The Night Our
Baby Died
by Joe Seay

It was a perfect spring day. Sunny. Flowers in full bloom. A robin singing. There was a bounce in my step as I entered the hospital where my wife and newborn son were. We were blessed with our first child. A baby boy. We named him Ricky Joe Seay.

Everyone was doing fine when I left the hospital late that night.

The next morning I stopped by the hospital on my way to work. I felt happy and excited. Life was rich and full.

Ricky Joe was born a little premature, but he had been doing fine the night I left the hospital. Today I was going to visit Sue, peek at our son through the nursery window and go on to work.

I walked past the nurse?s station and greeted them with a big smile. Sue was awake, radiant and beaming with happiness. The nurses had promised her that she could hold her newborn son today. We held hands, talked and shared our joy. Sue could hardly wait to hold her darling baby for the first time.

After visiting for a few minutes, I kissed Sue goodbye and left. She waved and said she would kiss Ricky Joe for me. Looking back at her, I could sense her happiness and excitement.

As I walked by the nurse?s station, one of the nurse?s stopped me. ?Mr. Seay,? she said, ?your doctor is on the phone and wants to talk to you.?

A cold chill washed over me and a lump filled my throat.

?I?m afraid I have some bad news for you,? the doctor said. ?Your son had some major complications last night. He was born premature and his lungs were very weak.?

I suddenly felt sick, weak and scared.

?Mr. Seay,? the doctor continued, ?your baby boy died last night.?

?No! No!? I shouted into the phone. ?It?s not true. You?re lying to me!?

Two nurses appeared, took the phone and led me into a private room.

Feelings of helplessness, fear, defeat and loneliness overwhelmed me. Then I thought of Sue. She didn?t know. Someone would have to tell her. But how could I tell her that her son was dead?

The doctor arrived and I asked him to go with me to tell Sue. I?ll never forget the look on her face when we came in. She realized immediately that something was terribly wrong. I held her close, but I couldn?t get the words to come out. Finally the kind doctor told her that our baby was dead.

Sue stared at me in shocked disbelief. With big tears forming, she begged me with her eyes to tell her it wasn?t true. All I could do was nod my head that it was true.

Sue and I clung to each other and our emotions poured out in great heaving sobs. We ached together. The pain seemed to be more than we could bear. Our baby was dead!

As family members arrived, they tried to comfort us, but we couldn?t be comforted. It was too unfair. It hurt too bad. Our dreams were shattered.

Trying to help, the doctor said, ?You?re both young and healthy. You can have more children.?

He meant well, but we felt cheated. We were empty and angry. Nothing mattered anymore. We felt our life had ended.

Someone began to pray and somehow we made it through the day.

The night was much harder. Sleep would not come. The day had been bad; night was worse. It was the longest, most horrible night of our lives. Only God?s mercy and grace brought us through it.

Early the next morning as the family gathered, one of them asked about the funeral arrangements. When Sue heard the word ?funeral? she insisted on seeing her baby before he was buried. She said she wanted to hold him once.

Nothing was going to change Sue?s mind and I joined her in demanding that we be allowed to hold our baby.

Ricky Joe looked so tiny and helpless. He was so sweet and lovable. We counted his little fingers and toes, hugged him and kissed him goodbye. Then they took our baby away.

Our world suddenly seemed dark and ugly.

Our bodies and our spirits ached and moaned with grief. We prayed and our tears flowed like a river. We felt so helpless. There seemed to be nothing we could do.

Because of Sue?s medical and emotional condition, she was unable to attend the funeral. Although our families and friends surrounded me with their love, prayers and support, I felt so lonely, angry, hurt and depressed.

At the funeral, the preacher said some nice things, but all I could think of was, ?That?s my baby son they are putting in the ground and covering it up with dirt.?

I kept asking God, why? Why did you take my son?

I returned to the hospital and spent the night with Sue and we continued to ask, ?God, why did you take our son?? We continued to cry and weep, pleading with God, and finally, exhausted, we made it through the night.

With the help of our family and Christian friends, we survived that painful experience in our lives by reminding ourselves that we will have a great family reunion in Heaven with our beloved little baby boy, our Ricky Joe. And we?ll be together forever and forever.

After the loss of our baby we continued to trust God in the bad times as well as the good times. We were determined that, with God?s help, we could move forward with our lives.

With help and encouragement from our church, friends and family we committed our future to God and He blessed us with four healthy children. Today, over forty years later, our faith is still strong. We?ve been through some good times and some bad times, but our God is faithful. He?s God in the bad times as well as the good times.

We still miss Ricky Joe and we?re all looking forward to seeing him again at our heavenly reunion. C