Chelsea's Story: Overcoming Loss
Before I get into my story I want to warn you that this could be a trigger for many Mom’s out there who, like me, have experienced the greatest loss one could know, the loss of a child. God chose me to be the mommy of an angel. With that comes extreme heartache, a warrior of a Momma, my souls redemption, and God’s revival over my life.
All I have ever known is that I was made to be a mom and all I have ever wanted is to love and raise children, but specifically had prayed for a daughter. I remember telling the Lord that I would raise her in His name and that she would be His. Well, the Lord heard my prayers and He answered them quickly, and more than I could have imagined. Quite honestly, I would come to regret some of those prayers before my heart came around to a better understanding.
I found out our sweet girl was on the way just a month after getting married and life seemed to be coming together as I had always dreamed. Kaia was the epitome of my dream. I knew from the moment of conception that she was my purpose. It was going to be a beautiful life, and it was happening. My joy was radiant and my heart was overflowing with love and thankfulness.
At twenty weeks we went in for our anatomy scan and found out Kaia had issues with her kidneys and they seemed to think with her heart too. They said to come back in four weeks to do another scan. Every second of those four weeks were the most fearful moments of my life. I prayed and cried in my closest on my hands and knees every morning for hours before work, pleading for the Lord to have mercy on my child and to heal Kaia. I would grasp onto her while pleading at the feet of Jesus.
Our twenty four week scan came…Thinking back on this day triggers so much terror. Have you ever seen the movies where someone has a major life event or emergency going on and everything is going by really fast? The doctors came in with faces of horror and held my arms up to walk me down to the U of L high risk doctor; the beginning of our battlefield. My mind was trying to catch up to my reality. Time seemed to be running out, just as the amniotic fluid was surrounding my baby. I’ll never forget how quickly my mom got there that day. I looked up at her and my husband as they gave us what turned out to be a (mis)diagnosis. I refused to accept what they said. I remember looking up at my mom as she nodded her head confirming, FAITH OVER FEAR, it’s time to fight! I knew from that moment on I was going to suit up and I was going to fight for her life, no matter what that takes. No one can put limitations on a mother’s love, and I was going to fight for my daughter until my last breath.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will
help you.” Isaiah 41:13
Immediately God delivered angels in our lives to get us in the right hands. We ended up at the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati where God would then give us the best team and immediate peace to know we can trust our daughters life in their hands. The first procedure we had done was so emergent that there was not time for anesthesia or numbing. They needed to relieve pressure off Kaia’s kidneys. Kidney babies are not able to pass urine if there is a blockage or issue, because they just keep retaining the fluid in their bodies. By this time ascites was spread all over her poor body. As they pierced through her womb, I gasped for air. Silently, tears fell as my heart shattered. This is an invasion no mother should know and no child should endure. “C’mon baby, we got this…”
Each week we would sit around a board of fetal surgeons and specialist who would give us our plan of action for the week. So many sat before us, so many sat behind us… Kaia’s warriors were strong and they kept heaven roaring with pleas over her life. After each meeting with our team, came news of more surgeries. We had a total of four procedures done while pregnant and one right after Kaia’s birth. We stayed in the hospital for over three months on bed rest. I wasn’t allowed to do much or leave the hallway. But within those walls, within those numbered days, I fought. I prayed. I read the Bible out loud to Kaia every day. I took nothing for granted, so each moment I kept my child at the Lord’s feet.
“Trust and wait for what is still unseen.” Romans 8:25
I was induced and gave birth to Kaia on March 3rd, 2018. To be able to put a face to the fight was everything, but the real battle had just begun. Now my baby had to fight on her own and I couldn’t do it for her anymore. “Oh God help her…” Kaia fought for seven hours. I called out loud to the Lord “GOD, SAVE HER! HELP HER!…” As her heart rate dropped they said the only thing that can help was to be with her mommy. So on my chest she lay. I remember leaving reality and picturing our whole lives together. Me rocking her in this dream world. Every memory we would not get. Every moment we would never have. This was our only moment. I soaked it in as I brushed her hair against my chin. She was the perfection of an angel. My hearts desire and my dream lay in my hands and it was time to let her go. Kaia passed in my arms at 1:02 am on March 4th, 2018.
Since then I have been through many seasons. Grief is nasty but living without your child is cruel. My heart was broken and my life was shattered. I remained broken and afraid to even speak to the Lord. I felt he had abandoned me and that He would have never let this happen to me. He was patient with me through the rawness. He comforted me and allowed me to be angry and be sad and broken. Proceeding Kaia’s passing came the passing of my precious Mimi in June followed by my father in law in October. Life kept spinning and life kept falling apart.
Little did I know that in that brokenness, in every nasty crack, the Lord was fulfilling His plan over my life. Just as He always has, He was taking the broken and making it beautiful. A REVIVAL CAME… As He was reviving my life He was arming me for my new purpose. I was made to serve the Lord. A fire within me and a drive and purpose to now raise Kaia however He allows, while pressing toward bringing Him glory in every moment, in every detail.
The Lord now has my daughter but He also has His. A fire lives in my soul that burns brighter each day. He redeemed my life and is using the heartache I battle every day for His glory, while restoring me from the inside out. I may live a life I wish on no-one but my purpose is big, my battle is onward and the Lord will receive His glory! I will not stop until I make it home and He hands me my girl and says “Well done my good and faithful servant… You did it!”
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:36
Kaia now has a sister on the way. As we raise a child in heaven in our hearts, and Lennon on earth, our lives will be hard but they will be beautiful. They will be intentional. We will serve the Lord and our fire will burn bright!
For all those Momma’s hurting out there. I am here…please reach out. You are never alone and together we will fight!
Chelsea Lovejoy Byrd
TFWH is partnering with Chelsea so for every #createyourcalm diffuser bracelet order this weekend in the shop, we will match a bracelet for her to give to women who are patients at the University of Cincinnati Antepartum and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she spent a LOT of time. This will give Chelsea a tangible way to offer women who are going through what she’s gone through hope, support, and encouragement, and to point them towards her story. She wants these women to know they aren’t alone, and to have a symbol of their strength, to wear everyday. She wants to spread the fire, and make beauty from ashes, and allow her story to be used for good, and YOU can be apart of that.