Sunday, May 3, 2009

Short update

I'm not ready to write yet, but wanted to just post something small...

Our son, the beautiful Benjamin Joseph Swaney, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday afternoon, in childbirth. We remain stunned and sad and alternately numb and in agony, but there is so much grace sustaining us in the meantime.

We were not created for death, you know? We were not created to bump into it, to taste it, to experience it, to understand it. God created us for the Garden, for relationship with Himself, for friendship with the Eternal-- He did not design us for sin and death. It only makes sense that our bodies and spirits and minds would react with such violent passion and repulsion when it touches us.

I want to write about what happened, but I am not there yet. As a writer, I've never understood why someone couldn't "write about something yet" until now. Maybe I don't have the energy. Maybe I can't relive the whole thing again for the hundredth time today. Maybe I wish that I had answers to pair with my questions-- a perfectly balanced and composed piece. Doesn't exist, I know. Maybe I'm just tired. That's probably it.

But know this: we have no idea what happened. He was perfectly fine all night. I labored really well and it was looking like the vaginal delivery I was hoping for would happen (I know-- I'm crazy). They brought in an ultrasound just to take a look and make sure all was well with Ben and he was perfect-- even waved at us :) It was precious. He scored an 8 out of 8 on all of the points he needed to hit to indicate strength and health. But sometime during labor, near 12 in the afternoon, his heart rate started dropping. So they moved me in all kinds of positions and sometimes that would help... when it dipped way too low they pounced on me and rushed me into an emergency C-section. He was gone before they lifted him from my womb.

Maybe he was lying on his cord and his oxygen was cut off? Who knows? My fantastic midwife and doctor and everyone else are mystified. Somehow, I have peace with that part. I just want to know "why" from God. Medically, I can deal with the mystery. Relationally, I struggle with what was an honest-to-God miracle-- his conception and gestation--and why the author and perfecter of my faith chose to take this route with the baby Don and I had longed for. Still long for. Long for every second of the day.

So I wait.

I may wait until the day I enter heaven to understand, so my prayer is for more faith. More grace. To cleave tighter to God and to cry out for His mind. I trust Him completely, though I do not understand His reasoning. I have had glimpses of possible "whys" in these days, but I know that I am not even any measurable distance into this journey. I will carry a longing for Ben until the day that I hold him in my arms in heaven. I just hope that one day it won't hurt to breathe when I hear that name.

So again, I wait. And I am eternally, outrageously blessed with the husband God has given to me. I am filled with a thousand thoughts of how fortunate I am to be connected with this man in this life. The three-legged race I have always sort of felt that marriage was like has become a two legged race-- we are completely dependent upon each other, totally lost in our dependence upon our God. It is so good to be like-minded in this crisis.

And we are surrounded by the body of Christ. The community we live and work in has blown my mind once again. The friends and family who have rushed to our side have supported us in so many amazing ways. The love we have felt, so profound. From our sweet mothers and fathers, to our siblings and close friends, all the way to people we hardly knew-- and people we hardly knew before but who feel like lifelong friends now (the nurses in Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby at Rockdale Medical Center. Their tenderness and mercy were the touch of the Father to me so many times...), we have been carried so tenderly. Our pastor has pastored and encouraged us. I cannot imagine walking this way without any of them. God has blessed us beyond measure.

But my mind always goes back to Ben. Blessed us beyond measure...but took our son. And my mind cannot comprehend...

But I don't have to. For now, it's all just faith. And not my faith-- it's faith that is a gift-- MUST be a gift-- from God....

Psalm 27:4
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

14 comments:

Tom said...

YES, sweet daughter, this Faith is a Gift-so real-so needed-I love you..We Thank God daily for Don and your son, our Grandson, Benjamin--Blessed be the Name of Our Lord..Daddy says he understands your need but inability to write-words will not come-he wants to comfort but words will not come...yet

Tom said...

Hey kiddo; fyi....the above was your mom commenting on my blogg.......... we love you honey

Sarah said...

"God created us for the Garden"- I love this. These are the words I have been grasping for.

wendymhall said...

You, my friend, are beautiful.

Holly said...

Dearest Sam, I can't comprehend the size of your loss, its weight, how tired your body and soul must already be from bearing it. My own body has not experienced these mysteries and my mind cannot begin to wrap itself around them, but my heart is overflowing with the godly lessons you are teaching all of us to whom you are witnessing, whether you realise it or not. Through your candour, I am more aware than I have ever been of the fragility of our lives and the simultaneous strength of our spirits, borne up by the good Lord even in the midst of heartbreak and sorrow. Your faith, love, openness and humility before the Lord's unfathomable will make me think so strongly of our Blessed Mother as she said, 'I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.' It is an absolute grace to walk this painful road with you, even at such a distance; you, Don and baby Ben are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

Heidi said...

I had remembered how beautiful your faith was and how steadfast your reliance on the Lord. Some day I'll have to tell you what that all meant a million years ago in staff housing. But this?

A glimpse of the Father's heart toward you and a breath from the Holy Spirit across a questioning heart.

It's been a long time, Sam, but I love you and those of us over here in Central Oregon are keeping you and your family lifted in prayer.

Heidi Glaser Stone

J said...

Sam, know that Russel & I pray for you daily. And whenever I hear your son's name, I stop, feeling my heart skip a beat, and then I pray for you. When you are ready for visitors, call me and I will come. I love you.
-Jennifer

Lizzie9208 said...

Sam, my heart aches for you and Don. God is with you, even when you don't understand his reasoning.

Elizabeth Hartman

Once Upon a Time said...

Oh Sam! I weep for you, for Don. I am so very sorry for your pain. I don't understand. I simply have no words...Your words were so beautifully crafted and just the tiniest glimpse into your heart and pain made me cry all the more. We continue to pray...

Kristen said...

you know, dear friend, that i just don't do the facebook/blog world. But I must, i must be public in my participation with your son's life, with your life... due to geography, cyber-standing will have to do... but know, please know that my voice joins yours in the place of our Lord...
my love to you... -- boss

sarah said...

For as little as I know you personally I know you a great deal through the words and love of your mother. Words can not express how my heart has broken for you. We had a short conversation one day about our equal struggle with fear and I wanted to share a song we sang in RUF that I have always clung to.

http://zachandsarahmay.blogspot.com/2009/04/sunday-song.html

Know there are many who are praying for you and love you just because!

Heather H said...

my prayers are with you during this time. i cannot imagine what you must be feeling -

i pray for peace. i pray for a supernatural dose of faith. i pray for rest - for your mind to rest.

i'm a friend of Mary's ... and i just wanted to let you know that you are being prayed for RIGHT now.

May God grant you the assurance to know that you are loved beyond measure.

Frontera Girl said...

Dearest Sam, you wrote: "I will carry a longing for Ben until the day that I hold him in my arms in heaven. I just hope that one day it won't hurt to breathe when I hear that name."

So eloquent. Such a pure love you have experienced for that little person, your Ben. And yes, one day, you will breathe again. I know you will.

Brian said...

Samantha,

I just read this, just found out about this. I am so sorry. I have been there...twice. My heart aches for you.

Maybe sometime you and I can get together and talk...about everything that's happened since 1989.