Tuesday, January 31, 2012


He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. -2 Corinthians 1:4
If the phone call on Friday was hard, this was impossible. It’s never easy to walk into someone else’s pain and grief and live there for an undetermined amount of time. It’s harder still when you love that person so much that you are actually sharing in their pain and grief.
“They tried to turn her manually, but she flipped back around.” Those are the words I remember
first when Shaun and I arrived at the hospital Christmas day.
I looked at Linda and Chrissy and smiled sadly. “She wouldn’t be a Thompson or a Stokes if she didn’t fight to the end.”
That short conversation was a bright spot in our devastating day. The doctors said that it could take through the following afternoon for her to deliver our sweet, stillborn, Gwen. I prayed that wouldn’t happen. I prayed that it would be quick and easy for Chrissy; she’d been through enough over the last few days.
Shaun and I went to dinner feeling guilty that we weren’t with our children on Christmas. But this wasn’t about us. We were following that nudge from God that THIS was exactly where we were supposed to be today. In the car, I thought back over all the prayers God had answered for us and all the people he’d brought into our lives already. I had this bad feeling that this would end exactly as the doctors said it would-with Gwen no longer alive. I WANTED a Christmas miracle and I knew only God could give that to me.
When we got back to the hospital, I met a wonderful nurse who told me she’d been down the road I was currently traveling. 7 years earlier, she’d had her own stillborn son. When I asked her why she was helping in a stillbirth now, she said “it gives meaning to what I went through.”
I left that conversation crying but knowing that I’d met Jesus in her. She was a living, breathing
example of 2 Corinthians 1:4. And God knew I needed her there.
When she told us later that we would have an opportunity not only to spend time with Gwen after the birth but to have pictures taken, I knew immediately that we needed to do it. Another nudge. This was a strong one.
I asked my Jesus nurse if she would be there for the birth and she told me that she would have to go at 7am when her shift was over. She had Christmas plans with her own family that would take her out of state. I understood that.
“We’ll pray that it happens before 7am then,” I said. She nodded and agreed to do the same.
Real labor started around midnight. Shaun and I could hear Chrissy from our room next door where we were trying (rather unsuccessfully) to get some sleep. I felt sick and knew I couldn’t just lay there while she was in pain and alone. I went next door and held her hand. We breathed together through the contractions.
When Linda returned, Chrissy agreed to an epidural. I had to leave while they put it in. I stood in the hallway and begged God for the miracle I desperately wanted- for Gwen to be born alive. But part of me knew even then that I wouldn’t get the answer I wanted.
At 3:15am, with Linda, Shaun, and me by Chrissy’s side, God answered yet another of my many prayers. Gwen was born and my Jesus nurse was still there to see it. But the one that I really wanted answered was given a resounding “no.” Gwen was stillborn.
As Gwen was ushered out of the room, my heart was torn in two. The mommy in me wanted to follow my daughter into the next room immediately, but my call to love this family held me in the room checking on Chrissy to be sure she was okay.
When I was sure she’d be okay without us for a while, I went next door both to meet and say goodbye to my sweet angel, Gwen. The hours we spent with her are so bittersweet and irreplaceable. I’m thankful we had that chance, that time with her…

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