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Safe in Heaven - Ryan and Michelle's Story
By Dena Sutton

Ryan and Michelle have been married nearly four years. They are both caring and inspirational people who exude God’s love. Their strength comes from somewhere deep within, from a place of pain and loss, through a journey that they only survived with God’s help.

Ryan and Michelle were pregnant and overjoyed about having their first child. At 34 weeks of her pregnancy, Michelle was healthy and extremely excited; Ryan and Michelle were expecting a son who they named Dylan. They drove up to Bakersfield to throw her best friend a baby shower. During the shower, Michelle’s excitement took a turn when she did not feel the baby moving. In a split second, Michelle’s emotions were turned upside down as she felt all joy and happiness drain from her. She was immediately taken to the emergency room where their worst fear was confirmed. Dylan had died in her womb. The couple was devastated and with their dreams crushed, they were told that Michelle would have to give birth to little Dylan’s lifeless body when ready. The drive back to San Diego seemed like an eternity; both Michelle and Ryan were at a loss for words. Through their loneliness and pain, only tears could be expressed.

Back in San Diego, Michelle and Ryan went straight to the triage at the hospital. They both watched the screen intently as the sonogram moved slowly over her uterus in hopes to catch a small glimpse of a heartbeat. The heartbeat was never found. As they prepared Michelle for labor, doctors told her it could take up to 48 hours until delivery. Feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of time, Ryan asked family and friends to pray for a short labor. Michelle suddenly contracted a high fever. As a concern for her safety, the nurses broke her water, hoping to speed along her labor. Within hours, Michelle was fully dilated and gave birth to Dylan. Ryan and Michelle were filled with deep sadness and pain, yet through it all felt God’s presence with them stronger than ever. One of their nurses was a Christian and helped them through their grief in the hospital. Another nurse went through a similar trial. Her daughter lost her unborn child only a month before. She was there to let Ryan and Michelle know that there would be a light at the end of the long tunnel. Through the support of their family, friends, and the nurses in the hospital, Ryan and Michelle began to feel a comfort in knowing that their son was in heaven with Jesus and that one day, they would get to meet him. They felt an overwhelming sense of peace and knew that God would use their pain to help others someday.

Michelle and Ryan began attending a community support group, referred by a social worker at the hospital. They heard story after story from young women and couples who had lost their children before and during birth. Some went through the event alone- without family or friends as support. While every story was different, there was one similarity to them all that stuck a chord with Ryan and Michelle: all of the people and stories lacked a hope and love in Jesus. Ryan and Michelle immediately felt convicted to start a ministry. It would be a support group for other couples and individuals who had lost a child, a place to share stories of loss, pain, and hope in Christ.

Through the support of the Rock Church and the Adoption Ministry, Ryan and Michelle began the Safe in Heaven Ministry in November of 2010. As a young ministry, Safe in Heaven continues to grow each month as couples join the group discussions, devotions, and prayer. They meet the first Thursday of every month. The focus of the ministry surrounds scripture found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Through the pain of losing their son Dylan, they both discovered through faith that no matter how bad their circumstances were and may be in the future, God will always be there with them through it all and will walk with them through the flames.

Michelle and Ryan are proof that God heals hearts and at times, uses pain and anguish for a higher purpose as support for His kingdom. God gave Ryan and Michelle peace and comfort through the people who were sent to help them through their loss and through the Safe in Heaven ministry. Receiving the support of others helps to heal the pain of a great loss. The Safe in Heaven Ministry is a safe place for those who have lost children or infants who need the loving support of others in Christ.

For more information about the Loss of Baby Ministry, click here »