Friday morning, November 11th, 2016, I had picked up my car after getting new tires and getting everything done that a 45,000 mile car needs done. I was too upset by the election to go home, so I did some grocery shopping and grabbed a bunch of socks and underwear for the Christmas collections for the poor at work.
As I drove into my driveway, I received a text from Sarah. “I think my water has broken. I am going to the hospital.” Sarah was 7 months pregnant with a baby who was anencephalic. The skull had not formed and Adam and Sarah were told that the baby would not survive, would pass away at any time, or would go full term and only live a day or two.
I waited until I got the text from Adam. “Sarah’s water has broken and we are not leaving the hospital until this baby is born. Anyone is welcome to come down.” I had been packing and headed to the hospital in Ohio, a four hour drive from home. Ken stayed home to run his business and take care of the household.
I arrived at the hospital around 7 pm. My phone had taken me cross-country in the pitch blackness, with only deep ditches and cornfields along the two-lane roads. I had visions of zombies coming across the field, but only encountered a couple of deer, and an Amish buggy. It was a slightly scary drive, but it kept me awake.
Sarah was having contractions, but nothing much was happening. After visiting for a couple of hours, I took my leave to go stay at Adam and Sarah’s house, and to allow Sarah’s parents to visit as they were just arriving at the hospital at 9 pm.
I managed to sleep, woke at 5 am and 6 am, but no texts. Finally, around 730 am on Saturday, November 12th, I got the text from Adam. “Elliott Joy Shooltz is here. 621 am, with the sunrise.” (We still (Sarah’s parents and I) didn’t know if the baby was alive or not.)
We went immediately to the hospital and met tiny little Elliott Joy. She was stillborn. She weighed 1 pound, 9 ounces and was 10 inches long.
I will post more pictures in the future, but for now, she was just a tiny peanut. Beautiful face, and perfect little hands and feet. We held her and sang to her and played “This little piggy went to market” with her toes. A professional photographer came in and spent an hour and a half taking pictures. Adam, Sarah and I made clay casts of her tiny footprints. There was love and laughter and tears.
Ashlee and Anthony visited. Sarah’s dearest friend, Jessica, visited and everyone loved on EJ. Adam and Sarah spent the night with Elliott at the hospital. A young man from the funeral home came to collect Elliott Joy on Sunday morning. He shared with Adam and Sarah that he and his wife had lost their first child. He took EJ and promised to take good care of her. She will be cremated and returned to her mom and dad.
I only was able to be with her for 13 hours, but it was a loving, happy, caring, blessed time. Who knew you could miss someone so much after only knowing them such a short time.
Thank you for letting me tell Elliott Joy’s story. My granddaughter.