Thank you for visiting my blog! If you are visiting because you have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, let me say that I am so very sorry. I started this blog shortly after our Baby Grady was stillborn on November 12, 2008. Please visit the sidebar below called "Labels" to find the topic in which you are interested, or just read as your heart desires.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Glory Baby Grady

It was just three months ago today that I delivered my Glory Baby Grady. On one hand it seems like an eternity since I held him in my arms, on another it seems like just yesterday. It is amazing how your life can be changed by knowing someone for such a short time. How such a tiny person can be taken away and your life change in an instant, literally. I want to share a few pictures of our beautiful boy and share his story, in detail, with you.

I call him our Glory Baby because of a beautiful song written by Watermark. If you've never heard it, please scroll to the bottom of the page and click on song number 2. It is such a perfect song to describe our situation.

First, let me introduce you to his beautiful baby self:

It was Tuesday, November 11, 2008. I was 36 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I had been put on bedrest because my blood pressure was up a little. Not high, but high for me. My blood work came back negative for preeclampsia, so I was taking it easy, monitoring it at home and it was fine. No swelling, headaches or anything. My wonderful friend and neighbor, Nicole, came over that afternoon to help me finish the nursery. We put all the baby clothes away, opened the diapers, packed the diaper bag and everything was set for Grady to arrive that Friday, November 14th. The bassinett was already in our room, and his car seat in the van. I was scheduled for a c-section at 37 weeks because I have the old fashioned kind of scar on my uterus. For those who might not know, Emma Grace was born VERY early at 25 weeks and VERY emergently as my cord had prolapsed (if you don't know what that is, all you really need to know is that its life threatening for the baby and baby has to be delivered super ASAP). Because of this classical incision, I was at higher risk of a uterine rupture, and my doctor (we'll call him Dr. Joe - WONDERFUL MAN!) and I agreed that we didn't want to take a chance with that happening.

I wasn't feeling great that day, but not bad. Just uncomfortable, end of pregnancy feelings. Grady was hiccuping and moving around while we were working in the nursery (well, I was actually in the rocker and Nicole was doing the work!). Around 4:30 - 5:00 that afternoon, I was in the recliner that Nicole's family had insisted I borrow while on bedrest (Thanks again!). I was on the phone with another wonderful friend and neighbor down the street. Grady gave me a really BIG kick. So big that I could feel his foot and called the girls over to feel too. They were amazed, saying "Wow, that's cool!". Little did I know that would be the last time I would feel him. I often wonder, which foot kicked me, the one with the curled toes or the one with straight toes?

I noticed that I didn't feel him kick at dinner so after, I relaxed on the bed for a few minutes. Still no movement. I was a little concerned, but not overly, as he had been "quiet" before. We got the girls ready for bed, and I was helping Jessica study for a test. I was propped up on her bed and poking my tummy. She asked what I was doing and I told her I wished he would move. She tried talking to him, but still nothing. I was a little more concerned, but again, just thought he was being "quiet". I fell asleep with her and got up around 1:30am. After going to the restroom, I still didn't feel movement so I got out my stethoscope and tried listening for his heartbeat. I had not tried this with him before, but I had with Jessica. I found my heartbeat, but not his. I think at that moment, deep inside, I knew he was gone. But, again, I justified that maybe he wasn't big enough for me to hear him because I was only 36 weeks and 5 days at that point. I stayed awake the rest of the night and knew he was gone. I contemplated waking Gib and calling Dr. Joe. Being a nurse, though, I knew the outcome would be the same if it was 3am or 9am. I didn't want to have to wake someone to come stay with the girls, so I just decided to wait until morning.

When Gib kissed me goodbye, I told him that he needed to pray that Grady would move. (He prays every morning in the car before going to work). He sat down on the bed and prayed right then. His prayer ended with, "But Lord let your will be done". He left for work, and I got up and showered. I knew even if everything happened to be okay with Grady that Dr. Joe would want to go ahead and deliver that day. Nicole had taken Jessica to school, and I was getting Emma Grace ready when the garage door opened. Gib had left work and come home. For my husband, that's HUGE! I think he knew, deep inside, that we weren't going to get good news. He took Emma Grace to school, and I called the doctor. They, of course, said to come right in.

I remember the sick feeling driving to the doctor. It was a beautiful fall day. The leaves were at the peak of their color change. Gib and I didn't talk about much on the drive, but we both commented on how beautiful the leaves were. They will always remind me of that day...

When we arrived they took me right past the waiting room full of people. The nurse, Nanci, took me to do a non-stress test. Only problem was she couldn't find a heartbeat. I looked at Gib and shook my head. Grady had never been known for hiding before. Nanci told me not to panic, that this happened a lot and we would have Dr. Joe do an ultrasound. I told her I appreciated her optimism, but I wasn't encouraged. Thankfully, Dr. Joe came in soon after I got into the room. He looked very concerned and asked when I last felt movement. When I told him the previous afternoon, he looked more concerned. He always turned the ultrasound screen towards me, so I could see too, and this day was no different. As soon as he put the wand on my tummy, I could tell Grady wasn't moving. I recognized the heart and saw that it wasn't beating. I said, "Dr. P I don't see a heartbeat". The life sucked out of that precious man and he said "I don't see a heartbeat either". My world shattered and was changed in an instant. Those words haunt me to this day. Needless to say, I lost it. I just kept saying, "How can this happen?" "What did I do wrong" "This is a nightmare" "This has to be a nightmare". Unfortunately, it was a nightmare. A real live one that I'm still living today.

Dr. Joe stayed in the room with us for a while, trying to control his emotion but not very well. He was clearly upset. He was, and is, one of the most compassionate doctors I've ever met. I am so blessed to have gone through this with someone like him. He had a waiting room full of patients to see, so he left us for a while and checked on us a couple of times. I remember that I couldn't move. I was paralyzed on that table. I layed there for almost an hour. Finally, something inside of me snapped. I sat up and told Gib that I was ready to move to the next step. I knew I was going to deliver a dead baby.

We scheduled a c-section for that day, November 12, at 5:30pm. We made the long drive back home and checked Jessica out of school so we could tell the girls together. I dreaded that so much. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. They both knew something was wrong. I told them that sometimes things happen in life that we just don't understand. That I had gone to the doctor and Grady's heart was not beating anymore. Jessica looked at me and said, "He died?" When I said yes, Emma Grace immediately started crying, saying "I didn't want Baby Grady to die". I just scooped her up in my arms and said that I didn't want that either. The next thing out of her mouth was, "Baby Grady can just be Granny's baby in heaven". That really made me cry. Granny is my mom who died in April, 2007 from lung cancer. Jessica didn't show much emotion at the time, but Emma Grace let it all out. Once I was able to get Emma Grace settled down, we took the girls next door and headed to the hospital. The sick feeling I had felt earlier, on the same drive, was magnified by 1000. I was numb. In shock. Still wishing I would wake up from this horrible nightmare.

I have two wonderful friends at the hospital who took exceptional care of Emma Grace in the NICU. One of them is a nurse practitioner, Suzanne, and the other is a nurse, Lori. They had planned to come in for my c-section that Friday. God love them, they came that afternoon for his delivery. I don't know what I would have done without them. Without Suzanne, we would not have these beautiful pictures of Grady. She approached me about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographs. I had never heard of this organization, but I couldn't think of taking professional pictures of him. It just seemed wrong, for some reason. I initially said no, that we were just going to take pictures with our camera. She gently approached me again and told me that I wasn't going to get this chance again. If I never wanted to see the pictures I didn't have to, but I would have them if I did. I agreed, but only to pictures of him. Now, I'd give ANYTHING to go back and have pictures of me and Gib with him. But, when you're in that kind of situation, you do the best that you can do and you do what you think is right at that time. I do wish I had thought differently.

The silence in the operating room was deafening. No one said a word, only the sound of machines, sniffles and Dr. Joe asking for instruments. I had an intense urge to know when Grady was out. The sweet nurse anesthetist let me know. I think I was inwardly hoping that I would hear him cry. That everyone was wrong. That didn't happen. The silence grew even louder.

Gib and I agreed that we wouldn't see him until I was in the recovery room. Suzanne and Lori took him to bathe him and dress him for his pictures. When I got there, the photographer was almost done with his pictures. Suzanne told me he was beautiful. Gib held him for a few minutes and brought him to me. I remember seeing him for the first time. He was SO beautiful. He looked just like a sleeping angel. He was still warm from my body. His skin softer than the finest silk. Chubby cheeks. Dark hair like his sisters. LONG fingers and BIG feet! The only problem was that he wouldn't wake up. God I wish he would have..... He was big for his gestation. Dr. Joe said he was the size of an average 38 week baby. He weighed 6 lbs. 11oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long.

The obvious question is, "What caused his death?" We don't know the reason for his death. We chose not to do an autopsy because we were told that even if we did, most of the time a cause would not be found. All of my pregnancy blood work was great, five ultrasounds showed a healthy baby, and pathology reports on my placenta and umbilical cord came back normal.

I was fortunate enough to keep him in the room with me until I left that Friday evening. If you've never been through something like this, it might seem crazy and weird to hold a baby who has died and want him close. I didn't want to let him go. Alive or dead, he was my baby. The baby that had grown inside of me for 36 weeks and 5 days. I knew him like no one else. It was the shortest two days of my life, and I vividly remember my moments with him. I hope I don't ever forget. I don't remember some of the conversations I had with people, but I know that I remember every second with him. I snuggled him on my chest with a blanket over us, just like you would any normal baby. That's my favorite memory. It was a beautiful blue and white crochet blanket that someone made just for an angel baby like him. I still sleep with that blanket every night. It helps me feel close to him.

Saying goodbye was the hardest thing. The funeral home was wonderful. They came with a basket with a soft cushion to put him in. I live in a small town, and I knew the man who came to get him. He was so compassionate and respected Grady so much. The nurse gave us a regular hospital blanket to wrap him in, so I could keep the beautiful blue one. Gib and I swaddled him, kissed him, told him we loved him, and I placed him in the basket. I knew I would have to wait until heaven to see him again. Gib and I hugged and cried for what seemed like an eternity, but I'm sure it wasn't long.

I remember walking out the back of the hospital, angry and sad beyond belief. It was the second time I had left that hospital with empty arms. The first was when Emma Grace was born - at least she joined us 4 months later. But this time, I had empty arms for good. The ironic thing is that I said goodbye to him the very day that we were supposed to say hello. I couldn't stop thinking of what I should be doing rather than what I was doing.

We made the VERY difficult decision to cremate him. We have his ashes at home with us in his "memory box" as we call it. It is a wooden urn with baby blocks on top with his initials.

I'm not sure what, if anything, we will do with his ashes in the future, but for now, I'm happy having him here with us. We waited to have a service for him. We had a small one at our home on January 24, 2009. I will have a series of posts, telling about that amazingly wonderful day of honoring him.

I know this was a really long post. Thanks for reading about our Glory Baby Grady. He truly is our angel. I'll leave you with this......

"An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth. Then she whispered as she closed the book, too beautiful for earth." Author unknown



  1. I'm so sorry. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. He is one beautiful angel. I left my tears on your page because I know nothing can be worse than losing a baby.

  2. I'm so glad you started a blog. I hope its as helpful for you as it has been for me. Grady is soooooo adorable. Thank you for sharing your story. I know you will help others as well as yourself. Talk to you soon.

  3. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Grady.. What a beautiful baby boy..

  4. I just came over to read your memory post from Lynnette's blog and wanted to know more about your sweet Grady, so I read this post. What an absolutely precious little boy! I am so sorry that you are going through this right now. I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your sweet little boy with me.

  5. What a beautiful, sweet son you have. I am so sorry he was with you for such a short time and thankful you have the photos. My first husband died unexpectedly at the age of 43. I remember those feelings of confusion, disbelief, incredible sadness. May God hold you close and give you comfort.

  6. Tonya, I'm so proud of you for having the strength to share his story with us. I hope that it's not only helpful to you but also to so many others in your situation! I love you!

  7. Oh, Tonya, he's so beautiful. What a precious little man!

    I am so so sorry, Tonya. I am keeping you in my prayers.

  8. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby boy. The pictures were so touching. He was beautiful,....I believe he is with Jesus, alive in heaven.

    On this Easter Sunday I pray that your eyes will be on the Risen Lord and that He will continue to bring peace to your heart.

    I have three grandchildren in Heaven, and I know how you hard it can be. I will pray for you. God is the only one who can truly give us comfort and hope and peace.
    May He hold you In His Loving Arms~~~
    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

  9. So beautiful...thank you for sharing your precious Grady with us. Beautiful story...beautiful baby. I do think of my mom in heaven with my three babies as well... my twin daughters, Faith and Grace and my son Thomas. Some sweet day, we will all be together again. May He comfort and carry your family (and mine, too!) until that sweet day...

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes. It's so hard losing a child. What a wonderful day that will be when we are reunited with them.

  11. I am so sorry for your son and know this is a heart wreching life change for you and your family. It has to be so difficult not having an answer for the cause of his passing. I suppose I would be telling myself, that God just needed him home.

  12. I come back and read this post frequently. I can remember the same detail as you do...makes me cry over and over. I, too, remember the silence in the operating room, except for the sniffles of everyone in there, doctor included. I remember mine and Lori's masks filling up with tears, we too thought he may cry when he was born. Tonya, your family is so special to me. We met for a reason and we will be friends forever. I will never forget Grady or his birthday-he was too beautiful for earth! Suzanne

  13. Grady is absolutely beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    (I'm clicking over from your post about the Atlanta gathering with Jennifer and her family.)

  14. Prayers for you...God's blessings...His comfort...His peace... His joy... Grady's story grabbed my heart.

    Blessings & Aloha! (Aloha translates to mean so many thing...I sign with this to say "til we meet again"). And I hope that you understand when I say...for you, your family and your baby boy...Aloha fits perfectly for that time when you meet again in God's presence.

  15. My heart is hurting for you and your loss of your precious son right now. What a heart wrenching loss. I'm in awe of your strength to do all that you did. I too have held a precious boy after death, and those are moments that I will never forget. I cherish those touches. I can barely see through my tears as I type this. Thanks for sharing your story.

  16. Tonya,
    I just read the story of your precious little Grady. I am so very sorry. I will be praying for you.

  17. Hello Ms. Tonya,

    My name is Shante and im 21 years old. I first want to say, im so very sorry for the loss of your son Grady and I do know EXACTLY what you are going through and went through. I too lost my daughter the exact same way you lost Grady. I had just hit 37 weeks when i lost Ashya(Asia). It was Saturday July 25th, 2009 and I felt a big kick as well. I thought she was only stretching so i rubbed her foot, told her goodnight, and i went to sleep myself. I woke the next day and i never felt her move. I told my mom how she gave me a huge kick the night before and she just kept asking me was she up. The answer was no each time. I thought mayby she was still sleepy because we went to sleep kind of late saturday night. I went on with my day Sunday until my back and stomach started cramping. I went on to Northside for monitoring and they could not find her heartbeat and she wasnt moving in the ultrasound. The only difference is that i was in labor, and i delivered her on my own. So Monday July 27th, I delivered my angel Ashya. She is 6lbs, 2oz, and 20in long. She also had big hands and big feet to match with a head full of hair. I kept her in the room with me every chance i got as well. I stayed in the hospital for 4 days. I had to get a blood transfusion done. I know the people at the funeral home Ashya was at personally as well. The last day in the hospital for me was the worst! I couldnt eat anything and all I did was cry. It finally hit me, i realized i was going home to a house full of baby things and no baby in my arms. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, came and took pics of Ashya with me and a few of my close family members. I watch the slideshow whenever i start to miss her alot. Tonya, you are not alone at all. I do feel your pain. At the same time, I don't think i have fully learned to accept it, so I was wondering if you can give me a few pointers on how to cope with the loss of my baby girl? She is my only child. You can contact me via email at I hope to hear from you soon.

  18. Your son is beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing your story.

  19. I sit here reading this post as tears stream down my face. I don't even have words to type because nothing seems right to say! You are an amazing woman and your story is a true testimony of your faith. Blessings...Mistee

  20. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet Grady. I lost my baby 2 weeks ago and I am struggling to cope. Jacob was only 16 weeks gestation but he was my son. I delivered him at home and like you knew that there was nothing that could be done. I went to my dr the next day carrying him all wrapped up. He was so tiny but a perfect little boy. He unfortunately suffered a cord accident where his cord wrapped around his arm and neck. I cannot imagine your pain of not knowing what happened. I pray for you and your entire family.

  21. Just stumbled on your blog...My name is Tonya too, and I had a little baby boy on November 10, 2008. I'm sitting here with tears flowing and ache so deeply knowing the tragic sadness you were experiencing in the days following my baby's birth. I don't understand why sweet baby Grady left you far too early. I'm so grateful though that we serve a God who holds us in His hand. Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing Grady with us! If you're interested in seeing my blog, its Thank you again!!

  22. Your baby is beautiful. I am so very sorry for your loss. We lost our baby angel son Maxwell on June 29, 2013 and are so heartbroken. I love the box you have for Grady and the sweet picture next to it.

  23. I googled "RSV at day 6" and came across your lovely blog. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet Grady. I lost 2 babies in utero. Thank you for sharing your sweet story. What a previous angel. Looks like you have a lovely family! Oh, and thanks for the information that RSV peaks at around day 6...puts my mind at ease. :)