Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Day That Changed Our Lives

Three years ago, today, our lives were changed forever.

Our son, Tucker Joe, was stillborn in the early morning hours. We had gone into labor with a live, healthy baby, and then a few minutes before he was born, his cord broke and he bled to death. Truely, he went from the warmth and security of my womb into the waiting arms of Jesus.

We were without a pastor at our church then, but even though it was a Sunday morning, we had 2 pastors at our house, and 3 families that are so close to us that they *are* family.

What a terrible, precious time that was. I cannot adequately describe to you the horror of losing a child. The physical pain was so great that I was certain I would curl up into a ball and die. I felt like my heart had been ripped from within me and shattered. To go from the joy of delivering a child to the panic of he's not breathing and CPR, and prayers ~ pleading with God not to require the loss of a child; it is undescribable. And yet, God. God was there every moment. We were surrounded by excellent midwives who gave every effort for our dear son. We were surrounded by friends and family that *were* the arms of Jesus to us. My dearest friends cleaned up his little body and lovingly dressed him; we all spent time holding him ~ how can I describe the love that filled our home that morning? To see dear friends holding our still son, rocking back and forth as you would with a live baby...

God was ever present, and within those first moments we determined that we *would* find things within our tragedy to praise Him about. This is a list I made within those first days.

*Tucker was born and went home to heaven on a Sunday. The one day of the week when our friends and family were able to come at a moments notice and be with us.

*We had a home birth. Because we were home, we were able to touch, and talk to, and pray over our son as the midwives worked on him. We know exactly what was done for him, and he was never taken away from us. We had friends and family taking care of Tucker and us, instead of the strangers that would have been at the hospital.

*For a wonderful community of friends, who *are* family. For Tiffani and Daedra, who lovingly washed and clothed Tucker, as tenderly as if he were their own. For Brian and Julianne, who came and prayed and held us, and cried with us. For Julianne who recorded memories for us, things that we weren't aware of, who brought herbs for my healing, grape juice to drink, and took chicken home to cook. For Pastor Randy and Chris who cleaned my kitchen, even mopping the floor.

*For not just one, but two pastors who were willing to come and minister to us on a Sunday morning.

*For two competent midwives who gave a valiant effort on Tucker's behalf, performing CPR for over 45 minutes.

*For a helicopter crew who stayed and made sure that we knew that even at the hospital, they could not have done more.

*For family and friends who held us, cried with us, ministered to our children, and held and loved Tucker throughout the morning.

*That the first face Tucker saw was that of Jesus.

*For friends who have walked a similar path, and can understand our pain and grief.

*That the children were at Mom and Dad's ~ not our original plan. We thank God for making this provision that only He knew we would need.

*That Tucker was alive until the last 10 minutes or so of labor. He was perfectly formed and beautiful when he was born.

*That we can rest in God's sovereignty. We are not plagued with "What ifs". This is the path God has chosen for us to walk. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

We learned much of grief, but more importantly, we learned much about the God we love and serve. He is gracious and merciful, and He loves us enough to walk us along hard and difficult paths. There have been many, many times that this path has been steep and rocky, so rocky, we couldn't walk ~ during those times He has picked us up and carried us.

After the death of one of his children, Robert L. Dabney wrote: "I have learned rapidly in the school of anguish this week, and am many years older than I was a few days ago...Ah! when the mighty wings of the angel of death nestle over your heart's treasures, and his black shadow broods over your home, it shakes the heart with a shuddering terror and a horror of great darkness. To see my dear little one ravaged, crushed and destroyed... and to feel myself as helpless to give any aid - this tears my heart with anguish."

Truely, one of the hardest facts of our loss was that we were helpless. The death of a child is completely out of our control. We could have been at the fanciest, most high-tech hospital, and yet, there still would have been no saving our son. We prayed and pleaded with God; we called everyone we could think of to entreat Him on our behalf, and yet, we were helpless ~ humanly speaking. Our prayers did not fall on deaf ears. God heard. God understood. But His plan for us was not to raise Tucker up for His glory. In some way that I cannot (in this lifetime) understand, Tucker's death glorifies God more than his life would have. Even though he never drew breath outside of my womb, Tucker's life has touched people I have never met. The story of how we have walked our path has been shared by friends with people who are unknown to us. I have ministered to grieving Mama's all over this country via the internet ~ something I would not have been able to do had we not walked this path ourselves. Tucker's "life" has time and again glorified God, and what more does a Mama want for her children's lives?

God is gracious and good; merciful and tender. I am so thankful that we didn't walk through this without Him.

Happy birthday, Tucker. I miss you.

How very softly you tiptoed into my world. Almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon my heart. (Unknown)

3 comments:

Shanna said...

Tracy-

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It just amazes me how one can glorify the Lord through such tragedy.

amber king said...

Tracy......sorry...but I couldnt think of 8 people...and Aaron made me :P so I am being a submissive wife..hehe..(he is reading over my sholder) He said hi by the way....we HAVE to have tea soon. I have new carpet and would love to have you up soon. Let me know when it will work.

Amber

Mama Russell said...

Tracy, I had no idea that you had such a grief in your family. What a precious post this is, though. To see how you glorify God in all things, even the terrible, heartbreaking things, is such an honor to His name. Hugs, dear friend.

Kelly (from PW)