STILLBORN TO TYLER AND LIANNA DAVIS ON APRIL 17, 2013
My doctors allowed me to go two weeks past my pregnancy due date while I waited for my daughter to come naturally. On the last possible day prior to my scheduled induction, I went into labor at home. Yes, finally! We called the doctor and went to the hospital. The contractions were still mild, but my husband rolled me into the hospital in a wheel chair.
We were familiar with the halls, rooms, and medical team. Being past my due date, I had already experienced three non-stress tests and an extra ultrasound at this hospital—in fact, one test had occurred the previous evening.
The nurses gave us my favorite room, the large corner one. Having been tested there already, it was all familiar—the bands around my stomach to hold the monitors, the machines, and the process. Everything was put in place to begin being monitored and eventually welcome my girl.
The first nurse could not find a heartbeat. She said that she was new and still learning, but she checked all over—top, bottom, and sides. She left to find another nurse. I looked at my husband, concerned, but not yet alarmed. Something was wrong, like the nurse’s technique or the equipment, but certainly not me or my child. I had felt my baby move at home and even in the hospital parking lot. My husband gave me a reassuring look.
The second nurse came. She checked me much more quickly with the monitor and left. I could no longer tell myself the issue was likely the nurse or equipment, and no longer did I see a reassuring glance on my husband’s face. A doctor and ultrasound machine materialized more quickly than I knew was possible in a hospital. I had only known hospitals for routine processes and procedures. I had never required such swiftness. I asked the doctor if there was a heartbeat. He said, focused on the monitor, that he would be able to tell me in a minute.
A minute passed. He paused; he looked at us. I knew.
A few days later, I blogged:
On April 13, we went to the hospital for a routine post due date ultrasound for our daughter. We were blessed to see her squirming inside the womb, see her adorable face, and have perfect test results. On the evening of April 15, we went to the hospital for Lianna’s headache. Though uncommon, headaches can be dangerous if linked with high blood pressure. Lianna’s blood pressure was perfect. Our daughter was monitored for another routine non-stress test since we were at the hospital, and we had perfect results. On April 16, Lianna decided it was her relaxation day before her scheduled induction the next day. She remembers feeling her daughter move about happily, thinking, She must like when I relax. The same day, at about 4:45 p.m., Lianna went into early labor. At 5:45 p.m., she called the doctor and told him she had not felt movement for about an hour. However, after playing classical music, which her daughter loved responding to throughout the pregnancy, some good kicks were felt. About an hour and a half later, we went to the hospital. In the parking lot of the hospital, Lianna felt another movement.
Upon being checked in to the hospital, no heartbeat could be found for our precious daughter. She went to be with her God and know his perfect love on April 16. The two themes Lianna prayed for her daughter throughout the pregnancy were for her daughter to know the Lord deeply and for her daughter to be safe. God has faithfully answered both of these prayers. She now knows him more deeply and is more perfectly safe than Lianna imagined. During the pregnancy, Tyler would also pray for his daughter all the time. He remembers praying on multiple occasions for himself and Lianna to have strength to trust God if anything were to happen to their little girl. We know that God’s heart is breaking for us. We also know that God has a sovereign purpose for this precious life and this loss. The Lord carried Lianna through labor and delivery, giving her strength that was not her own.
Noelle Tru Davis was born on April 17 at 6:52 a.m. weighing seven pounds, seven ounces, and measuring 20.5 inches long. We named her Noelle, which means “birth of God,” because we wanted her to always remember God’s love for her in sending his Son to earth. We named her Tru after her great-grandmother, Gertrude Hesselgrave, who is a beautiful example of a woman who has and is serving the Lord with her life. Noelle has features resembling both of us: Lianna’s chin, nose, and eye shape with Tyler’s feature placement, fingers, toes, fingernails, and toenails. We think that her lips look like both of our lips in different ways. Most of all, however, Noelle is absolutely beautiful. Noelle is our perfect treasure. We miss her immensely. We are leaning on the comfort of the Lord and are able to mourn with joy because of our assurance of eternity with him. Some passages that have been special comforts to us are Psalm 25 and 2 Samuel 12:15–23. Though we cannot bring her back again, we will go to her. We feel blessed to have known Noelle for the amount of time we did, and we miss her. She has brought tremendous joy into our lives. We and so many others showed her so much love while she was with us. We will love her forever. She was graciously spared the tragedies of life on this earth. She was made for a different land, and we look forward to the day when we will join her.
Even after our loss on this earth, life is full because of the only One more important to me than even the members of my family—God. His goodness and sufficiency are not demonstrated in that I have everything I have ever wanted in this life—Noelle remains so very wanted—but in Him who is life (John 11:25). Because He is my good, I agree with the psalmist that I “lack no good thing,” (Psalm 34:10). What goodness could I request on top of His infinite goodness?
The same is true of Noelle. Though now I see only dimly, she sees in full (1 Corinthians 13:12). In fact, she has done more living—to the full—within one moment in heaven than I ever have on earth. Jesus spoke: “I have come that they may have life, and may have it abundantly,” (John 10:10). She lacks no good thing.
He has come that we may have life abundantly.
This is all an abundant gift of life: the grace that my husband and I have been given to trust God even as our Noelle was born without earthly life. If not for God’s provisions, I would so easily have a story that did not result in trusting Him.
This is all an abundant gift of life: the marvelous resolution that Noelle has been given to her story. What I cannot help but say is this: I am so, so happy for her.
Prior to being wheeled out of the hospital on the day we parted with our daughter’s baby body—one day after her soul departed from us—my thoughts were, We are together in Him.
We still are. Because of His life-giving abundance toward us, what do my husband and I want and what does Noelle want—what do we share that surpasses the distance between us? Him. We want to make much of this dear, life-giving God.