My Story

MY STORY- 10 YEARS AFTER OUR STILLBORN LOSS

 I have never written my story down.  I did not realize why until I sat here for a few minutes staring at this blank screen.  I relive my nightmare in bits and pieces all the time.  Even now, 10 years later, the thought of reliving every moment all at once is paralyzing.   However, I know it is time.  I even went back to my journal thinking, "I know I wrote down the events in my journal in detail.  I'll just copy from my journal."  Nope.  I kept putting it off.  I'd write, "I don't want to write about that right now.  Let's move on to the happy things that are happening in my life"

Well, I think it is time to let go of the fear.  I want to tell my story for my children to read someday.  I want to tell it for those of you who are hurting.  Most of all I want to tell it for God- to testify of His goodness in the hard times.  To let you know that He is never far away, even when it seems like He is far away.  To tell you that it is not your fault.  To let you know that even though your world seems to be falling apart, He will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Hebrews 13:5)  To tell you that He loves you!


My husband and I were so excited when we found out we were expecting our first child.  I was 28 and my husband was 31.  My pregnancy was probably what you would call the 'perfect' pregnancy.  I had no morning sickness, no pains, no stretch marks...by 36 weeks I was thinking, "Wow!  I think I am meant to have a LOT of babies."  This is a piece of cake!  Unfortunately, things were about to change.

On November 3rd I was scheduled to have a regularly scheduled sonogram.  I was 37 weeks.  I remember the day before was an exciting day because it was election day!  Okay, not so exciting for some, but I was very excited to place my vote for the next president of the United States.  That night sticks out to me because I was having an uneasy feeling.  I mentioned to my husband, that I did not think Annabel (that was what we had already named her) had been as active.  My husband, always sweet and loving, told me not to worry.  He grabbed a book of Annabel's called "God Loves Me" by Mary Alice Jones, and he read to my belly.  It is a sweet memory, because I realize now it was the calm before the storm.

On the morning of November 3rd I sat up in bed to get ready for work and I noticed that Annabel's foot kind of hit the side of my belly.  It was a weird feeling.  It wasn't a kick, just her foot touching my side in a weird way.  I ignored it and rushed off to work.  I remember being very busy that morning in the lab.  I had lots of test to finish before I ran off to my afternoon appointment.  As I'm leaving I remember running into one of the maintenance men who was a christian and always fun to chat with.  He stopped me on the way out and said, "Hey, I woke up this morning with this feeling that I needed to pray for you.  So I did. "  It did not seem strange to me, just sweet.  Now as I think back on it, it makes me smile to think about the Lord using his saints to lift up those in need.

I still remember the drive in.  It was a typical beautiful fall day.  Cloudy, but wonderful with it's crisp air and golden leaves.  Once at my Dr.'s office I ate a banana real quick in the car and then I headed up the elevator to my Dr.'s office.  Normally, my husband would go with me to my appointments, but not on this day.  I sat patiently waiting for my doctor, whom I really liked and always looked forward to seeing.  She began the check-up like she always did, with my favorite part-the heartbeat!  I still remember hearing Annabel's heartbeat for the first time.  My husband was with me that day and her little heartbeat was really fast.  My doctor said, "The fast ones are usually girls.  This is a girl."  My husband and I looked at each other and grinned.  I really wanted a girl!  Later, we confessed to each other that the first thought that crossed both our minds was, "I'm going to have to give her away someday."

Listening for the heartbeat, I began to notice that my doctor was having trouble finding it.  She wasn't acting alarmed, but I do remember her trying to distract me by asking me some unrelated questions.  I could tell something was wrong, but I was not yet too worried.  She told me she was having difficulty finding the heartbeat, and not to worry, but that she wanted to do a sonogram to see what was going on.  This is where my nightmare began.

I walked into the dark room to do the sonogram.  My doctor did not stay in the room with me.  The technician began looking and looking.  She was saying nothing, until she finally said, "This is not good."  She kept repeating it over and over.  Finally, she said, "I am so sorry.  I am so sorry."  At that I began whaling.  I was sobbing uncontrollably, when finally, someone came in to escort me out of the room.  I don't remember who it was.  I don't believe it was my doctor.  All I remember are the faces of the nurses as I walked down the hall.  They were just staring at me.  They sat me in my doctor's office and told me she would be right in.  My doctor was very calm and at that point I was not crying anymore.  I don't remember what she said exactly, just that she was so sorry.  She also informed me that I was going to have to deliver my baby.  This was a shock to me!  Not only do I lose my baby, but I have to deliver her?!  I don't know what I thought would happen.  Perhaps just knock me out and do a C-section?  That option sounded pretty good to me.

My doctor was asking me if I wanted to call my husband.  For some reason I did not have his number on me.  Where was my cell phone?  Actually, I probably did not have a cell a phone yet.  Better yet, why didn't they look up my emergency contact information?  To say the least, I was not too happy with the care I received that day.  I finally said to my doctor, "I'm just going to go."  I just wanted to get out of there.  I think I must have been in shock.  I began thinking, "Why am I not crying?  How can I be so calm?"  I simply walked out of the office, went down the elevator and back to my car.  Alone in my car, the rain now pouring down, I began sobbing again.  How could this be happening?  This is supposed to be the most exciting time in my life! I'm supposed to be having a baby in just 2 weeks!  God!  Why??

 "My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
 Fear and trembling come upon me,
    and horror overwhelms me.
 And I say, 'Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest;
 yes, I would wander far away;
    I would lodge in the wilderness;  I would hurry to find a shelter
    from the raging wind and tempest.'"
Psalm 55:4-8

The only thing I could think to do was to go to a friends house who lived about 3 minutes away.  The rain was pouring down and I just remember being in sort of a daze just trying to find my way to her house.  I just needed to see someone who loved me.  I was just praying she was even home.  Thank the Lord, she was home and when she opened the door I greeted her with these words, "My baby is dead.  My baby is dead."

Once inside, her husband, my church elder, wrapped his arms around me as I sobbed.  I later found out that it was only by God's grace that he was even home at that time.  He's like an uncle or older brother to me, and that is what I needed at that moment.  Someone strong to hold me up and to comfort.  That's what our Lord does, isn't it?

 "God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling"
Psalm 46:1-3

After I was calm, my friends asked me if I wanted to break the news to Collin.  How do you tell your husband that his baby girl is no longer living?  I could not do it.  I just could not do it.  My elder, my friend, he made the call for me.  One day we were driving through a town near our home and my husband said, "That is where I was when I got the call about Annabel."  I don't know how he was able to drive after hearing the news.

Once Collin and I were reunited, we sat with our dear friends for a while.  Our pastor was soon there as well.  God's love was already enveloping us through His people, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and our wonderful family.  Relationships that had formed through His providence, because He knew we would need them at that very moment and because He is a merciful God.

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by."
Pslam 57:1

For me, the hardest days were yet to come.  The first thing we had to do was tell people.  I remember spending that first night calling family member, after family member.  The first person I called was my mom.  That was the hardest call I've ever had to make.  I did not want to do it.  I remember just holding the phone, pacing, putting it off as long as possible.  How could I tell her that her first grandchild, the baby she had prayed for, the baby she had bought all those cute little dresses for, would never wear them.

I ended up going into labor, by the grace of God, on the morning of November 5th, 2004.  The delivery went well and I finally got to hold my sweet baby Annabel.  We held her and we spent some time alone with her.  We took some pictures and the hospital took her footprints and clipped a lock of her hair for us.  Finally, it was time to say goodbye.  Our hearts ached.





My husband and I spent the night in that hospital room searching the hymn book for songs to have played at Annabel's funeral.  We sat there and sang them together.  Here are the hymns we chose.  What comfort there is in these hymns.  Read them...

Great is Thy Faithfulness
"Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;...thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not..."

Be Still My Soul
"...And all is darkened in the vale of tears, Then shall you better know His love, his heart, Who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears..."

From Every Stormy Wind That Blows
"...There is a calm, a sure retreat; 'tis found beneath the mercy seat..."

It is Well With My Soul
"...When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my Lot, thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'"

It was a beautiful Christ centered service.   During the service, our church elder read Psalm 27.  Here is part of that passage...

 "For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock."
Psalm 27:5

After going through this trial, I can testify that His word is true when He says, "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)  I felt that He was near to me during that service and the days and months that followed.  He gave me a peace that surpassed all understanding (Phillipians 4:7).  It was a sad, sad time, but sometimes it is in the hard times that the Lord becomes most dear to you.

"when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
 My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:8

 

On November 12, Annabel Laura Wamsley was buried in a beautiful cemetery in northeast Missouri near the Mississippi river.  On her tomb it is written, "From my mother's womb you have been my God." (Psalm 22:10 )  That very morning we also learned that my grandmother had passed away.  In heaven, I know they walk in the presence of the Lord together, with all that have gone before who trusted in the Lord.  What a great comfort to know that one day we will be reunited with our daughter again in heaven.



This story may be a sad one, but it is not one without hope.  There is a happy ending to this story.  My husband and I went on to have 2 more beautiful girls.  We feel so blessed and so thankful to the Lord for this special gift.  That is not the happy ending that I am referring to, however.  When the same angels who carried my little girl to heaven to meet Jesus, carry me to heaven as well, (Luke 16:22) I will have my happy ending.

I'd like to end with some scripture verses that comforted me during this trial in my life.  I hope they will bring comfort to you as well.  Feel free to send me an e-mail if you would like to write me personally.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have, especially if you or someone you know has experienced the loss of a child.

Grace and peace,
Gina
e-mail: info@ginascraftcorner.com
blog: www.Ginascraftcorner.com


VERSES TO CLING TO 

...“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
...Fear not, for I am with you;
Isaiah 43:1-2;5

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23: 1-4
  
You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
Psalm 56:8

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.  
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.
 Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
Psalm 40:1-4 

AMEN!

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