Ezra’s Story: Part Three

“Thank you” to all who have read the previous two parts of Ezra’s story. We have been so encouraged to hear from all of those praying for our family from all around the world! We have also heard from families whose lives have been touched by his story, and we pray that this trend will continue. This will be the last part of the chronological story of Ezra’s short life, but I will continue to share about our sweet boy and how his little life has affected ours in such significant, lasting ways!

While the labor and delivery of our sweet baby boy was painful and exhausting, perhaps the most trying part of the entire experience for me were the next few hours.

Paul called our families to tell them of the news of Ezra’s birth. We hesitated, at first, to share the news because we knew that they were exhausted from travel and would have just returned to their hotels to finally rest. However, our nurses warned us that Ezra’s body was deteriorating quickly and that by the time our families arrived, they likely would not be allowed to hold him.

They were happy to return to the hospital to comfort us and to hold their new grandson. We all wept together over the loss but marveled again at God’s handiwork evidently seen in the tiny details of our little boy. We shared the name we had chosen: Ezra Coleman. We all agreed it was the perfect name for our handsome boy (I have a post written about his name to be shared later).

Our families returned to their hotels to rest and give me time to recover. I still had to pass the placenta, and we dreaded the possibility of a D&C. Though I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I worked along with my midwife and doctor to avoid  this possible surgery. After two tiring hours, it was able to removed! We praised the Lord for a quick delivery- just 15 hours of the projected 1-3 days! My doctor shared with us that this was the fastest still birth delivery she had ever witnessed! We were so relieved and so incredibly thankful the Lord had answered our prayers!

Ezra had been taken away to have his newborn pictures taken by a professional photographer on staff at the hospital. The deterioration along with the manipulation of his body for pictures made it difficult for us to continue to have him with us in the room. His unsettling smell, cold skin, and deteriorating limbs and appendages were too much for this mommy’s heart to handle. We spent a few more minutes saying goodbye to our sweet boy and thanking the Lord for the few hours we were able to spend with him.

We called our nurse to take him from our room, and we wept at the thought of not seeing him again. Paul reminded me, however, that this would not be the last time; we would see our Ezra walking on streets of gold! What a comfort Heaven is!

I would rest as much as I could until I was released from the hospital on Wednesday evening.  My doctor wanted to keep me for monitoring, but we were anxious to get home, to see our daughter, and to prepare for Ezra’s memorial service. We promised my doctor that I would remain on strict bed rest until we held his service, and he was understanding enough to let us go!

While I was relieved to go, the full weight of the past two days’ events hit me as I sat in the wheelchair to be taken out of the hospital. That room, the only place where I knew my son, would soon hold someone else happily embracing their bundle of joy. We would soon be home, where we would try to live life as normally as possible while hurting inside from the crippling loss of our child.

The nurse sent Paul ahead to get the car, and for the first time I felt alone. The teddy bear given to me to avoid leaving the hospital with empty arms was not enough to comfort me. I tried my best to hold my emotions intact as we passed hopeful, waiting families. I felt their stares and saw the pity in their eyes, so I stared at my hands where I held my precious boy’s tiny knit hat.

I waited for what felt like hours for my husband to arrive in the circle with our car. I’ve never been so happy to see him! He held my hand the whole way home as I stared in silence at the long road ahead. 

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18).

Ezra’s Story: Part Two

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

I’ve been struggling thinking about drafting this post. I have come to my computer several times since I woke this morning, but the words just won’t come. I have begged God for discretion on what to share and what to leave out. Our story isn’t pretty, but it’s the one God gave us, and I believe it is to be shared to bring Him the glory that belongs to Him.

We arrived at Northside Hospital around 3 pm on May 14. Our brother-in-law, Will, and his brother Chris arrived within a half hour of us getting there. The rest of the Taube family was in Savannah, GA where they had vacationed for a few days, and my parents were on their way from Ohio. They would arrive in intervals throughout the evening, each visit blessing and encouraging us more and more as the night became more difficult to endure. We would also hear from our missionary friends all over the world throughout the night who were laboring in prayer for our family. We are so very blessed!

We were overwhelmed with information from nurses, doctors, and hospital staff. We were informed that the induction process could take 1-3 days, and that we should be prepared for a long, painful delivery. We prayed along with family and friends that our baby would come quickly and that the Lord would show His power in my pain.

Surprisingly, time passed quickly as I tried to rest, curled up in the fetal position in my hospital bed, eyes and teeth clenched tightly. I told Paul, “It doesn’t seem fair for this to hurt so much physically when it already hurts so much emotionally.” When I had Jolynn, I knew all the pain would be “worth it,” but I had a hard time sensing this at this time, knowing my pain would not result in a healthy, thriving child lighting our lives up with the joy of infancy.

We sent family away and prayed together. He read to me from Romans 8. I treasured this verse: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (26). I didn’t know what to say or how to pray, but God knew my heart and would meet my every need.

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (27-28).

We knew in our hearts that this was for the good, that God would receive glory in doing His will in our lives, and that we needed to honor Him by taking it as graciously as He would allow. It didn’t take the hurt away, but it helped us to see the bigger picture of it all. It wasn’t just us, grieving parents, writhing in pain from a loss no one should ever have to bear; it was a small taste of the sufferings of Christ, a more perfect understanding of the painful results of sin on the world, and a glorious glimpse of the true beauty of the gospel.

The night wore on, most of which was a blur. We tried to pass the time with idle conversation, mindless television, and competitive card games. I was so happy to have family there to distract us from the painful reality, but I knew the time was coming when we’d have to face it alone.

Hours passed, pain increased, and I could tell that the time for our baby’s arrival was near. I prayed a few things: that my baby would not be born in a toilet, that a doctor or nurse would be present (although we were informed they most likely would not be) and that our family would not be there when the delivery occurred. I received light pain medication intravenously (the nurses called  this a “medical margarita”) and requested an epidural an hour later.

Most of our visitors had left by this time, and the last, my parents would leave shortly after midnight. My dad had been up since 3 am the previous morning, but he lovingly stayed by my bedside until we assured them it was okay with us if they left. I knew it was hard for them to see me in pain, and I wanted to avoid sharing the trauma of the delivery with them. They would be supportive and strong, but I couldn’t bear to have my parents experience what I knew would be a painful experience for all.

A short time after they left, before I would receive my epidural, I felt an urgency to use the bathroom. Shortly after, a nurse came in to deliver pillows to Paul, and she helped me get up. As I stood up, blood and fluid dropped to the floor, the pain peaked to a whole new level, and she helped me to sit down to alleviate the pain. A few sharp contractions and a few seconds later, at 12:35 am, my precious baby met the reality I hoped he wouldn’t. My prayer for a hospital bed delivery went unanswered, but thankfully a nurse was present, and our families were not.

I heard myself scream and sob as the nurse and my sweet but strong husband held me. With the help of these two, the Lord allowed me to compose myself, and they helped me stand as another nurse came in to cut the chord and collect our baby. The shock of it all was overwhelming. It felt like a horrible dream or a movie I’d like to turn off. I refused to turn around and look in the toilet, and I prayed my husband would do the same.

As I returned to the bed, I watched as the nurse cleaned and cared for my child, wrapped in a small blanket. It seemed too small to hold anything at all, much less a child. They worked to  stabilize me, physically and emotionally, and minutes later, I was holding my beautiful baby boy! All the pain melted away as I stared at my perfect, tiny blessing and marveled at the intricacies of the work of God’s hands on my precious baby. 

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Ezra’s Story: Part One

Not sure how much time or how many posts this will take, or if my heart can handle sharing his story in full, but I wanted to chronicle Ezra’s short life in remembrance of our precious son.

I found out I was pregnant on January 11, 2013. I took a test while Paul was working at the church, but I wasn’t convinced.I was supposed to meet him there later for a surprise birthday party for one of our dear friends, Trent Cornwell. I stopped on the way to get another test, and I secretly confirmed my pregnancy in the bathroom of Vision Baptist Church!

I pulled Paul into the nursery at Vision, telling him I had something to show him (the positive test). He must have had a suspicion because he said, “No way! There is no way!” We were both shocked but so so happy. He held me as I cried happy tears. We were so thrilled to be having a little brother/sister to give to Jo!

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The pregnancy was a little rough in terms of sickness as we traveled, but the Lord saw me through it, and it lessened up a bit in the second trimester. I did not gain weight as I had in my previous pregnancy, and I did not feel much movement from our little peanut. I was told that this was all normal and not to worry about it. I tried my best.

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We were in a car accident on April 11. I was so happy when we we were assured that our precious baby was OK after the accident. We followed up with my OB just a few days later where they confirmed the same.

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However, within a week of that appointment, something changed. I did not know it but my sweet baby’s health was failing inside of me. I don’t know if it was slow or instantaneous, but our precious baby’s life ended around 17 weeks gestational age.

I would carry our child for 4 more weeks before we had our “big ultrasound.” We were so excited to find out if our little peanut was going to be a boy or a girl! I even put a poll out on Facebook for votes. Last time I checked, girl was in the lead.

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I didn’t have a suspicion about the gender, as I did last time with Jo, but I did hope for a boy! We patiently waited for the ultrasound technician to reveal the news to us! However, as I looked at her face as she made measurements, I could tell we had more important things to talk about. I looked at Paul, hoping I was reading too much into the look on her face, and that we would receive our good news soon.

But the next thing out of her mouth was, “I’m so sorry. I don’t see a heartbeat.” My heart felt like it fell into my stomach as she left to go get a doctor. We spent a few minutes crying and praying, not sure of what was going on, but trusting in the Lord to see us through it.

Our doctor was not there, but another doctor, Dr. Killingsworth came in to discuss things with us. She was very sweet and compassionate as she informed us that our baby had stopped growing and no longer had a heartbeat. She explained that because the baby had been dead for a few weeks, it was best to deliver as soon as possible. She eventually called my primary doctor, Dr. Middleton who I talked to for a few minutes about our options.

I opted to deliver our baby rather than to have a surgery. Though the surgery would be quicker, there were some risks of damage to my uterus that would effect future pregnancies. 2 of the 3 doctors at the practice that performed this kind of surgery refused to do it after 15 weeks gestational age. Also, if we opted for surgery, we would not be able to see our baby, nor would we find out the gender. Paul and I agreed that though the delivery would be more difficult and more painful, it was the right thing to do to honor our baby and encourage our family. We wanted to see our sweet baby’s face and get to hold him/her for as long as we possibly could!

We spent an extended time in an exam room waiting to see what we needed to do next. We spent many moments in silence and in prayer, and Paul encouraged me to “let my emotions out”, but every time I did he would try to fix it (oh, my sweet husband!). We watched videos of Jolynn on my phone to pass the time and lift our spirits. I’m sure everyone outside was wondering what we could possibly be laughing about!

Dr. Killingsworth performed some procedures to prep my body for an early delivery. We headed home to gather our things, to kiss Jolynn, and head to the Northside Hospital in Atlanta to deliver our tiny baby. We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings to just spend some “normal” time together before the painful process began. The meal was spent mostly in silence but we enjoyed the time spent together and made a few decisions about the days ahead.

I kept repeating aloud, “God is still good.” He never changes, He knows that we are hurting, and He knows what is best for our family. I will keep telling myself this because while I do know it is true, I am not always able to believe it with a broken heart.