October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. President Reagan made it official in 1988, and I love what he says about parents who have lost children.
“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”
This is so true. There isn’t a word to describe it. The pain, the heartache, and the scars no one can see.
My Hope Journey
My grief journey started on January 1, 2016, at 8:30 in the morning—profoundly, on the first day of the year, a day most people see as a new beginning. There I lay in a hospital bed by myself after being told to call my husband. I was 21 weeks pregnant and went in to the hospital because I wasn’t feeling well, and I was having a lack of fetal movement. This was my third pregnancy, so I didn’t think anything about it when I went to the hospital. I left my husband with our boys. In that moment, sitting on the bed, my world was shattered. I felt frozen, but at the same time, I was following a checklist of tasks for what to do when your baby dies. On January 5, 2016, at 10:55 p.m. Viktor Eli Mortenson was born. He was silent and small, but powerful in his presence for only being 6 ounces.
We became pregnant with our fourth child in October 2016. On February 3, at 20 weeks pregnant, I found myself acutely aware of what was happening to me again. I started to cry and told my husband I needed to go to the hospital because I feared we lost our child again. On February 6 at 7:17, Noah Lee Mortenson was born swiftly, sweetly, and heartbreakingly silent. He was one pound, over double the size of his brother. They were born exactly one year, one month, and one day apart, just like there is one Father, one Son and one Holy Spirit.
Just like God revealed Himself to me with the days my children were born, He was there in the details. I remember the moment Viktor was born. I looked upon my husband holding him, the biggest smile on his face but tears in his eyes. In that moment, I felt God take us by the hand. He showed me that in the very same moment, we could have so much love and joy but also pain and grief. The decisions we made that day were out of our control, which I was not accustomed to. God needed us to realize that this was more than we could handle and we needed to anchor ourselves with Him.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain – Hebrews 6:19
Hebrews 6:19 has always been my favorite verse. I have had a fondness for anchors my whole life. God was preparing me for the two biggest anchors in my life.
With Noah, we knew what we were facing. Not that we could handle it, but that we could handle it differently. We did take more control that day, but in an anchored way. We lived that day. We prayed. We really cherished that day because we knew it was all we had. We never let our children meet Viktor, which made it difficult for them to understand. We knew God was telling us that they needed to meet Noah. That really anchored them. My children’s grasp on God really took hold the day they met Noah.
God handled naming our children. Their names weren’t ever on our list. They both came to my husband. When my husband told me Viktor’s name, I asked if he was referring to the victor’s crown in Heaven. At the time, I was in a study of Revelation, and we had just discussed the victor’s crown. The day Noah was born, my husband was reading the story of Noah in the Bible at the hospital. I knew in that moment God was telling me that Noah was our rainbow, our covenant with Him. You see, a baby born after loss is called a rainbow baby. There also is a rainbow in the end of Noah’s story in the Bible. When you put the boys’ names together, it says I Noah ViktorE (I know a victory). Through this, God is telling us that there is more, that our boys are loved, and we will all be together someday.
I Noah ViktorE!
God has a victory for us, as believers, with Him. He walks with us through many things in life. We all have something we can’t handle, but that is the point. We are supposed to submit and draw closer to Him.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
He didn’t do this to me, but He knew it was going to happen. The why isn’t important. What is important is that God uses these things that happen in our lives, and He saves us. He meets us where we are and holds us up. In that, His love and power are revealed. God didn’t give me what I could handle; He gave me what He could handle.
Family Ministry Note: It is rare when you meet someone who has faced life with so much courage and strength. While each day of Laura’s journey has not been easy, she has willingly shared her story with authenticity and grace. This Sunday, October 15, she and her family will celebrate the lives of Viktor and Noah with a balloon release with Dallas Hope Mommies (www.hopemommies.org), a Christian organization whose sole purpose is to come alongside moms and families who have experienced infant loss, bringing comfort, encouragement, companionship, and hope. If you have lost an infant or know someone who has, let our community of believers come around you and care for you.
I am a child of God. My husband, Mike, and I have been married for 13 years and have truly lived through so much. I was a military spouse, and a Chef prior to having children. We have 4 children, Beckett (7), Everett (4), Viktor (21 months in Heaven), and Noah (8 Months in Heaven). We moved to Celina about 3 and half years ago.