby to help and support us. They are feeling a big loss too. They were so excited for this long-awaited first grandbaby. It is hard for me to see Josh and my dad crying repeatedly as that it is not something I have seen. My sister always has the right words that I need to hear.
It is going to take time. It is going to be a hard path with ups and downs and there will be very dark days. It is going to be a hurt for the rest of our lives, but somehow we are going to be okay. I know without a doubt that Luke is heaven being loved by God and our loved ones who are there. He did not have to suffer and he is enjoying eternity with our Father. But I can’t help wishing we’d gotten to keep him in our arms for awhile first.
Please keep us in your prayers.