Monday, May 18, 2009

Zachary Michael

Saturday evening we went into the hospital because I noticed that I hadn't felt the baby moving in the afternoon.  Our midwife just thought it would be best to put me on monitors for 20 minutes or so, more for our peace of mind than anything else.  However, when we got to the hospital, the nurses and midwife were unable to find a heartbeat, and 2 ultrasounds confirmed that our baby's heart was no longer beating.  Obviously devastated, we opted to be admitted and induced right away on Saturday night.  My labor was easy...they kept me really comfortable, and I only had to push for 30 minutes before our beautiful, perfect baby boy was born.  

Zachary Michael weighed a whopping 8 pounds, 14.3 ounces and was 22 1/2 inches long, and was just awesome mix of his mom and dad! Our time with him, surrounded by family and close friends was sweet...we will treasure it for the rest of our lives.  Nobody knows for sure what went wrong - the only unusual thing was an abnormally long umbilical cord that had been coiled around itself multiple times, and was probably the culprit, cutting off the baby's supply of oxygen sometime on Saturday afternoon.  It's just one of those things...and while we are truly devastated, we feel so blessed to have been chosen by God to be Zachary's parents, even for such a short time.  

The name Zachary means "God remembers," and He does...He knows exactly where we're at, and He'll walk us through this somehow with the promise that we will one day hold our son again in heaven!  Until then, he's being cradled in the arms of our Savior...and those arms are so much stronger and safer than the ones that we could offer him.  And we're hanging in there...we really are. Right now it's one hour at a time, and soon it will be one day at a time, then one week, etc. 

We covet your prayers, and at the same time, say 'thank you' for all the time so many of you have spent before the throne of God on our behalf. It is because of your pleading that we have felt the Lord's tremendous peace over and over.

Right now we're not quite ready for visitors or phone calls...we feel your love through your prayers and cards and truly appreciate your support in that way!


  1. I don't think we quite know what to say to you both besides what you already know to be true -- God is good ALL the time, ALL the time God is good. He is the best Daddy Zachary could ever ask for and is squeezing him tight in heaven right now. He knows your pain, agony, and heartbreak and will draw near to you both as you learn how to heal and cope with this tragedy. From what you have written, it's apparent to see He is already performing small miracles for you both. What a testimony this child will be to our Lord's faithfulness in our lives! We are in CONSTANT prayer for you guys and are asking for the Lord's supernatural comfort, peace, and joy as you move forward in the coming months...

    Love you both,

    Kyle and Amber

  2. Courtney and Shaun,
    I love you both as if you were my own brother and sister, and I want you to know that you haven't left my thoughts or prayers since your mom hung up the phone Saturday night. Every thought I have of you is accompanied by a prayer, and I'm so glad that you have come through this with God's peace surrounding you. If you need anything (even something as simple as someone to stop by your house and finish the laundry or dishes or water plants), please don't hesitate to call. I have my phone glued to me 24/7!


  3. Oh, to read these words through my tears proves God is right there in the midst of this, and holding you up through it. What a beautiful tribute to your precious Zachary!! Pray, pray, praying for you!!

    Love to you and Shaun!!
    Jeff and Missy Evenson

  4. Love you Courtney - Hang in there!

  5. Courtney and Shaun-
    My name is Amie Cross and I worked with Shaun 3 years ago at Seattle Christian. My Marylou was born right into the arms of Jesus and is waiting for us as Zachary is waiting for you. I wanted you to know that I am praying for you as you journey through this time of grief. If you want to talk or communicate electronically to a Mom who has journeyed down a similar path please feel free to contact me.
    What a beautiful image of Zachary and his Mommy you have pictured. I'll be praying for your family. This past year we have written a bit about our grieving process as we said hello and goodbye to our firstborn sometimes it was helpful for me to connect with other moms (and dads) who had been down a similar path: You can contact me (or my husband) through there as well.

    Praying for you and for peace that can only come from Him as you grieve.


  6. Courtney,
    I know I haven't seen or talked to you since early highschool and just recently found you on facebook, but I just wanted to say how sorry I was to read this. My thoughts are with you and your husband.

  7. Hey, Chris and I are praying for you. There are no words to use during a time like this. We are here if you need us. We will be praying for guys!!

  8. My heart is aching for you. We will be praying for God's faithfulness and lovingkindness to be evident to you always. What a precious picture.


  9. Shaun and Courtney-
    Just want to send our thoughts and prayers. You both are so amazing your love for Christ even in this time of deep sorrow. Life is tough but God is good, you both are living testimony to that fact. Zachary was blessed to have you as parents and it will be an amazing reunion in Heaven.
    Love you guys,

    Jeremy and Cassie Idler

  10. I haven't seen you in so long, but I am sad for you and thinking of you! Having a newborn of my own I just cannot begin to imagine. I am so thankful your faith is there for you and I can tell you are showered with love and prayers. I wish you endless healing. My tears for you are many and my heart aches for you! Take good care! Love and Light,

  11. We are so sad for you. Todd and I have been so distracted today just thinking about you guys yet, knowing that Zachary is with Jesus gives us hope and joy. Tonight when I put Noah to bed he wanted to pray for you - so we did and we will continue to pray for you. If you need any meals or need two crazy boys to make you laugh give us a call. We would love to be there for ya! Love - Todd, Sondra, Noah and Caed

  12. Shaun & Courtney,
    You are both simply amazing! God knew exactly what he was doing when he chose you to be Zachary's parents. May He continue to bless you and wrap you in his love and peace through the days and years to come. Our hearts are aching for you both.
    Our love and prayers are with you.
    Andie, Dave, Riley & Sawyer Smith

  13. Dear Coutney and Shaun,
    God chose you to be Zachary's parents. What an honor. We are praying for you, for peace, comfort and rest. You are boldly demonstrating the faith you have in our Lord. Hold fast to Him.
    With Love, Scott & Heather Wilson

  14. My heart aches for you guys and I have no words to say besides you have constantly been on our hearts and minds. I am praying God will give you peace and strength in the midst of this tough time. During tough times for us this past year, God has played parts of Isaiah 40 over and over in my head.... "He gives strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak.. even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faith"

    We pray you will feel the strength you need to get through each hour.

    Love and prayers from your family in MI-

    Kelli and Mark

  15. Courtney-
    I have absolutely no words to express my sorrow for you two. I know without a doubt that he was absolutely beautiful. My heart is broken for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you ALWAYS!!!! Please know how much you are loved and supported. I know you have a huge support of family and friends, but If you ever need ANYTHING..a coffee, a friend to talk to, a pastry.. :) please call me, and I will be there. 208-921-6654. You are so loved.


  16. Courtney I know we have not met, or spoken. I am a cousin (sarah van essen/martin) I can't believe all what your family is going through. My husband and I are praying for you. I will remember Zachery and his part in the family. I'm so sorry and nothing I can say but I will lift your family up in prayers.

  17. With my left hand I wipe the tears of grief. With my left hand I hold my broken heart. With my left hand I even pound my fist in earthly frustration. Yet, through it all, I raise my right hand in gratitude to our Savior who sent HIS son to die so that Zachary could be in His arms today.

    I love you.

  18. Dear Shaun and Courtney,

    What a lovely blog and a sweet picture of your baby boy, Zachary. What a day of rejoicing it will be when we meet Zachary (Marylou and my brother, Michael) someday. I know of only One who can truly identify with the loss of a Son. He is our Comforter. He is our Rock. He is the One who will hold you in His arms of love. Praying for you and loving you through this...
    David and Jennifer Traynor

  19. Dear Shaun and Courtney,
    Words cannot express the sorrow and grief that Glenda and I feel over the loss of your beloved son Zachary. I don't think we need to tell you how much you mean to us and how we have grown to love you over the years. We have watched you grow from a young girl to a young woman to a wife and a wonderfull mother, what a blessing you have been to us and our family. This is why it hurts us so much to know that both of you are hurting and are going through such grief. Please understand that we are beside you through this in prayer and suplication to our heavenly Father who comforts us in our time of grief and great need. I wish I was there with you to give you a great big Uncle Mark Hug and tell you that everything is gonna be all right.

    Love Uncle Mark

  20. We love you guys like family - we are praying and will not stop.

    Paul & Julie

  21. Courtney and Shaun,
    We are just heart-broken for you and your families. We are holding you close in Christ's love.
    Blessings, Barbara and Mark Jabbusch

  22. I followed your blog through Kelli's, so you don't know me or my story, but I lost twin girls at 23 weeks pregnant so I have experienced infant loss and I know how difficult it is to hold a precious baby in your arms and have to say goodbye. Cling to each other during these difficult days, weeks and months ahead of you as the shock wares off and the heartache sets in. I will be praying for the peace of God to remain with you always.


  23. Dearest Courtney & Shaun & families,
    Our hearts are so heavy and saddened by the news and yet we are buoyed by your words and the promises we have in Christ. Little Zachary Michael is with his heavenly family for now. We look forward to greeting him in person someday. Thank you for sharing him with us as you have in the words, picture and times we have shared. He has been awaited so lovingly by so many. His journey is complete--ours is to follow.
    May God bless you and be with you each moment.
    Your loving friends,
    Diane & Charlie Peterson

  24. Found your blog through TenHakens....There are no words I can offer to bring back your precious son but the Bible gives us the promise that God knew Zachary's name even before time began-that God formed him to be your son and that can't be taken away-ever. I just wanted to share a blog of another mother who lost her precious son Samuel 6 months ago in a similar way. Right now might not be the best time to read it but when it is I pray that she will be an encouragement to you-
    God's grace,
    Carin Vogelzang

  25. Dear Courtney and Shaun,
    I don’t know you well, but I am close to Blanchard family and hear of you often. I wanted to let you know that you have been on my heart and in my prayers. The night you went into labor I got a call from two separate people asking me to pray for you. They were totally unrelated to each other. It is amazing to me how the family of God stretches across church boundaries and meets at the throne. I will remain there for you two interceding for the strength and courage to face the pain that you are asked to bear. Please remember that God is close to the broken hearted! I believe he is very near to you.
    At his feet,
    Tricia Houlihan

  26. I am so sorry! I am at a loss for words as no one can even pretend to understand the pain and void that you must feel right now.
    Thank you for the testiment of faith that you so truthfully spoke in the above account of the events. I am truly in awe at the maturity that your young hearts have displayed. I have sit here in silence being called to take nothing for granted and to count my many blessings with a thankful heart as nothing is forever.... except for Heaven. Thank you Jesus, take care of little baby Zachary as only you can.

  27. Hi I am a friend of the TenHakens and just wanted to say how incredibly sorry I am for your loss. I love that you named him Zachary, "God Remembers." Beautiful. You are in our prayers.

  28. Hello. My name is Kim. I don't know who you re, but I saw the link on Brian Hertzog's facebook. I want you to know that you are loved. I have had 2 pregnancies and 2 miscarrages, andwith each one, it brought me closer to finding out what went wrong. I want you to know that while you are mourning, you shoud consider Job. God allowed Job to go through more trials and tribulations than a normal person should ever have to bear. Yet, even at the loss of his 10 children, he still PRAISED GOD! God must think very highly of you to take your little boy. He knows that you will use this to glorify Him. Just think, your son, is heaven with his heavenly Daddy. And think of the wonderous day, when you wll go and meet him in the sky. He will be waiting for you, with open arms, saying "HI Mommy, Hi Daddy..I've been waiting for you...I have a spo picked out...righ have a perfect view of our Savior." I know my 2 little ones are up there waiting for me, and it is that thought that pushes me everyday. Please, for your son's sake, through your grief, Glorify!!!

  29. Keep resting in the arms of our Lord, just as sweet Zachary is doing right now. Let His peace flow in and out of you, just as sweet Zachary is doing right now. Bask in His presence, just as sweet Zachary is doing right now. These are God's gifts to you as a family... a way to feel connected.

    Standing on the promises and praying,
    Jenn, Norm, Graham and Sawyer Buyagawan

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. I don't think I have the words to express how sorry I am. The picture is so beautiful and precious. I pray that God holds you close today and forever.
    Vicki Aaberg

  32. Shaun & Courtney,

    My heart is breaking for you right now. Thank you for sharing Zachary's story - it is so touching. I wish there were words, but they seem to fail me. Brandon & I are praying that God will comfort you & give you the strength you need.


  33. Shaun and Courtney -
    The students of Vision, Chamber Singers and Middle School Choirs have chosen to dedicate their Spring Choral concert on Thursday, May 28 to your family in memory of Zachary Michael. There is no pressure or expectation for you to be there at all, but we feel strongly that this will give additional focus and encouragement to all who attend. May 28 - 7:30 pm First Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Renton.

    Lovingly Standing With You,

    Seattle Christian Fine and Performing Arts

  34. Shaun and Courtney,
    We are so sorry to hear of your loss and have been praying for you since Sunday when we first heard from Pat Chamberlain at church.I remember a few times that day when God brought you to my mind and the tears came as I prayed for you both, not knowing what had happened. After reading your post I am so comforted to hear of your faith and God's sustaining power in your lives. He is being glorified through you both and what an amazing peace you have knowing He sees everything and your little Zachary is safe. I will continue to pray for you. Jeff and I both send our love and are looking forward to hearing of your next baby and the story surrounding that gift that God will give you in His perfect timing.
    May the favor, blessing and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be on you both!

    Jeff and Jayne Vanderstelt

  35. Amber here. We haven't stopped thinking of you guys and praying for you both and your families...we love the addition of the song to your blog, it's simply perfect. Bless you both as you walk through this yet one more hour, one more evening, one more morning, one more're doing it. It may not feel like it in some moments and it may seem suffocating and debilitating at times (well, lots of times) but the Lord knows what He is doing in and through this situation. We are specifically praying that the beauty of the Lord's healing may be upon you now, that you come to His feet each and every moment you feel weak, and seek His strength when you feel like you have none left for the day. Cling to each other in the coming days...we love you both. We look forward to seeing your faces one day soon and giving you both a great big hug.

  36. Oh my gosh what a beautiful song! What a beautiful picture! I think about you two everyday! I can't even imagine what you are going through! I know you will see Zachary again someday! Take Care! Love, Angi C.

  37. Dear Shaun and Courtney,

    You are loved and being prayed over!
    I am listening to this beautiful song about your precious Zachary and tears are running down my face.
    Please know that we are all greiving your loss right along with you.
    Thank the Lord that we can rest in HIS goodness, knowing that He is in control in the midst of our deep pain.
    We love you!

    Ann Collier and family.

  38. Shaun and Courtney,
    Hello. My name is Carrie Peña. My family is friends with the De Haans and through them have become aware of your special need for prayer and love. There are countless people praying for your family right now. For a supernatural peace and joy to surround you in this time of grief and healing. Praise God that you have our Savior to call to and lean on and cry for during this time.

    "I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
    and what they must sound like
    But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
    And it’s all you’ll ever know… all you’ll ever know…"

    Some of the most powerful lyrics. I am glad that you found this song... I thought it was a perfect way to speak the story of your heart.

    In Him,

  39. Have been praying since Saturday when we found out and will continue to pray.


  40. My daughter, Kestin attends SCS with Bethany. As she shared the sad news with me Sunday evening, tears rolled down her face, unchecked, unashamed. Please know we have been in prayer for you and yes, we have cried with you, even though we don't know you. Thank you for chosing to glorify God in this; what a wonderful testimony and example to all of us!
    Tammy Merritt.

  41. When my sister, Jennifer Blanchard, told me about your loss I started praying for you and haven't stopped. Please know you are held up in prayer from Arizona, too.


  42. I met you just a few days before Zachary was born. I was the caregiver at your Aunt Dori's home. You were so excited about the baby coming. The next week I excitedly asked Dori about the baby and I heard the sad news. I was shocked and saddened. Your website and song are a great Christian witness. May God bless your testimony.

  43. I just found your wonderful blog through the baby talk magazine.

    Your story has touched me deeply and personally, my own child died at ten days old. Your journey was so interesting and inspiring to read. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.