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I know I need to finish writing about Uriah’s last day, but I can’t seem to get myself to do that. So instead I thought I would write about another important day in my life.

When I was 22 years old I was able to go and spend a summer with the Walls, a missionary family in Haiti. I had been there the year before with my family and fell in love with the country. Before I left that summer my mom suggested that I should try to adopt a baby while I was there. I passed this on to the Walls, and they were very willing to help me in my endeavors. The Walls had been in Haiti for close to 20 years. Their two youngest daughters, Dorothy and Rebecca, were still there with them. Rebecca and I really hit it off. We had such a great time working with Mrs. Wall in the clinic, teaching an English class, and teaching a Bible class for the children. So many people would come in to the clinic with such serious medical problems and poor Mrs. Wall didn’t have much to work with, but always seemed to come up with something. Many of the mothers that came would hand their babies to me and ask me to take them. My dad had informed me, before I left, that if I was going to adopt I couldn’t adopt a boy. I really wanted a son, but knew my father knew best. Every baby that was handed to me was a boy. I kept praying that the Lord would help me find the baby He wanted for me.

Rebecca was 17 years old and was starting to miss her nanny, Elia, whom she had grown up with. Elia lived in Cap Haitian, about a four-hour drive away. Before I arrived Rebecca had asked her dad if she could go visit Elia and he had told her no. Once I arrived she had her mom ask if Rebecca and myself could go visit so that I could see what it was like to live in the “city.” He again said no. Because she figured he wouldn’t tell me ‘no’ she had me ask him some time later. He told me we could go but not right now. Week after week went by and Rebecca and I were beginning to think he would never let us go. After I had been there for six weeks he came to us one Saturday evening and said we would be traveling to Cap Haitian the next day to go to church, and that Rebecca and I would be able to stay with Elia until Tuesday when he came back to meet the plane for supplies. To be quite honest we were a bit upset. We had hoped to stay down there for a week or two, so two days didn’t seem like much.

Now that I look back I can see that he was worried. There was much unrest in Haiti. In fact, only a few months later all Americans were forced to leave the country because it wasn’t safe for them to be there. The Haitians were not happy about many things and decided killing the Americans was the answer. At the time I knew that it was a bit dangerous but really didn’t have any idea how much danger we were really in.

When we arrived to Elia’s house after church we had dinner and then Bro. and Mrs. Wall headed back up the mountain. We sat with Elia and planned out the next two days. That evening Rebecca and I wanted to go to the English church. She said that should be ok. On Monday we planned on going to hospitals and orphanages to see if I could find a baby girl. Then Tuesday morning we would head out to the airport to meet Rebecca’s dad. We were about to get ready for church when Elia informed us that she had changed her mind because she didn’t feel we would be safe. Rebecca and I begged her to change her mind. In the middle of our pleading we heard gunshots. She said, “See…it just isn’t safe here after dark.” We asked her what we were going to do. We didn’t want to just sit in her house too scared to go anywhere. So she said she thought it would be safe to walk down the street to her sister’s house and visit with them. I have to admit I wasn’t too happy about this. I only spoke English so the only people I could talk with were Rebecca and Elia. I had longed to go the English church so that I could sing songs and hear a sermon in a language that I spoke.

We headed out for her sister’s house. It was such a nice evening. It was no longer scorching hot outside and there were kids running around, pointing and laughing at us. We stood in front of Jacquelyn’s house and chatted and played with the kiddos. We went in the house because the sun was going down and it wasn’t safe. It was dark inside, but as we entered I could see that the one room had its walls covered with magazine pages. Rebecca explained that this was their wallpaper. There was a dark hallway that led to the back door. Along the wall was a cot that Elia told Rebecca and I to sit on. She stepped out the back door and we sat and stared at the wall in front of us and attempted to read the Haitian magazine pages. I could hear everyone talking in Creole in the back yard. It sounded like there were 4 or 5 people out there. I asked Rebecca what they were talking about. She said they were talking about me wanting to adopt. She said, “Wait a minute…someone just said there is a baby out there with them.” I stood up to peek out the door. There were a handful of people sitting on the ground and in the middle of their little circle was an old stained mattress. It looked like one from an old pullout couch. In the center of this grubby mattress was a little baby.

I asked Rebecca to see if they would let me hold the baby. They said I could but I could tell there was a problem. Rebecca informed me that they were afraid the baby would wet on me since they didn’t have a diaper. The baby was naked with a very thin peach colored bath towel that had been ripped in two wrapped around her bottom. I told them I wouldn’t die if she wet on me. They thought that was funny and handed the baby over. I had to peak under the towel to see if it was a boy or a girl. It was a little girl. She was so cute. She looked up at me with her almost black eyes. I asked for her name. It was Weedlyn. I started to talk and coo to little Weedlyn and she started to smile and coo right back. She had big ole dimples in her cheeks. I thought she looked to be about 4-6 weeks old. I have no recollection of how long I sat playing with Weedlyn, but I was sad when it was time to head back to Elia’s house. The mother of the baby, Linda, said if I wanted I could take Weedlyn with me and she would pick her up later. We decided to do just that. Linda came and got her quite a few hours later, and poor little Weedlyn was getting quite hungry.

After Linda left Elia told us that Linda was considering giving Weedlyn to me. I couldn’t believe it. I started asking all kinds of questions. I found out that Weedlyn was actually three months old and that Linda had just arrived in Cap Haitian from the mountains to let her family see the baby. Linda was only 15 years old. Her father was coming into the city the next day and Linda had to get his permission before she could say for sure. I remember going to bed that night praying that this would be God’s will, and that little Weedlyn would be mine.

I find it amazing that things I once thought were so important I now couldn’t care less about. I just want to hold my son. My arms ache for him. My ears long to hear him. My heart seems to break a little more each day I go without him. People have told me that the pain never goes away, but that it will lessen. I pray they are right.

Day three I woke up around 5:00am and wondered if I should try to go back to sleep. I decided to go see Uriah instead. The NICU was quiet. I noticed a new baby had been brought in and was just across from Uriah. This new little guy was squirming and crying as the nurse cared for him. I looked at Uriah and wished he could squirm and cry. I could hear the respirator breathing for him. I noticed some changes in him. His “hiccups” were not as frequent or as strong. His little eyes were swollen. His left hand was clenched tight. His little arms and legs kept jerking and shaking as if he was cold. I did not like these changes because he seemed to be slipping further away from me. His nurse seemed to sense the pain I felt and tried to ease the pain. She talked of only positive things about Uriah. We discussed a book she was reading. We complained about the weather. We talked about everything but the inevitable.

Jesse and his mom arrived around 10:00am. The doctor had just started talking to me about what our options were. There weren’t many. It was more of a question of when. When were we going to choose to say good-bye to our son? I didn’t want to say good-bye. I begged God to let me keep him. The staff kept telling us about a private room they had just for saying good-bye. I didn’t want to go to that stupid room. I wanted to go to the “hello room.”

My parents arrived a little later and brought Phebe, our oldest daughter. She’s sixteen and we felt she needed to be a part of everything. At the last minute we decided that Abner, our 10-year-old son, should be there as well. My friend Loni was gracious enough to go pick him up for us. I also contacted my niece Lois who is a professional photographer to ask her to take some pictures of Uriah’s last hours. The pastor that counseled us before we were married and also performed our wedding ceremony came. We love Pastor Mead so much. In fact, Uriah’s middle name was partly for him. He told us that day that we needed to realize that we had done nothing wrong to cause this and that it was not our fault. He made reference to John 9 when the disciples asked Jesus who had sinned to make this man blind and Jesus answered, no one. I sure needed to hear that. He also told us that God loved us, and that God loved Uriah even more than we did. His words of love and compassion comforted us deeply. He hugged on us, cried with us, and prayed with us.

I had gotten pregnant with Uriah before we were married and I was sure I would somehow have to pay for that sin. Pastor Mead helped me realize months before that Uriah was not a mistake and that if I confessed my sin it was forgiven and paid for. It wasn’t until that day in his office, months earlier, that I allowed myself to love Uriah. It was also during this time that Jesse and I decided that we needed to rededicate our lives to the Lord and get back in church. We didn’t want to raise this baby outside of church. It was because of Uriah that we ended up back in church. This seems so ironic to me now.

Around 3pm Jesse’s mom, Jesse, Phebe, Abner and I went to the private room. The team of nurses brought him in. The respirator was still breathing for him. We sat on the couch not quite sure what to do. His nurse finally said we could hold him. I had Phebe sit in the chair and I placed Uriah in her arms. It was so bittersweet. I loved seeing her hold and love on her baby brother, but I hated knowing that it would be for such a short time.

Then it was Abner’s turn and I recalled him asking me about a week earlier if he could be the second or third person to hold Uriah after he was born. I had told him I would do my best. I never dreamt it would be a one-time event.

Grandma Olson held him next. Jesse and I just held each other and hurt for her. She was so strong. She smiled and had such sweet things to say about her grandson, but we knew the pain she must be feeling inside.

Finally Jesse was able to hold his son. I recall the look of anticipation on his face. I also remember the look of pain. He had his little boy and had to say good-bye to him way too soon.

Then Jesse handed our son to me. I will never forget how Uriah felt in my arms. He was heavier than I imagined. He fit perfectly in the crook of my arm. I kissed his soft little head and tried to soak in his smell, his softness, and his newness. I never wanted to let him go. He was perfect. He was beautiful. He would soon be gone.

Grief is quite mysterious. Why does it hit at the strangest times? I went to the doctor’s office today and it hit me. I had imagined bringing Uriah in and showing him off to the staff. All I had to show off today was my fat rolls. Tears…

Monday morning came with not much change. I waited for Jesse to get to the hospital before going to see Uriah. To be honest I can’t remember much from this day. Uriah had never quit having the “hiccups.” I asked the nurse that morning what they were. She said she had just asked the doctor that same question. He didn’t believe they were hiccups at all. Instead he thought them to be a spinal reflex of some sort. He thought that sometime the night before Uriah was born either the umbilical cord became twisted or the placenta started to pull away from the uterus causing Uriah to not get enough oxygen. Uriah then tried to breath and this is what caused the reflex.

The doctor that delivered Uriah came to see us that morning. He sat on the other side of Uriah’s bed and just stared at him and shook his head. He said, “Hannah, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and have never seen anything like this.” I immediately wondered if this was supposed to make me feel better or worse. I was so angry. I wondered then why it had to be Jesse and me that had to go through this? I knew we would be hearing people say that God wouldn't give us more than we could handle. I hate when people take that verse (I Corinthians 10:13) out of context. The verse is saying that we will not be tempted above what we are able to handle, and that God will make a way for us to escape the temptation. This was not a temptation, and yes many people said that to us. After the anger passed I started to ask God, and myself, “Why us?” Was it because we were strong enough to handle it? I don’t think so. Was it because we deserved it? I don’t believe that either. Was it because the devil wanted to prove to God that we weren’t serious about serving and loving Him? I’m leaning toward believing this. I then asked myself, “Why not us?” Why did I think myself so special that something like this couldn’t happen to us? Since starting this blog I have been amazed to find how many people have had to deal with infant death. What made us any different or better than them?

We waited half the day Monday to find out if they were going to do a second EEG on Uriah, and then the rest of the day to find out the results. We didn’t hear anything until early evening. The results were that nothing had changed. In my heart I had known that this is what they were going to tell us, but I sure had hoped for quite the opposite. I tried so hard not to cry. Jesse and I were standing there staring at our son and I just buried my head in his shoulder and cried. I realized then and there that I would never hear Uriah cry. I would never see him try to toddle through the house. I would never hear his giggle. I would never feel the warmth of his body next to mine. I wouldn’t be able to rock him to sleep or sleep with him on my chest. I wouldn’t get to stand up for him to his siblings for getting into their things. I would never see him on the basketball court, on stage, on the baseball field, or running over the hill to see his grandparents.

Jesse and his mom went back home that night with heavy hearts. I went to bed wondering if I really wanted to live. I talked with three different friends that night. They were all so loving and caring. They helped to lessen the pain as I fell asleep. Jesse and I had to decide within the next few hours what we were going to do. How does a parent decide to take their son off of a respirator? This is not a decision any parent should have to make.

I have to say, after reading in Job the last few days that I sure have much to be thankful for when it comes to my friends. The Lord has blessed me richly with good godly friends. I can't imagine for a second getting through the last couple of weeks without the Lord, family, and friends. They all love me and want to help!

I finally made it to my room and my friend Melissa was there. Looking back I don’t think I even greeted her. I sat on the bed and stared out the window and tried with all my might not to cry. It didn’t work. I didn’t want to make small talk, but I didn’t want to talk about what had happened either. My mom, who knows me inside out, could sense that Jesse and I needed some alone time so she and Melissa left for a bit. I remember Jesse holding me and we sat there and cried and cried. I told him I was so sorry he had chosen me to be his wife. I felt that if he hadn’t married me he wouldn’t be going through this pain. I also said, “Everything in my life falls apart Jesse!Nothing works out for me. All I’ve ever wanted is children and now I have one given to me and he gets torn away.” Jesse understood but wasn’t very pleased with what I had to say. He quickly informed me that I needed to stop thinking this way and that he never wanted me to regret us getting married. He was thankful for me. I couldn’t comprehend this. I felt like it was my entire fault. I was sure I had done something to cause this to happen. I told him I wasn’t going to go back to see Uriah…it was just too painful. He didn’t say anything.

Mom and Melissa returned and Loni arrived. She just hugged me and cried. We all sat and just talked. Loni kept turning the conversation back to Uriah. I finally told her that I wasn’t going to go back to see him. The room was quiet. Jesse had taken Melissa down to see the baby and Loni kept encouraging me to go see him. She explained that I may only have a few days or even hours with him and that I needed to make memories. I knew in my heart she was right but oh the pain.Melissa returned alone and I knew the man I loved was suffering alone with our baby so Loni loaded me in the wheelchair and took me to them.

At the entrance to the NICU room I saw my husband looking at his son. His first son. His first son that might soon be leaving him. The sadness on his face broke my heart.

I got out of the wheelchair and went and stood next to him. We just stared at Uriah. Words wouldn’t come. There was too much pain. I touched Uriah’s little arm. His little forearm had soft brown hair. I held his hand. I noticed that his nails needed to be cut. I rubbed his head. He had so much soft brown curly hair. The nurse again said it was ok to kiss him. I was torn. I wanted to kiss him terribly, but knew when I kissed him I would bond to him even more. Loni kept saying to make my memories. So I kissed him. He smelled different. He smelled like Uriah. He was soft.He was cold. The little blue mat under his body was doing its job in lowering his body temperature. Jesse then took his turn and kissed our son. I loved seeing father and son together if only through a kiss.

So much of the rest of the day runs together. My mother-in-law came, but I don’t remember when. I ordered dinner but don’t remember eating. My dad called but I don’t remember the conversation. Melissa and Loni went home. Jesse took his mom to our house for the night; he wanted to come back and spend the night with me but I insisted he stay home and get at least a little rest. I think I needed to be alone to try to process what was happening.

I struggled with the decision of pumping milk for Uriah. I asked his nurse what I should do. She just stared at me. I knew then that she didn’t think he would survive. There was another nurse standing near us and heard my question. She asked me if I had originally planned on nursing him and that if I had I should follow through with that plan. I was praying that God would heal him. I dreamt of taking him home and he being completely fine. I knew God could heal him, but didn’t know if that was part of God’s holy plan. So I decided that just in case it was I better have some milk on stand by. As I pumped the milk I imagined cradling little Uriah in my arms and feeling his weight in my arms and his mouth tugging at my breast. I couldn’t stop the tears.

That night the nurse came and gave me a sleeping pill. I fell asleep as the tears continued to flow and as my prayer continued that God would heal our little Uriah.

In December I thought I should try to come up with a great New Years Resolution. I decided I would start blogging. I have tried many times to keep a journal but never seem to follow through. My mother-in-law has a blog (Pausing to Consider) that I enjoy reading and it has been so encouraging to me. So I decided I would give it a go. January 1st and 2nd came and went with lots of excuses as to why I couldn't fit time for blogging into my schedule. There were Christmas decorations to take care of, I was 9 months pregnant, the kids hadn't gone back to school yet etc., etc.

Saturday January 2nd I stayed in bed almost the whole day. I was so depressed that I hadn't had the baby yet. I was due December 30th and I felt like I would be pregnant the rest of my life. My hubby and I went to bed around 11:00 never imagining what would happen the next day.

I woke up around 2:30 in the morning. I took notice that the baby had the hiccups. They weren't normal hiccups. He would hiccup three times in a row, pause and repeat. I thought this was strange and even considered calling the doctor, but felt silly calling for "strange hiccups." So I went back to sleep thinking his little hiccup episode would stop. I woke up again at 6:30 and the poor little guy still had the weird hiccups. So I decided I would call the hospital and see what they thought. They told me it was probably nothing to worry about but that I should probably call my doctor to see what he wanted me to do. So I called my OBGYN and he told me to go to the hospital to get monitored. I hung up and thought that maybe I wouldn't bother going in. After all, it was just the hiccups, besides the fact that the hospital was over an hour away. My husband was sleeping...well not just sleeping. He has narcolepsy and takes medications at night that make it next to impossible to wake him. So I decided to just wait. Five minutes later I started having contractions. There went the whole waiting plan.

By 8:00 we were on our way to the hospital. My mother joined us. I had asked her to be at this delivery as she had never seen a live birth. She has 10 children but the first four were C-sections and the last 6 were adopted. She was so excited to be a part of Uriah's beginning. We arrived to the hospital just after 9:00. My contractions were about two minutes apart. I had seen my doctor the week before and was dilated to 4 cm so I was praying I was at least at 6 cm by the time we arrived. My husband was trying to be a bit more realistic and was hoping for 5 cm. They hooked me up to the monitor and I asked the nurse if she could hear the hiccups I had been talking about. She smiled and said she could but she was sure it was nothing to be concerned with. She then checked me and I was dilated to 6 cm. We headed to a labor and delivery room. They had asked me if I wanted an epidural but I couldn't make my mind up. I really wanted one but was so worried about what other people might think. This is something I need to work on.

I have lupus and struggle with pain on a daily basis. I have always had a high tolerance for pain but the more pain I'm in the lower the tolerance seems to become. So I ended up getting the epidural. Praise the Lord my husband decided to go get my bag from the car when they came to place the epidural. For some unknown reason my body doesn't except local anesthetics. The doctor attempted to numb my back so he could insert the catheter but to no avail. I have never been in so much pain in my entire life. The tears just streamed down my face. My poor mother sat in the corner praying and crying. I have to admit that it was worth it. Once the epidural was in place there was no more pain whatsoever...what a blessing.

The baby’s (we named him Uriah) heart rate was a bit higher than normal so my doctor ordered an IV and oxygen. Neither one seemed to make any difference. The Doctor came in about 10:00 to check me and to break my water. I was dilated to 8 cm. When he broke the bag of water we realized Uriah had already had a bowel movement. He said that he would have the NICU nurses in the room to suction him as soon as he was born and that this was very common so not to worry. He said he would be back about 11:30 as I would be ready to deliver. He left and I asked the nurse how in the world did he know I would be ready to push by then. She explained that he had been doing this for over 30 years and she had yet to see him be wrong on this.

Sure enough he returned at 11:30 and I was fully dilated. They prepared the room and by 11:35 I started pushing. It was quite different from my last delivery. With my first son I had only pushed 3 times so I had anticipated that this time would be the same. It was not. I think it was because of the epidural and I just couldn't figure out quite how to push. I finally got the hang of it. Three NICU nurses arrived ready to suction Uriah when he was delivered. Once I had delivered his head my doctor suctioned him a little. I remember thinking I couldn't wait to have him placed on my chest. I couldn't wait to hear his first little cry. I couldn't wait to see how proud my husband would be to see his first son. I could hear the doctor telling me to push one last time. Uriah was born at 11:54 and handed directly to the nurses. I was so relieved that it was finally over, but was wondering why I didn't hear him crying. I looked at my doctor and he was waiting for the afterbirth. I looked at my nurse and she was busy cleaning. I looked at my mom and she was praying. I looked at my husband and saw concern. I looked at the nurses and they were performing CPR and trying to intubate the baby. Two of the nurses said to get the NICU doctor STAT. My nurse called and so did one of the NICU nurses. He was there in what seemed like seconds. He was able to intubate Uriah. He came to me and said they weren't sure what was going on but that they were going to take Uriah up to the NICU to see what they could figure out. My poor husband was torn. He wanted to stay with me, but knew someone should go with the baby. I begged him to go with Uriah as I had my mom to stay with me.

I kept asking my poor nurse every time she entered the room if she had heard anything. She just shook her head. An hour later my husband returned. He said they weren't sure at this point what happened but that it looked like Uriah had at some point not gotten enough oxygen and there appeared to be some brain damage. My nurse was about ready to take me to my room but instead she took me to my baby.

I was not prepared to see my son. He had so many wires and tubes I didn't know for sure if I could even touch him. His nurse reassured me that it was ok to touch him. I was so scared. They were in the middle of doing an EEG on his brain to see if there was any activity. The doctor explained that they were going to try to lower his body temperature to help preserve any good brain activity that may be left. I tried to grasp what everyone was telling me but nothing made any sense. The nurse patiently explained what all they were monitoring and what all the numbers meant on the screen. She then told me it was ok to kiss him. Up until that moment I had been nice and strong. All of a sudden it hit me. I couldn't kiss him. I just started sobbing. I ended up having the nurse take me to my room.

At this point I decided I wouldn't go back to see him. I just felt in my heart that there was no hope and that I couldn't stand to see him not respond to anything. The nurse had said that he was a very sick baby and the fact that he wasn't moving was a big concern. I recall picking up his little arm and letting it go and it just fell to his side.

I texted my friend who had a stillborn baby years ago. I knew she would understand what I was going through and that she would pray. I remember the text, “Loni they don't think he's going to make it. I want to die.” Her reply was, “I'm on my way.”