Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hyrum's Story, by his Mama

A Life Well Lived, By Ashley Wiltbank

​I've heard many people say that the year they lost their child was the worst year of their lives. I refuse to make that true for me. 2016 has already been the best year of my life. A year I'll remember forever. It's the year I got to witness and hold a miracle. A gift directly from God. Proof that He is real, and that He loves me. In 2016, He gave me Hyrum.

Technically, our journey with Hyrum started in 2015. On December 7, 2015, when we were referred it a perinatalogist, after my OB saw fluid on our baby's brain and bright spots on his heart. Maybe I was oblivious or naïve, either way, we were not at all expecting the tech to turn to us and say that she "saw what your OB saw, and I see a lot of other issues too". She then went on to list nearly every major organ system and the problems she saw in each one. I don't think I really processed what it meant until after several hours of more testing, when the genetic counselor told us that our baby would most likely be stillborn, and that if he wasn't, the odds of him making it to his first birthday were less than 8%. She said if she were me, she would terminate the pregnancy.

Luckily, when we met the MFMS, he was much more positive. He didn't bring up termination, and although the prognosis for our sweet unborn baby was still grim, he encouraged us to make the most of our time with our son. We were introduced to a perinatal palliative care nurse, Berdette. She told us that our son's life was going to be brief, but that it was still within our power to make his life wonderful.

A friend brought us this picture by the artist Simon Dewey, not long after we got the diagnosis. We knew that Hyrum's place in our family had meaning and that God had a plan for him. And we knew most of all, as our daughter said, "Jesus is going to take care of our baby!" The title of the painting is "In His Constant Care". It brought us so much comfort.
It was undeniable that God was sending us a valiant, noble little spirit! We'd tossed around the idea of naming him Hyrum, and after finding out that it means "noble", "whiteness", "borrowed" and "my brother is exalted", we decided that that would be the perfect name for our kids to call their brother!

Some days during my pregnancy were SO hard. I was so discouraged, and so sad. But I'm so grateful that most of the days were actually pretty good! In taking Berdette's words to heart, we tried to make the most of our time with our son. Every day I got to wake up and feel him kicking felt like a gift from Heaven. We took time to get to know him. Our other three kids loved to feel him kick them! We would sing to him every night,
"Godspeed little man, sweet dreams little man, oh my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings, Godspeed, sweet dreams".  

I felt more confident, more loved when Hyrum was alive inside of me. I felt so honored to get to carry this beautiful little soul and have him literally be a part of me. I just knew he was so pure. Too pure for this earth. Strong impressions told me before I ever even saw him that he accepted this body and this short life, that his heart is not set on the vain things of this world. He's pure and perfect enough to serve his purpose without having to be physically with us.

I tried so hard to listen to the things I knew Hyrum was trying to teach me. I've never had such a sure knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father. I've never had such love for the people around me. I've never been more motivated to be a good person. I've never been so grateful to see the sunrise, sunset, blue sky, rainy days, cold days, bright days and dark days. I wanted to spend as much happy time as I could with my kids. I wanted Hyrum to hear his siblings and hear our happy voices and know he was part of a family who loved each other and loved him.

Some days I failed miserably. Some days fear and stress consumed me. But my noble little Hyrum motivated me to press forward. I wanted to make his life beautiful.

We felt like every person we met while I was pregnant with Hyrum, from our doctor to our photographer to the random stranger who paid for my prenatal vitamins at Safeway one day, was intricately placed in our path. I never knew such amazing, compassionate people existed, willing to do such grand acts of service for complete strangers. My husband made the comment that if Hyrum had lived, these would be the types of people he would associate with and bring into our lives. And even though his time was short, he still brought them to us!

I'd given birth three times before, and each birth experience was beautiful in its own way, but nothing could compare to the overwhelming feelings of love, peace and the presence of Heaven in the room when Hyrum was born. He didn't cry or move for several minutes after he came out, but I knew him immediately, and I loved him immediately. The second I saw his face was the first time on this journey that I ever experienced denial. I thought to myself, "They said something was going to be wrong with him. Lethally wrong. You can't hand me a baby this perfect and tell me he's not going to live!" He was perfect!
Sadly, my denial met reality just 3 1/2 hours later. Hyrum waited patiently for everyone to go home, then passed peacefully in my arms.

We were given everything we had hoped for his life. We were able to give him a name and a blessing. He was welcomed and loved by his siblings. His grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all came to meet him. We swaddled him and snuggled him and sang to him. He got a birthday cake and we got lots of pictures. But he continues to give us so much more than we ever could've imagined!

Everything that I felt when I was pregnant with Hyrum has come back ten fold now that he's passed on. I want to be a better person, and I'm throwing myself out of my comfort zone to try to be a person worthy to call herself Hyrum's mom. Every little thing reminds me of him and how I want to do everything I can to get back to him. I want to be a better mom, better wife, better friend. I want to be closer to God, and in doing so, I grow closer to Hyrum. I look for people's souls now. Not their mortal vessels. I know that's what Hyrum would do. That's what he's taught me to do. I want to share God's love, because that's what Hyrum did for me.

Just like when I was pregnant, some days I fail miserably. At times, he pain and the emptiness is more unbearable than I ever could have imagined. The dark days are darker, but the bright days are brighter, and even though it's been less than two months, there have been days that have been completely bright, with no darkness in sight.

Some people live their whole lives not knowing their purpose, without living for anyone else. Hyrum did that with three hours. He has shown me that life, and what you do with your life MATTERS! You don't have to make millions or cure cancer, sometimes the simplest things, the simplest beings change the world around them. We've had so many people tell us about how Hyrum has changed them too. I know that that is part of his purpose. As much as I sometimes want to have him to myself, I know he was meant to be shared and to touch others.

D&C 18:15 says, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days...and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"

I know Hyrum is there! His life was short but he lived it for us, and especially for me. He labored through his short life to bring others to God. I know his joy is great and that he's waiting for me to do my part to meet him there. Hyrum has shown me my purpose. He's taught me that I can have everything I've ever wanted out of my life, and that the things I truly want are not the things of this world. I'm not perfect, but I'm progressing and the thought of holding Hyrum again someday pushes me every day.

I've just begun to open up a world and a part of myself that I never knew existed. I wish I could've learned these things another way, but I'm forever honored that Hyrum is the one who was willing to come teach me.

Godspeed Little Man! Sweet Dreams Little Man!


Meggie B said...

I love this SO much!!! All of this is so much what having our son Broderick (Brody) Cillian has meant and done for me and my family. We still have a lot of sadness and dark days and pain...but our brights are BRIGHTER and I'm bolder. I'm a better mom to my other kids because I got to be his mom. Hyrum looks a lot like our Brody, that cleft feels like it makes brothers and sisters out of all these kids, they look so related to one another, which I love because I feel so much of a connection to these other babies. My son isn't alone, he's got such a BIG family with all these other babies.

N. Slade said...

You have a special story and everyone that reads this will now be a better person because of it. Thanks for sharing!

Chevalier for Family Court said... heartwarming and true.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful blessing this sweet child of God was and still is. I'm sorry for your loss but it's very obvious Hyrum is with you and is still touching lives and bringing people closer to the Lord. Prayers to you all❤��

Kristin Sheffield said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story! It was a beautiful tribute to your beautiful baby boy and what God did in you, through Hyrum's life. Our family had a sweet baby boy, Benjamin Noah l, who was born with a complete case of Trisomy 18. Carrying him knowing the odds stacked against him was so difficult, but I wouldn't trade our time with him for the world. We were granted a very short, beautiful life with him and we too knew he was a gift from God. We feel so honored to have been entrusted with such a delicate precious life. We miss him so much every day, but know that we will be reunited with him one day in Heaven. We are so grateful for the hope of eternity! I hope our sweet boys have met 💙💙

Your blog post blessed me so much that I wanted to share mine with you as well, in case it would bless you to know our story too. Reading others' stories has helped bring back sweet memories for me and reminds me, we are not alone. Thank you again for sharing your heart! Here is the link to my blog:

Ministry Wife and Life said...

What a special story and how life changing for all who read it. I pray many blessings on you and your special family. Thank you for sharing your heart and a vision of heaven for all of us.

Unknown said...

I cried with your story and by looking the pictures with your family around baby Hyrum. God Bless you and you will see your child again.

Unknown said...

Beautiful story of love and courage. I cried. You will see your son again. God bless you.

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