These past several days have been extremely sad for me. It began on Friday after work, when I received a voicemail from my best friend, Laura Youngstedt Gerber. Laura and her husband, Chris, had been expecting and Laura was 24 weeks into her pregnancy. I listened as a tearful Laura told me in her voicemail that she had found out that their baby had died and was going to the hospital shortly to deliver the baby.
Friday morning, Laura had gone in for a regular pregnancy check-up with her doctor. The doctor was listening for the baby's heartbeat and could not find it. Laura said she knew then that something was very wrong. The doctor wanted to do an ultra-sound and Laura called Chris at work to tell him the doctor was having trouble finding the baby's heartbeat. The ultra-sound confirmed that their sweet little baby had died, probably one or two weeks ago.
Laura went into the hospital Friday evening to deliver their baby. The doctors induced her labor, but it went slowly, and Laura didn't give birth until late Saturday morning. At 11:25 am on June 20th, Laura gave birth to their son, Phoenix Lee Gerber. He weighed 1 pound 3 ounces and was 11 and 1/4 inches long. Chris and Laura were able to hold their precious baby boy until around 4 pm that afternoon. A family member of theirs is a professional photographer, so she came during that time and took some absolutely beautiful pictures of Chris and Laura and little Phoenix.
Yesterday, June 23rd, Matt and I went down to Bluffton, Indiana, to attend the funeral service of little Phoenix. It was held at the site in the cemetery where Phoenix will be buried. Laura's brother, Sean, played the guitar as all friends and family gathered round and sang. Laura's mentor, Jacquie Sellers-Womack, conducted the service. It was beautiful.
My heart is just broken for Chris and Laura. I know the pain they feel now at the loss of their first child will never completely heal. They have been strong through this, but their pain is deeper than any of us can imagine. I feel so helpless....I know that nothing I can say or do will lessen the pain of their loss. It is so, so hard to watch someone you love so much go through such pain.
Please pray for Chris and Laura Gerber. They need lots of prayer right now, but they will need continual prayer over the coming months and years. We may never know the purpose of God taking Phoenix Lee from Chris and Laura, but I am comforted by the peace of knowing that they will see their little Phoenix again one day, and until that day, he will be resting in the arms of Jesus.