Monday, November 8, 2010

Sarah's Story

Many have asked "What happened?" concerning Sarah. Wanting to know the cause of her death. Wanting to know what happened that night.

 At some point in time when she was in my womb, she inhaled a lot of meconium, which is a thick tarry substance. When a baby is in the womb, they are breathing liquid, so it wouldn't have mattered. However, once she was born and needed oxygen, there was no way for that to happen.
The medical term I believe is Fetal Asphyxia. It occurs in about 2 out of every 1,000 live births.
We of course had no idea of these things until the autopsy was done Monday morning. It revealed that her little lungs were COMPLETELY filled. Even immediate intervention would not have been able to help.

When Sarah was born, she didn't seem like she was in distress. She had a VERY strong heartbeat all through labor and delivery. The only strange thing was that she wasn't crying like babies are supposed to cry when they are born. She cried a little bit, but mostly she was very quiet.

My midwife told us right away, however that we needed to pray for our little baby because she seemed to have some "lung congestion"
Now for us, we had experienced that before when our first son, Josiah was born. He was clearly in distress, struggling to breathe. My midwife had been on the phone with a Dr and had suctioned out a lot of the liquid from his nose and mouth. We cared for him through the night and took him to see a Dr in the morning. He was FINE, so we weren't really worried here. We were giving Sarah the same tender care.

After we gave her a warm bath, she suckled just a little bit, that was a good sign. We had both had a very long day. The labor was just slightly over 12 hours, which I didn't think was quite fair being the 6th child. But, as many of you know, life isn't always fair. Sarah seemed to be fine though, just not very warm. We kept her skin next to my skin and wrapped us both in a big cozy blanket.

A couple of hours after she was born, my midwife got called to another birth in Ashland, this was around midnight. So she went in the other room to take a little nap before heading off. I needed to get things taken care of after her birth, so I went in to take a bath. We wrapped Sarah up in a little blanket and handed her to my oldest daughter Cosette who rocked her and sang "Come thou Fount of every Blessing," One of my favorite hymns.
While she was singing, Sarah began to cry, which was a good sign, so we thought. My midwife came in and checked her and said that she seemed to be doing well, but suggested that we keep her warm through the night and take her in to see a Dr in the morning.

After she left, we brought Sarah in the tub with me to warm her up and see if she would nurse. While in there she seemed to start having trouble breathing. My husband called a Dr from Akron. Being after midnight we had to wait a short while for him to call us back. In the meantime, my husband came in and helped us both out of the tub and dressed Sarah in her little white t-shirt, and wrapped her in the same little blanket. He then handed her to my other daughter Madeline to rock her while I was getting dressed. I was so thankful that both girls got to hold their little sister before she left us.

In the meantime the Dr had called us back and suggested that we call a squad to come and take her to the nearest hospital. That way they could give her oxygen right away.
I was now holding Sarah as Dean called the squad, which is  less than 2 miles from our home.
As I was holding her, I heard the sirens of the ambulance coming and thought,,,,she's going to be OK, someone is coming to help.

I then realized that I really couldn't tell if she was breathing. I said to my husband,,,"I can't tell,, I can't tell,,," I couldn't even say the words. I couldn't breathe.
I put my ear down to her mouth to listen for her soft breath, there was nothing,,so I put my ear to her little chest and heard the last two beats of her heart.
How can something so small sound like thunder? Think of the biggest, loudest, thickest, metal doors slamming shut, first one and then the other,,,forever,,, and there is nothing you can do to open them. That noise still echoes in my soul.

The voice on the phone began to give my husband and I directions on infant CPR. I can't describe that to you.

An EMT came into our home and into our bedroom and quickly took her out to the waiting ambulance.
My husband followed them, I have no idea what I said to my daughters as I left them to care for their sleeping brothers alone in the night. I remember running through the yard to the back of the ambulance. I can't tell you how tiny her little body looked surrounded by all those people. Never in my life have I felt so helpless. Never in my life have I so desperately cried out to the Lord from so deep within my soul. Only 7 words would come,, "Oh God, Please Don't let her die"

We arrived at the hospital. They worked on her for maybe an hour. By this time I had lost all track of time. They were never able to revive her.
They wrapped her in a little blanket and handed her to me. I  was able to hold her all through the night. I baptized her with my tears.

A million thoughts were going through my mind. Was God punishing me? Every sin that I ever committed was flashing through my brain,,all I could think was "I'm so sorry"   I am reminded in my spirit that the Devil is the one that is the accuser of the brethren day and night (Revelation 12:10) He was working overtime that night and in the days to come.  His job is to Steal, and to Kill and to Destroy. (John 10:10) He is filled with cruel hatred for every soul that lives. He wanted to use this in every way he could to make us hate God and to doubt God's love for us and ultimately turn us away from God. However,, we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Cor 2:11)

What has God done for us? Who knows better than he what it is like to lose a child? I believe the only thing worse than losing a child is to watch someone beat and murder your child. Didn't he endure that too? WHY? Because of his GREAT love for each and every one of us. So that each of us could have redemption and be made right with God. Who else on this earth would give their life for your ransom?
(We all sin and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23) Every sin that I have committed and WILL commit has been nailed to the cross. I am fully forgiven. How can I not give myself completely to him? I want to please him in all that I do. I love him because he first loved me. (1 John 4:19)
My hope and trust is in Jesus, the one who freely gave his life for me. I know that one day I will hold Sarah in heaven because I have put my trust in Him. I also know that I am and will be held by Jesus himself all of my days and forever in all of eternity.
Praise the Lord Oh my soul and all that is within me bless his Holy Name.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story Erica. Much love to you all... I was thinking about Sarah on Friday morning <3

  2. Oh my...tears are streaming down my face, with a mother's heart, feelings, emtions of such pain and sorrow for you, that only a mother can understand! I have never commented before reading this because I didnt have any words to say...I cant even begin to imagine the pain in your heart...but I am so blessed to hear you write, that it is truly the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy...and PTL you WILL see and hold her again for all of eternity, watching her grow into a Glorious Princess of the King of Kings! you are a precious saint, and woman of God...and I am honored to know you! I love you sister in Christ! I mourn with you, and rejoice with you in the Victory over death, through Christ! He is our Redeemer! hugs! Tammy Gaul

  3. I can relate to the tears streaming down your face. If ever a mother can relate this would be the time. My dear sweet cousin I wish you God's speed in healing your heart and that all the joy that came from Sarah can be shown thoughout the world as a beakon of HOPE! Love Deborah

  4. Real, painful, truthful beautifully written...thank you for sharing this deep place with us....God is already using it. Continual prayers for your healing and you so much! So thankful the enemy is not being allowed to condemn and that God is revealing Himself to you...

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Erica. Praying for you.... (By the way, this is Chris Dawson. I know you wouldn't know that by my name on here.) :)

  6. Oh, Erica....thank you for sharing your heart. What a testimony of God's grace.I continue to pray for you and weep with you.
    Much love to you.