Triumph

After laying Sam to rest in Texas, we flew home to Colorado today. It’s strange to return in such a physically similar state to 7 months ago. My tummy is smaller. My energy level is higher. No dancing, kicking Sam in my belly… oh, I miss him. It’s strange to be slowly snapping back physically, because my soul is radically and permanently changed. Just because Sam lived.

On the plane, the man next to me and I managed small talk for a few minutes before he asked if I had any children. “No,” I began to answer, but it felt like forgetting Sam, which is my biggest fear in all of this. So, instead I said, “I had a son, Sam. He had a chromosomal abnormality and passed away recently. He was a sweet baby.” The man was kind, and asked questions about him, and it felt a little like healing to me. One more person knows about my Sam.

The day Sam passed away, Steven and I had the privilege of knowing the hours in which Sam was saying goodbye. His heart rate slowed down, a gentle falling asleep. Steven read to him. We talked to him, told him how proud we were of how long he’d stayed with us. I wondered if he’d like to have blackberries with me (one of our favorites), but I knew he just wasn’t hungry anymore. I went to sleep, hoping he would fall asleep with me, and I think that is when he left us. He passed effortlessly from the warm safety of my womb to the safety of Jesus’ arms. I wept harder than I’ve wept since we learned our time with Sam would be short. Steven and I debated over his middle name–it’s meaning, “God is good,” was too heavy to fathom. The months leading up to those moments, I had prayed that I would be ready to give Sam his middle name when it was time, but I’m bad at faking spiritual strength. And, at the time, naming him Samuel Evan seemed like the fakest sentiment ever. We decided on a different middle name with a different meaning before I began to labor.

Labor pains are a curse, so it’s truly a miracle that I can call my labor with Sam beautiful. But it was. We wondered what color Sam’s hair was. We wondered if we’d be able to tell whose nose he had… whose ears… whose feet… Giving birth to Sam was the dreaded moment, the severing of my connection to him, but that beautiful labor was filled with anticipation. This soul I had sensed and listened to for months, I would finally see him–the source of all the movement and dancing!

When Sam finally emerged, I was out of breath physically, but I also felt out of breath spiritually. It felt like I had run a marathon and crossed the finish line with Sam, and I rejoiced over him. This broken pregnancy seems to have ended prematurely, evidence of the brokenness of the world, but I felt like something big was finished. It felt so far from premature and broken. Sam had gotten every heartbeat allotted for him, and so many of his brothers and sisters of the Church had carried him in prayer. His life was lived beautifully. Though short, it was complete. Though he was tiny, Sam’s impact was monumental. His life was a beautiful triumph, and Steven and I are so honored to have been part of it.

There are so many details about Sam that I studied after he was born, and I hold them in my heart. The one detail about him that confirmed everything I suspected was his hands. When I saw his hands, I knew that I was (and still am) Sam’s mama.

The doctor told me Sam had one clinched fist, and on the other hand, his pinky and ring fingers were fused. I saw what they were looking at on the ultrasound, heard all of the anomalies, and doubted nothing but that assessment about his hands. They were missing something, my heart told me. I told myself that he could still play pattycake with fused fingers, that it wasn’t such a dire assessment as I was reacting, but my heart persisted. I felt like I needed to pay special attention to his hands. I knew… I knew… I knew… his hands were perfect. When he was born, and they laid him on my chest, the first thing I did was to find his hands and splay out his precious little fingers–the nurses even got a picture of me doing this. His hands were perfect. I knew him, I thought. They were wrong. I knew him. Everything I had suspected about Samuel was true, hidden away from sight, but true. I turned to Steven and asked, “What should we name him?” Steven answered, “Evan. I think his name is Evan.” I agreed and wept my reply, “Look at him. He’s beautiful! Evan. God is good. Evan.”

We loved our little boy, our son Samuel Evan. We longed to raise him, and we asked God for this. I feared this outcome as I asked, anticipating the crushing of my faith. I still don’t know why God said “no,” but He did. I do know that asking for such extravagance was no mistake, even though I am disappointed. I don’t regret asking, because requesting such extravagance was what I needed to do to love Sam. We hoped for everything for Sam, because that’s what good mothers and fathers do for their children.

Now I wait for God to heal my broken heart.

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8 thoughts on “Triumph

  1. Love you Megan. Praying for continued healing. I feel like I know Sammy too – thanks for your transparency.

  2. love you megan. thank you for sharing this, thank you for sharing tthe beautiful story of Samuel’s birth, his life truly had an impact. I continue to pray for you and your family and the road of healing ahead. lots of love and hugs to you all.

  3. Oh Megan, thank you beyond words for allowing us to remain on the journey with you. There are more people who ‘know’ Sam than you will ever know. And that will continue. We are here.
    Love,
    Sallie and Ken

  4. How to put into words my experience of walking with you through these past weeks. Megan you do this so well. I don’t think I can. I do know that it changed my life, the way I pray – my faith and hope increased in unexpected ways. I am humbled to have been able to have met Sam. Perhaps it sounds odd, but it is as if I’d seen him, kissed his head, touched his fingers, played with him. So I miss him too. I love how you shared with the man on the airplane. My faith is great in knowing God will mend your broken hearts. I love you both, very much…Hailey too. Sandi

  5. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    Our hearts were with you and Steven, and you have made us see our Sam. I’m sure he is beautiful,my 5th great grandchild. We will see him and know him, and he’ll know his Gigi & Papa J.

    We love you both and you are still covered in prayer.

  6. Megan, I have followed your story since a friend, who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, posted your link on her blog. Your faith amazes me and your grief moves me to tears. Thank you for sharing your journey, and allowing us to know sweet, sweet Sam, who is now in God’s tender arms. I will continue to pray for you and your husband, and I know that over time God will ease the pain of your broken heart and grant you wonderful memories of your time with Sam. God bless you.

  7. Hello,

    I saw that you left a comment on my blog Waiting for Morning. You found me through Jen’s blog. I am Aubrey and Ellie’s mom.

    I read your posts today so that I could meet your Sam and also come over here and tell you how sorry I am for your loss. And so recent. These are the hardest days. I promise you that the pain changes, but it takes a while, so be patient with yourself and just grieve on your terms. Your healing journey has just begun and, although I wish it was different, will be a long one. I speak from experience.

    I am here if you need a friend. I am very familiar with real grief and understand deeply all the pain, questions, and anger of losing a child. I also have a very real Christian faith but know that faith is not the magic cure for grief. Lovng God does not make these things hurt less. God is faithful, but it doesn’t always feel that way, and not everyone understands that unfortunately. We have to support each other, those of us who have said goodbye to our little ones. Only we truly understand each other and just how much it hurts.

    My email is rachelmcrawford@gmail.com. Email anytime.

    -Rachel

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