To quote Dr Seuss...a person's a person...no matter how small! Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday and it is important for us to remember that. Not only is each person a person no matter how small... a person's life is valuable and has impact...no matter how long. In the past several weeks my life (and many many more) have been impacted by Brooks William Lundquist. I have asked his mother Kate to share his story today. It is not an easy story, but it is important for us to see how God can and will use any life for His glory!
Brenda has asked if I would be willing to write about the topic of “life” in relation to my son Brooks William. I didn’t hesitate for a second; of course I would write.
New life is so exciting. Do any of us mothers ever forget that moment of seeing the positive pregnancy test? I vividly remember seeing the second line on the test appear. I couldn’t believe it! A fourth baby?? A whirlwind of emotions came through me: excitement, joy, disbelief. Because this was an “unexpected blessing,” I was nervous to tell my husband. I came down with the nervous giggles when he arrived home from work, and he saw right through it. “Are you pregnant??” I’ll never forget that even amidst his shock, he looked up and said, “Thank you God for this blessing.”
I almost felt like it was my first pregnancy all over again; I was so excited and so in awe. I found out baby was the size of a poppy seed! I started prenatal vitamins right away, quit drinking coffee and pop, read my pregnancy nutrition book, poured over baby name books, ate better, and started a journal just for him. One pregnancy book even said, “You should stand 5 feet away from microwaves when in use.” It may be bogus, but I put it into practice. :) I purchased some new maternity clothes and started getting a few drawers in my room ready with newborn clothes, hats, and blankets. I loved checking the websites that tell you every detail possible about baby's growth and development each week. I couldn't get enough. I even bought four pairs of Christmas jammies for the following year. So fun.
Within those first weeks after finding out, Jacob and I agreed on names. We thoughtfully picked out a first and middle for each gender. We always choose to wait until delivery to reveal gender; despite only two choices, the surprise of it in the moment brings us such overwhelming joy.
An ultrasound showed two little pixels on the screen blinking on and off. We saw our sweet child’s heart newly beating. LIFE! Amazing.
During a trip to Minneapolis, my sister revealed to me that she would also be expecting...in the same month as me!!! The thought of my very first niece or nephew took my breath away. Literally. There were a few moments in there where I couldn’t breathe; I was so shocked and happy! In the middle of a crowded restaurant, I believe my screams and laughter were noticed by many. It earned us a free dessert. I found such delight in the thought of these baby cousins growing up together.
We waited until around 12 weeks to tell our three children. We made them a special book to announce it to them. My oldest daughter Addison had thought she wanted our family to be complete, but agreed that she would happily welcome another sibling! Her shock in the video we took was a moment I’m so glad we captured. Charlotte, our three year old, was convinced from the beginning that she was getting a baby sister. She never ever wavered from that. “But what if it is a boy, Charlotte?” “It is a baby sister, MY baby sister.” Our 1 1/2 year old son Ridge was pretty oblivious, but he learned to say “ba-by.”
At 13 weeks, we attended our first clinic appointment and heard the heartbeat loud and clear. Charlotte was there to hear. At the sound of her sibling, I mean, “baby sister,” she lovingly said, “I like my sister.” With the heartbeat as reassurance, we felt “safe” to tell the world of our fourth child child...second trimester was just around the corner.
However, it all came to an end very recently. At nearly 18 weeks along, late in the evening, I discovered light bleeding. I Google searched. If you search the right terms, there will be at least ONE website that tells you the symptoms are “normal.” I clung to it, desperately, yet feared the worst. I knew it wasn’t normal. I contacted my midwife and we made plans to get to a clinic first thing the next morning. (We were out of town at this point.) My husband and I were so scared.
I tried to sleep, but contractions started. Again, in survival mode, I thought, “Maybe this is normal? Maybe these are just Braxton Hicks (practice contractions that are normal late in pregnancy). When my water broke in the early morning hours of that January 3, however, I knew for sure our dreams had slipped through our fingers.
I woke my husband. He looked at me, and I just looked back. I must have shook my head, or started to cry. I’m really not sure. We embraced, and cried together. It was at that moment when I felt like a huge vacuum cleaner came down and so quickly yet painfully stole away all of our excitement, our hopes, our dreams for our family. I immediately envisioned our due date of June 8 just vanishing away; it would never happen the way we thought. We were desperate for answers...so confused and in shock. We naively never thought this would happen to us. This little life inside had ended.
We made it back to Roseau, and our doctor allowed us to go home to deliver our child on our own. We discovered through ultrasound that our baby had entered heaven around 3-4 weeks prior...very soon after that wonderful appointment where we heard the heartbeat.
With the support of my sister and my dear husband, we met our son, Brooks William, on January 4, 2013 at 5:10pm.
In the days afterwards, we reflected on the four months of life we had celebrated and hoped for. There were so many preparations made and visions of what would have been. We loved this child. Our children loved this child. Although Brooks’ life was short, it was meaningful and valuable to us.
Everyone is different with how they would grieve and handle the passing of such a small child. We chose to celebrate his short life with a small private service lead by Pastor Brian Haynes. It was beautiful. We sang songs of worship, prayed, and shared. It was an appropriate and loving goodbye in our eyes. We needed this service.
In one blog post, I haven’t been able to touch on the mercy and grace of God’s love during this time; (maybe Brenda will have to have me back again. :) I can tell you that He is amazing. A-maaay-zing. If this had to happen, it occurred in the absolute best possible circumstances. Amidst our grief, we were able to praise God for his unfailing love. To an unbeliever, or maybe even to believers, it may sound...weird. Be assured that our God is compassionate and wonderful, and we felt uplifted through our entire loss and now in the weeks following.
We are confident that there is a plan for us, and we just need to continue to walk in faith to see what is in store for our family. I keep thinking of life as a jigsaw puzzle... we have come across a piece that doesn't seem all that great... but it is part of a larger picture... a beautiful picture that we hope is made clear to us some day.
Thank you for allowing me to share about life and my Brooks. It is truly an honor.
Blessings to you in this new year,