Growing up, I’ve always been a person who believed that life is about doing the best that you can with the situations that are presented to us. This usually isn’t a problem because
I Am Not in Control
Dated: August 10 2020
Growing up, I’ve always been a person who believed that life is about doing the best that you can with the situations that are presented to us. This usually isn’t a problem because I don’t get involved in situations that I can not handle or directly impact the outcome with my actions. In the 30 years I’ve been alive, I can’t remember a moment where I felt that I couldn’t handle the situation whether it was good, bad or uncomfortable. That was the case until Tuesday May 19th, 2020.
Emily and I were directed to go to an Ultra Sound specialist by our doctor. He assured us that most of the time when he sends people to the specialist, things end up being ok. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, only the mother could go into the ultra sound office - which was the start of losing control. I received a FaceTime phone call from Emily, and she was very upset. She said that the doctor would like to talk to us about what’s going on. She explained to us that our soon to be Daughter, Miller, was suffering from a birth defect called Duodenal Atresia(which means the baby’s stomach was not connected to the large intestine) and that there was a very high likelihood that our child would suffer from Downes Syndrome. I was silent for the first time in my life; I didn’t know what to say. The Doctor then said that she would recommend we either do blood work or test the amniotic fluid. Mind you, I am in the car in the parking lot by myself watching my wife get a needle injected into her stomach. I can honestly say this was the most helpless I’d ever felt. There was nothing I could do but watch and cry. I’ll never forget that nightmare for as long as I live. I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to even imagine my situation - it was that bad. Once the procedure was done, Emily came back down to the car and we cried for an hour. There was not one word spoken. Although we were sad, we still held onto hope that Miller would be ok. They told us our results would be in in the next few days. 9 long days later, Thursday May 28th 2020, Emily gets a Call from our OBGYN with the unfortunate news. Miller had Down Syndrome and duodenal atresia(which would require Miller to have surgery upon delivery).
Being the optimistic person that I am, I assured Emily that everything would be ok and that Miller would be welcome in our family no matter her differences or challenges. I WAS BACK IN CONTROL!!! I lined up a Counselor for Emily and I, scheduled visits with Surgeon, and started planning the arrival of our new addition. We started processing our emotions and feelings with a counselor and were headed in the right direction until Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 when Emily went in for an Ultra Sound. They sent her to the hospital. I was at work but when I got the call, work was over and I went straight home to grab Emily and organize help with the Girls. We packed our bag and head to the hospital so they could monitor Miller. It was then we found out that Emily’s Placenta and umbilical cord were having issues delivering enough blood consistently to Miller. After being observed, for 4 days, the doctor felt our situation was stable and sent us home and demanded strict bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. Emily is the rock of our household, she mans the fort and assures that everyone is fed and taken care of. It was time to step up and do more than I had ever done. I was up for the task.
Two days after being released, Sunday June 14th, 2020 was the true start to the worst week of my life. I dread even writing about it because it surfaces so much pain for me. Emily wasn’t feeling Miller! We were lying in bed and Emily mentioned she wasn’t feeling much movement. I said don’t worry, Lets call the doctor when we get up.
Monday, June 15th, 2020 Started like most Mondays: me waking up, and going to the office early to plan the week for my Team. I got a call from Emily at 9:00 in the morning and she said that she has an ultrasound at 11. I told her that I was leaving and would pick her up and take her. I didn’t have a good feeling and honestly there was not a thing in the world I would have done instead of being with my Wife. We arrived at the Ultra Sound Specialist and once again I was not allowed in. I got a call within 5 minutes and it was Emily crying. The nurse came in but left immediately to get the doctor. “Something is not right, this is not good,” are the words that continue to ring in my ears to this day. I told Emily to stick her head out of the door and tell that nurse that I was coming up and I don’t care who or what is in my way. There was a zero percent chance that I wasn’t going to be by my wife’s side in this moment. I walked into this dark room where Emily was on the table and there was a Doctor and 2 Nurses and by their sheer demeanor I knew it was not good. The Doctor said, “Im Sorry.” I dropped my head and for the first time in my life I realized that I was not in control. I was a broken man in a helpless situation. Anger and Sadness were best friends and they were tormenting me. I wouldn’t wish that moment on my worst Enemies. Emily and I drove home and not a word needed to be said. You could feel each others pain like a ray of heat from the sun. I would have done anything and I mean anything to take that pain from my wife. We got a call from our OBGYN and he told us that we had up to 5 days to get Miller out of Emily. Emily told him that she would like to come in on Wednesday June 17th, 2020.
One of the harder moments for both Emily and I was having to tell our Girls what was going on; that mommy needed to go to the hospital to have Miller; but she wouldn’t be coming home. Klara and Adelaide both cried and started asking questions. If I could take any positives out of the situation, I believe it would be that our girls’ walk with Jesus started in this moment. They started asking deep questions about God and Heaven. They still ask, daily, about Miller and Heaven.
Wednesday, June 17th, 2020: The Worst Day of my life. Emily and I went into the hospital early in the morning. This is a very strange experience because Emily and I went through the same process as we did with Klara and Adelaide except we knew the outcome would not be good. I was so scared of every moment because I never, in my wildest nightmares, would have imagined that I would have to hold my dead child. Emily got checked in and they rolled her back to the operating room while I sat in a hallway waiting for them to prep her. I walked into the operating room and immediately went to Emily to start comforting her. If I could erase any moment in my life, I would delete this one from my memory bank. Everything about this situation was amplified. The smell of burning flesh had both Emily and I not feeling well, time slowed down and seemed like forever, No crying, No smiles, just a room with empty emotions.
I will never forget when the doctor asked if we would like to see the baby(at the time we were not ready) but both Emily and I saw a glimps of Miller at the same time. We both had a synchronized Gasp. The Air left the room as I saw those dangling, lifeless arms and legs. As a protector of the family, I had failed. I, for the first time in my life, had failed, and there was nothing I could do about it. I could not fix the pain we were going through, I could not bring Miller back, I was a lonely man on an abandoned Island. We headed back to recovery where I laid and cried for 4 hours listening to “Listen to our Hearts” on repeat. I couldn’t do anything but cry.
We decided that at 7:45 pm, we would like for them to bring Miller in for 20 minutes and the priest would bless her. The nurse rolled Miller in and she was covered with a Blanket, like a person in a crime scene. Mind you, Miller hadn’t been alive for 3 days so I had no clue what she would look like or the condition she’d be in. I walked up to the Basket, took a deep breathe and removed the Blanket. It was LOVE at first sight. Miller was an angel, so pretty, and she was ours. What was meant to be 20-30 minute visit, ended up being 24 hours. I couldn’t let her go. We had a limited amount of time on earth to see her and I wasn’t about to waste a minute. It sure is amazing how my worst moment turned to Love. It solidifies my belief that Love and Joy are most of the time on the other side of fear and pain.
Back to the Roller coaster of emotions. Miller was now where she was supposed to be in my arms. I now had to say goodbye forever. It sure wasn’t supposed to be like this and man I wasn’t ready let go of something I just fell in love with. Once again, we're in the car alone, crying. This is when Anger dominated my feelings. I’m a good person that always chooses the right thing, even if it cost me a lot of money or time. I give the shirt off my back whenever someone needs anything. I never say No. Why did God do this to me and is that the type of God I want to follow?
Friday June 19th, 2020, Emily and I have to go to the Funeral Home and organize Miller’s Burial service. Honestly, I don’t care to write about that meeting because I would like to erase that memory from the bank. All I can say is Funeral Homes are my least favorite places in the world.
Tuesday June 23, 2020 We laid our sweet baby Girl to rest. We were surrounded by all of our loved ones and we were not alone. We got to see Miller again but honestly I was not excited because I knew she wouldn’t look like she did in the hospital and I cherished that memory and didn’t want to taint it. Man I was ready for the nightmare to end and our life to start moving forward.
We went to counseling the following week and I will honestly say that without counseling, Emily and I would not have been able to process our emotions and be on the same page. I remember the counselor asking me, “What do you need?” I told her that what I want, more than anything in life is to go into the woods by myself for a day. Nature has always been my refuge in hard moments. It allows me to be one with my creator but it also allows me to be my true emotional self with no one looking. She told me that, I should find time to do that once Emily has recovered. Isn’t it funny how God takes broken people and gives them exactly what they need. I got a call 3 days later from CPA Head Coach Ingle Martin and he says, “Tim we as the coaching staff are going to do a day of silence in the woods.” Answered Prayer, God you’re still there and you’re listening. I decided to make it happen and thank God I did. I will write about that experience one day but it brought a lot of clarity to me and how I was going to get myself and my family through this.
Sure, some days are easier than others, yes i’m still sad, yes i’m still angry, Through all that, yes, I have found peace, yes I love my wife more than ever and I cherish my children more than I ever have, yes I want Miller back but Emily and I have grown stronger together as Husband and Wife, we have become more loving people to our children and we know, now more than ever, that we are not in control and that although it is hard, God is in control and we can rest in him!!!!
I was born and raised in Nashville. Growing up, I always felt that I would follow my fathers foot steps and work in the corporate world. After being a collegiate athlete at Austin Peay State Univers....