The Gift of Life

There are pains I can’t imagine.  Sometimes my thoughts wander that direction.  Sometimes I question myself.  Would I be strong?  Could I endure?  Is my faith secure?

One such pain is that of losing a baby.  I remember the emptiness I experienced when we miscarried our second baby.  We had tried for eight months, and after seven weeks of pregnancy, we miscarried.  I had this sense of failure, of guilt and responsibility.  Brandon and I had anticipated having that baby before we even had a confirmed test.  We grieved the life we would never know, the baby we would never hold, the little cry we would never hear.  It was a loss that changed me.  It was a loss that gave me a glimpse to a pain I can’t imagine, carrying a baby, delivering and burying such a small body.

It grips my heart to know and see families endure this pain.  Last week I had the privilege of sharing a time of remembrance and reflection with families who have suffered the loss of their baby.  Each year the labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care unit staff at Saint Francis Hospital holds a service in memory of our babies lost.   I was honored to share the closing at our eighteenth annual Angel Tree Memorial Service.  I sought the Lord for words of hope, comfort and peace.  He was faithful to provide, but it was the time during the service when the families shared their stories that testified to the hope, comfort, peace, strength, endurance and faith only one who has walked that road can share.

A few days before the service, I read an insert in the Tulsa World featuring Life Share Oklahoma stories.  The front story was “Pistol Annie,” written by her mother, Abbey Ahern.  This family had remarkable faith and bravery.  Their precious baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, and they made a decision to give life through her precious life.  Their baby girl passed away 14 hours and 58 minutes after her birth, and became the first newborn infant organ donor in the state of Oklahoma.  Abbey shares their journey through her blog, Tomorrow Will Be Kinder.  There she quotes, Angie Smith, “I gave my deepest hurt to the Father who wanted nothing less than every bit of it.”

It is true that a mother carries her children in her heart forever; however short a time they are given.  Selah sings a song in memory of member Todd Smith’s baby titled, “Audrey’s Song.”  The lyrics reflect the faith and assurance these families display.

“I will carry you.

While your heart beats here

Long beyond the empty cradle

Through the coming years

I will carry you

All my life

And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me

To carry you”

Personally, I know how great of an impact these babies make from the moment they enter our world.  Each staff member who steps in to provide care is touched by that life, and we are deeply grateful to the families who allow us to share those moments with them.

As we enter this Christmas season, and scurry around finding the perfect gift, let us reflect on the One who came to give us the most perfect gift.  Life.  His gift is eternal and His gift gives us the peace to know that one day these families will be reunited where there will be no more pain, or sorrow, or suffering; only life; never ending.

visit www.lifeshareregistry.com to register to be a donor

Audrey’s Song:  (Angie Smith shares their story on her blog at angiesmithonline.com)

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2 thoughts on “The Gift of Life

  1. I, too, read that article. I also have a friend here in Wagoner that just experienced the exact same thing only a few months ago. Precious, tiny angels.

  2. Thank you for this…. My baby girl was born still 2 years this August and my heart still aches every day. I’ll never forget the moment i had to walk into our church and ask Pastor Steve to bury our baby.. With so many emotions it took everything i had. For a moment i turned around and closed my eyes wishing it was all a dream. It’s been very hard for me to move on because we were so excited to have her and be able to give our other little girl a sibling. I think about her every single day… I sometimes get lost in my own thoughts picturing what life with her would be like…. Every time Paisley talks about wanting a baby brother or sister my heart hurts. A lot of the times I don’t even know what to say back…. oh how life has changed so much since we lost her… How much myself as a person changed, how much my marriage changed…
    The emptiness that still pains me. We played “I will carry you” at her funeral because it was the only thing that gave me a little sensation of peace. I don’t remember much about her funeral.. everything was such a blur i just rocked back and forth during the grave side service holding her blanky.
    You mentioned the St. Francis babies. We delivered at St. John but the St. Francis babies are laid to rest not too far from my baby girl at Floral Haven. I laid some flowers there a while back.
    God bless you for doing what you do… I would give anything to be able to work in the NICU with those babies. I’ll never forget the nurse who took care of our Gracey. She was amazing, gentletc and had a huge heart for those babies born with wings.
    Again, God Bless you…

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