Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Walking With You - Impact our loss had on our marriage

Walking With You was created to help support those who have lost a child. Together we share our stories, helpful information, scriptures, encouraging words, prayer requests, and more. Thank you to those of you who have joined us for the past few weeks...for courageously sharing your stories. If you haven't joined us yet, and would like to, you are more than welcome. This week, we are sharing the impact our loss(es) had on our marriage.;

My marriage was tested before our loss even occurred. After finding out about Vayden’s fatal condition Van and I both started grieving our son that was still alive. I spent countless hours online researching and understanding LUTO/ PUV, I was over educated on his condition and Van under educated. We didn’t communicate much during the time of me carrying to term, conversations here and there would be exchanged but for the most part if it wasn’t about Vashon our older son, we weren’t talking. I was so angry with him, but couldn’t tell him because I knew it would start a fight. An argument was the last thing I needed while I was having weekly amnio infusions, so I created a blog and found mothers who suffered loss, and women carrying to term just like me. I leaned on these women for all the support I needed, I cried all my tears to them, I shared all my fears with them, and with them I expressed my anger and disappointment with my husband. I stated a thousand times, that Van was a jerk, he walked around with a nonchalant attitude to the whole thing while my knees where read and sore from praying daily, or at least that is what appeared to me. I knew that he loved me and Vayden, I just didn’t know how someone that loves you could treat you so cold, and as a pregnant woman I thought I was supposed to get extra special treatment.
At 33 weeks I came to the understanding that Van is who he is and that I can’t make him sit and tell me about his feelings, while he listens to mine. I realized that I was not going to regret anything because I educated myself about Vayden’s condition, I contacted the wonderful resources available and I made sure that I wasn’t going to just go into labor and delivery, have a baby, watch it die and then go home. But before I accepted all of that, I prayed for Van and forgave him for his cold personality and asked God to hold him tightly when the time came for Vayden to be born because being so unprepared can be damaging. I set us up for marriage counseling even before Vayden was born, because I was sure we would need it.
Vayden was born only a few hours after Van came home from a 23 day TDY. I didn’t have a chance to just say what I had been holding in for 17 weeks, he didn’t even have a chance to apologize to me. When Vayden was born Van hit the floor, he was overwhelmed with love and sadness, and then it hit him. It was so hard to see my husband that mean cold man, so sad and so hurt watching his son, fight for his life, just to give us time with him, just so that his daddy could finally spend time with him and sing to him and touch him, like I had done my entire pregnancy, things I wanted Van to do while I was carrying. I let Van bathe him, and dress him alive; I knew that he was going to have regrets I wanted him to get as much as he could in while we had the time. Later Van thanked me for carrying to term and admitted that he thought often if I was making the wrong choice by carrying to term. When I created my website I asked Van to please submit a statement for the father’s page. This is what he wrote
" Why? When I was informed that Vayden had LUTO, I asked myself "why" over and over again. I blamed myself sometimes, thinking it was something I did. I thought the RADAR system that I worked on might have been the cause. I secretly blamed Stephanie, my wife, sometimes. I thought that maybe it was something she was eating or drinking. I had these thoughts for the majority of the pregnancy. I never shared my feelings or thoughts with my wife. I thought that I had to hide my feelings and stay strong for the family. I didn't really talk to anyone about our situation. I informed a few people at work, but didn't give too many details. I didn't want people thinking I couldn't do my job because of my family issues. Steph and I agreed to meet with the base chaplain. I still didn't talk much about my feelings or thoughts, but it helped me bring my shield down a little. Talking to the chaplain did help me realize that Vayden's condition wasn't anyone's fault. Not mine and surely not my wife's. God made his decision that he needed another Angel, and he chose Vayden to fill that slot.

My advice to the fathers, who might be faced with a similar situation as our family, is talk. Talk to you friends, family, or chaplain. But surely talk to your wife or girlfriend. Don't be afraid to show your feelings. It's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign that you really care. Losing or knowing that you are going to lose a child is a tremendous amount of stress. Talking to someone and sharing your feelings with someone helps a lot to relive that stress. The only regret that I have for our situation is that I didn't do this for my wife."

*Van S. Stewart Jr. (Father to Vayden, LUTO/PUV angel)

It brought tears to my eyes and a huge weight was lifted off my heart, because I never got the true apology and reason why that I felt I deserved. Now with Vayden gone, we have regular checks on each other and at time misunderstand each other’s grief, but we both understand that we are on different pages of the book of losing a child. I find total comfort in looking at every single one of Vayden’s photos and slide show, where Van stops looking at the photos of him once he’s passed. But Vayden’s loss had all in all brought us together closer as a couple and a family. We take walks 2-3 time a week and we talk more, if I need to talk about Vayden he listens for as long as he can, and I respect him knowing he’s not much of a talker anyway by not looking for his shoulder every time I need to cry. We attend church on a regular basis again as a family, right now we are in a happy place. The support, love and respect that Van showed me after Vayden’s death made me fall right back in love with him, I guess after such a difficult pregnancy I realized the man I married really did have a full heart that loved me.


  1. I am so glad you and Van are together. It seems you compliment each other nicely. You need some opposites in a marriage for it to work. My hubby is the talker and I'm the silent one. If I want to "talk", I blog or journal. But I am a good listener...if you ever need one. :)

  2. What Van wrote is really touching and it brought tears to my eyes. It's so important to be there for each other and I'm very glad that you guys have been brought closer and overcame those difficult times.

  3. Vans comments brought tears to my eyes. I think men always feel like they have to be strong and try not to show emotion. You two have been through such an emotional and tough journey. Instead of letting it tear you apart, it had now brought you closer. And that is true love.

  4. Wow. I'm glad you posted this Steph. Thanks for sharing yourself, and the struggles of your loss of Vayden. The segment that Van wrote is beautiful & it also brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad God is healing your family, and bringing you closer together.

  5. What a awesome post, so glad it has brought you closer. HUGS :)

  6. What a wonderful story - you are truly a remarkable woman and I am thankful I came across your blog with the "Walking with You" group. Van's letter/statement was truly wonderful and says so much about him as a man and a father - you are so blessed.


  7. I am so thankful you have a husband that loves you and your sweet family so well What a gift...keep holding eachother tight!

    Sending love,

  8. Just wanted to let you know I have a blog award for you on my blog. :)

  9. I just found your blog and am so sorry for the loss of your sweet vayden, and yet must also so how touched and moved i was to see your slide show and all the love you gave that little baby while he was with you in your belly and in your arms. I wish I could have had some of your strength in my journey through my daughters diagnosis and short life. You are an amazing mother.