On Tuesday (September 25), I went to my midwife appointment with Peggy - Mom went with me. To start off the appointment, I asked Peggy all my questions from the last month of pregnancy. One of them was about my ear piercing that had grown increasingly infected over the last three weeks. I'd tried an antibiotic while we were at Magone, but nothing changed. I showed Peggy the piercing and she said, "Well, let's get that thing out of there!" Next thing I knew, I was laying on my side with one nurse holding a clamp to the front of my earing, Mom holding onto my legs, and Peggy working to twist the back side of my earring off the bar. Yes, it hurt. I spent the whole time laughing nervously. It was no good! And yet I still chuckle thinking about it...
Next, we whipped out the heart monitor so we could check in with the baby. My uterus has been a problem as we've tried to use the heart monitor before - just too tilted to get a good sound. We couldn't find a heart beat so we all moved into the ultrasound room. The baby came up very clearly on the screen, but we couldn't find the heart beat right away. Finally Peggy spotted some slow movement, but it was only in one of the four chambers of the baby's heart. I began to cry.
Peggy called the hospital and had the x-ray department fit us into their schedule; we had to know for sure if the baby was dead. Before leaving her office, Peggy pulled me into a room and told me that she wasn't holding onto hope for the little one.
On the way across the street, to the hospital, Mom began to try to get Nate on the phone. I called and left a message for Karen (Nate's mom). We just didn't know what to do or who to call. I knew the baby was dying, but I wasn't sure how to go about telling people that. Poor Karen; she ended up with the most blunt message on her machine.
Nate met me in the ultrasound room at the hospital in time to see a few of the pictures and find out for sure that the baby had died. We talked to Peggy on the phone and she gave us the option of checking into Labor & Delivery, or going home and waiting for my body to expel the baby naturally when it was time. There was no way I was going home to sit around waiting, knowing that I was carrying a dead baby in my abdomen. Not a chance.
We were placed in room 2417 at Portland Adventist Hospital. It took forever for me to compel myself to get into that bed, fully knowing how it was going to end. There was no treasure at the end of this path. Nate and I prayed together and wept hard. God gave me some calm, just enough in that moment to get me to change and climb into that bed. That became typical of Him over the next four days. He kept giving me exactly what I needed, just when I needed it. I don't pretend to understand the why behind what happened, but I know that no matter what, He's been with me every step of the way.
As has my husband. Nate is the most amazing man I've ever met. I'm so proud of him, and so proud to be his wife. We had a precious little baby boy together, who we'll meet down the road. The four days in the hospital were so hard, but so good. I don't expect any of you out there to understand that, but our experience was remarkable. God gave us amazing nurses along with Peggy. They were all incredibly supportive and encouraging. We did some laughing, we did a lot of crying.
God moved between Nate and I in such unexpected ways. He's carried us through when we thought there was no bit of strength left in either of us. He's made Himself very real. We know He has a greater plan through this; at this point, I don't expect to find out what that is, but I know that it'll be an incredible blessing.
We named the baby Nathaniel Micheal Banks - Nathaniel after Nate, obviously, Micheal after my middle name, Michelle. He was born on Friday, September 28, 2007, 1:56am. He doesn't get a record of life, just a record of death. We were given only limited opportunities to be his parents in action: so we held onto him and cried, we handed him over and cried, we left the hospital and cried, we buried him and cried. But we'll always be his parents. It's amazing how much love can grow in such a short amount of time! Three months ago I wasn't even sure I wanted to be a mom, but now I can hardly wait for the next little baby to come along!
Nathaniel was a precious gift, one that God used to unite Nate and I like nothing else ever has. I found in my husband a strong man, filled with passion and emotion and love. He stood by my side through every miserable pelvic exam, a thousand IV pokes, and two epidurals. I'm so proud of him, and so thankful!
So I say Friday was a beautiful day because I met my little boy that day; because I really truly recognized the love of my life in Nate; and because God met me exactly where I was.