Kodey’s 10th birthday 1/28/2015
by Jenny and Sherman
The end of May 2004, our family’s life changed drastically when we purchased a herd of dairy cows. At that time for a few weeks, I was not feeling well. I thought I was stressed with this new way of life and I would get better soon. I soon discovered that we were expecting a baby. What a shock! Why right now? God works in miraculous ways! Why not another blessing to add to our family? We were happy and sad all at the same time. The thought of another baby took some getting used to, especially since Katey was only a year old and I just gave away all of our baby clothes.
Oh, the thought of being pregnant again – I hate being pregnant! Even worse, the thought of going through labor again. I cried because I was so scared to have to do it all again. Another issue that I had to deal with was the fact that I had miscarried several times before having Katey and I needed progesterone in order to not miscarry again. I needed to see the doctor asap. We struggled back and forth with the thought of having another baby but we knew we needed to accept it because it was going to happen.
Once I heard the heartbeat for the first time, I was so excited and overwhelmed with joy to be helping God with another miracle.
My pregnancy went well and then our family experienced the most heart-wrenching loss that we hope to ever endure. A couple weeks before my due date, I realized that I hadn’t felt the baby move for some time. After calling my midwife, I made a very fearful trip to the hospital. The nurse in labor and delivery tried to find a heartbeat. She searched for a few minutes and then said “I will be right back.” My midwife then appeared and ran an ultrasound on me. While looking at the screen, I could tell that there was no movement. She looked at me with hurt in her eyes and shared her heartache with me when she explained that she was unable to find any movement. She took me to the hospital’s ultrasound tech to confirm that there was no life. I honestly can’t remember what really took place after my midwife told me there was no heartbeat. The hardest thing I had to do was call Sherm and tell him over the phone. We both cried and he came as soon as he could.
In the process of figuring out what would happen next, my midwife said we could wait until my body was ready to birth the baby or I could be induced today. Today! I am not ready to have this baby today! Sherm had called in help for the day to do our barn work but I couldn’t do this today. I needed time to take this all in. We decided to wait until the next day, Friday, the 28th of January.
We had so many emotions and questions. How is this baby going to be born? What will happen when he is born? What will he look like? What about a funeral? Will we get to see him, hold him, or can the kids be a part of this? What did I do to hurt my baby? Sherm assured me- it was not my fault. God’s plans are not ours.
We were truly blessed to have waited the extra day because we were able to talk with a neighbor who had lost a baby in a similar way. Some of our questions got answered. We were encouraged by others who visited us that night and help us deal with the pain.
After a long restless and sleepless night of worry and being nervous, we prepared for our day of not knowing what was going to happen. Sherm prayed that we could be strong, that all would go well and that we would have strength to get thru labor and whatever would follow.
I was induced around 8am and at 1:43pm, our baby boy was born silently. Kodey was the splitting image of Korey and Katey. How could a baby so perfectly made by God, with nothing visibly wrong, be born dead? Sherm did very well until he saw no life in our baby. Why us? There were many tears.
We had an awesome bereavement nurse who was with us from the beginning of labor until the birth. She supported us, answered our questions, and took photos for us. She shared with us in our loss. I mention this because there was no other support group.
We were able to cherish Kodey as long as we wanted. Our other two children were able to see him and hold him. Korey was very sad. Korey was hoping the baby would be born on his sixth birthday. He was looking forward to having a brother to play football with. Poor Katey, at the age of one and half, was distraught because she couldn’t be with her mom. She wasn’t able to understand what was happening (at least, that is what we thought).
A few hours went by and we decided we could let go of his body. Sherm went to tell the nurse. I put him in the basket that the nurses used to carry stillborn babies in and she took him away. It was so hard to let go but when we did we were filled with peace. It was a peace only from Jesus. We knew he was safe in heaven and well taken care of. We knew one day we would be reunited again. Life on earth is hard and he was able to miss all that and go straight into Jesus’ arms forever. Thank you God for the time we had with him. Some days, I long to feel that peace again.
In the hospital, the morning after, I was awaken by a lab tech who needed to draw blood. She was very chipper for 5 am and wanted to know if I had a boy or a girl. I believe she had no idea that there was a bereavement sign hanging on the outside of my door. I told her a boy and she congratulated me. Now that I was awake I went to see the babies in the nursery and decided I needed to search God’s Word to help me thru my first day without my baby. Of course, I never thought to pack my Bible so I was so thankful for the Gideon’s for placing a Bible in my room.
It was so hard, and still is, to understand why God would bless us with a child at this time in our life only to lose him before we knew him. There are no words to describe the feeling of what we went thru. Only others who have a loss like ours know the feeling. I was expecting a baby. I just had a baby so why am I leaving the hospital with empty arms?
We received a lot of support after we got home. We had so many people bless us with help on the farm, at home and with our children. We received encouraging words, hugs, food, money and time. The thing that most stands out to me is the two young families, both expecting their first baby, were there with us and supported us more than I thought they could possibly do. It must have been so hard to be with us and not think about it happening to them. God blessed us with many people who shared their love and compassion and most importantly their prayers.
I stated earlier that we didn’t think Katey knew what was happening so I was surprised when she would continually bring me her baby doll to hold and take care of. She would lay her doll on my lap and leave it with me while she went to play with something else. She understood more than we know.
Ten years ago on February 1, 2005, in a little white box, we laid Kodey’s body in a grave. Our minds were put at ease picturing Jesus holding our little one in His arms. In times of trial and suffering, we must put our trust in God to help us grow stronger and make our relationship with Jesus closer. We asked our Pastor to share from Romans 8:28 at the service. “And we know that in all things, God works together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” He shared from another source that for the Christian there is no such thing as a tragedy because ultimately any painful time will become a blessing from God.
I also want to share an acceptance of Christ because of our witness during Kodey’s funeral. We had decided to only have immediate family at the service, which would include us, our parents, siblings and their children. My parents had already told my grandparents about the service so we let it go and thought this would be a great opportunity to share our life in Christ. My grandfather was very sick with cancer. He was not able to leave home more than necessary but he was determine to come to the service. On his way home, he mentioned to my dad that he was glad to hear what I shared during the service. He was glad he could make it. Five months later, he passed away after receiving Christ as his savior. Praise God! I was excited to know that my testimony of Christ’s working in my life and our attitude during our loss was shared with my family and may have contributed to planting a seed.
God provides us with comfort and healing thru our sorrow and loss when we need it. There are still rough days and struggles of what would this little guy be like, what would he look like, how much fun to have another one of us to love. I am reminded of these things every once in a while when I look at other boys who are his age or looking thru photos of Korey at that age. One of the biggest reminders we have is that of a family who attended the same church as us at the time. They had a baby boy that same day in the same hospital. I am taken back to the birth and loss when I see this little guy and think that he was given life the same day our son was taken to Heaven. God gives my heart joy when he reminds me that Kodey is my family in Heaven.
Out of all this, we have been able to witness of God’s love. We have been able to minister to other families with the same loss. We have talked with others, sent cards when we see an infant’s obituary, and provided helpful books to support others during their time of sorrow. More recently, we were able to help with The Smallest Gift’s fundraiser at our church. It was an awesome privilege to share in this event that has and will reach many families with support and encouragement. It opened my heart up to help with my grief that has been pent up for 10 years. We were given a heart and blanket as a gift from The Smallest Gift organization, which is one of the ways they help hurting families. We were blessed to get to know people who have lost a precious child just like we did.
Because we believe Jesus died for us and we trust Him as our Lord and Savior, we have a wonderful hope, which only God can offer, knowing that we can one day hold our Kodey in heaven forever.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 16-17
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going…. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever!
Five years later, God blessed us with Koltlyn! It was a very mentally stressful pregnancy but God is good! He gives us our heart’s desires.