Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer (Romans 12:12 NET).”
Prior to delivering Hadlee, the doctor informed us that standard medical practice when a twin pregnancy has been compromised and a premature birth of “twin A” occurs, “twin B” will follow. Therefore, the early hours of Friday morning, August 28th held no sleep for us. We were prayerfully awake (with a host of others), and Aimee was under constant observation.
I lost all sense of time at this point, so my estimation may not be entirely accurate, but it seemed like Aimee’s physician paid us a visit around 9:00am and then again at around 1:00pm. The purpose of the visits was to see if Aimee had remained dilated and if contractions had continued. Much to our hope and surprise, by one o’ clock, Aimee was barely dilated and contractions had ceased. After the second visit, our doctor did inform us that there were rare cases of “twin A” being born premature and “twin B” remaining in the womb as late as 35 weeks. We and everyone we could muster began to pray in this way. Could it be that Jaxon might make it?
Later that afternoon, a friend stopped in to visit. Aimee had dozed off, but she awoke as her friend approached her. Suddenly – before her friend could say “Hello” – Aimee uttered words that once again made my heart sink and our hope dissipate, “It just ruptured…Jax’s sac just ruptured.” The nurse confirmed Aimee’s words, and contractions began to intensify. The pain was much worse this time. Weak, wounded and hurting, Aimee opted for an epidural. Again, I found myself at the head of a hospital bed holding my wife’s hands. As she pushed, the painful and sorrowful gaze that I had seen in her eyes the night before returned and met my gaze. The labor was more intense than with Hadlee as was our sorrow, confusion, and fear. Jaxon Wayne Howe was born at 4:19pm on August 28, 2009. He died a short time later.
The hope we had for life was snatched away by the icy, dark hand of death. The rest of the evening was a blur. Visitors from our Church family came and shared tears with us and brought temporal encouragement. After everyone left, Aimee and I collapsed from exhaustion and brokenness. I am thankful for the nurse we had that evening. She was gentle and kind to us. After Aimee was asleep, I decided to journal. Inside the cover of my journal, I found a long card-stock prayer guide that had been folded in half, “31 ways to pray for your kids.” I hadn’t made it all the way through yet. I thought there was more time. I wept. Aimee awoke, and we comforted one another until we fell asleep.