People often talk about tragic events or trauma in relation to the time before the event and the time since. My life was divided in that way for a long time. Life before Mateo and life since December 17, 2015.
My name is Dave Wise. I am a Christian, a husband, and a father. In the summer of 2015, my wife and I learned, we were pregnant with our first child. We were nervous, anxious, excited, and had many different emotions. Soon we learned we were having a boy, and we chose his name to be Mateo Aslan Wise. The pregnancy was not smooth, but there were no indications of any medical problems. My wife had extreme nausea and digestive problems as well as very bad heartburn. But every ultrasound, blood or urine test, and heart doppler showed Mateo was healthy until December 17, 2015.
We were at our doctor’s office for what we thought would be a routine, OBGYN visit for the pregnancy. Kelly had been worried that she didn’t feel the baby move enough, but it was still early (25 weeks) and it was her first pregnancy, so she didn’t always know what was movement. Our doctor performed a heart doppler test. It seemed to last forever. Then he took us over to another room to perform an ultrasound. My wife started to cry. I held her hand. Then, I heard a whisper, deep inside my heart, which I believe to be from God, saying, “David, even if your son is dead, God is still sovereign, and He is still good.” Our doctor then informed us, our beloved son no longer had a heartbeat, and that he had passed sometime before. He would be stillborn.
The days and weeks that followed his delivery and stillbirth on December 18, 2015, were like a haze of darkness and a fog of sorrow. It was a nightmare, but it was also real. My wife was so distraught she would not leave our bed for days. I had to take care of all of the funeral arrangements, planning the memorial service, and take care of supporting her, while trying to process my own emotions. I also struggle with mood disorders and can be overly emotional. I feel too much. We wept. We held each other. We prayed. We screamed and got angry. We felt lost, empty, and alone. But we supported each other. We also found support from those around us including family, friends, and a new church community. Most of the time, people didn’t know what to say to us, or they said the wrong thing. I wrote a lot. I questioned God. I fought with God. I cried in despair of life. My world had forever changed. The person I was before we knew Mateo was gone, died on December 17, 2015, with the news of my son’s passing. Life from that moment forward would be forever different.
Over the next six months, I’ll share how I coped with losing Mateo, found support, strengthened our marriage, found healing and hope, and where life has taken me today. If you’re reading this, you or someone you care about has most likely experienced the loss of a child, pregnancy loss, or infertility. You are not alone. Nothing I write or anyone says will make it better or bring back that person you loved more than the entire world, but you can live again.
I invite you to stay, engage, and open yourself up to healing and wholeness and reach out to others when you need help and you cannot do it on your own anymore. Mateo has made me a better man, a better husband, and a better a father. I am living again. So can you.