“Congratulations!” “She’s so cute!” “She has your eyes!” Those were phrases my wife and I were looking forward to hear, not, “I’m sorry for your loss.” “My heart breaks for you two.” “I have no words.” In three hours, our dreams and plans for our first child completely changed.
On July 28th, 2021 around 2:30am, my wife, Rachel, woke up and noticed some unusual pain/cramping. I was up as well, because I was having a hard time sleeping. After a few more “unusual pains”, she realized that she was starting to have contractions. We were excited because this meant our first child was getting ready to enter into the world. Rachel started doing some of the things her mid-wife suggested, and like everything else with her pregnancy, Rachel was focused and ready to go.
The mid-wife and her husband showed up to our apartment around lunch time, with a birthing pool in hand. While I was talking with the mid-wife’s husband, Rachel was getting checked on. As my conversation was continuing, I heard the mid-wife say with excitement “There will be a baby here tonight!” Rachel was three centimeters dilated and the mid-wife encouraged Rachel to continue resting and use the breathing techniques she was taught. Our excitement grew, and I was now able to start texting family and close friends the latest about Rachel. It was awesome to know that our little girl was going to be here that night.
As the day continued on, Rachel’s contractions started to intensify. By the time late afternoon/early evening came, Rachel moved from early labor to active labor. The mid-wife and doula came back to our place to stay with us until our little girl was born.
At this point, I want to pause from the story and brag on my wife, Rachel. From the time of conception, Rachel did everything she could to make sure our little girl got the nutrients she needed by eating healthy, taking the supplements that were recommended, and doing the exercises that the mid-wife told her to do. In the midst of labor, she was focused and strengthen by the Lord Jesus Christ to do a natural birth. I’m so proud of her and she is a great mom to our little girl.
10pm rolls around, and Rachel is in the final stages of labor. It was at this point in time she started pushing. At first, Rachel was having difficulty understanding how to “push”. I could see on her face that she was starting to become tired and frustrated. I looked my sweet wife in the eyes and reminded her that she could do this. She got to this point in the marathon of pregnancy, and our little girl was almost home. With some extra prayers, encouragement, peanut butter and honey for nutrients, Leah Grace Kubus came into the world on July 28th at 11:20pm.
It seemed so surreal. After 9+ months of waiting, we were finally holding our little girl. Being able to finally touch her soft skin, kiss her forehead, and play with her hands and feet that once kicked mommy was breathtaking. Rachel and I each took turns holding our daughter, Leah Grace, and we both experienced the dirty side of parenting, being pooped on. Our dream as parents finally came true, but what happened next was something neither one of us were expecting.
Our midwife started to notice that Leah wasn’t staying warm, and so we started wrapping her in extra blankets and keeping Leah close to our skin. We got to a point where we started using a blow dryer to keep her warm. It worked for a brief time, but Leah still wouldn’t stay warm. Her color started changing and the midwife started giving Leah breaths. In a blink of an eye, Leah’s birth went from a joyous occasion to panic and fear.
We quickly called 911 and what felt like an eternity, the ambulance finally arrived. One of the EMT’s named Barb, quickly grabbed Leah and I ran to the ambulance with them. Panicking and scared, Barb calmed me down and started providing oxygen to Leah. On our way to the hospital, Barb and I prayed over Leah. After praying, Barb continued to work on Leah until we arrived at the hospital.
The EMT’s rushed Leah off the ambulance and took her to Trauma Room A. As I waited for my wife to arrive in a separate ambulance, I watched in fear as Ed and his team worked on Leah. It was a chaotic scene. Doctors and nurses rushing to and from Leah, while I, some other doctors, and EMT’s watched what would happen. All you can hear from the doctors working on Leah were “1, 2, 3.” “1,2,3.” “1,2,3.” “Do we have a pulse?”
About 20 minutes after I arrived to the hospital, my wife came in on a stretcher. She was feeling faint after giving birth and the midwife wanted to make sure Rachel was okay. The doctors put Rachel and I in a room that was close to Trauma Room A. All we could hear at the point was beeping sounds. We started to pray, asking God for a miracle, and our family started to arrive to the hospital.
A little over an hour went by, and a doctor came in to tell us the latest update on Leah. They did an X-Ray, and noticed that there was a hole in her diaphragm. Her intestines moved up into that area and her lungs weren’t fully developed. The doctors said they were going to have to transfer her to another hospital to do emergency surgery. As the doctor left the room, our heart sank, and we continued praying and waiting for Leah to be transferred.
We started reaching out to friends via text and phone calls telling them to pray. It’s crazy to think just three hours prior we were telling everyone that Leah Grace came into the world and everyone was healthy. As we (Rachel’s mom and dad, and my sister) waited for Leah to be transferred, a doctor from the other hospital that Leah was going to be transferred to, came into our room, sat bedside next to Rachel, and broke the news that they did everything they could for over 2 hours, but Leah had passed away.
It’s been a little over a week now since Leah Grace Kubus has gone to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. Each day, hour, and minute feels like an emotional roller coaster. There have been a lot of tears, feeling of emptiness, anger/frustration, feeling numb, and asking a lot of questions. Many have told Rachel and I that we have been strong, but to be honest, we are very weak. It is only the divine power of Jesus Christ that has strengthen us. If it weren’t for the hope in Jesus Christ, we wouldn’t be holding on.
All of us have gone through trials and tragedies, some worse then what Rachel and I are going through. Maybe you have gone through something similar; a miscarriage, a stillborn, or maybe the death of your baby 6 months after, and maybe you have questioned where your child is. I want to let you know that the Word of God tells us that he/she is in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 2nd Samuel chapter 12, a king named David suffered the loss of his newborn son. The child fell sick and for seven days, David wept, prayed, and fasted for his son, but after the seventh day, King David’s son passed away. After David found out about his son’s death, he cleaned himself up, ate food, and worshipped the Lord. Those who served the king, were astonished and asked the king how he can be “back to normal” knowing that his son was dead. Below is David’s response;
“While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let him live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I’ll go to him, but he will never return to me.”-2nd Samuel 12:22-23 CSB
Rachel and I miss Leah, and wish we were holding her in our arms. As parents, we never imagined that we would have to bury one of our children, specifically our first. While we have many questions, our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ continues to grown and we lean on His strength during this trial. One question we don’t need to worry about is Leah’s salvation. Leah Grace Kubus doesn’t have to worry about pain, sorrow, or the temptation of sin. She is now in the presence of the Messiah, and we can’t wait to see her and worship the Lord Jesus Christ together and forever.
“…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”-Psalm 30:5b
-Michael A. Kubus