Steven and I decided on a name for a boy when I was 12 weeks pregnant. We were in bed, lights out, drifting off to sleep when we came up with the name. We agreed so easily, I wondered if we had decided too quickly. We chose the name Samuel because we liked it. We chose the name Evan for a family name. The next morning, I looked up the meaning. Samuel means “God has heard.” Evan has several meanings, but the Welsh meaning stood out to me: “God is good.”
At our 20 week ultrasound, we saw that Sam had several lethal anomalies. The doctors talked about Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18, but we later learned that what Sam had was much more rare. He had a chromosomal abnormality called Triploidy. When talking about chromosomal abnormalities, most people think of Down’s Syndrome, which is Trisomy 21 (an extra 21st chromosome). Sam had an extra copy of every single chromosome. We were advised to terminate the pregnancy, as his anomalies were “not compatible with life.” We chose to give Sam every single heartbeat we could, for as long as God allowed his body to be compatible with life. We chose not to terminate. It was the easiest, hardest, and most rewarding decision I have ever made.
Triploidy occurs in about 1-2% of all conceptions. Most babies with Triploidy are miscarried in the first trimester. Rarely do they make it to the second trimester. Sam made it to his third, born to heaven on February 18, 2010. All babies are miracles, and Sam is a miracle who touched more hearts in utero than some grown men touch in a lifetime. He lived an important life.
Sam was a spiritually and emotionally sensitive little boy, even from the womb. I will always hold on to the memory of taking communion and feeling Sam jump for joy before the bread even made it down my throat. It was like a party in my womb, a celebration of redemption, understood by the tender heart of an unborn baby. Hardened hearts doubt such a tiny person could fathom and respond as Sam did, but the faithful know to listen.
1 Corinthians 1:27-30 says, Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. My hope is that as I tell Sam’s story, many will come to know redemption because of his small but important life.
I continue to write about my journey of grief with the intent of lighting the way for other bereaved parents, whether they walk beside me or years behind me. Click here to read about that journey, beginning in October of 2009.