Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jealous of Jesus

I have been thinking about what to write for a week or so now... How do you go from my last post to this... A post of pure excitement to one of heartbreak?

The answer?  With God's never-ending grace and mercy.  It isn't easy and God never promised me that it would be, but I share it with you because it is all I have of Grayson... and my hope is that his story gives you insight into just how great our God is... How loving and compassionate He is... and how He is carrying me, Grayson's mommy, at my weakest moments.  This is a long story, but I hope it is worth the time.  I know it is worth every minute of me writing it out.

One month ago, yesterday, on May 25, 2012, Grayson Scott Woodward was born, at almost 21 weeks gestation, into the arms of Jesus at 9:44am.  He weighed just 12.6ozs and was 10 1/2 inches long.  He was the most precious and handsome baby boy I have ever seen... and he looked just like me.  We got to spend several hours with him, loving on him.  I will be eternally grateful that God gave us that time, just to see his little face, his hands, his feet... all just precious.  And as we saw him, you better believe that we saw the face of God!  What an amazing testimony to our Savior!!  Collins also got to meet her little brother.  She stared at him and kept pointing at him saying "baby, baby".  My family got to be there and hold him as well.  I know that they will forever cherish those memories.  The day was very bittersweet, to say the least.  It was the hardest day of my life, but as I have said countless times, we are so heartbroken, but resting in the fact that Grayson is with Jesus.  He knew his days before we even knew he existed.  That, however, does not take away the pain.  My heart aches for memories that I will never have with my little boy, my belly aches to feel him kicking again, my arms ache to hold him.  Let me share with you Grayson's story from the very beginning.

This story starts back on January 24th when we found out we were pregnant!  We were so excited because it had taken us so long to get pregnant with Collins, but God granted us another baby after just 1 time of trying!!  We told our families pretty immediately, as well as, some of our closest friends.  We were so glad that God was giving us the chance to be parents of two!  I made Collins a "Shh... I have a secret... I am going to be a big sister" shirt!  We put it on her and had the family over to see who would notice!  It took most my family a little while to notice, but Auntie Kat noticed right away and said "SHUT UP!" Ha!  Everyone was so excited! We skyped Damon's family and they too shared in our excitement!

The next weeks, I was busy planning Collins' first birthday. It was so hard to keep the secret to myself with everyone coming over, but in my heart, I wanted to wait until after our first doctor's appointment.  That appointment came 2 days before Collins turned one.  We had flown Damon's mom in for the party, but were also excited for her to be a part of this appointment.  We didn't tell her we were pregnant until she got here.

When we went to have the ultrasound done, the tech got really quiet.  She asked me if we were sure that we had our dates right and I said "yes", I am sure.  And she said "Well, this isn't exactly what we expect to see at this point, but I will let Dr. Sellers tell you more".  Our hearts sunk.  We cried.  We just knew something was wrong.  Dr. Sellers told us that it appeared that I had a blighted ovum.  Which, basically meant that my body acted like it was pregnant, but there was no baby.  I had the sack and everything, but there wasn't a baby inside.  He told me that I would most likely miscarry in the next week, but wanted to set me up with another appointment in a week in case that hadn't happened and discuss our options then. I bawled.  I remember just saying "There is no baby... there is no baby..." And I cried and cried.  However, the next day, as I did some research, I began to get hope.  I started to think that my dates were off, but I didn't want to get too hopeful and be really disappointed.  The whole week, I had the song you learned in VBS "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's NOTHING my God cannot do" stuck in my head.  I really believed that when we went back, we would hear a heartbeat!  And sure enough, on February 21, we heard the most beautiful heartbeat!  We cried tears of joy!  The tech kept saying "This doesn't happen... we don't ever see this happen..." and I kept saying "God is good.  He is soo good!"

Because of that scare, I cherished every moment of this pregnancy.  I loved loved loved talking to him and feeling him kick.  I just loved being pregnant.  God was definitely gracious to me by not allowing me to be so sick (like I was with Collins) so I could really enjoy being pregnant with Grayson.  I really believe it was a special gift.

On May 1, we found out that we were having a little boy!  We were so so excited to have a little brother in the family.  It is the first boy in our family since my brother, Landon.  And Damon is the only boy with 3 sisters and 2 step-sisters, so everyone was ready to have a little boy running around again!  And I was excited to finally pick a name and decorate his nursery.  I think I said this in my last post, but I definitely wanted to use the name Grayson.  I loved it from the moment I heard it!  Damon needed a little convincing, but as we talked it over, we decided it was the perfect name!  We decided on Scott as his middle name after my dad.  We had them over and told him what we had decided.  He cried (I told you, a lot of girls, he is in touch with his emotional side!)... and was so honored.  I couldn't think of anyone else that I would rather my son be named after.  We began to pray for Grayson Scott by name and that he would live up to the legacy of my dad's name... That he would be a man after God, obedient to what God called him to, someone who loves his wife and family well.  We began to dream about what his life would look like.

Since about April, I had been reading the book "Anything" by Jennie Allen.  It begs the question, "Would you really give God anything?"  As I read, I felt challenged to offer God everything I had.  I began by giving Him my house...then my time...then my finances...then my marriage...then my husband...then Collins... and then Grayson.  I knew that all of these things ultimately belonged to Him anyways, so, in my mind, I was giving Him what was rightfully His.  However, it was hardest for me to give Him Grayson.  I hadn't even met Grayson yet, other than the kicks in my belly... I think because of our scare in the beginning, I was always worried that someday, I would find out he wasn't there... and I was scared.  But, reluctantly, I gave God Grayson.  I prayed that He would give me the honor and privilege of being his mommy, but wanted whatever God's plan was for my life and Grayson's life.

In my heart, I think I always knew that God was going to take Grayson home before I was ready.  I was never truly confident with this pregnancy.  I was hesitant to share we were expecting him, I was hesitant to share that he was a boy, I was hesitant to buy his bedding, buy his little monkeys... I couldn't explain why and didn't share these thoughts with anyone.

And when my friend, Joanna, lost her little girl Meryn on May 8 at 23 weeks gestation, something about it resonated so deeply in my heart. I had no idea why... well, actually, I think I did, but didn't want to give way to my biggest fear.  I kept thinking about how I would respond if that happened to Grayson in a couple weeks.  I was just a couple weeks behind her in my pregnancy.  I began to pray, quietly, that I would honor God, no matter what happened...

The week of Grayson's birth, I felt great!  Other than a few contractions early in the week, due to a UTI (totally common during pregnancy), which I was on medicine for, nothing was out of the ordinary.  I was told by a doctor that feeling a couple contractions while having a UTI was normal, but keep an eye on it.  I was diagnosed with that on Friday and by Monday, symptons sub-sided and I felt totally normal again!  On Thursday night, I went to bed about midnight and felt great.  However, at about 1:45am, I woke up and didn't feel good at all...  I thought I was going to get sick.  I felt my belly get tight, but again, thought that was fairly normal as I thought I was going to puke.  I got up and went to the bathroom, got a glass of water and laid back down, trying to go back to sleep. I also said a little prayer that if this was something I needed to get checked out for, that God would make it really obvious.  Well, by 2:00am, I was in some pretty good pain and felt like I was contracting.  I woke Damon up and told him that we needed to go to the hospital to stop these contractions. (I had to do this 3 times with Collins, so this wasn't abnormal).  I even changed into jeans and a t-shirt to head out.  He asked me if I could drive myself, and at the time, I probably could have, but something inside me said "no, I think you better go with me". So we called my sister, who lives 3 minutes away to come and stay with Collins the rest of the night, anticipating that we would be back in a couple hours.  By the time we reached the hospital at 2:30, I was in the most intense pain of my life! I was sweating bullets and couldn't hardly stand anymore.  I literally felt like my whole insides were going to explode.  Mind you, I got to about a 9.5 with Collins before I got an epidural so had experienced pretty good labor, but this was not your normal labor pains.

As they admitted me in, a nurse checked me and said, "I want another nurse to double-check and see if she feels what I think I felt."  I knew that wasn't a good sign, but was in too much pain to process much of anything.  The other nurse checked and said "you are already fully dilated... 10cm... we need to get you to a labor and delivery room, but I am not doing anything else until we talk to Dr. Sellers because your water hasn't broken."  The nurse tells Damon that it looks like I may have to deliver.  Damon immediately calls the rest of my family.  They get me to the delivery room and bring in the perinatologist (high risk, baby doc) to do an ultrasound.  They find Grayson who is kicking away and has a strong heartbeat, but he is way low.  Just an FYI, most of this next part was retold to me because I was so out of it, at first because of the pain, then because I had 3 doses of stadol... at about 3:30am, Dr. Sellers comes in, with tears in his eyes and tells us what is happening.  For some reason, my cervix completely dilated, but I haven't had enough contractions to actually deliver Grayson.  However, his sack had already fallen part way through.  Now normally, they would try to get it to go back in, but Grayson got his feet stuck down in the part that had fallen through with his umbilical cord wrapped around his little legs.  If they were to try and push it back up, it would have cut off all circulation to the umbilical cord, killing Grayson.  So, I was told that I would have to deliver my baby boy and that he was too little to survive.  I asked them to please try and push him back up anyways and he said that he would if he could, but there was no chance of Grayson surviving either way.  As a mom, this was the hardest thing for me to hear... afterall, he was still alive.  I could feel him moving this whole time.  Dr. Sellers cried the whole time... what a blessing he was as a doctor.  What doctor cries with you, holds the hands of your family and prays with you?!  God couldn't have put a better man in this room.  Again, God's goodness showing through.  I was told that I would have to spend the next several hours in labor, they were going to give me pitocin to make me contract because I wasn't having enough contractions.  I still, at this point, never cried.  I told you, I was completely out of it and in way too much physical pain to process anything.  I fell asleep as they gave me the epidural and when I woke up, it all came to a halt and I lost it.  I cried harder than I ever have in my life.  Those moments, where it all sank in... I knew I was going to lose my baby boy.  I knew that Jesus was going to be holding him before I ever would.  And those moments, they hurt, they sting like nothing has ever stung before.  There was a hole that was formed in my heart then, that will never truly be filled this side of heaven.  At about 9:30am, I felt the need to push.  Where you get the strength to call in your doctor and tell him you are ready to deliver your baby boy, knowing that the end result was his death, when I could feel him kicking still, I know only comes from strength outside my own.  He came in and asked me if I was ready and I said "ready as I will ever be" with tears in my eyes.  My family, along with Dr. Sellers, tearfully prayed over Damon and I and they quietly left the room, with the exception of my mom and sister, Abby.  Dr. Sellers told me that, Grayson would likely pass away while I delivered him.  I truly believe, at this point, God took over my body and gave me peace to do the best thing I could do for little Grayson and pushed and at 9:44am, he was born. It was a moment that I will never ever forget.  I looked at him with tears in my eyes and smiled.  And said "I am so jealous of Jesus right now because He is getting to hold my baby boy."

The next several hours were spent holding Grayson, taking pictures, putting his footprints on everything we could find, grieving, questioning and praising God.  There is a part of me that wishes you all could have been there and seen him.  You CANNOT deny God when you saw his little face.. his fingernails... You CANNOT.  It is impossible.

As I went to go pick up the book I had been reading, there was a part of me that wanted to throw it back down and never pick it up again.  Jesus asked me if I was willing to give Him anything and I said yes.  He took me up on it.  Would I do it all over again?  Yes.  Jesus, you can have anything!!

I could not imagine a little over a month ago how my life would change, but I would not change it for one second.  Do I long to hold him again?  Absolutely!  Will I hold him again? Absolutely!!  And until then, my Jesus is holding him safe and sound.  And little Grayson will always be a part of our lives.  He has changed my life.  He has changed how I view Christ, how I view Jesus and His death on the cross, he has changed how I view my kiddos, he has changed how I love my family, he has changed how I worship, he has changed everything... And I wouldn't change anything.  Jesus died for me.  God WILLINGLY gave up His ONLY son to die for me.  That has taken on a WHOLE new meaning through losing Grayson.  I wouldn't say that I was willing to give up Grayson and it is the hardest thing I have ever done, letting him go.  God has been so faithful.  He is soo good to me and I am blessed beyond imagination to be called "Grayson's mommy". 

Grayson Scott Woodward, I love you and miss you terribly.  You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me. You truly have lived up to the middle name given to you.  You were obedient to Jesus and I know you heard, “Well, done” when you saw Jesus!!  Thank you for changing my life!