Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oh, how I love you!

January 11th, we had a doctor's appointment at 2:45pm. The Nurse Practitioner did an exam and it showed that I was 2 cm dilated and that the water sac was starting to protrude out of my cervix. She told us that Mark Allen is on his way and that we need to quickly go to the hosptial. I was mentally prepared that this might be the finding at the appointment but I was praying so hard that it might not come true, but the reality was that the time had come. We went home got our bags and made quite a few frantic phone calls to try to get family down.

By 4:45pm, I was admitted to Scripps Memorial in La Jolla. They immediately began to monitor my contractions, started an IV, and drew labs. I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes but my dilation was the same. The pain was tolerable and it was just more that I was uncomfortable. In fact, it was the same pain I had been feeling since I was 16 weeks with my "cramping" which the doctor informed me must have been contractions all along. Then the waiting game began. The doctor told me that they could immediately start an epidural and the pitocin in order to move labor along but I did not want to yet. I wanted to wait for family to arrive first.

My sister, Abby, was already here. She had flown down on the 10th in order to keep me company and I felt so blessed to have her by my side for everything. My Mom took the last flight out of Oakland and landed at 10:00pm. Rob's grandparents live in San Diego and they were ready at a moments notice. My dear friend Brittany (we met in nursing school), came down after working a long 12 hour shift, then had to drive a couple of hours and arrived at 11:00pm. My Dad, Allen, and Teddy drove all night after dropping my mom off at the airport and got here around 3:30am. That was all the family that was coming although my brother Bobby, Rob's Mom, and his sister, Jamie, were deeply missed...It was time to begin.

At 4:30am, the anesthesiologist came and started my epidural. After about 15 minutes, the numbness and pain control started to kick in. The nurse started my pitocin drip to help my contractions get stronger and for my dilation to progress. Once the doctor and nurse left the room and it was just Rob and I, I realized that I will never feel our sweet little boy kick again. The tears were rolling down my face and then by God's sweet mercy, I felt one last kick. It was precious and it was as if Mark was telling me, "It's okay Mommy."

The intensity and frequency of my contractions did increase, but for the most part I was very comfortable and able to rest. At 10:00am, the doctor came in and checked my progression. I was 4 cm dilated. She broke my water in order to speed things up. The doctors were not lying when the said I had a lot of amniotic fluid. It was a ton. It sounded like someone had turned a 2-liter soda bottle over and was pouring it out. My pregnant belly vanished right away. The time was approaching. By 12:00pm, I was still at 4cm so they turned up the pitocin. Due to the fact that I was only 24 weeks pregnant and Mark was going to be so small, I only had to get to 5 cm in order to deliver. One hour later, the time had come...

After five sets of pushing, our little boy was here...1:26pm...he did not survive the birth. He was already in Jesus' arms. He was meeting his Grandpa Mark, all his great-grandparents, his second cousin, and so many other loved ones. Rob and I picture him just running around with his brother and that they are laughing, sweet little laughs, with all the adults surrounding them with huge smiles. He is in a better place....

When the doctor placed him on my chest, all I could say was "Hello, Handsome. We love you!" Despite his many bodily abnormalities, he was perfect. I have never seen anything that was more beautiful and that I love more...He was very small, 14 oz and 9 1/2 inches long. He had the cutest arms and legs. They were an exact replica of Rob's except for maybe his calves those might have been mine :). I just kept looking at Rob's hands and looking at Mark's and marveling how much they looked the same. In comparision to his size, he had a long torso and big hands and feet just like his Daddy. Like Father, Like Son.

Once we got him cleaned up and put a cute little cap on him, we brought the family in to see the most precious little boy. Everyone had smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization of professional photographers who volunteer their time for fatal prenatal diagnosis, came in and captured a few minutes of all of us holding Mark and loving him. I am so grateful that they were able to come in and I cannot wait to see the pictures that I will treasure forever. Once the photographers left, we circled around and dedicated Mark Allen back to Jesus. Beautiful words of thankfulness, grace, and love were prayed. His life started and ended in the womb with God's hand surrounding him.

He received a lot of cuddling and kisses from everyone. We took lots of pictures. I had brought quite a few things in to capture Mark's perfect hands and feet on: picture mats, special paper, ceramic plaster, and our bibles. Brittany, Abby, and Kristin (aka Woodie, we played soccer and survived nursing school together at PLNU. She works at the hospital and was able to join us during this special time) spent two hours and a lot of energy getting all the handprints and footprints. It was quite a task, but I am so appreciative.

Around 5:30pm all the family decided to leave for the day and give Rob and I some time alone. It was just the three of us. We were our own family. We were complete. The floodgates of tears poured out of us as we held our son and each other. I could not stop saying how sorry, how very sorry, I was to our perfect little Mark Allen. I wish that I could have given up anything to have protected him and to have him here. We told him that we love him so so much! We kissed him and once again examined his perfect little body. After physical and emotional exhaustion, I finally fell asleep with our son in my arms. It was so special. After a couple of hours, Rob got to hold him and sleep with Mark in his arms. Around midnight we woke up and knew the time was coming that we needed to give up our son's body for his soul was already in heaven. We took more photos and showered him with kisses. We bathed him as we wept and sung Jesus Loves Me. We put his cap on, wrapped him tightly up in a blanket and placed a tiny stuffed dog in his arms. It fit just right. I did not know if I would have the strength to give him up but by God's provision I had a peace that I could only attribute to the Lord. The nurse came and took him at 1:26am....we had twelve wonderful hours with him. We will always love you Mark! We will never forgot you! We cannot wait to tell your brothers and sisters about their big brother Mark!


  1. Hey Rob and Jess,
    Benson has been keeping me up to date on the situation and I just want you guys to know that you and your family(ies) are in my thoughts and prayers. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through but if there is anything I can do to help or ease any of the process for you guys please don't hesitate to ask. Feel free to call me at anytime if there is something you need, may it be a cup of coffee or a listening ear. Feel free to call at anytime 415 867 6240

  2. Oh my goodness how your family has blessed mine. Thank you.

  3. Rob & Jess, may you continue to be surrounded by all of God's glory and may His face continue to shine upon you. Heaven can only be a better place today. Grace and Peace.

  4. Jen McNicholas (Harwood)January 13, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Our babies are dancing in heaven together. I know it has been many years but if you need anything I am living in SD now call me 707-338-6621. Praying for you and Rod.

  5. We are with you in prayers and love and support! Your courage and character have been a constant inspiration and reminder of God's amazing grace. Thank you for sharing your life so generously!! All our love, Jean, John and Shane

  6. Weeping and rejoicing with you. So very much.
    You will always be his Mommy and Daddy. That comes with the most exquisite pain and beauty imaginable. You have been so brave. So very brave, and I pray that you can find joy and rest in Him now. Bless you sweet Morgans.

  7. I've been following your pregnancy through Matt and Holly's blog etc, and you have all been on our prayer list at Trinity United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon. You are beyond inspiring in your love for your son. He DID live, and he was blessed to have you for his parents as you were blessed to experience such love amidst the deep sadness. God Bless You and Keep you Always.
    Charlene Choate

  8. God Bless both of you and your family. Your faith is an inspiration. Your embrace of this painful yet beautiful experience is a testament to what strength can be found in Him. May God continue to hold you in his loving hands. We will be making a donation in Mark Allen's name

    Leeann and Dan Harvey

  9. You don't know me, but I have watched Jessica grow into the beautiful young woman you are today since I came to SRCC in 1991. I was privileged to walk the path of sorrow, faith and grace with my daughter during the thirty days between the time we knew her first child, a daughter, was sick and her birth as a still- born baby fourteen years ago. As you have gone through this week I have prayed with all the faith I have that God would give you His strength and shower His love and mercy on you and your families during this experience.

    We gained our greatest comfort from the peace God gave me prior to her birth that Paige had fulfilled His purpose for her life before she ever took a breath. We then could watch to see that purpose unfold...and it did.

    We were again comforted by a letter my son sent to his sister the night of Paige's birth. "Right now Paige is enjoying a life that you and I wait for. She was chosen by God to know no pain and feel no hurt. Your pain right now is a pain of no known association with your daughter. But in God's time we will all be able to meet Paige face to face. When we do, the wisdom of your child will lead us around heaven and show us the joy that she was living in while waiting for us to join her."

    God has refined you and Rob through this experience and you shine as pure gold. He will use you in the days ahead in ways you cannot imagine because of time you were allowed to share with Mark Allen.

    I pray these same words will bring you comfort as you work through the sorrow of your loss of two sons. Please know that there are many people who are covering you with their prayers as you move through this next stage of the journey that was chosen for you by God. You have blessed me deeply by sharing as you have.

    With love, Sharon Stockham

  10. What a miracle... that you were able to articulate these precious moments - thank you for sharing them so willingly and openly. My son Peter will be so glad to have more boys to play with- Someone shared with me that when we have children we plant a rose vine. Some bloom here, some on the other side of the fence, but they never leave our vine. I planted a rose vine in remembrance of my own loss nine years ago as a memorial. If you were back here, I would bring you one:). All my love, Kaitlyn Felciano

  11. Hi, I attend SRC and read your blog via Weimeyers and Beasleys. You show miraculous Grace, Strength, Peace and Perseverance in Christ. Thank you for sharing. Truly amazing.
    I pray for miraculous healing for your hearts.
    Shannon DeMange

  12. My thoughts and prayers of healing and comfort are with you. Your loving kindness was shown in words, as you let your family in Christ share with you during this trying time. My thoughts and prayers will be with you Morgans, in the many months to come.
    Love in Christ,
    Your prayer warrior.
    Bernie Botz

  13. Jesus bless you today as you do this most difficult, yet important thing. My mom, Sharon, told you about our experience, and I remember the joy that came as I imagined Paige not reading and learning her Bible stories like we did as children, but having King David show her how he pulled that slingshot back and hit that big giant, and having all our Bible heroes share their stories with our children in their presence.

    And how many nights I have thought of Jesus cradling her for me...He somehow is always able to carry us when it seems impossible to go on. You are both on my mind today. Know that you are greatly loved and supported by countless prayers.

    Lori Stockham Johnson

  14. Rob and Jess,

    You are both SO BRAVE and STRONG. You will be blessed by your suffering and others will be blessed by your story. My imagination cannot fathom the sorrow you must feel. I pray that our God comforts you both as well as your family, as He welcomes back Mark Allen into His kingdom. May God bless you in full for your faithfulness, selflessness and perseverance. I stand in awe of you both and thank God for your lives and your example. I rejoice in knowing that your twins are with the Lord and that i will one day get to meet them!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing the story of your journey.

  16. Hey Jessica,
    this is Jill Kimmel Whitacre, Ryan's sister. I just wanted to say how precious it was to read your story. You are strong to share it with us and I want you to know how blessed I have been by reading it. I'm sorry for your loss, but encouraged by your focus and submission. You are an amazing testimony. I'm loving you from here and can't wait to read a post down the line about all the amazing ways God has used Mark's life and loss in your life and the lives of those you don't even know.