Photo by Shuffield Photography
Holden Newell Erwin.
Written in September 2010: There are no words for the feeling a parent has when they meet their child for the first time. I had heard that and believed it; I just couldn't feel it. Last Saturday we felt indescribably love. At 6:38pm Chet and I were filled with a love that I will never, ever be able to write about. All the books in the world cannot describe that love.
Holden's pregnancy was like many first pregnancies. We were thrilled and couldn't wait to meet our first baby. Holden and I were both very healthy and we naively believed nothing could go wrong. A nursery was lovingly painted and created, books were read together, my diet was the healthiest it had ever been, and we enjoyed reading any and all pregnancy books and updates on our phones' pregnancy apps. We were so grateful God was giving us a chance to be parents to a son. Life was perfect.
On that Saturday morning, August 28th - almost three years ago - Chet and I were filled with joy and hopeful nerves as we realized I must be in "real" labor. After a call to L&D (and drinking two glasses of ice water to make sure it wasn’t false labor), we jumped in the car and headed to the hospital. I had felt Holden's little movements all morning, along with contractions, until we got to about Post (50 minutes from our home - our hospital was an hour and a half away). I told Chet and we both guessed that babies didn't move as much in active labor, and being first time parents we didn’t know any better.
We snapped photos of my huge belly outside of the hospital on the warm, beautiful morning. We wanted to have these moments documented to show our son one day. We were in no hurry, and since I knew first labors are often long, we took our time living in and savoring each moment of that morning.
Sweet nurse Harriett met us in Labor & Delivery and helped me in the gown. We were grabbing things like our camera and planning who to call first with the exciting news. I joked about the gown being ginormous. It was the beginning of “the best day of our lives”.
Then dopplers were placed on my stomach. Silence. We looked at each other confused, but figured our "stubborn" baby must have moved. Two more dopplers were used. Still silence. This time the silence was deafening as nurses flocked to our room. We knew something was very wrong. My mind became fuzzy at this time, as the nurses called our doctor and specialist (who both happened to be in the hospital at that time). Chet and I pleaded with God for a miracle, and hoped the dopplers were faulty. I knew what this meant, but I still refused to believe it. Doctors P. and A. ordered an immediate ultrasound. I will never forget the look on Dr. P's face as she told me the truth when I asked her to not water anything down, "Sarah, this is not good."
The ultrasound confirmed our worst fears. The moment we found out our most precious gift had already gone to his eternal home, Dr. A grabbed our hands and prayed the most beautiful prayer I have ever been blessed to be a part of. God's love enveloped us at that moment. [Hopefully] there will never be a time in our lives that we ever get more life-changing and devastating news, yet the circle of love during that prayer, amongst Dr. P, Harriett, Dr. A, Holden and the two of us was more powerful than I can even write about. I cannot describe the pain. No one can understand that kind of pain, unless you have experienced it yourself. Yet there was such a PEACE [that passes all understanding] at the same time.
Chet struggled to call a few friends and family, and thankfully the nurses took over and made the rest of the calls. Almost immediately we were covered in prayers and love from countless friends, family and even people we didn’t know. Their prayers and love are what carried us through Saturday...and still carry us through. Our families (both related and related by Christ) were there to support us the whole day. When we delivered our dear son, we felt indescribable love.
Every test imaginable was run to help give us an answer as to why our son did not live. The only answer was that Holden had a short cord (only 7 inches), and likely during a big contraction the cord was pulled too tight, twisted or bent, resulting in a clot. There was nothing anyone could have done; Jesus had a reason for calling Holden home.
Holden's service on Tuesday, August 31st, was a day surrounded by the Lord and His love. Pastors Tommy Culwell and Reid Johnson gave a service that was filled with the Holy Spirit and touched every single person there. Our sister-in-law, Charity, sang two songs. During Amazing Grace, a light rain started falling. The sunrise and sunset are still vivid in my mind. It was a day we will hold dear to our hearts forever. This was the beginning of a journey we will always be on. We love and miss our son every single moment, but we await that amazing day when we all will meet again.
For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. “So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD. 1 Samuel 1:27-28
Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. Psalm 21:6