Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Zion's Death

After months of answering questions and hearing twisted versions of what happened to us with our stillborn son, Zion, we have decided to write a list of frequently asked questions. It is our hopes that this will answer any question that people have had or may be afraid to ask, and to stop the mouths of the gossipers who embellish and twist the facts to make their story more juicy. So, here we go:

What caused his death?
According to Dr. "D" and the labor and delivery nurses, the cause of his death is unknown. He was perfectly healthy until the moment his heart stopped. According to their examinations, there were no problems with him physically, no problem with the umbilical chord (no knots, discolorations, abnormalities), no problem with the placenta, and no problem with Crystal's blood. All the medical tests that could be administered, apart from a full autopsy, showed no cause or reason for death.

According to Dr. D, "There is not one thing you did or you did not do that would have changed the outcome...sometimes, we just don't know."..."He is perfect, I just don't understand."

Why did you not have an autopsy?
We were advised by our Dr. not to put ourselves through that experience. According to the Dr., "Realistically, we're probably not going to be able to tell you anything that we can't tell you now."
Besides, really...what good would it do us? The fact is, he was healthy, Crystal was healthy, then he died. Does it really matter as to exactly how? What would it change? Will that help a grieving parent or will it cause even more emotional distress? So, thankfully, we took the Dr.'s advice.

How long did you carry Zion?
40 weeks and 2 days.

Were there any symptoms or any clues as to something being wrong?
No, up until that day, he had maintained a perfect heart rate of around 160 bpm and was a normal active baby in the womb. Crystal had not even had a day of morning sickness. There were absolutely NO physical indicators to Crystal that anything was wrong until about 6pm when she realized that she had not felt him kick since that morning. He was confirmed dead by ultrasound at 8pm. So, for those who are saying that Crystal had intense pains that day and she should've went to the hospital at that moment, please get your facts right. She was perfectly fine as we went shopping that morning until the afternoon. It would be illogical for a 40 week pregnant woman who's in excruciating pain to be out walking  around all day don't you think?

Did he die because you were planning a home birth?
No. We never had the opportunity to attempt a certified professional midwife assisted home birth. As ignorant and asinine as this question is, you'd be surprised at the people who ask or imply it.

Again, according to Dr. D: "It would not have mattered where you were at or whose care you were under, there's nothing I nor this hospital could have changed. You did everything you could have done and so did your midwife." According to the docs and nurses in the labor/delivery, they admit that stillbirths happen more frequently than they care to admit. I am amazed at the volume of parents I've met through this trial who've experienced the same thing we have, even through doctor care...death is no respector.

Were you having contractions?
Yes. Crystal was having the normal braxton-hicks contractions leading up to the time of the due date. These contractions were sporadic and not consistent in length, intensity or time which is absolutely normal. We believe she may have been in early stages of labor the day he died, because her contractions had just started to become more consistent.

Why didn't you get help when you noticed the first contractions?
Even with a hospital birth, they recommend you not to check yourself in until the contractions are at least 5 minutes apart, consistently, ...or, if your water has broke. Neither of these were our case. However, the midwives were in constant contact with us looking for the progression of possible labor, which was not time yet.

Why were you allowed to go past your due date?
Due dates are approximations. It is very common to go as long as 2 weeks past your "due date"...some longer. Every woman's body is different. Zion was delivered 3 days past his due date which was the same for our first child, which is very much right on time.

Did you deliver your baby vaginally?

Did you have to be induced?
Yes. The Dr. broke her water and after little labor progression, they started her on pitocin.

Why did you not opt for a c-section?
It's a well known fact that vaginal births are the healthiest choice, if applicable. Besides, how horrible would it be for Crystal to have to endure the effects of a major surgery with no baby to make it all worthwhile?

Was he a normal baby?
Yes. Everything was intact and he weighed 7lbs. 9 oz., with big feet and broad shoulders. He had very little skin tear (a common occurrence to still born babies) which means he hadn't been dead but for a short while. His color was even a little pink when he came out...while watching his ruby red lips, it seemed as though you could almost see him breathe.

Was it hard to deliver a child that you knew was not alive?
Extremely. But, God gave Crystal and I a peace which is unexplainable and we were able to praise and worship Him during the delivery despite the many tears. We were also surrounded by family, good friends and an excellent hospital staff.

Is there anything you would have done differently?
No. God makes no mistakes.

In closing, I would like to explain our Christian worldview. When I say "God makes no mistakes and we wouldn't do anything different", some will automatically be thinking of what we should have done, as if we were the ones in control of our child's destiny. Many believe in a god, but they believe that we are the ones in control of life. According to the Bible, they are guilty of idolatry because they have made a god of their own imaginations. Their god is no God at all. Deuteronomy 32:39  says,
"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand."
1 Samuel 2:6 says,
"The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up."
Psalm 68:20 also states,
"He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death."

 The bottom line is this: God is sovereign over ALL His creation, not just bits and pieces and only the "good" things. If He is not upholding all things by the word of His power, then He is not God. Every man has an appointment to die just as Hebrews 9:27 states. Zion met his appointment at precisely the right time...not a second too soon, or a second too late. You will also meet yours at God's appointed time.

Even Nebuchadnezzar knew God's sovereignty, notice what he says in Daniel 4:35,
"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"
So, we'll either conform our thinking to God and His Word or we will base our thinking on humanistic philosophies. We'll either bow to God and His sovereignty or we'll be rebels against Him. For those who have a hard time swallowing the hard verses in the bible, I say, let it conquer you...quit trying to twist and redefine God. He is who He is and there is none like Him, there is none who can control Him, there is none who can advise Him, there is none His equal, and there is none who will escape His appointed time. he is the Supreme Ruler over ALL...even life and death.


  1. Well said! Praying for you all!

  2. great job Jeremy... just sorry you needed to do it. God is not safe , but He is Good... from CSLewis,Lion , witch and the Wardrobe.

  3. I, like the anonymous poster above, hate that you felt you had to write this, Jeremy. The fact that you are continually having to defend yourself, your wife, and your choices really seems to take something sacred away from the experience of Crystal's pregnancy, labor, birth and Zion's life. I hate that for you both. On the other side of the coin, however, you have been given a great responsibility, not only to inform and educate, but to LIVE in honor and faith to God. You and Crystal do that beautifully. And I still believe that Zion's life and death are avenues through which God is speaking to all sorts of people…and he's saying some pretty profound, earth-shattering, mind-bending things. The foremost of those is this: I AM THAT I AM.

    That one little phrase will wash right over the heads of most people reading your post, and most people reading this comment. It washes over most people who read it in scripture, and they understand not. But for a select few, your words will make sense and the Glory of God will be revealed.

    Zion did not live in vain. You are not writing in vain. And your experience is not in vain.

  4. It is a profound mystery that God both creates life and allows it to pass away. The same mystery as why he would create a perfect universe only to be broken by the sin.

    Thank you Jeremy, for sharing your personal experience with death here on earth. I hope along with you that it might bring life to another.

  5. My Dear Friends,
    Profound grace is experienced and demonstrated in extreme difficulty. Because our Father delights in manifesting His grace, he therefore must create at times, darkness. The light that He has shined through the two of you needs no clarification.

    How wondrous that you find your courage and strength in the Sovereignty of the Almighty God of Heaven. He whom so many men wrestle against has rightfully become the resting place of His chosen ones. How pitiable are those whose "god" is one of their own making. One who awaits their consent even to save.

    Our God is One of purpose and His purpose will not be thwarted in life or in death.

    I personally have difficulty comprehending the smallness of mind and heart that would demand of you an explaination of your actions in this matter. I applaud your accurate use of the term "assinine" as it is a befitting use of the word.

    Rest assured Dear Ones, such grace as you have experienced thus far will carry you forward as you joyfully anticipate the arrival of your new child.

  6. Thanks everyone for your prayers and understanding. We just felt we needed to clear the air of the foolish talking.

    Bro. RayVaughn, you need to blog!

  7. Where's the "like" button? I think Mr. Ray deserves a thumbs up!

  8. It's a shame that you had to write this, due to the ignorance of others. The only final answer is... GOD is in control... enough said.