The past few weeks have held the most painful moments in our lives. I’ve been praying about how to share with everyone about the birth of our beautiful baby boy Bennett Oliver Waters. These words are a tribute to him.
The name Bennett means “blessed.” On September 17th (yes, I marked it on my calendar) Michael and I went to our monthly doctor’s appointment and then went to the movies. I felt Bennett move for the first time and we talked more about names. We decided we were both pretty smitten with Bennett. It seemed perfect for our little blessing.
Michael and I were so excited and anxious for our October doctors’ appointment— the 20 week ultrasound. Michael took off work early to meet me at the hospital (like he has done for every single doctor’s appointment). We had plans to go to our hometown Orrick afterward with new ultrasound photos in hand to proudly show our family. I was so excited to see how Bennett had grown since our last ultrasound. While lying down with warm gel on my belly, we quickly saw Bennett’s perfect head and spine on the screen. I felt a wave of relief. After a few seconds though the nurse excused herself out of the room. I felt like I was going to be sick as we prayed out to God that Bennett was ok. But he wasn’t. Our world came crashing down as our doctor confirmed his little heart was no longer beating. Our baby was gone. I just kept thinking, “This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening. Please God no.” Lying on the hospital bed and crying with Michael is one of the most painful and surreal moments of my life. I still can’t totally grasp that it happened.
The next morning we left our house and headed to the hospital to induce labor. I remember thinking before I walked out of our door that it was the last time Bennett was going to be in our home. We had been praying for a miracle so when we arrived we asked our doctor to do another ultrasound to confirm that Bennett was really gone. We thought, “This can’t be our story. 2017 was our year of loss and 2018 is supposed to be our year of happiness.” We held our breath as our doctor took her time checking over Bennett’s body but she sadly confirmed his soul was no longer with us.
In the early morning hours of October 19th, I gave birth to our Bennett. Worship music played while Michael held my hand, gave me kisses and whispered over and over, “I love you” and “I’m so proud of you.” We spent the day holding Bennett—marveling at him and honoring him. Our nurses and doctor were so thoughtful and caring, making us precious keepsakes we will treasure for the rest of our lives. We are so thankful for them and our families for not leaving our sides. By evening time we were ready to be home but we did not want to leave our Bennett. Leaving our hospital room was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.
Since the day of our ultrasound, life doesn’t seem real. We never thought we’d be planning our baby boy’s funeral or already deciding exactly where Michael and I will be buried one day. On November 2nd we celebrated Bennett with an intimate graveside service in Orrick. My sister said that morning she woke up upset. She had dreamt I was in the hospital having heart surgery. She had to tell everyone that my heart had broken in two and the doctors were trying to mend it back together. That’s exactly how I feel. My heart has broken. It is still broken. I know God is already piecing it back together but it is so painful. I know Michael feels the same way.
As Bennett’s service started, rain began to fall. When the last song played, the rain stopped. We felt God crying with us as our tears mixed with the rain. Oh how Bennett is loved. As I touched Bennett’s tiny casket one more time before leaving him to be buried, I quietly thanked God for the short time we had with Bennett and that we are his parents. I find comfort knowing I literally carried him for his entire life. Our baby went from being safe and warm inside of me and hearing our voices, to opening his eyes for the first time and seeing our Lord God and meeting his older siblings. He never felt pain or did anything wrong. After Bennett’s service and the rain had cleared, a rainbow shone brightly in the sky. God is good.
Even though the heartbreak is overbearing, Bennett’s life has shown us how much we can love and how much we and Bennett are loved. Our house is full of flowers, gifts, frozen dinners and so many sweets. It is true that there is a time for laughter and a time for tears. 2018 has held so many joyful memories and so many gut wrenching ones too. My grandma told me that Bennett gave us so much joy and nothing will ever take those happy memories away. It is so true. The 20 weeks we had with Bennett were the happiest in our lives. During his short life, he had a Gender Reveal party, visited Colorado, New York, and Branson, and went to a Royals game, Chiefs game, and a Billy Joel concert. He heard our voices and his little kicks were felt. We heard and saw his strong heartbeat several times. We love our memories of Bennett. He will always be a part of us and our family. We are so proud of him and will love him forever. 💙