Justin Isaac Grace was born on this day back in 1983 to Tim and Teresa Grace (me). He only lived an hour and a half before he went to heaven to be with Jesus.
This is a picture of a plant. Everyone that knows me knows how much I love plants. This planter held one of the arrangements that someone bought for me while I was in the hospital after Justin's death. Although there's a different plant in there these days, I have always kept the praying hands planter as a remembrance to my son.
Let me tell you the incredible story about the short life of Justin Isaac Grace...
I had a completely normal pregnancy, and my husband (Tim) was in the delivery room with me for Justin's birth. But immediately upon delivery of the baby, the doctor told Tim to leave the room. It seemed that almost immediately the room became filled with nurses and other hospital staff. I was still laying on the delivery table, as my doctor had left my side to go over and attend to the baby momentarily.
I began to pray - silently at first, as my fear and worry began to rise. I had already had one baby two years earlier, so I knew that something was very wrong about this delivery room scene. I prayed that although I did not know what was wrong with my baby, God did, and that He could touch and heal whatever was wrong with my child. As the moments ticked by, I began to pray a little more feverishly - and a little louder.
It was at that moment that I heard the voice of God. I not only heard his voice audibly with my ears, but I could also feel and sense Him as well. The only words that God spoke were
"Don't pray that way - pray for My will to be done"and in that instant, not only did I feel peace that could only have come from God himself, but I also knew that the baby was going to die. I cannot describe it, but I knew that it was 'for the best'.
I was taken to the recovery room, and the baby was taken somewhere for examination and tests to determine what might be wrong with him. The only things visible (on the outside of his little body) were that his genitals were not fully developed, and that he had a club foot.
The doctor eventually came in and told me that Justin's kidneys and liver were all very poorly developed, and that there was not much that they could do. He told me that he didn't think the baby had very long to live, and asked if I wanted to see him or hold him. I told him yes and he went to go have someone to bring my newborn baby to me.
What I didn't know (until later), was that my husband Tim caught the doctor in the hallway and asked him NOT to bring me the baby. Tim did not have the experience with God on the delivery table that I had, and thought he was looking out for me. Tim was afraid that if the baby died in my arms that I might freak out.
I don't know how much time went by, but eventually a nurse came in to check on me and I asked if she knew what was taking them so long to bring the baby to me. She said that she would check on it and also left the room. When the doctor heard this, he figured out what was going on. He brought the baby to me himself, but when I went to take Justin out of the doctor's arms, he hesitated. He told me that he had just passed, and was not sure if I should take him.
In that moment I hesitated too. It would have been one thing if the baby had died in my arms, but I was not sure if I could handle taking him and holding him now - knowing that he was dead. Instead, the doctor held him and I took off his little blue cap and pulled the blanket away from his little body so that I could see him and touch him. I cried as I touched his skin and his soft cheeks. The doctor was very patient with me and let me take as much time as I needed.
That's the one thing that I regret - not having the nerve to take Justin and spend time holding and touching him.
Back in those days the mother was normally in the hospital for 3 days after chidbirth. I made the funeral arrangements from my hospital room and Justin's funeral was held the day that I was released from the hospital. It was just a small graveside funeral with family and close friends, and they brought a metal folding chair to the graveside so that I could sit down. It was a bitter cold day - just like it is today.
* * * * *
They later determined that I had gotten pregnant too soon after going off of birth control pills. The pills were stronger back in those days, and they stayed in the mother's body a lot longer than they do now. This caused Justin Isaac to have many birth defects including having many very poorly developed internal organs. He was ok until he came into the world and his little body had to work all on it's own - his organs weren't developed enough to do the job.
I love to tell that story. The hair on my neck stands up every time I tell it. I have prayed over the years that God would use Justin's story to somehow help someone that might be going through sadness from the death of a child. Justin is one of the first in my family circle to already be in heaven. I used to imagine him as a little child running and jumping and playing with Jesus in heaven. I imagined Jesus reading stories to him. I don't know if all of that really happens in heaven, but I know that it would have been so selfish of me to insist they hook him up to machines and try to prolong his life here on earth. Athough I missed him terribly, I knew that he was in a better place.
I also knew how much God was right there with me through all of it. In fact, I got pregnant again 6 months later with Aaron and never had the first nightmare or even a hint of fear that something might go wrong with that pregnancy - and I know that also came from God.
I miss you Justin, and I can't wait to get to heaven so that I can see you again.