Our son was born unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 18, at 35 weeks.
We had planned an induction for the following Monday to give him the best shot at surviving birth. He obviously had other ideas.
He came so quickly (much to the doctors’ disbelief) and the weather was so bad that I had to be airlifted from our hometown to the big city where he was scheduled to be born. It is a horrible experience to be drugged up on magnesium sulfate, which barely minimised the contractions, while strapped to a gurney for two hours. I am thankful we got there though, since the mountain passes were closed to cars. We were also thankful the helicopter couldn’t be taken so there was enough room for my husband to accompany us. I have no idea what I would’ve done without him.
Despite their attempts to stop my labour for 3.5 hours to transport me, little Seraphim was born about 14 hours after I started labour. My husband baptised him immediately, then cut the umbilical cord. The doctors did their very best to get his lungs working. His lungs, it turned out, were in worse shape than they expected and his body could not properly process oxygen. He died about 5 hours, 15 minutes after he was born. We were only allowed to spend two of those hours with him.
He tolerated labour and birth perfectly and had he waited the extra week to be born, he would not have fared any better. His lung development at the crucial period of his pre-born life was compromised and he came into the world unprepared to process oxygen. There ended up being nothing that we could have done better or differently, and nothing the doctors could have done better or differently.
He was beautiful and I couldn’t believe he was the same baby that has been hiccupping and squirming and kicking so heartily inside of me for so long.
Thanks to a series of miracles, we were able to get back home last night. Tonight are the trisagion prayers for him, tomorrow morning is his funeral at our church and then burial at the nearby monastery. He was and is a very blessed little one to receive burial there.
I plan on sharing a more detailed description of the experience in the future. I just don’t have the time or strength quite yet. I am still processing.
It’s hard to know what to feel right now. It’s like life went back to what it was, except it hasn’t. It’s completely different but not in the way one would expect it to be different after having a baby and I don’t know what to do with that.
I am so thankful for everyone who has come along beside us along the way and who has continued to support us and will continue to hold our hands. I assume it will keep getting harder, at least for a while.
Compared to all eternity, our life is but a single minute.
– St. Seraphim of Sarov
Glory to God for all things.