Baby Sam FAQs

I realize that I’ve been vague to silent on some of the particulars of what we’ve gone through over the past month, so here are some answers to questions that you might have been wondering about.  Frankly, very few people have asked questions.  But these are the things I imagine you would like to know, as well as answers to questions that I wish someone would ask.  Ready? Go!

Q: So, what happened?
A:  Here’s the short story: On Tuesday, I went in for my 34-week appointment, where everything was normal.  On Thursday, I woke up and noticed immediately that I hadn’t felt much movement.  So I sat around the house that morning, consuming cold and caffeinated drinks and doing kick counts.  Finally we went to the hospital to have a doctor check things out.  They determined immediately that there was no heartbeat and we began making plans for a delivery.  We went home for the night and checked back in early the next morning.  Sam was born just after 4 PM (only 18 hours this time, thanks to some powerful jump-start meds I took right before bed at home).  He was almost 5 pounds and looked like a smaller version of newborn Abby!  We wrapped him in a blanket and got to spend as long as we wanted holding him and taking pictures.  I was released from the hospital that night to recover at home.

That was Friday; we had memorial service that Sunday night at our church that was absolutely beautiful and perfect.  (Side note: I remember every detail of that night, especially those of you who were there.  And I love you for it!)

To the best of our understanding, Sam’s death was a result of “umbilical cord occlusion,” which means that the cord got a kink in it.  There was nothing about Sam’s development that caused this to happen or that made him “incompatible with life,”  it was just an unlikely accident.  The randomness is scary, but it’s mostly a comfort to know that if God gives us more children, there’s nothing in our genetics that places them at higher risk.

Q: Do you want to talk about it?/ Is it okay to ask questions about what happened?
A: Yes, yes, yes!  In fact, it makes me more sad and lonely to be in a group that either doesn’t know what happened or that knows but never mentions it.  I’m afraid of bringing it up and bumming everybody out, so it’s nice when someone else breaks the ice and lets me know it’s okay to “go there.”  (That’s not to say I never want to laugh or talk about fun things any more, because I still like to do that, too!)

But within 48 hours, I went from having a healthy, kicking baby in my belly to having no baby at all.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember that it wasn’t all just a dream; talking about Sam and the time I had with him helps me to know that he was real.

If I’m having a sad day, talking about Sam will probably make me cry.  But so will talking about Bible study or the chance of rain in the forecast.  If I’m not having a sad day, I can talk about it with composure and even smiles.

Q: Can you help me here? I want to ask the right questions, but I just don’t know what to say.
A:  Just like any new mom, I like to recall details about my pregnancy and share war stories about labor (it’s the same procedure for stillborn babies as for living babies- contractions, epidurals, pushing, etc.  I wasn’t sure what to expect–but it was as gross and sweet as the first time around!).  If you can handle it, ask to see pictures of Sam, and don’t forget to tell me what a beautiful baby he was.

Bottom line: there’s almost no wrong question (even if you get really personal).  Showing interest in any aspect of our situation shows that you acknowledge and care about what we’re going through.  It’s easier to to hurt my feelings by saying nothing than by saying the wrong thing.

Q: Was Samuel Job your boy name all along?
A: No, the night before Sam was born, we chose special new names (boy and girl- that was still a surprise for the delivery room!) to reflect our new situation.  Samuel was the child in the Bible whose mother gave him to the Lord from his birth.  The name also means “God hears,” and we had to believe that that was still true.  Job, of course, is an example of trusting God even through great loss and suffering.  We chose a name that would preach truth to us every time we thought of it.

Besides that, our original boy name was Jeremiah.  It seemed silly to give the name of the “weeping prophet” to a little boy who would never have any reason to be sad.

Other questions you wish I’d answer?  Ask away in the comments.  I’ll answer in a reply or in a future post.


17 responses to “Baby Sam FAQs

  1. Awe, Linds! I am so happy to see this post! Great job! My only question is – do the doctors know why this happened to Sam? Just wondering if there was a medical explanation given…

  2. Lindsey, I said a special prayer for you today as it marks one month since Sam’s passing. I really appreciate how candid you are as to how to approach things. I’d love to see more pictures (other than the one I saw at the memorial) and gush over how cute he was.

  3. Thanks for the post, Lindsey! It really helps to know its okay to ask questions. I had the same question as Abbey. Also, were there any signs (weak heartbeat, etc) that suggested anything was wrong before Thursday morning?

  4. oh…and I really want to see more pictures! E-mail me please!

  5. Beautiful & inspiring.

  6. My question is the same as Abbey’s – did the doctors give any reason?

  7. Thanks for the reminder…I actually meant to answer the “medical reason” question in the post, and got distracted.

    The doctor’s best guess is “cord occlusion,” which basically means that the umbilical cord got a kink in it, like a water hose. There’s no “cause,” it’s just an accident that can happen. In some sense, the randomness of it is a comfort, because it makes it unlikely that it would happen to us again (as opposed to a genetic problem), but it’s also scary, because there’s no way to control for it in the future.

    Regarding pictures: I have not posted any here or on Facebook because I don’t want to make anyone look at them who doesn’t want to (I can see how it would be weird). But I do have a lovely photo book that can be viewed online; if you do want to see pictures I can email you the link. 🙂

  8. Please email me the link. Is it the same one that your mom showed my mom? With the Thousand Gifts notes you had made? My mom said it was so incredible. I’ve wanted to see it ever since she mentioned it. My email is

  9. Can you send me the link for the picture(s) too? Thanks for sharing… I was actually telling John about your other recent post telling some of the details, and he had some of these same questions, of course, don’t we all… so I’ll be sure to keep my non-fb, non-blogger husband updated. 🙂

  10. Oh Lindsey, he is beautiful and you are beautiful and your testimony is beautiful and I am so proud to know you and your beautiful family!

  11. Alright, here are my qs in no particular order…

    What was your special girl name? (you don’t have to share if you don’t want to) What was your other girl name? (I miss our baby name convos.) Is there a recommended time frame before you try for baby #3? What is YOUR timeline for baby #3? (you said personal was OK!) And what does Abby think? I mean, she’s probably too young to understand the baby in the belly that comes out, but surely she recognizes there’s no belly anymore. And is she sleeping better in her big girl bed? Because even though you don’t have those sleepless newborn nights, SLEEP is the best thing for your recovery and any stressful situation, really. OK, thanks for indulging me or not, whatever you are comfortable with… 🙂

    • I really thought I had replied to these questions already, but I don’t know where my comment went if I did! So, here I go again…

      The “special” girl name was Faith. The original girl name was Leah.

      I will talk to my doctor this week about his recommendations/cautions about Baby #3. My feeling right now is sooner rather than later, just because we still do want kids close in age! But we’ll see how it goes.

      Abby doesn’t really get what’s going on…I don’t ever think she was really clear on what it meant that we were having a baby in the first place. But she has been sleeping much worse in this past month, so I can’t help but wonder if she’s picking up on the fact that something big has happened in our family.

  12. So sad we won’t see our little Sam again until heaven.
    So glad we got to be with him for a little while and hold him in our arms.
    So glad that my daughter and son-in-love are leading the rest of us toward hope and faith in the God who hears.
    So glad God hears.
    So glad we are rich in friendships that share our faith and hope and who continue to reach out in love to enjoy our memories with us and help shoulder our pain and loss.

  13. Lindsey,
    Your faith & honesty is amazing. Samuel Job was such a perfect special name for your sweet boy. I am so sad for your loss and thankful for your witness to others who have been through this situation or will go through something similar in the future. You are prayed for!
    Also, I would love to see his beautiful pictures if you don’t mind sharing. My email is

  14. Lindsey,
    We continue to pray for you and Stephen. Keep deleting what I type. Nothing seems like the “right” thing to say. Just want you to know that we care and will continue to ask God to bring you comfort and joy.
    Sandy Cunningham

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