sky gabriel’s story | part 4

i came back into full consciousness in the last hour of pushing, and my baby’s little body slipped out of mine at 4:10pm, approximately 24-48 hours after he died, less than 13 hours after my first dose of misoprostol. there was no first, plaintive wail. no resuscitating. no apgar score. no birth certificate. his very long umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice, twisted all about his body and inserted into the membranous sac instead of the placenta. these complications almost certainly caused his death.

the nurse wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in my arms. i was too shocked to cry. my entire pregnancy i had a hard time believing that i was actually having a baby, a sweet small sum of joel’s and my genes, with an entirely new and unique spirit. and here he was, real, perfect … and gone. i remember being so frustrated at the tears blurring my view of his beautiful body and face. i didn’t want to cry; i wanted to see him!

we named him sky gabriel. he was 7lbs, 5.5oz, 20in long, had his daddy’s high cheekbones and cupid’s bow lips, and his mama’s turned up nose and long eyes.

my parents, brother and sister-in-law, our housemates, and a few close friends came, held him, and cried. we took pictures. the people from now i lay me down to sleep took pictures. the hospital took hand and foot casts. we chose not to have an autopsy because the cause of death was fairly obvious and i wanted to keep his little body close as long as possible. we hugged him, cried, kissed his cool face. that night i carefully arranged his body in a bassinet, and we slept in the little hospital bed next to him, waking to touch him and talk to him and hold his icy hands.

the next day we were discharged from the hospital at around 11:30am, and took him to the funeral home to be cremated. oregon law does not allow the transport of dead bodies without a permit, but they make a special exception for parents of stillborn babies. we held him until the very last minute we could, and when i finally gave him to the lady at the funeral home she was crying.

and we drove home without our baby.

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Posted in sky

15 thoughts on “sky gabriel’s story | part 4”

  1. Lanier, Joel. My heart broke for you on that nd it is breaking again. What a tribute to your son. Sky knew he was loved, he knew you before you saw him. I pray for comfort during this time of remembrance. Od codify and keep you both. I will not forget his name, so beautiful…..

    My deepest sympathy

    Dianne Bentz

  2. oh lani. the beauty in your courage is more than i can take in. thank you for the privilege of knowing sky, of knowing you, of knowing God more because of what you have written.

  3. Thank you for letting me get to know you, Joel and Sky better. May I ask, in an effort to know you all even better, how you chose his name?

    1. michelle, thank you for all your encouraging and vulnerable comments i really appreciate your engagement in this hodgepodge of grief thoughts.

      the name story is a long one – i’ll try not to write a tome of a comment.

      we had a really hard time narrowing down names! we finally settled on two first names: ash, and sky, and had a few options for middle names – we were going to name him after birth. (we chose these because they were kind of unique, we like how they sounded, and we like hippie names.)

      after he was born joel asked if we should name him ash, and i responded that it seemed so morbid. so we named him sky. originally the middle name for sky was going to be bennett, but at the last minute i felt a strong need to change it to gabriel – it felt meaningful to me because of the meaning (God is my strength) and the christmas tie-in, since he was born at christmas time.

      i’m going to write a longer post sometime soon on his name – it has taken on such significance for me since his death, but that’s the basic version.

      1. Thank you for sharing, Lani. I believe names are so important and meaningful. So I love to hear people’s name stories. I really like the name you chose for him, it is beautiful and the two names complement each other nicely. I also love the title you chose for your blog. I think it captures the intermingling of grief and hope quite eloquently. Please continue to grieve and share, that you may continue to move forward on your journey and that we may all be reminded to pray for you as we see your heart and are blessed through it.

  4. Thank you for sharing such an intimate time. Sweet little Sky had the best parents and although it was so very sad, I loved getting a little glimpse into who he was during his short time here on earth. It’s a beautiful love story from every angle and one day it will have a happy ending. Love you.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. This is terribly heart wrenching. Words can’t even describe… I pray God will comfort your hearts as your arms are missing holding your sweet baby.

  6. Poor dear. It hurts so much. I know. My cord-death firstborn child was born still 24 years ago. The pain subsides. It does. With God’s help you are changed forever in a deeper way. He loves you. And He trusted you with this much pain and agony. Things get better, dear one. It takes time, but they get better. Love to you and your husband

  7. oh, i am so sorry for your loss….i lost my daughter on December 19th 2009 during labor. there is nothing like losing a baby….may peace rest over your house and heart mama….

  8. What a beautiful, sad story. You are a very brave momma, and my tears are for you, your husband and your sweet little boy. I, too, lost a child but at 14 weeks, not 40. I will keep you in my prayers, asking God to hold you all tightly in His arms. I am your friend, Sarah G.’s mom. She loves you very much.

  9. Hi Lani,

    Today I wept with you.

    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your baby. What a painful trial you have suffered. My heart goes out to you.

    Sachie and I lost our first and fifth pregnancies to miscarriage. You might remember during Destiny’s Alaska tour Sachie was having trouble with her pregnancy. That was our fifth. She miscarried a few days after I got home from Alaska. We named our first child Sam and when we get to heaven we’ll find out if Sam is Samuel or Samantha. Our fifth we named Sean, which works for a boy or a girl. I am so grateful for the hope of seeing them again and being with them forever.

    One of the facets of the beauty of Christ is His heart of compassion toward those who grieve. It is encapsulated in the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept”. And why did He weep? Because someone He loved was hurting, and he that hurt Him too. He could have told Mary and Martha not to weep, that He would raise Lazarus up from the dead in a few minutes and everything will be fine. But instead, He meets us where we are, and walks with us through the fire. It’s not just about the future, whether we’re talking about the raising of Lazarus, the hope of heaven and the reuniting of loved ones, but it is about here and now and that He is here and He is near, and He weeps with us, here and now. Yes there is glory to come, for which trials, suffering and momentary afflictions are not worthy to be compared; but He is present now as well- and His beautiful heart of compassion surrounds you even now.

    Jesus wept then, and Jesus weeps now- because He loves you.

    When Paul tells us to weep with those who weep, he is simply exhorting us to be like Jesus and love one another.

    Today I wept with you.

    Alan Heacock

  10. I know exactly how this feels. Every bit so familiar. Although my son didn’t get to the 40 week mark and we knew he had issues and might not make it, the pain is exactly like you describe. But the pain doesn’t just end when you walk out of the hospital empty handed. Then you go home and your milk comes in to remind you once again that you have no baby in your arms.
    You know, Satan thinks he can just do things like this to bring us down or to prove their is no god. But in reality, the Lord uses these events that Satan causes to bring glory to Jesus. No matter what he did, you still love Jesus, Joel still loves Jesus and Sky Gabriel is with Jesus. Satan won nothing! (BTW, I love the name Gabriel, Steven’s middle name is Gabriel). Think of all the lives Sky has touched. All the hearts that softened to the Lord. All the prayers that our Lord keeps as sweet incense in the throne room.
    Emmanuel’s life brought a family to Christ. My friend went to church for the first time in many years to pray for my son the very weekend I lost him and felt the Lord’s presence for the first time. She, her husband and her daughter, Bella (age 4) now follow the Lord. 😀
    Someday, when we are old and ready to go home with the Lord, we will have babies already there. Both of yours ( Sky and your miscarriage) and both of mine (Emmanuel and an early miscarriage I had before my Elijah). We won’t be waiting to hold our babies.
    Thank you for sharing yours, Joel’s and Sky’s story. Thank you for blessing my life.
    -Jennifer Gaytan

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