Stillborn but Still Born - 2 Years Later

August 15, 2010 by Audreys · 2 Comments 

Katelyn Grace would have turned 2 years old today.  She opened her eyes to see Jesus 730 days ago but it feels like it was only yesterday when we kissed her rosy cheeks for the last time and said goodbye.  I wish I could tell you living without her has become easier over time, but it hasn’t.  The truth is time doesn’t heal; the empty feeling might come and go but it will never leave you.  Honestly, I wouldn’t want it to.  The first time I start my day not missing her is the first day I spend in Heaven with her.      

Baby Angel Grace was created not only to keep Katelyn’s memory alive, but to remind us that God has a purpose in everything that happens to us or near us.  Katelyn’s purpose was to draw us closer to God; her loss went far beyond that.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents and the like have come to realize that through God’s grace we will see her and every other stillborn baby boy and girl again one day.  No matter how far away God may seem when we lose someone we love, the truth is He is right there with us.  By clinging to his promises, we can rest in the knowledge that we will one day be reunited with our Savior and our little girl. 

Building 429 has a new song called “Always”.  I encourage you to listen to it or even watch the video.  It is a powerful song of how important it is to remember that God is with us during our trials, during our losses, during our rainy days and during our times of joy.  No matter what, He will always be with us.  Here is the one line that I cling to every time I think of Katelyn…

“Even when all hope is gone God knows our pain and His promise remains, He will be with you always”

Building 429 - Always

God blessed us with a little boy named Blake just less than a year after we lost Katelyn.  He will never replace her or take her place, but he has added more joy to our lives than we thought possible.  I have to admit I treasure every single moment with him (even the whiny ones) because I know how it feels to  lose a baby, and I know now more than ever that life is so precious, so fleeting, that I would be missing out if I didn’t.    

So…until we meet Katelyn again, we will keep praying that God will continue His purposes through her loss - helping every person who visits Baby Angel Grace know that He will be with them always and know that if they choose to follow Him as their Savior, they will see their little baby girl or boy again one day.  

When People Ask If You Have Children Or How Many…

November 5, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

How do you respond?
Many times since we were blessed with our son Blake in August of this year, we are asked if he is our only child. He is obviously not our only child since Katelyn is our firstborn, but it is tough to find the right way to answer this question. Our typical answer? No, he is our second child. If we do not go on to tell them about Katelyn Grace, undoubtedly the next question is, ‘Well where is he or she?’
Scott and I usually look at each other, not always sure how to respond depending on where we are and who is asking. Our standard answer has been that we had a little girl, but she did not make it home from the hospital.
Around 99% of the time, people just say ‘I’m sorry’. We assure them that they didn’t know, so they should not feel bad about their question. Sometimes, depending on the audience, I will even pull out a picture or two of Katelyn to show them. I rarely leave home without her pictures, mainly because I find comfort in being able to pull them out and look at them wherever I am. Honestly, I feel like something is missing when I don’t have her pictures with me.
The other day as we were walking away from a store in which we were asked about how many children we have and where the other one ‘was’, Scott came up with the best answer to use in the future. When people ask us where Katelyn is, he suggested that we answer “She is with Jesus”. I can honestly say that I was speechless for a few seconds. What a testimony of strong faith shown in such a simple, but profound statement!
Before Blake was born, and people asked us if we had any children, I would answer ‘Yes, but we lost our little girl last year. She was stillborn.” Scott has always answered ‘We had a little girl, but she did not make it home from the hospital.” Since Blake was born, we have never once said that he have one child; that would be a lie. We have and always will have 2 children. Even though Katelyn was born and is growing up in Heaven, she is still and always will be our little girl.
Going forward, I want our answer to be that we have 2 children, Blake Alexander and our little girl Katelyn who is with Jesus. That is the only truth we know.
My advice to you? Don’t discount your baby’s existence even though he or she is in Heaven. Use people’s questions as an opportunity to share your faith, even in 4 short words: He/She is with Jesus.
She was stillborn, but she was Still Born.

Baby Rien

August 5, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

This is the story of baby Rien, born in Heaven on December 22, 1996. He was stillborn, but he was Still Born.  Thanks to Suzan Doedens for sharing her story.  Her testimony shows that God is good and He will restore us from our grief and bless us with more than we could ever imagine. Since Suzan is from Holland it is a reminder that stillborn babies are born everywhere, and that there are families all over the world that are grieving the loss of a child.  It truly is a small world after all.

My husband and I married in 1993 and from that moment on we very much wanted to start our own family. But while waiting and praying time went by and I didn’t become pregnant. After 1 ½ years we went to the hospital for a fertility examination. The diagnosis was that my hormones were that disturbed that I would never get pregnant without medical treatment. My husband and I believed that those treatments were not the way God wanted us to go. So we had to accept the fact that we would not have children of our own. In the following time we focused on becoming foster parents: Taking care of children that cannot live with their own parents due to various problems. On the 21st of December 1996 something strange happened. … I noticed something was wrong with me. I was really terrified because I thought I would die. My doctor examined me and told my husband and me that I was pregnant and that it was the umbilical cord that I felt. I was completely in shock.  Pregnant??? I was going by ambulance to the hospital. There an echo graph was made and I appeared to be around 20 weeks pregnant, but the baby already died inside my tummy. My husband and I stayed at the hospital that night and the following morning I was given medicine to activate the delivery. 2 hours later our son was stillborn. We called him Rien. We were overwhelmed by emotions. Within 24 hours we had to find out that I was pregnant without knowing, than we heard that the baby already died and finally, totally unprepared for this, I delivered our baby son. Through all of the emotions we felt that Jesus was on our side to comfort us and carry us in this difficult situation.

In the years that followed our family grew.  In 1997 our son Nico was born. A year later another son, Tijmen, was born. In 2002 Amir, a foster-baby son came to live with us; in 2004 another foster-baby son came into our family. We feel very blessed with our boys. We know our Rien is in heaven and we long for the day we will meet him there with Jesus. We don’t understand why Rien couldn’t stay here with us, but knowing that he is with Jesus comforts us.

So that’s our story.

She Was Never Alone

August 4, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

As we approach the one year mark of when our precious Katelyn Grace went to Heaven, all the memories of that day have been coming back more and more.

Oftentimes I still battle with the feeling that there was a time when Katelyn was alone.  I know in my heart that Jesus has been with her since she was first conceived, but I feel like I let her down.  I remember taking one last look at my baby girl in the hospital room before leaving on the same day she was born.  I couldn’t bring myself to leave the room until a nurse came in to stay with her.  I didn’t want to leave her alone until the people from the funeral home came to pick her up. 

The next and last time I saw her was in the funeral home.  She was in a little bassinet on a table in the front of a small room.  I remember walking into the room and just wanting to run to her and hold her in my arms.  I wanted to hold her one last time. 

As my husband and I stood on both sides of the bassinet, I noticed how she looked so tiny, so fragile, so helpless….so alone.  She was so cold, but yet so beautiful and real to me.  Scott and I placed rose petals around her with the note that I wrote to her when we first arrived at the hospital to deliver her.  

I remember our pastor coming to perform her service.  He was also at the hospital the morning she was born.  I had asked him to baptize her, but he stated with gentle conviction that she was not there with us, that she was already in Heaven.  He was right.  Even though I knew she was gone, I was holding her in my arms and at that moment staring down at her beautiful black curly hair and innocent face, I desperately wanted to believe that she was really there with me. 

Even at her service, God gave our pastor the words to speak not only the truth of where Katelyn was, but also that she was never alone, and never will be.   Those words still give me comfort, but I still struggle with her loss and I know I always will.

There is a song by the David Crowder Band titled “Come Awake”.  I often listen to this song because I can picture Jesus gently whispering to Katelyn to wake up and come with him.  The words to this song are just amazing.  ….’Come Awake from Sleep, Arise’…. It amazes me how God has given the gift of words such as these to some of us here on earth.  He has his hand in so much more than we can ever comprehend.

I honestly can’t imagine grieving Katelyn’s loss without the hope we have in Jesus Christ, and knowing without a doubt that not only will he never leave us just like he has never left Katelyn, not even for a moment.  I look at grieving as an expression of love, more than of loss.  It is a love of another that is so strong that living without another hurts your heart. 

So as we approach this one year mark, our grief will continue, but I can smile knowing that we will see her again.  Until then…we will trust in our Heavenly Father to take care of her (and of us).

I leave you tonight with one of God’s promises…“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Katelyn was stillborn, but she was Still Born, and through God’s promises we know that she will never be alone.

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.


    Jayden Allen - Jehovah has Heard

    June 23, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

    I feel blessed when I meet other women who have lost their babies and are a wonderful testimony of how God can get us through our losses and guide us through.  After you read Cindy’s story below, I hope you are as encouraged as I was (even through my tears) at the awesome power of our Lord Jesus.   We continue to pray for Cindy, her husband Glenn, and their beautiful little girl Emma.   This is the story of baby Jayden Allen, born in Heaven on Febriuary 10, 2009. He was stillborn, but he was Still Born.


    …Our story begins in July 2008.  My husband and I were so busy preparing for our daughter’s first birthday, that I didn’t notice I was late.  On August 2nd, I had a dentist appointment.  Something inside of me told me to take a pregnancy test … “just to be sure”.  Sure enough, it was positive!  I was pregnant!  The pregnancy was a complete surprise, but once the shock wore off and the news settled in, we became so excited.  We knew this baby must have been a gift from God because we were not trying to conceive at all!  So I set up my first prenatal visit and began our journey through my second pregnancy. 


    In my first pregnancy, I was so nervous every time I went to the doctor’s office.  For some reason, this pregnancy, I was much less nervous.   I did experience some morning sickness and fatigue, but it was not as bad as my first pregnancy.  Once we passed the first trimester, I breathed a sigh of relief.  We were having a baby!  My due date was March 22nd, just one week after my birthday (which I also shared with my mom!) The possibility of three generations being born on the same date was exciting to me. What a blessing it would be!  Each night, we would pray together as a family.  We prayed for the safety and health of our daughter, and we prayed for our unborn child - that God would help the baby grow and develop perfectly.  We prayed that God would watch over our children and protect them… we prayed for a healthy baby. 


    October rolled around, and we went for our 18 week anatomy scan.  The ultrasound tech recognized us from our previous pregnancy (it hadn’t been that long before!) and was excited to see us back.  She took all her measurements - and said everything looked good.  Then she asked if we wanted to know the sex of our child.  Yes!  So she moved the probe back over to the side of my tummy, and pointed to the screen and said “there is your little boy!”.  My eyes filled with tears and I cried with joy.  Our family was complete!  We had a beautiful girl, and now we would have a beautiful boy!  God has truly blessed us!   We left the doctor’s appointments with smiles on our faces that were from ear to ear.  We couldn’t believe it… we were going to have a little boy!


    We began to think of names.  We had several from our first pregnancy, but none seemed right for our little boy.  Then one day as I was coming home from music class with our daughter, a name popped into my head.  Jayden.  I loved it! But would my husband?  That night when he got home, I asked him “What do you think about Jayden?”.  He liked it but wanted to know what it meant.  So we went online and looked up it’s meaning.  It means “Jehovah has heard”.  Perfect!  God had heard our desire to have a son and was answering our prayers.  We felt for sure that He had dropped the name in my heart for a reason.  So from that day forward, we referred to our little boy by his God given name “Jayden Allen”. 


    January 6th, my father went in for a routine procedure.  I had just begun my third trimester, and because I was considered high risk, I had an ultrasound scheduled each month during the last trimester.  So I dropped my father off, and rushed to my ultrasound appointment.  I saw Jayden and heard his heart beat and everything looked good. He was growing beautifully!  The doctor joked that he was going to be a much bigger baby than my first!  But boys were supposed to be bigger and huskier!  What I didn’t know was that this would be the last time that I would see my baby alive.  My father ended up having an allergic reaction to a medication he was given during the procedure which caused him to bleed extensively internally.  He nearly lost his life.  I was so scared that my son would never meet his grandpa and wanted my daughter to have memories with him as well. For a week, it was touch and go.  We didn’t know if he would make it.  I was terribly stressed and worried. Well, after 20 days in the hospital, my father did in fact come home.  We were so relieved, but the stress had taken its toll on my body.  I told my husband that I felt worse than I had my entire pregnancy with our daughter.  In one month, I went from having a relatively pain free, fairly healthy pregnancy to feeling pains in places I didn’t know existed.


    The last week of January, my daughter contracted a virus and was throwing up for three days.  It was awful to watch her so sick.  A few days passed, and she was on the mend - but not before sharing the virus with me.  I woke up on Friday morning, January 31st throwing up.  It was terrible, being eight plus months pregnant, and throwing up!  I contacted my OBGYN, and she told me that if I couldn’t hold fluid down by the evening, I would have to go to the emergency room and have IV fluids.  Well, that evening, I was able to hold some fluids down so we were saved from a trip to the ER.  Looking back now, I wish I would have gone - perhaps they would have seen something to tell us that Jayden was having trouble. 


    The following week, I had the first of my weekly non stress tests.  It was Thursday, February 5th.  They strapped the monitors to my belly, which typically prompted a kick or two from Jayden - but not this time.  I thought it was odd, but also had heard that as they get bigger, they don’t move as much.  The test was reactive, my OB was satisfied and off I went.  My brother was getting married that Saturday, and I had so much to do! 


    The weekend was filled with activities, and out of town guests.  I was busy and did not have time to check kick counts.  It wasn’t until the following Monday that I realized I had not felt Jayden move in a while.  I thought he was always active in the evening and after my meal.  So I waited.  We had dinner that night, and I laid on my left side.  Nothing.  I rubbed my tummy and talked to him.  I became nervous, but tried to reassure myself that he didn’t have much room to move.  But I had always felt him kick in the middle of the night.  That night I waited up.  I rubbed my tummy, drank juice. Nothing.  I grew concerned, and at 2am, I woke up my husband.  He told me to call the doctor right away.  I was so scared, so I began pushing my belly harder to wake him up.  I thought I felt him move, so I told my husband I would call first thing in the morning. 


    The next day, I called as soon as the office opened.  They scheduled me a late morning appointment to come in and make sure all was ok.  I sat nervously throughout the morning but tried to keep myself busy with my daughter.  So I dropped her off at my father’s and drove to the OB.  They brought me in to the room and tried to find the heartbeat with the monitor.  The tech was having trouble, so she said she was going to have the doctor check.  She told me not to worry, the baby was hiding.  But deep down inside, I knew something wasn’t right.  They brought me down to the ultrasound room and my doctor came in.  There was no small talk.  She said “let’s see what’s going on with this baby”.  The minute she put the probe to my belly, I knew something wasn’t right.  There was no red blood flow, no beating heart.  Just the image of a very still baby.  I asked her if everything was ok.  She looked at me, and with very sad eyes she said “No, I’m so sorry.  There is no heart beat”.  With those words, my world shattered, my dreams were crushed. I was numb, and in shock, and scared, and sad all at once.  How could this be?  What happened?  What did I do wrong?  Will my husband blame me?  How could he not?  How could I tell him that our precious little boy, our gift from God, the answers to our prayers … was gone?  My doctor suggested that I call Glenn, but I couldn’t.  I asked her to call him and just have him come.  She did.  The next 45 minutes were the longest moments of my life.  When he walked in the room, I could tell he had been crying.  He hugged me, and held me and we cried together.  I must have said “I’m so sorry” a thousand times that day.  I felt like I was to blame.  Jayden relied on me for life, and I failed him.  How could my husband forgive me. 


    The doctor came back in, and began to discuss our options.  Since I had a previous cesarean with my daughter, I had decided early on that we would do another section rather than chance a problem during delivery.  I felt like a walking tomb.  I wanted to deliver that day.  She accommodated my request, and arranged for the delivery that evening.  We left the office empty, left with only phone calls to make to notify our family of our loss.


    One by one, we called them.  We cried, they cried.  How could this have happened?  We drove to my father’s house to pick up our daughter.  He was feeding her when we walked in.  We were so broken.  We told him Jayden was gone.  He was shocked.  Everyone was.  We sat around his house that afternoon.  My sister asked my permission to arrange a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer to come to the hospital.  I told her that was fine, but I didn’t know at that point if I would be able to hold him or see him.  I was so devastated.  She understood, and said she would take care of the details for me. 


    We left my father’s house and headed to the hospital.  We felt so empty as we walked into the Labor and Delivery floor.  There was no excitement this time.  Only pain. The nurses were already aware that we were coming, and brought us quickly to a room they had prepared for us at the back of labor and delivery.  The following hour and a half is a blur as nurses and staff came in to prepare me for the cesarean.  I asked to be heavily medicated during the procedure.  I didn’t want to be awake as they took my dead baby from me.  The next I remember, I was coming to, and the anesthesiologist told me they were just about finished.  They wheeled me back to the L&D room where my husband was waiting.  I could tell that he had been crying.  He told me that he held Jayden and that he was beautiful.  The doctor came in and encouraged me to see Jayden. She told me that it would be healing.  After a few moments, I was ready.   The doctor wheeled him into the room in the plastic bucket that all newborns call their crib for their hospital stays.  He was beautiful.  They were right, he was perfect.  He was my son.  My husband and I spent the next two hours with him.  We cried, and held him.  We looked at his toes, his fingers, his nose, his ears, his hair… examining every detail of our boy.  The photographer came in and took a few pictures… pictures that are my cherished treasures now.  I look at them daily, and think of the boy that I will get to know in heaven.  We know that we will have eternity with him, and at that time, God will restore all the years that we missed with him on earth.  We know that if we just trust the Lord, and hold onto His promises, we will see Jayden again.  That brings us some comfort. 


    And so it was, on February 10th, 2009, our son Jayden Allen was born into the hands of Jesus.  He was 5 lbs, 2 ozs, and was 19 inches long.  We have been on our grief journey for just over four months now.  I have forgiven myself for feeling like I failed our son.  I know that I did everything that I knew I could to take care of myself during my pregnancy.  My husband has never once blamed me.  He has been so supportive, and I love him more than ever for it. I still struggle with anger sometimes.  Angry that there are people who disregard their children, mistreat them, abuse or even abandon them - but they were given healthy children.  Angry that my husband and I wanted our son from the moment we found out that we were pregnant.  We planned for him and loved him with all our hearts, and we don’t have him here with us.  But our anger is not directed at God, rather its directed at this fallen world that we live in.  Here, there is sickness, pain, disappointment, hurt.  But we hold onto the assurance that one day, in heaven, there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears.  The bible says that he’ll wipe away the tears from our eyes.  I know he will restore my heart, and heal the deep pain that has penetrated it when we lost Jayden. 


    Since Jayden passed, we have met some wonderful people who walk the same road that we do.  People we would have never met if it hadn’t been for our son, or their loss of their sweet baby.  We still miss Jayden terribly, and some days it feels as though my heart has been ripped out of my chest all over again.  We wish we knew why he had to go so soon, but are trusting in God that His ways are beyond our comprehension.  Our goal now is to make his life matter.  Bring change to someone else’s life as a result of Jayden.  Our prayer is that other parents who are experiencing the same pain as us, will also come to experience the same hope that we have.  The hope that one day, we will be reunited with our children in heaven.  There is a piece of us that will always be missing, a small void that can never be filled - because it is with our son.  But God understands our pain, and cries when we cry - and can mend our broken hearts.  My prayer for anyone reading this story is that you will understand one thing - that while we hurt deeper than I could have ever imagined, we are trusting the Lord to heal our wounded hearts.  The bible promises us that he will bind up the broken hearted.  We daily pray that God would take our burden, and give us peace.  Thank you for reading our story.  We pray that God would bless you deeply and bring you comfort.




    Mother’s Day

    May 10, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

    Just thinking about Mother’s Day brought some sadness with it because Katelyn was not here to spend the day with us.  At the same time I felt some joy in my heart because I was given the gift to become a Mom.  Sure we lost Katelyn, but we had the joy of meeting her, and were given the promise from our Father in Heaven that we will see her again. 

    Never forget that you became a Mother when you first found out you were having a baby. 

    Never forget that you became a Mom when you shed your first tear in excitement as you watched your baby move on an ultrasound, or heard his heartbeat.

    No matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, you are a mother and a mom and you will always be.

    So I pray that all Mothers whose babies were born in Heaven have a wonderful Mother’s Day.  I pray that when people ask you if you have children, that you respond similarly to how I have (based on your situation).  “Yes, I have a daughter, but she did not make it home from the hospital.”  I will always be a Mom, so will you.


    Katelyn was stillborn but she was Still Born.  Whether your babies were considered a miscarriage, stillborn, or went to Heaven soon after birth, they are all precious in Jesus’ sight.  They were all Still Born.  Never forget that.