At some point we’ll see the enjoyment YOU make of this: A narrative of loss, heartbreak and hope

Woodruff family

On March 23, two days earlier than a scheduled C-section, College of Tennessee-Chattanooga coach Blaine Woodruff and his spouse, Katie, misplaced their unborn baby. The story beneath is advised by Blaine, a first-person account of heartbreak and hope, that he and Katie needed to share.

It was late Might in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Katie had just lately completed NCAAs teaching the USC womens group. My Pepperdine guys had made it to match play and had an opportunity to defend our title as nationwide champions. Behind the scenes, I had already accepted the place of head mens golf coach on the College of Tennessee-Chattanooga however requested it wouldnt be introduced till after NCAAs to restrict any form of distractions. Katie and I had been nervous however enthusiastic about our new season in life.

One of many further causes we had been excited to return to the Southeast (the place we each grew up), was the truth that we had been within the technique of nearly seeing a fertility specialist based mostly out of Atlanta, Georgia. Being lower than two hours away, we might now have the ability to see our physician in particular person. Katie and I had struggled to get pregnant and went via all of the exams, and so they couldnt work out why. Having the ability to meet face-to-face with our physician gave us hope we might resolve it and provide you with a plan.

In early July, amongst the midst of the transfer, getting adjusted to a brand new metropolis, making an attempt to place a group collectively, and lots of extra stresses on our plate, we drove right down to Atlanta for a much bigger appointment than regular. It was the day that we had been going to begin the method of an IUI (intrauterine insemination) in hopes that we might have the ability to conceive. As we talked in our medical doctors workplace, each scared and excited, our physician out of the blue requested if Katie would thoughts taking a being pregnant take a look at. Reluctantly (considering it will be a waste of time) she stated sure. In that second, our lives had been modified. For no scientific cause or rationalization, her being pregnant take a look at got here again optimistic. We had been shocked and confused. It was a real miracle that would solely come from God.

Katie by no means babysat rising up and feared if she didnt have what it took to be a mom. It was a mix of nerves and pleasure as we had about eight fast months earlier than our infant was coming. I had spent the previous few years watching how she took care of our canine, at all times excited about his consolation and security and if he was fed (a lot better than me, I could add).

The subsequent step after we lastly acquired settled in Chattanooga was to search out a health care provider. One got here extremely beneficial to us from our nice pals, Derek and Brooke Rende. We started the method of our common checkups, ultrasounds, blood exams and being pregnant planning with Dr. Radpour from Galen OBGYN in East Chattanooga. Over a interval of eight months, each take a look at, each ultrasound, each checkup, got here with excellent outcomes. He gave us a due date of March 20, 2023. Our prayer for our treasured child lady was that God would use her better than He would ever use Katie or me.

This didnt imply the being pregnant was a straightforward one for Katie. The primary two trimesters she battled robust nausea and acid reflux disorder. Combining this together with her lacking doing what she cherished in teaching younger ladies, made life troublesome. Particularly residing in a spot the place we hadnt met many individuals but. As a husband, I bore the load of that. All I needed was for her to be joyful and cozy, and I felt like I couldnt assist at instances. Our lives consisted of my job, fixed reward for God answering our prayer, and watching our favourite group, the Atlanta Braves. We virtually lived at Chick-fil-A, as a result of nothing else sounded good to Katie (there may very well be MUCH worse spots).

Oh, within the midst of all of this, we additionally purchased a home

Quick-forward to early March. Golf season was in full swing. Katie had accomplished an unbelievable job making ready to be a mother, studying the books and having each element accounted for when the time got here for our little lady to return house. The nursery was prepared. The automobile seats had been in each automobiles. The bassinet in our room. We had sufficient diapers for the entire state of Tennessee. We had all of the apps on our telephone to look at our child sleep and to maintain her secure. The stage was set.

Naming a toddler could be a course of for a lot of mother and father. Nonetheless, for us, it occurred simply. There wasnt a lot arguing or debating between the 2 of us. We selected the title Riley Grace. We cherished the title Riley, particularly since our favourite participant for the Braves was Austin Riley. And Grace had a number of meanings. For one, she would have a center title after my brother, Grayson, who I like dearly and is my finest good friend. Second, she really was an instance of Gods grace for us. He didnt have to provide her to us, however He answered our prayers and did.

It was March 16 and Katie was previous full time period, the time that medical doctors wont cease the start if it begins. We had deliberate on a pure start, however the previous few checkups had proven that her cervix was nonetheless very agency and he or she wasnt dilated, suggesting that if we needed to do a pure start, her physique would nonetheless want extra time to arrange to ship. We did an ultrasound on this go to, by which they predicted little Riley, in reality, wasnt that little in any respect. They estimated her at 8 kilos, 4 ounces, and really tall. After speaking with our physician, he advised we come again the next Wednesday, and if Katies physique wasnt naturally able to ship, it is perhaps good to take a look at a C-section, particularly with Rileys measurement. We needed to belief Gods timing together with her start and didnt wish to take issues into our personal fingers and power something to suit our schedules.

Strolling is likely one of the finest issues you are able to do to jumpstart supply, so Katie was ecstatic as a result of that meant we had the medical doctors approval to go to the Linger Longer a match we had been enjoying in at Lake Oconee. The boys performed nice and Katie walked all 54 holes with ease (not a shock to anybody who is aware of her; shes as powerful as they arrive). We returned Wednesday for our subsequent appointment, and as soon as once more, excellent. Heartbeat was 138 bpm, ultrasound regarded nice, however Katies physique was nonetheless not primed for a pure start. The three of us (together with our physician) agreed a C-section was the perfect route. We scheduled it for Saturday, March 25, and continued to wish that if God needed her to return earlier than then, that she would. We had been in full belief.

You noticed me earlier than I used to be born, day-after-day of my life was recorded in your ebook. Each second was laid out earlier than a single day had handed. Psalm 139:16

Our mother and father had come to city, our aunts and uncles had come, Katies brothers from Hawaii, my brother from Nashville. We had been getting shut. On Thursday evening, I met up with Katie and her mother and father for dinner at you guessed it Chick-fil-A. At dinner, Katie began feeling painful contractions for the primary time in her being pregnant. We went house after dinner, and I started charting their frequency. They acquired nearer and nearer collectively, and increasingly intense. It was time.

You at all times dream of with the ability to drive with out the worry of getting pulled over. The child in me took full benefit of this second. Put the flashers on, flipped my automobile in sport mode and went about 110 mph on I-75 to the hospital. We pulled as much as the entrance door and hopped out as I considerably carried her in like a wounded soldier on the battlefield. At this level, she was in some ache and it was solely getting worse. They noticed her rapidly as I stuffed out the remainder of the paperwork. We had been so excited and nervous that it was really occurring. They known as me again to the room the place Katie was within the hospital mattress; her was probably the most stunning second ever. I used to be so happy with her. The medical doctors appeared to be doing peculiar exams, counting contractions and doing an ultrasound for what we thought was to verify little Riley was within the start canal.

Katie and I had locked eyes for what appeared an eternity, questioning what was taking so lengthy. After which the second got here. The worst two phrases Ive ever heard in my life. The physician checked out us and stated our treasured child didnt have a heartbeat. That cant be proper, we stated. She was simply at 138 bpm 24 hours in the past. Verify once more, we begged. They tried one other machine, they tried doppler, nonetheless nothing. If youre studying this, youre in all probability a golfer or have performed golf in some sense. If youve ever missed a extremely quick, necessary putt to win a match or to remain in competition that feeling when your coronary heart sinks as you miss was like this sense, however 1/one-millionth of the magnitude. We had been in shock. We couldnt even converse. We started balling. I needed to be robust for her, however I simply couldnt.

Delivering a child is troublesome sufficient. However having to ship YOUR child when you understand there wont be a cry as they emerge should be the worst factor in your entire world. Ive by no means cried so many tears, not only for our loss however for what Katie was having to undergo. As a result of Katie had eaten simply hours earlier than, they couldnt begin the C-section till eight hours after the final meal or drink. I held her for hours as she had painful contractions for our little lady her physique was making an attempt to avoid wasting. These hours felt like an eternity. We laid side-by-side within the tiny hospital mattress, singing the track that had stored us believing and trusting via our fertility journey 10 months in the past Pleasant (The Sower By no means Wastes a Tear) by Hillsong United. Katie performed it over and over, crying out the refrain:

So I am going to wait lengthy as heaven takes
At some point I am going to see the enjoyment You make of this
‘Trigger ain’t nothing gonna cease Your faithfulness
So I am going to wait lengthy as Heaven takes
At some point I am going to see the enjoyment You make of this
How You by no means let a single tear go wasted.

Lastly, at 4 a.m., they had been allowed to manage the epidural with the deliberate emergency C-section to be at 6 a.m. Im not a lot for needles and I worth honesty, however as they acquired prepared to stay the epidural in, Katie fearfully requested how massive the needle was. I advised her, Its about like a finger prick. We snicker about it now as a result of I say that my reply was based mostly on the circumference of the tip and never the size of the needle. Wont have the ability to idiot her on that one once more.

I used to be a large number as they took Katie to the working room to prepare for surgical procedure. I placed on my scrubs and waited for them to convey me into the OR. They’d began to function as I used to be let in. I sat by her head, watching her shake from the ache meds, and seeing the worry on her face holding on to hope that by some miracle we might hear a child begin crying. I used to be making an attempt to maintain her thoughts off what was occurring and the one factor I might consider was strolling via each single shot of my first spherical I ever performed at Augusta Nationwide (I shot 83 so not a flex, I promise). By the point we acquired to fifteen the surgical procedure was over, and the nurse had introduced Riley Grace round to me and set her in my arms. You hear and also you examine this second, changing into a guardian and the way it modifications you without end when you maintain your baby for the primary time. Even in our circumstances, I dont suppose it was totally different. She was stunning and excellent in each method, though her soul was already with our Heavenly Father. I confirmed Katie her face as they started stitching her up on the opposite facet of the curtain. What an ideal second. One Sick always remember. She had Katies nostril, and most of her face (fortunately). We held her tight and couldnt take our eyes off our treasured child lady.

The times to observe can be among the hardest. Some households dont wish to see their kids after stillbirths, however that was not the case for us. We needed each second we might presumably have together with her. Katie might lastly put a face to all of the violent kicks and rib photographs over the previous couple months. God gave us an ideal daughter that lived an ideal life.

Perhaps the hardest half was what we might face subsequent, leaving the hospital with out our little lady. I used to be dreading this second. A lot main as much as making ready to convey Riley house and we wouldnt get the possibility. Every part from our nursery, automobile seats within the automobile, apps on our telephone to trace her sleeping and feeding schedule, and now we didnt want any of them. Katie and I cried and had been devastated that we couldnt convey her house and can be leaving the hospital with out her. However then I considered it, and it is virtually as if God was telling me she was going house. To her everlasting house, certainly one of perfection for the proper lady. Selfishly, it wasnt what we needed, however it’s all in His excellent plan.

I’ll always remember this terrible time, as I grieve over my loss. But I nonetheless dare to hope once I keep in mind this: The devoted love of the Lord by no means ends. His mercies by no means stop. Nice is his faithfulness; his mercies start afresh every morning. Lamentations 3:20-23

We all know that this isnt the top of our story. There can be good days and dangerous days, happiness and tears. However we really feel like God used these 72 hours to show us just a few issues:

  • Struggling brings you nearer to God. He additionally makes use of it to extend your religion or refine your character, in hopes you could relate to somebody with compassion sooner or later and assist them make it via.
  • God makes no errors, and we’re holding onto hope that God will use this tragedy for His good and His Kingdom.
  • As an alternative of asking, Why Us?, had been asking Why Not Us? God guarantees He won’t ever provide you with greater than you may deal with. Though this can be the toughest factor we’ll ever undergo, we belief in Him and His plan.
  • Struggling brings you near your family members. Ive by no means felt nearer to Katie and our household. I really feel like our marriage grew exponentially via this, that theres nothing we cant deal with collectively.

Even once I stroll via the darkest valley, I can’t be afraid, for you’re shut beside me. Your rod and your workers shield and luxury me. Psalm 23:4