Strassion

On April 18, 2012 at 03:22 my wife delivered our baby dead to the world but alive for eternity. We named our child Strassion as a reminder of the strength and compassion that we need to live our life on this earth. It was a short journey into the world of death for us but it has left a mark that although may fade will never disappear from our memories.

The journey began on the morning of January 23, 2012 when we suspiciously but unexpectedly found out that we were pregnant. This news filtered down to us like gradually waking up with a morning coffee; not knowing what to think, turned into acceptance, which then turned into looking forward to what was ahead of us. My wife is a Type I diabetic so we had to immediately start meeting with doctors to ensure that her sugars and the pregnancy was going as expected.

The faint glimmer of the rainbow of what was to come disappeared on the afternoon of March 5, 2012, 11 weeks and 4 days into our pregnancy, when we found out that our child had an encephalocele. An encephalocele is a neural tube defect where part of the skull does not fully form/close leaving a herniation where a sac of fluid or possibly even brain matter protrudes through the skull. The doctor's diagnosis was not good. She told us that our child would surely die and that we should abort.

We went home shocked and at a loss on how to process the news that we had just received. Realizing that we knew nothing about the consequences of an encephalocele except for what the doctor had told us, we began to search the Internet. There were many stories of survival and almost no stories of death which gave us hope that our child might live after all. However, it was obvious that there were a large range of outcomes as a result of this diagnosis, and came to the conclusion that we could expect anything in the range of a normal child, miscarriage, stillborn, or a child with serious complications. The odds were not good that it would be a normal child.

Abortion was never an option because we believe strongly that it is God who knits a child together in its mother's womb (Ps. 139:13). He is the author of life (Acts. 3:15).  We knew that it would be a miracle if our child turned out to be normal but we believed that God could do it. It was very hard knowing that our lives would never be the same even though we trusted that God would do the best for us and everyone else in this situation (Rom. 8:28). We felt like there was nothing to look forward to and thinking that there must be a way for this whole situation to just go away.

Many people reached out to us during this time and gave us the contact information of people who had gone through similar situations. Since it was unsure what the outcome would be, we thought it was best if we did not put ourselves through every possible situation. Living through our own circumstances was hard enough. There was nothing to be done other then wait for the next appointment and make each decision as it came. "Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt. 6:34)"

On April 16, 2012 at 13:30 we were scheduled for our next ultrasound. This ultrasound at the very least would provide more information as to what we should expect, either confirming our worst fears or giving us hope for the future. We sat in the room with nervous fear looking at the screen. My wife immediately knew there was something wrong and leaned over and whispered, "it is not moving." There was no heart rate or heat, and the technician rapidly completed the scan. We did not need the doctor to tell us that our child was dead because we already knew.

We left the hospital unable to feel our emotions. What are you supposed to feel when you hear news like that? A miscarriage was one of the better outcomes but it was no comfort. Even though Strassion was dead my wife still had to deliver our baby.

Through the pain of childbirth and watching my wife suffer our child was born. The little hands, feet, eyes, and body red and soft lay in our hands cold to the touch. What was our child's life like in the womb? Did he know he was loved? Did we love him like we should? Did he know he was crossing over into death? These question like so many other in life cannot be answered, we can only have faith that God knows what is best.


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