In February 2007, I became pregnant. It was a wanted and planned for pregnancy. My husband and I were so excited. The day that I went to the doctor and she confirmed my pregnancy, my husband and I decided to plant a tree. My idea was to watch the tree grow as my child grew. It was something special that I could do for my baby that would last forever. We decided on a Freedom Althea / Rose of Sharon.

From the moment I told everyone that I was pregnant, they all told me it was going to be a boy. I also knew it in my heart it was going to be a boy. I wanted a boy so badly. A few months later, we went in for the ultrasound. Before I even went in, my mother-in-law gave me a card that said “grandson” and a blue bear. She was so confident and so right! It was the coolest experience to see a little life that was living right inside my belly. I saw his little arms waving around like he was swimming. He was a very active baby. When the ultrasound lady asked if we wanted to know the sex we both yelled, “YES”! She then said the magic words; “It’s a boy”! We were not surprised but so excited to confirm what we already felt was true. I had tears in my eyes and my husband had the biggest grin on his face. I have never had any brothers so the thought of a son was an amazing feeling. Plus, he would be the first grandson! We invited my parents and my in-laws to wait in the waiting room so they could all find out at the same time the sex and that the baby was healthy. I think my mother and mother-in-law at some point figured out what room I was in. I could hear them “whispering” outside the door. I knew they were outside the door waiting with anticipation.

We started planning right away. Within a few months of finding out I was pregnant, we already had the nursery finished and furnished and a closet full of clothes. I even had a little black leather biker jacket. I could not wait to meet our son. We decided to name him Vincent Von Engel. We thought that Vinny was a cute name for a little boy and that Vincent was a sophisticated name that he could use when he was older. Vincent means “Victorious” and our last name Engel means “Angel”. I used to daydream and wonder if he would look like me or his father.

I was in church one Sunday and I felt it on my heart to write Vinny a song. I began writing some lyrics for my Little Vincent but I kept finding it very difficult to express exactly what I wanted to say. While searching on the internet for ideas I came across a website that deals with personalized songs. This dedication song was everything that I wanted to say so I ordered it (see lyrics below).

I had a dream one night that I was in the hospital. I gave birth and I was holding my baby and I was crying and crying nonstop. When I woke up I did not have a nightmarish feeling. I had the feeling of peace; like I was crying because I was happy. I went to work and told one of my coworkers about it. She said that she had felt the same way. I was crying happy tears because I was so happy to hold my baby.

I had another ultrasound and got to hear the heartbeat several times. It was always so exciting! I kept thinking about how much I wanted to see him and how long it was going to be, still 2 whole months until my due date. I kept telling everyone in my family and at church how I just knew this baby was going to come early.

During my second ultrasound he really started showing his personality. He was quite a character. I asked if I could get a picture showing that he was a boy. Every time the ultrasound lady would go to click to take a picture showing he was a boy he would cover himself with his hands. It’s like he knew we were watching. I never did get the picture.

I went to the doctor one Wednesday and after they took my weight and blood pressure I complained of my usual back pain. I got really excited when she said that she was going to listen for the heartbeat. It had been a whole month since I had gotten to hear it. She searched for the heartbeat over and over and could not find it. She tried really hard for several minutes. She then asked me if I would go to the hospital for an ultrasound, just to make sure that everything was OK. I said sure. I would get to see him again! I loved getting ultrasounds and seeing him play around inside my belly. Plus, I would have some new pictures for his scrapbook.

Something told me to call Doug, my husband, and ask him to take me since the doctor was having a hard time finding the heart tones. He came and picked me up and took me to the hospital. He assured me that it was just a glitch in the machine. I figured something like that had happened too. I was not worried at all. But as we got closer to the hospital, it happened. I realized that my baby could be dead. We prayed and prayed. I got to the hospital and instead of taking me to the imaging center where they normally do the ultrasounds they made me go to Labor and Delivery. They took me to a room and told me to get into a hospital gown. I started crying. I knew something was wrong. I kept asking the nurses what was happening and they just put their heads down. Finally a doctor came in. He said that he was going to do an ultrasound and that my son could be dead. They started to do the ultrasound and that is when I saw it; a lifeless limp little body floating around inside my own belly. No waving hands or arms.  No hands covering himself. No heartbeat! I squeezed my husband’s hand as hard as I could. Then I heard the words, “Sorry, your baby is dead”.

My husband and I held each other and cried for a long time. Then they started hooking me up to machines and he started calling the family to tell them what had happened. Family, friends, & church members started coming up to visit me. I was getting flowers. In my head I kept thinking what has happened? This is not real. I think I was in shock. It was all just a bad dream. THEN I remembered the dream I had about holding a baby and crying. I realized that God had given me that dream. He was preparing me for what was to come.

They induced labor and about 24 hours later, Thursday, August 23rd 2007 at 7:09pm Vinny was born. He was 1 pound 12 oz and 13 ½ inches long. He was so beautiful. He looked exactly like Doug. He had Doug’s eyes, hands & arms. He had little side burns. He was perfect. No one but the Lord knows what happened. I am not mad at anyone and I do not blame God. I KNOW that Vinny is in Heaven. Leaving the hospital was hard. I had no baby in my belly or in my arms. There was also a whole in my heart. It will be there forever until I am reunited with him in Heaven.

We had a funeral for Vinny. We played the Little Vincent song. My husband told me that he was so glad we had planted the tree, that I got the dedication song made for him, and made Vinny a scrapbook. Those were all things that we would have for the rest of our lives to help remember him. He told me that I would have made the best mother because of all of things I had done for our son before he was born. I do not believe that Vinny died for no reason. Even though he was stillborn, I believe that he had a purpose. I think his purpose was to awaken a lot of people. We are all going to die. At the funeral, Pastor John Hartmann and our friend John Clark gave the message of salvation. Some of the people there may have never heard of salvation. I’d like to look at Vinny as a messenger from Heaven sent to spread the good news.

Around 2:30 AM Tuesday morning, the day after the funeral, I woke after having a dream. I was in some sort of department store when Liz, a friend from church, called me on my cell phone to tell me and Doug to go to this lake near our home that we used to walk around when I was pregnant. We went there and after walking around for awhile we noticed Jesus illuminated on the water. He had his arms open and we ran to him. I woke up and told Doug about it and we prayed and thanked God for his comfort. We knew that he was there mourning with us; feeling our pain and trying to comfort us.

September 29th I received the best birthday present of all. I went to water the tree that Doug and I had planted in the garden on June 21st, when we found out that Vinny was a boy.  I had been watching the tree every day since we planted it in June and on my birthday I saw its first bloom! I know it was just a small twig; that it was not supposed to bloom until next season. But I know that God decided to give me a bloom for my birthday! I thought of Matthew 6 when I saw the bloom. Not only was the flower a gift from God but the message that God’s word put forth from it; “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Looking back now, I felt God guiding me. I planted a tree in my garden for Vinny when we first found out that we were pregnant. My idea was to watch the tree grow as Vinny grew. God’s idea was to have something to serve as a memorial for him. I had a dream that I was holding a baby and I was crying. I thought they were happy tears but now I know that is was of the grief to come. God was preparing me. Vincent means “Victorious” and Engel means “Angel”. He is a Victorious Angel. He conquered this world by going straight to Heaven. I cannot wait to see him again. I am sure he is looking forward to showing his Mommy and Daddy around. I know he will be so missed! We had his whole future planned out from dedication to graduation. But the Lord has better plans for us. He knows the beginning and the end. Someday we will find out all the answers to the questions we have and things will look so obvious.

To learn more about Vincent visit http://vincent-von-engel.memory-of.com Some people only dream of angels…I held one in my arms. Please light a candle in memory of our loved one Vincent Engel by visitinghttp://vincent-von-engel.memory-of.com

-Jennifer Engel
Glory Babies Group: St.Louis