Told by: Cory
We found out in June of 2011 that we were pregnant, and were so excited as the anticipation to be parents had been turning in us for quite some time. It was a pretty routine pregnancy and I was blessed to have mild sickness in the beginning (thank you for that Joshua). At about 22 weeks we went to in find out the gender of our precious child, and we were both so excited we could hardly make it through the day as we waited. I will never forget that moment, looking at the ultrasound screen, hearing our doctor’s words, “I’m very concerned for this baby.” It was as if my heart sunk into a hundred pounds of cement. I held back the tears, hoping he was just seeing something incorrectly. As we waited for him to come back into the room, the news only got worse. We went into our appointment so excited to find out if we were having a boy or a girl, and we left 3 and a half hours later with the news that our child would most likely not live. I could do nothing but cry that night, my body weak from the news. My husband and I prayed constantly in those next few days, clinging to some hope that the doctors were wrong and our baby was OK. After a series of doctor visits over the next couple of months, different specialists continued to confirm the previous doctor’s findings. The only thing was, no one had an exact diagnosis or idea of what was the cause of our baby’s complications. For the following month or so my husband and I sat in the most difficult pain and trial we have ever been through. All but two doctors highly recommended we terminate our child, but this was not an option for us. We knew it wasn’t our decision to make, and if God wanted this child to go home to be with Him, He would take him when it was His timing. My husband felt very strongly over the next few days that we were called to love our baby and to cherish each day we had with him. It’s hard to know what that looks like: to cherish the life of someone you haven’t met, you can’t hold, kiss, touch, or see. So as we prayed about how we could best embrace our son’s life each day we were given with him, God showed us more and more how to do this and what a blessing it was. For most women, they count down to their due date so they can start their life with their child. But for us, we knew there was a good chance that each day we got closer to our due date, we were getting closer to saying goodbye. Pregnancy for us changed so much through this experience, as we were learning to love Joshua the best we could before ever meeting him. We chose the name Joshua because it means “Jehovah saves.” We prayed daily for a miracle, and we believed wholeheartedly that God could have healed our child completely if He desired. However, we knew that though we don’t understand God’s ways, we could trust Him and rest in His plan for our baby. So whether He saved Joshua from what doctors said was a “mystery diagnosis”, or He saved him from the pains of this life, the truth remains that God saves. We prayed over Joshua daily, and held onto Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days you ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Joshua was born a month early, on January 16th 2012, and he lived for 9 minutes in my arms. Leading up to his birth our hearts were filled with both joy and sorrow, and with the anticipation of meeting our child the same day we would have to say goodbye. There’s no way to prepare for that other than to trust Jesus in each and every moment, so that’s what we did. After about 12 hours of waiting in the hospital, we finally got to meet our son and I will never forget that moment. It was the most special moment of my life as I felt this overwhelming love for him consume my heart. I never knew a mother’s love until they placed him on my chest and I held him close to my heart. Here he was – our child, our baby, our son. We held him, cried over him, smiled at how perfect and precious he was, prayed over him, quoted scripture over him, and just took in as much of Joshua as we could. We couldn’t take our eyes off of him, for he was beautiful. He’s been a fighter from the start, and we saw his fighting personality in those short 9 minutes as he fought so hard to breath, but his lungs just weren’t strong enough. We feared he might suffer, but he was so peaceful and we could sense God’s presence with us – all three of us. Nine minutes just wasn’t enough time to be with him and to love him. We dreamt of a lifetime with him and were given only minutes. But God was very present and He filled that hospital room with His peace, strength, joy and love. We watched Joshua as he was held in the loving arms of family and friends, and were so happy his life got to be shared. That night we just held our baby in our arms and took in as much as we could. We wanted to know every detail about his face: his soft head with a little bit of brown hair, his cute little nose, his round soft cheeks, and his precious little chin. We couldn’t stop kissing him and the more we held him the more we couldn’t put him down. I wasn’t sure what it would be like to hold our child without life in him, but I found myself unable to let go of him at times. I just needed more time to hold my baby and to love him. Although the pain I experience now is so deep and difficult to bear, I would go through it all over again to experience the joy Joshua has brought into my life. I’ve found myself thinking, “Would I have changed anything if I could have avoided the pain of losing Joshua?” And my answer, without any hesitation, is NO. I would not choose to avoid this pain if it meant missing out on the gift of my son. I think back to those 9 minutes with him alive, watching him take each breath, watching him fight, and those are the most valuable 9 minutes of my life. I wouldn’t replace them for anything – including the chance to skip the pain I feel now. He was the best part of me for 8 months, and our lives are not the same without him; and they will be forever changed because of him. I was Joshua’s voice, and I am so thankful I chose life for him. As mother’s, we are our unborn child’s voice. We have the very serious responsibility to decide if they live or die. I think back on how many doctors offered termination as our first option, and they offered it as though we would choose that for our child; and I realize how my voice has never been as powerful as it was the moment I chose life for Joshua. Though we knew he would most likely die in our arms, my husband and I wanted his life to be dignified. We wanted to celebrate his life and to get to know him the best we could for as long as the Lord gave us. After going through this situation, I am more passionate than ever to encourage other women not only to cherish each day in their pregnancy, but to be a voice for your child. I pray women will be able to realize that their voice is never so powerful as it is when it comes to your baby. I know how scary it is to carry a child you know will die in your own arms. I know how hard it is to wait for months to watch your baby die. I know how difficult it can be to go through the physical pain of carrying a baby and to go home with an even deeper emotional pain. But I also know the indescribable joy of holding your baby in your arms, loving that child, and honoring your child’s life. The joy Joshua has brought into our lives is worth the pain of losing him. When people ask if we have children, our answer will be “yes.” We have a son who will be forever loved, cherished, honored and missed. I pray others will choose life for the chance to experience the amazing gift God gives us through each child, no matter how long we have with them in our arms. When we celebrated Joshua’s life at the memorial service, I was in awe at the hundreds of people who were there to honor him. An innocent little baby, given only 9 minutes on this earth, had hundreds of people honor, embrace, cherish, and celebrate his life. What a blessing that is to us, as his parents, to know our son’s life was honored. A life that lasted 9 minutes has impacted others forever. We love you Joshua, and are so filled with joy to be your parents! You have forever changed our lives.