Year after year, my mind travels effortlessly back to the moment Simon was born. Simon had a diagnosis called Trisomy 13. Because of his diagnosis, we weren’t sure if he would be alive as we decided to forgo fetal heart monitoring during labor. We thought if he died before/during labor, it might be hard for me to continue to labor knowing his soul had been taken already. He was alive at birth, eyes wide open, arms and legs squirming. My OB placed Simon on my chest and all of the prayers from the previous five months had been graciously answered in that moment. He breathed! I shouted praises to God thanking Him for his mercy. It wasn't long after his birth that we finally heard his voice. It was heavenly (this video shares his sweet cries).
Following Simon’s birth, all we wanted was time with him. It was simple. We were doing our best in those moments of the unknown to claim joy and celebrate his life. Even if Simon wouldn't have breathed, our plan was the same. We wanted to study him, memorize him, bathe him, smell him, read to him, dedicate him to Christ, sing happy birthday to him, eat his birthday cake, have his big brother Teddy meet him, have his grandparents, aunts, uncles and close friends meet him. Simply show him love and hold his precious body. That’s what every family wants following the delivery of their baby. That sacred time of grace and glory. We became aware of Simon's challenges, surrounding his Trisomy 13 diagnosis, which is typically a life-limiting diagnosis, around 18 weeks gestation, so we had time to prepare for his birth. However, many families do not have time to prepare for end of life care for their newborn. Mothers go to the doctor for a regular pregnancy appointment or check into labor and delivery anticipating to deliver their baby and hear the words..."I'm sorry there is no heartbeat." I lead a bereaved mother support group called, You Made Me Mom. We have two active chapters, one that meets in Kansas City, MO and anohter in Milford, IN. With your support we have donated seven bereavement cradles to Kansas City Metro Area hospitals and one in Alabama. We would love to donate our first CuddleCotbereavement cradle in Indiana to Kosciusko Community Hospital in Warsaw, IN to serve the bereaved community as well as point women to our local chapter.
To donate and find more about exactly what purpose the CuddleCot bereavement cradle serves, CLICK HERE.
Due to COVID-19, You Made Me Mom support group is meeting virtually monthly. If you need support or know someone who needs support after losing a baby during pregnancy or infancy, please join us this month, Thursday, May 21 at 6:30pm Central Time. Click here to register for the meeting.
So what do I say now? What do I write? The hope of a new baby in our lives has been crushed. Yesterday, amidst signs that there were some irregularities happening with Amy's pregnancy, we set an ultrasound appointment. The signs of trouble came on quickly after the 6-month anniversary of Simon's birth. The baby likely went on to meet Simon about a week ago. I write today on the 6-month anniversary of Simon's death. As soon as the grainy black-and-white image of the baby came on the screen, I knew. Our baby's lifeless body was scrunched up and motionless - unlike Teddy and Simon who were always playfully moving each time we got a glimpse of them in the womb. Amy cried out in agony from the doctor's table. Pain was unleashed from the deep. Teddy was with us in the ultrasound room, and he looked at me with a concerned but sweet and playful look. His confused eye contact with me was something like I hadn't seen out of him before. He was somehow g
Today will be a sad day, and many more difficult days will follow. Last night, at 10:17 PM, Amy and I embraced one another, and Simon, as he left this world and was welcomed into Jesus' arms. The experience of ushering Simon into Paradise was holy and beautiful. An amazing song shuffled into our playlist as we watched Simon depart from us: " Tribute/ Agnus Dei ." I now hear a collective groan as we all morn the loss of an amazing, gorgeous and powerful life here on earth. And the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf. "...The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." (Romans 8:26) As I write this, rain falls here in Kansas City, appropriately, as so many tears will fall from our faces today. Simon's story is one of victory. He beat the odds of his diagnosis and held on for exactly 7 days. He gave us joy and he filled our home with his
Job 1:21 (ESV) And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” On Sunday, November 23 at 12:30am, I delivered a small three inch little boy weighing just a couple ounces. His frame was perfect. He had ten fingers and ten toes. We could even tell by sight he was in fact a little boy. Everything was simply miraculous about him. This tiny babe took my breath away - I was his mommy. I am burdened with the fact that I delivered and met him all too soon. However, I am thankful God allowed me to birth his body perfectly which allowed for us to place our eyes on him for the first and last time. We named this child, our third boy, Thomas Job Balentine. (Job is pronounced with a long "o.") These past two weeks have been some of the most trying weeks of my life. My faith has wavered like never before. I have tried to bring it all to