A year ago today, I lay alone in a hospital bed after our family said hello and goodbye to our son, Henry. It was the day after Memorial Day. I had gone to bed on Memorial Day with concern that I hadn’t felt much fetal movement that day.
I woke up still not feeling movement. We took Steve to work and Jane to school (her last week of first grade!) and Abby and I got a car wash. I called my ob-gyn, who was in a clinic, and the nurse told me to head to labor and delivery just to check on things, even though I had an appointment and ultrasound scheduled for the next day. I was 34 weeks along. I emailed Steve to let him know, and he said we should pick him up so he could come and help with Abby at the hospital.
We arrived a little before noon at Orem Community Hospital and, after checking in, I was taken back to an observation room. The nurse tried to find a heartbeat with one machine, then another, and then another, and then I asked to have Steve brought in while she went to get another nurse. Steve was able to quickly give me a priesthood blessing before one of my ob-gyn’s associates came in to try to find a heartbeat, and we were then told that Henry had passed away in the womb. I burst into tears and can remember apologizing profusely. I will forever be grateful that Steve was there with me to receive the news, to administer a blessing and hold me, and lovingly talk with me.
Henry’s delivery was too sacred to try to articulate here, and I am weeping at the thought of it, but I want to rewind to another sweet, sacred moment: almost ten years ago Steve and I knelt at an altar in a beautiful temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and by priesthood power, were sealed together for time and all eternity. Because of that happy day, Henry’s birthday will always be a happy day for our family. Of course, I will cry and feel a longing in my heart, as often comes to me, sometimes spontaneously and surprisingly. But just beyond that pain lies pure, eternal love and hope that has been, and will always be, our God’s gift to me for Henry’s birthday.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-9
A few weeks before this all happened, I was in charge of a ward activity that was an abbreviated Passover meal and ceremony, focused on the Savior. The part which touched me the most, taught so lovingly by Sister Burgon, was the Dayenu song. This portion of the Passover is about being grateful to God for all the things he did for the Jewish people, and if He had only given one of these gifts, “it would have been enough for us.” I thought upon this song, so fresh in my mind, many times as I was on that hospital bed a year ago tonight. The outpouring of love from God through people around me–family, friends, ward members, doctors and nurses, strangers, acquaintances–was beyond what I was capable of processing. My cup ran over, and over, and over. Today I remember that hallowed experience with tenderness and gratitude.
Happy birthday, my dear, sweet son. Your mother loves you.