Good evening! My name is Erik. I’m working on a PhD in History at Iowa State University, but that’s not really central to this story.
I’ve been married to an amazing woman for 11 years now. For the first 10 of those years, we understood that we couldn’t have children, so we learned to be just fine with that.
In January 2011, we got an amazing surprise. The impossible happened! We were expecting a child! Like so many do, we found out the sex. We had a little girl on the way!
We sailed through the summer with what the doctor called “a perfect, textbook pregnancy.” At our appointment the first week of August, our doctor (a great guy all the way!) called us his dream patients, always so happy, filled with good questions, and never a hint of problems with this pregnancy.
Becky and I raced through that whole summer, transforming our study palace into a place almost ready for a baby girl. I’ve never seen so much pink and never thought pink was anything special or to be avoided, but pink turned into a favorite color quickly.
On August 17th, we went to the full term stage of pregnancy, and we had our final 2 week appointment with the doctor. The three of us told jokes, talked about how everything measured perfectly again, and filled that little office with laughter. Then the doctor set up to do that Doppler test and hear our daughter’s heartbeat again. I made fun of his artwork, and we laughed, agreeing that medicine was a better place for him than the art world. We chuckled and laughed as he placed the Doppler thing on Becky’s stomach.
Then came silence. And more silence. And our doctor stopped laughing. Becky stopped laughing. It became very clear that things weren’t funny anymore.
The doctor went for the portable ultrasound. More silence. We went to the other room for the larger machine, all of us grasping at straws. No sound, and clearly nothing moving behind her little ribcage. Our miracle baby didn’t make it.
We coordinated with the doctor to go across the street and induce labor. Becky and I settled in to that room we’d been so excited to see on our earlier tour. Eventually, it was time to make some phone calls and e-mails to notify people.
That brings us (finally) to the purpose of this blog. As I started looking around that night, putting my research skills to use, I found that there are a lot of things out there for mothers whose children are stillborn. There isn’t much out there for fathers. So, putting some old leadership ideas that I used to use in the National Guard and read about in Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, if I’m the one with a burden, I probably should do something about it.
That’s my goal here. I am not a long-term grief expert. I’m not even 2 months along. I am simply hoping that this thing might help somebody out there.
I should put my cards on the table. I’m one of those born-again Christian guys. I tend to write and think from that perspective, because that’s what I believe. At the same time, even though I teach at a Bible college and believe in theological precision, grief isn’t very precise, so this will have moments that simply aren’t precise. I’m a dad who can’t raise his child, and that’s not real precise sometimes.
So, here we go. Something I never really considered doing over a subject I never really thought was possible. Welcome to the journey! I hope you find this as helpful as I will