A Stillborn Heart

October 31, 2010 by Audreys · 1 Comment 

There was a time recently when I looked back to the day Katelyn Grace died and felt numb inside. It started on August 15th; 2 years to the day from when Katelyn was born still. Without knowing it, my grieving of her changed and my own heart became stillborn. I lost my joy and started to withdraw from my quiet time with the Lord. This might sound elementary, but it is more damaging than you realize.  Believe me when I say that there is no worse feeling than when you lose your joy. Joy is pure, innocent delight and happiness. It is the feeling that you just want to start rejoicing for the utter beauty of what you feel. It is knowing you have a savior that loves you with an everlasting love.  The opposite is misery, sorrow, and utter despair. It is really grief without hope.  And it is not a feeling I ever want to experience again. 

I couldn’t wait to get my joy back. I knew that all I had to do was ask and God would answer my need. But instead, I waited a while. I was afraid my memories of spending those few hours with Katelyn would grow more distant as time passes, and in doing so I lost sight of the big picture.  But God brought me back to Him and once again graced me with the joy I needed to truly trust in Him.   I remember reading this verse from Psalms and being comforted by the promise that He will hear me when I cry out to Him.  “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.”Psalm 77:1

Whether we think we need it or not, we do need God’s grace every minute of every day.  It is very easy to lose sight of that when everything in our lives is going exactly how we want it to. But when things go awry, we quickly realize that without God’s grace we would not be able to get through each of these seasons. Looking back to the months before Katelyn was born still, I admit that I lost sight of that. I wasn’t looking forward to Katelyn’s birth as a gift from God; rather I was looking forward to her birth since that was what I expected. I was expecting her to be born healthy, strong and beautiful. It never even crossed my mind that anything tragic would happen to her. I was expecting everything to work out as planned.  We call it ‘expecting a child’ because that is exactly what mothers and fathers everywhere are doing.  They are expecting a child. They are expecting the dream of becoming a parent to come true. They are not giving any thought to something happening outside of their expectations.  So when a baby dies, it is common to go through a period of time where you feel completely lost. And for those of you like us who have no medical answers as to why your baby died, it is even more difficult to keep your thoughts on the path to healing. But it is even more difficult to grieve without joy, without knowing deep down that God is crying with you. So if you feel you have lost your joy, just say a simple prayer and ask God to make your heart fruitful again, to bring the joy of being with Him back into your heart. And He will…

When Katelyn was born without life, I was reminded of God’s comfort, of God’s compassion, of His presence with us everywhere we go. It also became clearer to me that there is a bigger picture. We might not be planners, but God is. Sometimes it is hard to believe that the same God who spoke the universe into being chose us to spread His word through Baby Angel Grace. Even though Katelyn had to be born in Heaven for God to fulfill His purpose for us, I am ever thankful for His grace and the pure joy in knowing she is in His arms and we will see her again.

I leave you with a verse that made me smile after I finished writing this post. I pray it does the same for you. “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” Psalm 119:50




There Are No ‘Maybes’

May 24, 2010 by Audreys · 13 Comments 

Each of us who has experienced the loss of a child found out in a different way. Some of us knew ahead of time that our baby would not survive life outside the womb, others were told the baby’s heart just stopped and he/she would be born without life; still others gave birth to a living baby whose heart stopped during birth, or minutes or even hours after birth.  Whenever the news came, though, our own hearts stopped beating for a moment.  As mothers, many of us were quick to blame ourselves. Recounting those long, restless days right after we lost Katelyn, we desperately searched for a reason; something we did or didn’t do that caused our baby to die. 

At times I struggle with thinking that if I listened hard enough, and spent more quiet time with Katelyn, maybe I would have been able to tell something was wrong.  Maybe there was a sign, something that I missed.  Maybe, just maybe, her death could have been prevented if I had done something differently.  That begs the question, what could have been done differently? 

By far, the worst ‘maybe’ of them all that I must confess crept into my thoughts on more than one occasion was that maybe her death was a consequence of a past sin.  It is when thoughts such as this come to mind that I remember 1John1:9 “If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is that promise that I keep close to my heart.      

Remember that God sent Jesus, His Only Son, to die on the cross for our sins.  If we believe in Him, accept His will for us, and repent of our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. 

Coming to terms with a loss does not always mean thoughts of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ just disappear.  So for any of you who struggle with the belief that your baby’s death was a judgment from God, I encourage you to pray and ask God to guide your thoughts back to Him.  His grace will comfort you and give you a peace you will never be able to find anywhere else.

A Unique Opportunity – Offering Advice to Doctors

June 25, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

Scott and I were asked to tell Katelyn’s story this morning to a group of about 50 doctors at Northwestern Hospital.  They wanted to learn more about our experience with losing Katelyn and how the medical community could better handle cases when an infant dies. 

In my heart I know God was there with us, because although we have told our story countless times, the content was a bit different this time.  We had to vocalize the most painful parts we endured with the doctors, the initial grief, the ‘event’ itself and then tell them what could have been done differently.    

Remembering back to 10 ½ months ago when we first learned Katelyn’s heart stopped brought tears to my eyes.  I felt like I was taken back to that ultrasound room where I received a head nod when I asked if she was dead.    God gave me the grace and composure to continue on with our story and the advice we had for the doctors.

Our advice to the doctors was first and foremost “Listen to your patients.”  When a mother calls her doctor because she instinctively knows something is not right with her baby, listen to her and insist that she come in to the office as soon as she can.   Some of the other advice we gave them was:

    • When a patient comes into the office after calling to tell you that she has not felt her baby move for a long time, don’t make her sit in the waiting room.  In our case, I had to sit in the waiting room for 35 minutes before they would see me. 
    • We know how these families feel and we also know that a connection like this was something we needed and wanted after Katelyn died.
    • Never refer to the baby as “it” or “IUFD” (Intrauterine Fetal Death or In Utero Fetal Demise) in any conversations with the family or on any paperwork given to them.  To this date, the doctor will not put Katelyn Grace’s name on her medical records.  Even though she was born without life, she was Still Born.
    • Do the thinking for the patient – take a mold of the footprints, make an ID bracelet for the baby with his/her name on it, etc.
    • When the patient asks for something, try to accommodate them.  Losing a child is not only unbearable, but unknown territory for the parents
    • Remember that the baby might be a statistic to society, but he/she is a big part of someone’s family
    • Offer the option for a NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) photographer to come in and take pictures.  This was offered to us and we can’t imagine going a day without looking at her pictures.  She was truly beautiful.

    Do I blame the doctor we had for Katelyn’s death?  I must admit, I actually did at first.  I think it is a natural thing when a child dies with no medical explanation.  Do I blame myself?  I admit I do that sometimes too.  But then I remember that we live in a fallen world and only God has control over life and death.  I know in my heart that the pain of losing Katelyn Grace will never go away while Scott and I are here on this earth, but there is comfort in knowing that she is with Jesus and we will see her again someday.  In the meantime, we can rest in the knowledge that she is without pain, without tears, without fear or loneliness.  She was made perfect in the image of God and remains right there with him. 

    She was Stillborn, but she was Still Born.


    Time spent with Katelyn - Video

    January 23, 2009 by Audreys · 1 Comment