Sometimes in life things happen that we don’t understand or can’t explain – Hannes’ death was one of those things.
In September ’97, I found out that I and my husband at the time were going to have a baby. After we calmed down to a mild panic 😀 , we started looking forward to “Junior’s” birth.
I was very blessed during my pregnancy … morning sickness and heart burn didn’t mean anything to me, I never experienced it … in the 1st 3 months I would wake up nauseous, but that was quickly cured with a dry “marie biscuit” and if I had 10 Rennies for heartburn in the 9 months, it was a lot. The only “problems” I had was that my feet would swell up from the heat and too much walking, but I obeyed the doctor’s orders and rested a lot with my feet up. Unfortunately, or should I say, fortunately, I didn’t have hectic cravings … so no rushing to the shop in the middle of the night … but I did eat a lot of cheese and also loved “orange maid frozen suckers” … but that was it.
Time went by and I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy, especially the last month when I was home and could sleep late. I went to the gynae regularly and enjoyed seeing “junior” grow. His birth date was the 20th of June and at my gynae appointment on Wednesday, a week and a half before the time, she confirmed that he won’t be born before his due date. On Friday I had a few stomach cramps, but they didn’t get worse and I didn’t feel sick or anything, so I blamed it on too much pizza the nite before. Saturday morning at 02:00 the cramps were back. I decided to check what it said in the pregnancy book, I got from the library and realised that these cramps were actually contractions and I need to time them. When they were 7mins apart, I showered and got ready to go to hospital … just as it suggested in the book.
At the hospital, the nurse who examined me couldn’t find a heartbeat and told me she thinks it’s a bridge baby. My first thought was “oh, no, I heard that’s an extremely sore birth”. They called the gynae who was on duty that weekend and he after examining me, he told the nurse to take me to his consulting rooms, which were in the same building, for a scan. He did a scan and I could see on the screen that “junior’s” heart wasn’t beating. I didn’t panic, because I thought after the birth they would shock him with one of those machines I saw in the medical dramas on tv, to get his heart beating again.
Back in the maternity ward, I asked the nurse if there was anything they could do, she took my hand and said “no”. I remember the sadness in her eyes, but it was as if I didn’t realise what was busy happening, I was very calm. I also heard my husband crying in the hallway after speaking to the gynae. When my husband came into the room and hugged me, I remember telling him that he can’t make me cry now because I still have to give birth.
The gynae came to speak to me and said that they’ll give me an epidural if I want, but by the time the contractions became stronger, it was too late … so “junior” was born without any painkillers! I have a friend who always joked and said, “childbirth isn’t that bad, just before u think u’re going to die, it’s over” … I really thought I wasn’t going to make it.
After the birth, “junior” was taken away and cleaned up. The gynae came back into the room and told us that they’re going to bring “junior” to us and we must hold him. While holding him, I counted all his fingers and toes … he was so small and beautiful. I also noticed that his skin was peeling on his right side … I later found out why.
After a few complications they finally took me to my room so I could get some sleep. I slept until about 12:00 and when I woke up, I realised what happened. Just as I started crying, my husband walked into the room. I remember he told me that my first words to him were “I wish these babies would stop crying.” He went to the nurses station and asked if they could move me to the general ward where there weren’t any babies, but they said “no”, because the nurses in the general ward wouldn’t know how to handle the situation. Fortunately there was a few rooms open and they moved the lady who shared the room with me to another room and also the two ladies across the way from me. I was on my own and couldn’t hear any babies. The gynae came to check on me, he was absolutely brilliant. The nurses in the ward were also great – I remember the one nurse came into my room, took my hand and started crying – that’s all she did, but it meant the world to me!
I got discharged on the Sunday morning and one of the nurses walked us to the car. She hugged us when she said goodbye. She obviously knew how difficult the situation was, going home without a baby, after 9 months of being pregnant, wasn’t any fun.
Our 1st visitors at home were a colleague and his wife … it was awesome how God used them in this situation. They knew exactly how to handle us because they also went through a similar experience … their 2nd child was stillborn. Other friends of ours just cried with us when they visited.
Going back to my gynae the next Wednesday wasn’t nice, but she was fantastic. She called us into her room, hugged us and cried with us. She also comforted us by saying that we weren’t alone, but that God was with us. She was the best gynae ever!!
She also told us what happened … my blood sugar level went up and cut “junior’s” oxygen supply. He suffocated and died at about 18:00 on Friday evening. They could tell that he was already dead for 12hours when he was born … his skin peeling was the sign. Why that happened, no one could explain.
Back home our healing process began. The gynae suggested that we go to a psychologist to help us, which we did and he was also fantastic. He suggested we give “junior” a name, so we decided on Hannes.
Going through the healing process, although it wasn’t fun, was easy because God knew exactly how to do it. We were surrounded by people who treated us with loads of love … and that made the difference.
Hannes’ death was a very painful experience, but something wonderful happened because of it … just over 4 months after the stillbirth (25/10/1998) we both accepted Jesus as our personal Saviour! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 (and I have never looked back)
Because of my relationship with Jesus I have the peace Philippians 4:7 talks about … “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I still don’t have an answer to the “why?” question and yes, some days I do miss him and get sad, but I have the Holy Spirit who comforts me.
I believe that God knows what He’s doing and He is able to turn every circumstance around for our good, as it says in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
That is enough for me … I don’t have to know “why?”
Hannes – 13 June 1998