All things in Love, and for His Glory: A Testimony of Infant Loss and the Faithfulness of God

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Love and Glory. My baby girls in heaven. My baby girls in heaven. It still feels surreal to write that, say that, think that. I have 4 daughters. That statement has to sink in. This is the first time I have thought and articulated that fact. I have four daughters.

I just realized a dream I had may have been about my girls, not sure. This is very hard to write, but I am doing it for God, to testify of His goodness through the valley of the shadow of death. There will be random streams of thought littered in this testimony. The emotions are still so raw, it’s the only way I can get this on paper right now.

“Mom, I’m pregnant…” I blurted out over the phone. She was in the hospital at the time, and had a few more days to wait before undergoing heart surgery. Maybe I should not have called her, she was in the hospital. Perhaps that should have been an announcement for another time. But she was the first one I wanted to share the news with. After God and my husband, she was my greatest support.

“Oh, Reena, I am so proud of you.” Her voice and her words were comforting and reassuring. This would be my 6th child. Knowing she was happy and proud of me, made me feel confident in our decision to receive children when God sent them. I called my OB and set my first prenatal appointment after I got off of the phone with her.

My mother died April 1, 2019. I was around 6 weeks pregnant with baby Love. I grieved so hard, cried so hard, screamed so hard. My mommy. Over the weeks she was hospitalized before she passed away, I felt like she was being ripped away from me, and I could not stop it. During my other pregnancies, whenever I would get emotional about different things and call my mom crying, she would always tell me to try and calm down, that too much stress was not good for the baby.

Well, what was I supposed to do now? How was I supposed to stay calm now? The grief was so great, the stress was so great, the pain so loud yet there were no words to describe it. She had told me she was proud of me when I called and told her I was pregnant, just weeks earlier. Now, here I was, without her, trying to remember to stay calm, so as not to stress out the baby when my own mother who carried me in her womb, slipped away from me. Staying calm proved too difficult this time. I felt like someone had ripped my insides to shreds.

Months of grieving. Going through my pregnancy, dragging myself to prenatal appointments. Trying not to grieve too hard and stress my baby. Great sadness became even greater. I got a call from my midwife, saying they found some abnormalities with the baby and I needed to come in for an appointment with maternal fetal medicine.

“No, they are wrong. I am going to have this baby and everything is going to be fine” that was my first reaction after talking with my midwife. I wanted to carry myself and my baby through this on faith. Afterall, doctors have been wrong so many times about these things. So many times. This would just be another one of those times.

When I told my husband, he was not bothered by it either. We are people of faith.  At my appointment with the maternal fetal medicine doctor, he explained to me the extent of the problems with the baby. She had a condition called Tricime 18, which effects the 18th chromosome, causing multiple physical abnormalities which most babies cannot survive.

I made the unfortunate mistake of attending this appointment alone. Tears rushed to my eyes that I could not hold back. They shot out of my eyes before I could catch them. The doctor seemed taken aback at my response. He left the room to give me privacy as I continued to crumble. Searching for my phone I frantically called my husband, no answer, I called my Dad, no answer. All I wanted was to talk to my mom, to tell her what was happening. To tell her what they said about my baby.

I finally reached my husband on the phone, and I told him what the doctors were saying. I can’t remember everything that was said, but I wanted him to make it not true. Somehow, I wanted him to tell me something that would fix the baby. My heart was so desperate. I left the doctor’s office with tears streaming down my face, people stared at me, I was visibly distraught. My sister was watching my children downstairs in the hospital lobby area. I tried to pull myself together before I saw the children. But they knew something was wrong.  We got in the van to drive home. No longer able to contain my emotions I pulled over and cried in a Walgreens parking lot, with my sister and children in the car. My heart was breaking. At home I tried to walk in faith, I tried to speak words of resurrection over my baby, I tried to speak healing and life over my baby.

Despite our prayers, on July 25, 2019 I gave birth to a stillborn baby girl who was 24 weeks gestation. We named her Love Anna. The delivery was chaotic. I have a rare blood type and an even more rare antibody in my blood from a previous pregnancy. Before the planned delivery, the hospital wanted to have extra blood on hand in case of an emergency during the delivery. However, due to the rarity of my blood, the hospital was unable to locate any in time.

The doctors spoke to me of alternative plans and what they would do in case I started bleeding after the delivery. There was a risk of the placenta not detaching because of the early delivery. In that case, they would need to go in and surgically remove it. That procedure would also carry its own risks. Due to the baby being deceased inside my womb for so long, there was also risk of me contracting an infection.

However, due to prayer and God’s gentleness, our little girl Love was born in caul, the sac fully intact. There was no bleeding, there was no problem with placental detachment, there was no infection. God kept me safe in the hospital, and I am so grateful and thankful.

The days leading up to the delivery were hard days. Arranging child care for our five children so I could go give birth, going back and forth with the doctors on rather or not they could get the blood, changing hospitals, feeling sorrowful because I did not have the emotional support of my mother for the first time in my life.

It felt as if I was in a cloud of pain…sprinkled with rainbow raindrops.  The rainbow being the great way God protected me in my most vulnerable moment, the way people loved on and helped us as we went through this. The rainbow being the hope God offered us with the purpose He gave our deceased child. We had hope, in a dark and desperate situation. God gave us a rainbow of His Love.

Months earlier I dreamed that my mom video-called me. When I answered she was in a pediatricians office. She was holding a baby girl. The baby was only wearing a diaper as if she were being examined by the doctor. I vaguely remember holding a toddler as I watched the video call in the dream. I asked my mom who the baby belonged to. Then she hung up the video call abruptly. It was clear she did not want to tell me who the baby belonged to. Love Anna was born and buried in July 2019.

I became pregnant again in December 2019. How happy we were, how excited we were. The children were delighted, they had been devastated by Love’s death. When Love died, my girls talked and prayed about the new baby that would come. We thought those prayers were answered when I became pregnant five months after delivering Love.

However, the joy quickly turned to a battle when I started cramping and spotting at 5 weeks. In hopes of stopping my body from miscarrying the baby I used an herbal tincture called cramp bark that stops muscle spasms.  Wanting to do all I could to facilitate a healthy pregnancy, I had several ultrasounds over a 5-week period, the baby, placenta and sac seemed normal.

The spotting stopped around 10 or 11 weeks. All seemed to be going well after the spotting stopped, the baby had a strong heartbeat. During one ultrasound at around 12 weeks we actually saw her flipping and moving vigorously. A joyful sight after losing our daughter Love.

Our 16-week prenatal appointment was cancelled due to the plandemic and Covid-19. At 20 weeks I was scheduled to have an anatomy scan to determine the sex of the baby and check on organ development and growth.

As the time grew closer, I became more and more nervous. Thinking the nervousness, I felt was residual trauma from losing Love, I tried to brush it off and put on a brave face. Going into the ultrasound appointment I felt very uneasy.

When the ultra sound began the tech began to ask me if I experienced any illness or bleeding in the pregnancy. I told her I had mild spotting early on but it had subsided. Sternness in her face, avoiding eye contact with me she locked her eyes on the ultrasound screen. She said she needed to go get the doctor. It is not typical for a doctor to be brought into an ultra sound, that is a clear sign that something is very wrong.

The doctor came in and told me that my baby’s heart was not beating. He was very blunt and to the point.  In that moment there are no words. What can you say? He said it seemed as if the baby passed away some time ago.

Once again, I was at the appointment alone. “There is no heartbeat” each word burned like a scorching flame on my heart. The nurse and doctor crept out of the room, unable to comfort a weeping stranger.

The hopes of holding a sweet baby in my arms, the joy that flows when the baby is born, all the plans that danced in my head while looking forward to welcoming a new child. All that I had imagined, taken from me, and my arms left empty.

Calling my husband and mid wife on the phone, and just like when I got Love’s diagnosis, I wanted my husband to fix it, I wanted the mid-wife to fix it. But no one on earth could fix it this time either. I cried my heart out. I did not know if I was able to drive myself home, but I had no choice.

I had the van and my husband was at home with our five children. I had to drive myself home. Screaming in the van, crying to God that I am sorry, so sorry for anything I did that caused my baby’s sweet brief life to be taken away. I am so sorry.

The worst part, the worst part…my children were waiting at home anticipating my return so they could find out the gender of their new sibling. God helped me get myself together, after sitting in the parking garage for about half an hour I drove home. Face stained with tears, I pulled into the driveway and five beautiful faces appeared in the picture window in the house, waiting excitedly, watching me approach the door. My heart was in my feet. I felt unbearable shame, guilt, pain, I had to break their hearts again, for the third time in 12 months. My mother dying, Love dying, now this baby was also dead.

 Another induction for a stillborn. Again, no blood available to have on hand for me due to the rare antibody in my blood. Days for the induction process to take effect while the medical staff tried to find units of blood. There was no blood, the doctors came up with a back-up plan in-case my uterus started bleeding after delivery.

When I was finally admitted and labor had begun, I was lying in the hospital bed, journaling, and praying. I jotted down “God, somehow use this for your glory”. Contractions start and labor is progressing. I looked over at my husband Esosa and asked him what he wanted to name the baby. He said he was considering the name Glory. He did not know what I had written in my journal. It was confirmation, God was going to use this for His glory somehow.

When the baby was born that is when we found out the gender. It was a little girl. Our daughter, Glory Osai.

By God’s grace I delivered Glory safely, she was born in the amniotic sac, and there was no bleeding. My God is so faithful even in difficult circumstances.

The names of the girls we lost, Love Anna, and Glory Osai are a constant reminder to me what I should be doing. How grateful I am that my girl’s lives were not in vain, they have purpose. They remind me that I should be walking in Love, praying like Anna, and doing all things for the Glory of the Most High.

The smiles of my living children are much brighter to me, their laughter, silliness and just their presence, living, breathing presence, is something I no longer want to take for granted.

I have an assignment, to fight through the challenges that come with motherhood, to see the good and do it all with Love. Love is the principle thing. Doing all things in Love is what gives your work and sacrifices an eternal weight of Glory.

Women of God, if you are holding a living baby, count it a privilege. If you get to wake up at night with a living baby, count it a joy.

If you get to raise children, count it an honor. Children are a heritage of the Lord and the fruit womb a reward. Count it a joy.

Psalms 127:Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

James 1:My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

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