My Hope is in Him / The Story of Isaiah

Hortons

On November 13th, 2015 - on my 29th birthday - I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy Isaiah.

There is a longer story of how we got here, but initially we were given a diagnosis that left me utterly shattered. Had my pregnancy made it full term Isaiah would possibly not survive, if he did his life expectancy was 2 years at the most. The doctors told me he would suffer those years with seizures, tubes, life in a bed and he would never open his eyes or know who we were. My husband and I were in shock. We left that doctors office, and I just wept outside on the elevator on my husband’s chest. We had no clue how to move forward. How do prepare for life from this point on? How will we best care for our older children while having a special needs child?  We knew that Jesus had created this amazing life, and however long we were given with him we would cherish him.

I left to go away on a girls' weekend with my best friends from college. I knew getting away would be good for my soul. Do you ever look at some of your friends and just praise God that he placed them in your life for specific reasons? My girlfriends surrounded me that weekend. They covered me in prayer, placed hands on my stomach and spoke God’s truth into both Isaiah and I. I came home from the weekend feeling sick, and over the course of the next two weeks my health and Isaiah’s just couldn’t keep up. Eventually, I was not able to walk because of the pain and we ended up in the emergency room. We had to be transferred to labor and delivery, as I had been in labor. As I came out of one room, right on the wall was from Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear for I am with you."  I share this because I had been reading the book of Isaiah the entire pregnancy, and I instantly was overwhelmed by God and reminded that no matter my suffering - my hope is in Him.

For the next 24 hours I cried. My husband I both knew we would be leaving the hospital without our baby. I played worship music non-stop and just cried out to Jesus. I begged for a miracle. I begged to be able to hold him or hear his cries. Lauren Daigle’s “Trust in You” was on repeat, and man, those lyrics spoke my truth when I was so stretched thin. If you have not listened to it, please do. It talks about when Jesus doesn’t part the waters like you want him to or move the mountains you need him to as you cry out to him, I will still trust in HIM!

I quickly gave birth to my sweet boy. He was born perfect in every way at 22 weeks on my birthday. He looked like my husband, he had small dimples on his face, his hands and legs were perfectly tiny. We were able to hold him, see him squirm and kiss him all over his head until he left this earth. They took him away about ten hours after delivery and that was it. Giving your baby’s body back and knowing you’d never see him on this earth again was so painful.

We stayed in recovery and sat in that hospital and cried for the next day. We heard other moms give birth, we listened to new born babies scream, we heard the chimes ding every few hours of a new life being born. My milk came in, my body was ready to love and feed a child who was no longer here. That hurt both physically and mentally. My body was playing awful tricks on me.

We navigated our children’s grief as they had lost a sibling, too. Children’s grief is tricky, it doesn’t always show as sadness, but can show as anger, sleepless nights, terrors, the list can go on.

Here is what I know. God is STILL good.

I was never promised a life without suffering, but in my suffering I have learned to shout out to God, to proclaim my hope that this life isn’t it. My hope is in the eternal. As a mother, my hope for all my children is to experience Christ in the way Isaiah already is. He got there faster than my mama heart wanted to, but what more could I want?

I couldn’t see it right away, but through Isaiah’s life I have been able to help other families who have experienced or are going to experience what we had been through. I have been able to share the hope that we had through such a difficult time for our family. But the thing I have loved most is being able to talk about Jesus and eternity with my children.  To talk about Heaven in ways some may never know, but I sure hope they do!

If you have had a loss and have never been able to talk about your baby or share your story, I would love to hear. I will sit with you and weep with you and just pray over you. We are part of a big not fun group which can be so lonely, but it doesn’t have to be!

- Annie Horton

Courtney Longnecker