Thoughts on Roman
I never imagined that we would have to bury a child before the age of 30. I would have never imagined that we could be strong enough to make it through something like the loss of a child. Yet somehow we have. Hour by hour, day by day, we are making it. The days have now turned into weeks, as time cruelly goes on, as if nothing happened.
I know these blog posts are hard to read--they're hard to write too. I have been journaling for my own personal processing, but I think occasionally I will post a public post too. Reading other people's stories have helped me, and so if opening up about my own grief helps others, I am happy to share.
Many have asked/wondered what happened. Surely there was a reason, some cause, some warning signs. No. There was nothing. I have had 3 healthy pregnancies, 2 healthy babies, and this pregnancy was showing to be no different. I felt Roman moving the night before as I fell asleep. The next morning at 38 weeks and 3 days, I started having contractions. At that point, we didn't have any idea there was anything wrong. I felt fine, everything seemed normal, and we didn't even wait as long as you're supposed to before going to the hospital. However, when we got there, they told us he didn't have a heartbeat. Shortly after, I started losing a tremendous amount of blood, which led the doctor to believe that the placenta had abrupted, or separated from the wall of my uterus. Some common causes or reasons to be at a higher risk for a placenta abruption are smoking, drinking, being over 35, or experiencing trauma to the stomach. None of which applied to me. There are also usually signs in your body that it is happening, but again, everything was normal. In fact, last week, we got all of the testing back, and everything came back normal, even the placenta. There was absolutely nothing that could have been done differently. I wrestle with that piece almost daily. Shouldn't I have realized something was wrong? How could my body have betrayed me like this? Could we have gotten to the hospital any sooner? But as those questions arise in my mind, I have to constantly remind myself that God chose to take him straight to His side. As hard as it can be to accept, our Roman was never made for this world. One day after he was born, Ron and I talked about how we don't know what sort of life he would have had, that maybe he was being spared some great pain and suffering here. But then I thought, you know, even the best life here on earth doesn't even begin to compare to the life he is living in Heaven. And though we desperately and selfishly want to have our son here with us, we cling to the knowledge that he is in the best place he could be. Psalm 84:10 tells us that, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere."
3 in 10,000.
That's about how many people experience a stillbirth at 38 weeks, .03% of women. Such a small number, and we certainly never thought this number would apply to us. As we've gone through this, I've met and talked with many women who have experienced stillbirth, whether earlier on (24 weeks) or closer to full term. It's been so eye opening to hear others stories that sound so eerily similar. My heart aches for those who have had to experience such pain that we know all too well, but at the same time, it comforts me to know we're not alone.
As I have slowly begun to step back into the real world this past week, it's been hard. People look from my missing stomach to my empty arms to my aching face, and it's tough. It's not how it was supposed to be. I have survived my first, "You had your baby!" conversation, and like most of this whole situation, I have found that by the Lord's strength, I am able to get through it too. In fact, I have quickly found that I can't help but talk about Christ when I talk about Roman. He will forever make me a better witness to Christ's love for us.
"Though he slay me, I will hope in him." -Job 13:15
One thing that has been so life-giving for us in this time is everyone's love, support, and generosity. We were blown away by the number of people who came to Roman's memorial service. We've been so blessed by everyone helping us financially, logistically, praying for us, reaching out daily, sending scripture and songs, care packages and food. We are so grateful. Please continue to pray for us and check on us, it means the world to us.
Lastly, our little Roman has already left such a great legacy here on earth. We posted our initial blog posts just as a way to share what happened with others and process it ourselves. We never dreamed the impact it would have on others. Over 10,000 people read our blog posts. Over 10,000 people heard about Christ's love for us and where we put our hope in in this time. We know a few people have become Christians because of this as well. Wow. What a testament and legacy for our son's life. As much as I long and ache to have my baby with me, I rejoice greatly for these people and the way God is using Roman.