Run to Jesus
- Jamie Stewart -
I had finally reached the point in my pregnancy where I felt like I could take a deep breath. We were past the “scary” part. I had a precious life within me, and for the first time I actually allowed myself to believe I would be able to keep it. I was going to be a mommy. My husband, Andy, was going to be a daddy. We were well into the 2nd trimester and everything looked good. My thoughts had turned from miscarriage and loss to nursery colors and names.
I checked my pregnancy app every day - well let’s be honest - I had three and I checked them all. I loved seeing what my babe was up to and how big he or she was getting. I watched the daily count down to delivery decrease at a painfully slow rate due to all the discomfort, reflux, and nausea - oh my goodness the nausea! But, I knew all the hard work was worth it. I knew in the end the arms that had once been empty would finally have a child to hold. It was so hard for me to imagine that by Thanksgiving our lives would forever change and we would be parents.
Now looking back at that time in my pregnancy, I was still right, just in a different way than I had ever imagined. After all, come fall we were indeed parents to a beautiful little boy and our lives would never be the same again.
It’s hard to believe one moment can change your life. That one moment can stop - scratch that - shatter your world…
I was uneasy sitting in my chair waiting to get called into the ultrasound room. I always got a little anxious prior to our appointments. The nervousness was definitely trumped by excitement, considering we were about to find out the gender of our babe, but I kept getting this nagging feeling that something could be wrong. I chalked it up to my constant need to worry and pushed the thought as far back in my head as it could possibly go. Finally my name was called.
The instant the ultrasound tech touched the probe to my belly I felt her demeanor change. A room that seconds ago was full of laughter and excitement, shifted to a tension that was palpable. She looked completely panicked and within a few minutes of our exam got up and left without a word. My heart dropped. My husband and I exchanged nervous glances, but didn’t say a word. What is going on? I felt my face flush as the pace of my heart began to quicken.
The ultrasound that was supposed to last an hour, only took a few minutes. We were immediately taken to a back room and forced to wait another grueling 20 minutes. My mind was racing in every direction. What’s wrong with my baby? I no longer cared about what we were having. I just wanted to know my child was ok. Downs? Trisomy? Will I have a special needs child? Will I have a child at all? Andy was doing his best to keep me calm, but I knew the strong facade was only for my sake. I kept praying, "Please God no ... PLEASE GOD NO!" I tried to hold onto hope. I tried to tell myself maybe it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I didn’t want to succumb to the overwhelming sensation of my heart beginning to crumble - not yet - there was still hope. Finally a Doctor opened the door. One look at her face and my heart completely shattered - “We found some abnormalities with your baby.”
Everything went dark. It felt like I had just been hit by a bomb ... disoriented, numb, a loud ringing. I can't breathe. I can't move. Is this a dream? This has to be a dream! I can't understand what she is saying. Are you seriously telling me my baby might die?
An hour earlier we had walked through those office doors just a normal young couple, hand in hand, and excited for what the future as a family of three would hold. We walked out those very same doors confused, scared and broken beyond recognition.
Early the next morning I found myself once again lying on my back with a probe on my belly. The ultrasound tech looked at us and said, “I’m glad your parents are in the waiting room, it’s going to be a hard day.” My heart sank at her words. The gentle and old doctor standing at my side had his hand on mine as we stared at the screen in front of us. His assistant effortlessly maneuvered and measured her way through our child’s body, and at every turn it seemed as though our doctor nodded his head - almost as if in agreement to himself of his earlier, yet unmentioned, suspicions. It was like he had a checklist and as he moved down it was able to confirm each and every marker he was looking for. It felt like forever, but in reality five minutes was all it took to get the answers we were looking for. In just minutes our entire lives were forever changed.
Our doctor looked down at me with kind and compassionate eyes. He squeezed my hand and very softly said, “I’m sorry, but your son is not going to make it.” It took a moment for the weight of his words to sink in - we were having a son, he had a condition known as Osteogenesis Imperfectia (OI) Type II, and he wasn’t going to live. The doctor pointed out that our baby had multiple fractures in both legs, both arms, and throughout the rest of his body, due to incredibly fragile bones. Of the many variations of OI, our son had the most lethal version. We were told there was a possibility he could die at anytime, or if he was able to make it to term would probably not survive the process of delivery. If his incredibly fragile body happened to make it through labor and delivery, we would only have minutes with him.
There is no way to explain the level of anguish and sorrow that accompanied the diagnosis of our child. It is a feeling no parent should ever have to endure. However, amidst the grief and all the questions, we knew without a doubt the best decision for our family was to give Logan the chance to live. He was our son and there was no diagnosis that would ever change that. We knew the road ahead of us was uncharted, scary, and full of so much pain – but we also knew it was very possibly the only time we would get to spend with our son. We spent the next couple months praying for a miracle and at the same time trying to cram a lifetime supply of love and memories into a few short weeks. Each and every day we were able to be together was a blessing. We knew there were so many things Logan would not get to experience in his brief life, but we vowed that he would not leave this earth without at least experiencing the unconditional and overflowing love that every child deserves.
No matter how brief Logan’s life may be, we knew he had a purpose. After all, “Oops” is not in God’s vocabulary. For reasons only known to Him we were picked to be the parents of this amazing little soul. We would provide for Logan and protect him as long as God would allow, and we would cherish every day we had together while he was still here.
Our sweet little boy was born six weeks later, after my water unexpectedly broke at work. He looked like his Daddy - same gorgeous full lips and same dimpled chin. Yes, his body was broken, but in our eyes he was the most beautiful thing to ever grace this planet. I kissed his warm face, nuzzled his tiny nose with mine, and told him how much I loved him.
The love I felt for the child before me was truly indescribable. It’s as if in one moment I was able to understand to a small extent the love Christ has for us. Had there been an option to trade my life for his, I would have done it without a moment’s hesitation. I would have given anything to take his pain away – to cast his illness to the deepest darkest depths of this planet. I know the overwhelming love I felt for Logan paled in comparison to God’s affection for us – for He loves us with a fierceness we cannot comprehend. But in that very moment, as I held my son in my arms, I saw God more clearly than I ever had before.
54 minutes is what we were given. For 54 beautiful minutes Logan was in our arms and covered from head to toe in our love. I vividly remember watching my husband whisper, “Run to Jesus,” in his little ear and then moments later knowing he was gone.
For the rest of my days I will endlessly thank my Savior for letting us have time with our beautiful boy. Having to say hello and goodbye in one moment took my breath away. But what takes it away even more is knowing with all of my heart that someday Logan will be a part of my forever.
For a long time I couldn't help but question the why of it all. I know God works all things for our good and I know He doesn’t waste our suffering, but nonetheless, at times certain thoughts ran uncontrolled in my mind. Why would God give some of us babies just to take them right back again? Why did God even let me get pregnant in the first place?
God has been gracious enough over the last year of my life to finally give me an answer…
My sweet Logan would have been four last August and as I got closer to his birthday I felt God continuing to remind me that this is our temporary home. He made us for eternity and I think sometimes it's hard to see beyond the here and now. It's easy to feel like God took my child away and it seems like such a cruel thing for a loving God to do. But as I got closer to Logan’s birthday I believe God gently began to whisper, "I didn't take your son ... I gave him to you for eternity."
I know it's so hard in the midst of such grief to think about forever. But God IS thinking of your forever. Heaven is real and if you have suffered a loss, I promise you, your babe is there. And the next time you meet you will NEVER have to say goodbye again. So, if I must go through the pain of losing my boy on this side of Heaven in order to have him for all of eternity - then without question, I’m all in.
Even after that moment of clarity, I still have to admit I’m not “ok” with his death. I’m utterly heartbroken. Like all who have experienced a loss, we didn’t just lose a baby, but a toddler and a preschooler and a high school graduate. I will miss Logan’s first smile, his first day of school, and my dance with him on his wedding day. Sometimes that can be a very hard pill to swallow. But the moment I learned to shift my focus on God GIVING me my son, rather than TAKING him, it changed it all for me.
I wrote a letter to Logan early in the morning on his 4th birthday. God had just given me such comfort with His words, but even then I couldn’t help but think of what could have been. (Read Logan’s Letter here)
The honest truth is that a piece of my heart will ache with every beat for the rest of my life. But … through it all GOD IS STILL GOOD and I choose to put my hope and my faith in Him. He redeemed my story and He will redeem yours too. It just doesn’t always look the way we had originally planned or fit in the box we tried to design it to. We have a good Father - a faithful Father - and I believe with all my heart He does not give us dreams and desires just to carelessly dangle them in front of us, always just out of arms reach.
If today your arms ache from being empty, I want you to know I am praying for you. I am praying that one way or another God grants you the deepest desires of your heart and I am praying that even in the midst of the darkest times you too would choose hope and “Run to Jesus.”
Andy and I now have three beautiful children. Our son Sullivan was born a year after we lost Logan and our daughter Emersyn came two short years after that. Sullivan and Emersyn are proof of God’s mercy and grace in my life and have been a soothing balm to my very broken and bruised heart. I thank God every day for redeeming this piece of my story and bringing so much love and joy into our home once again. My family may not be whole - for now - but it sure is beautiful.
Lauren Bourne, here! A huge thanks to Jamie for sharing her story. It's HARD going to those devastating places in the heart and sharing in such a vulnerable way. I'm thankful to her for letting us see a glimpse of her pain and what the Lord showed her through it all.
Jamie and her Husband co-founded a non-profit called Walk With Me, and they support couples who receive a terminal diagnosis of their unborn baby, go through a 3rd trimester loss or stillbirth, or experience an infant death. They are doing amazing things! Just read part of their mission:
Check them out HERE.
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