In the summer of 2006, at our 20 week ultrasound, I found out I was having a baby boy. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband as he was not able to attend the ultrasound with me. I brought a good friend with me, so I was not alone. Just 3 years prior, our 3rd child and 1st born son, River, had unexpectedly died from placenta abruption during labor. Because of this tragedy, having a son was a big deal. I felt like God was restoring what had been lost.
I noticed the technician was taking longer than expected scanning my son’s brain. Shortly after I got home from the ultrasound, I received a call from the hospital. The doctor told me that my son had choroid plexus cysts and other soft markers related to Trisomy 18.
After learning this information, my heart sunk. I quickly googled Trisomy 18 and saw the term “incompatible with life”. I felt as if the floor was turning into a black hole and sucking me in. I had never felt such devastation in all of my life. I didn’t know what to do.
At home, I had 3 beautiful daughters that needed me and were also excited about having a baby brother. My husband and I talked about what to do and we decided to pray for a miracle.
From that point on, we prayed everyday in the same spot with our girls. We took them down to the beach and stood together as a family and prayed for God to heal our son, who we decided to name, Blaze Canyon. One specific request was to heal Blaze’s heart as he had a hole in his heart, which we learned from an echocardiogram which we had done along with a level 2 ultrasound. While praying for Blaze’s heart, we found 3 glass heart gems in the sand and we took it as a sign that God heard our cries and was going to answer our prayers.
I cherished every moment with Blaze. I took account of every kick, every hiccup, every movement was a treasure. I did my best to hope in the Lord.
I had to go in 3 times a week for a non stress test as my due date was getting closer. I had dear friends who watched my girls while my husband and I went to get these tests done. At exactly 38 weeks pregnant with Blaze, while hooked up to the stress test, his heart stopped beating. I was rushed to labor and delivery shortly after, I had an emergency c section.
Blaze was born weighing 4 pounds 8.3 ounces, which were the numbers of our son River’s birth and death date, 04/08/03. Blaze was crying, a good sign! When they put his face to my face, he took a deep breath and stopped crying. He knew my voice. He knew I was Mommy.
Blaze was in a lot of pain after that. He had many things that weren’t going in his favor. We tried to make him as comfortable as possible as the tears of sorrow streamed down our faces. The only thing that calmed him was when we sang to him. So we sang all the songs we knew in a 48 hour time span.
Blaze soon started to get apnea spells that increased over time. We met with hospice and were preparing to bring him home so he could pass away at home privately with us. But then, he had a very bad apnea spell and I patted his back to get him back to breathing. My husband took Blaze into his arms. Blaze had another bad apnea spell, and my husband lovingly held him as Blaze took his last breath. All of us crumbled when Blaze died. I started singing Psalms 23, our oldest daughter was desperately wanting Blaze to wake up and my second oldest daughter just stood there, frozen.
The doctor came in and guided us as we changed Blaze’s diaper and put fresh clothes on him. A photographer was called by our pastor’s wife. The photographer was from the organizaton called “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep”. Volunteer photographers take photos of families in our situation. Those photos are cherished memories we will have for a lifetime.
We took the time to say our goodbyes.
It took me almost 20 years to recover from the devastation and grief of losing our son Blaze Canyon. I wanted to take care of him, and love him for the rest of my life. Now, I do that through serving other children and families with special needs. The only way I found to cope with my grief is to use it to do good and to help others.
The Lord has taught me so much as he gently guided me through the valley of the shadow of death. What I was ashamed of, as far as how I responded to the death of my sons, I now see as a beautiful tapestry of love.
I know I will see my sons again in Heaven, as I have a personal relationship with Jesus, the son of God, who defeated death for all time. Jesus came into this world as a man, experienced suffering himself, took on all of our sins and died for all the wrongs ever done on the cross. He rose again on the third day and many witnesses saw him. When he ascended into Heaven, he left us with the Holy Spirit who lives in us so we are never alone. I do believe in Jesus, and my faith was tested when my sons died. I know why God allows suffering in this life and I am not afraid to say that it is for the refining work in our hearts and lives to get us ready for Heaven.
When Blaze died, he took a deep breath, just like he did when they put his face to mine right after he was born. But this time, he saw Jesus who escorted him into Paradise. He knew who his Heavenly Father was. We are never alone, not in life and not in death.
The whole time Blaze was alive, he fought valiantly to live. He showed me how to live with dignity and how to die with dignity when God decides it is time. Blaze is my hero.