I, like most people, enjoy looking at rainbows. I always think of the story of Noah’s ark and remember how the rainbow is a sign of God’s promise. But I never thought I would cling to that promise one day.
Hannah, like all of our children, was a delightful surprise. In August of 2000, we found out we expecting again. We were completely stunned! We had not planned on another child for at least two years. Andrew, our son, was 9 months old and Chelsea, our daughter, was 6 years old. Of course, our plans are not God’s plans, are they? I remember lying in bed the night we found out and thinking, “God, if you took this baby right now, I would be ok with it.” That is such a hard thing to admit. Of course, by the next day, I couldn’t believe I had thought that. Once I sat back and thought about it, I couldn’t wait to hold this new bundle in my arms. I just knew it was going to be a girl! I had so many visions of her and Andrew playing, laughing, and being the best of friends! She and Chelsea would have so much fun dressing up together, Chelsea giving her advice, and all 3 of us girls shopping together!
Fast forward to Jan. 16th, 2001. I was 22 weeks pregnant at this time. That day, I had spent all day scrubbing and cleaning my house. My father in law was coming and I wanted the house spotless. I look back now and realize that I was “nesting.” I had been invited to a Pampered Chef party that night and was looking forward to spending some time with just the girls. I felt so good that night! I had new clothes on and loved being pregnant! I had never felt that pretty with Andrew. My pregnancy had been uneventful at the time and was so enjoyable. I was having a great time at the party. The demonstration was done and we were now enjoying the snacks. I had my plate on my tummy at one point and you could see the baby kicking. (At this time, we were still unaware what we were having.) Life was so good! It’s amazing how one split second can change your entire world. As I was sitting there, I felt something. It felt like I had started my monthly. I thought “That is something I haven’t felt in a while” So, I got up and headed for the restroom. Of course, I weighed myself first. I still think back on that and think, “Why in the world do you do that?!” But at the time, I was so concerned about how much I gained. Such a little thing now. After getting up from the toilet, I realized it was full of blood. I never panicked. I calmly went and told my best friend, whose house I was at. She handed me the phone to call my Dr. The Dr. immediately called me back and said not to panic, but I needed to quickly get to the hospital. From this moment on, I felt like I was just floating and watching the events unfold. God’s hand was so evident in each and every moment.
I had the only vehicle in our family with me at the time. Plus, my husband was closer to the hospital so it would not make any sense for him to come to me. I called my parents house because they lived about 3 minutes away. They were not supposed to be home that night. They had planned on attending a funeral 2 hours away but because of the heavy rains that night, were home. Praise the Lord! They rushed over to get me. While waiting on them, I called my husband and told him what was going on. He was not too concerned because I had bled with Andrew also. I told him this was different, but I do not think he completely understood until he saw me at the hospital. As we got closer to the hospital, I could feel the blood clots. I kept thinking “Oh no! It’s the baby!!” Call it “mommy sense” but in my mind, I knew this was my last moments with her. I wanted to just cherish each and every kick, move, everything.
When we arrived at the hospital, they quickly put me in Labor & Delivery. I remember they wanted to cut my (new) jeans. I threw such a fit over that! As they hooked me up to monitors, (and btw, they didn’t cut them!) you could see the baby on sonogram. She looked great! Of course, they wouldn’t tell us the sex, but I knew! My Dr. said I had experienced a placenta abruption, but if I quit bleeding, things would probably be ok. I would be on bed rest the rest of my pregnancy and possibly in the hospital, but things were not too bad. Everyone went home and Eric and I prepared for the night. The bleeding had slowed, but not stopped completely, which was good. I didn’t sleep much that night. I was having, in my mind, some minor cramps. Nothing was showing up on the monitor so the nurse gave me some Tylonel to sleep comfortably. Around 5 a.m., the “cramps” had gotten worse. The nurse came in to find out what was going on and realized the baby’s monitor had slipped off during the night. The next was like a scene from the show “ER.”
Lights flew on, people rushed in, it was crazy! I was in labor! I was quickly hooked up to a sonogram and we sadly realized that our precious baby’s heartbeat was slowly going down. My Dr. told us we had a choice. They could do everything in their power to save the baby, but it may not be in my best interest. Also, our baby was not considered “viable” so her chances of survival outside the womb were not great. Up until that point, I never realized there was such a thing as a viable baby. I had just assumed that they could save a baby at any point. We told the Dr. that we wanted our baby to have the opportunity to live. She checked me once more and said that sadly, that couldn’t happen. I had progressed to far in labor and her heartbeat had slowed even more. We watched the sonogram until her heartbeat was at 60 beats a minute. That was such a precious moment for Eric and I! I can still remember every moment of it.
We started making the necessary calls to friends and family. We were both so numb. Even though I had had a feeling about this, I was still so shook up that it had actually happened. The Dr. said that I would be drugged most of the day and would not have to work hard to deliver. I was in and out of the entire day. I would wake up for a few moments and then go right back to sleep. I feel so sorry for my husband. I was not awake to experience the pain that day. He was. He had to make so many decisions that day that were just heartbreaking. Around 7 that evening, they realized Hannah was not going to come. My liver was starting to shut down and I was not in good shape. They needed to do an emergency D&C to save my life. I just remember I wanted it to all be over.
We had requested that we wanted to see and hold our baby. After making sure I was awake, they brought her to us. She was beautiful. She had a cute little pink dress on. Her little toes and fingers were so long. She even had hair! She looked just like Chelsea and Andrew. As we held her, I couldn’t believe she wasn’t breathing. As her mommy, I just wanted to breathe life into her. But she was already breathing, just in Heaven. Her creator had already welcomed her back Home and gave Hannah her new Heavenly body. We spent 30 precious moments with our Hannah. Even though they were short, I am so thankful for them. What a gift the Lord gave us!
That night, I had a vision. I know was not a dream and it was from the Lord. I could see Hannah and my grandmother (who we had lost just over a year before and who Hannah was named after) walking on the streets of gold with my Lord! They were smiling and laughing. My grandmother looked at me and said, “See Aimee, she’s ok” I can still see it in my mind. It was such a beautiful scene. I realized now how blessed I am to see that little piece of Heaven!
Hannah’s funeral was 2 days later. It was a beautiful sunny day. I still could not believe that I was getting dressed to attend my daughter’s funeral. The graveside service was packed. We were (and still are) so blessed to have so many great friends and family. As we were leaving, I just could not bear to leave her there. I started crying so hard and screaming that I just wanted to take her body with me. My pastor was holding me and taking me to the car. Suddenly he stopped. He told me to look up. There was a beautiful rainbow that ended right over Hannah’s resting spot. My pastor whispered, “See, that’s God promise!” Oh, how I clung to that!
It was God’s promise. For so long, I thought it was God’s promise I would have another little girl. I think that was only part of the promise. Even though we did go on to have Abigail, I believe God was promising that He would get me through this. And boy, did He! The last five years have been hard, but they have also brought me closer to the Lord. Heaven is now just on my back porch! The Lord has walked beside me, even held me, the entire time. I still miss Hannah. My arms ache to hold her. One day that promise will be fulfilled, but until then, I am going to honor Hannah’s life on earth. Because of Hannah, my husband and I have become so much closer. I fell into a deep depression at one point, but through God’s grace, came out of it and realized that I could use this experience to honor Him. I could write another ten pages on how God has been there for us through all if this. I have experienced His grace, His mercy, and His love. And I wouldn’t change any of it! I would experience the heartache, the pain, the tears, all of it, to be where I am today. Thank you so much for reading this. My prayer is that when you look at a rainbow, you will remember how much God loves you. In my family, it’s also our Hannah smiling down on us all!
– Aimee Akin
Glory Babies Group: Longview