Saturday, October 24, 2009

Astri's Story

**Note for screen-readers: My reader is not pronouncing Astri correctly. The spelling is A,S,T,R,I. The emphasis is on the first syllable, and the second syllable is pronounced tree, not try.

Greetings, and welcome to Drums In The Deep. You’ve come at a good time because I’m about to describe one of the most important periods of my life. A truly defining moment if ever there was one. This is Astri’s story…

Astri’s story begins in late 2003. Joni, Adam, and I had been living together for about half a year and we were struggling pretty hard. Struggling financially as we always have, but also struggling to adapt to our new lives as a family. It was October of that year that Joni discovered she was pregnant.

Now, I won’t try to describe Joni’s thoughts or feelings here because that is her story to tell, but I can give you my own perspective. I was scared. The thought of having a baby was exciting, but mostly it was scary.

First of all, what would my family think? Joni and I were not married and I worried that they would not approve. Also, how on earth were we going to afford a baby? We were barely paying the bills as it was. And would I be a good father? I already had a six year old daughter back in Nebraska that I had only seen a couple of times.

As you can see, I was really hung up on things like universal approval and money and failure. Well, without God in my life these are the kinds of things that consumed me. These are the things I thought were important. It’s sad to think about those days.

In spite of all my fear and worry, I gradually got used to the idea of having a baby. We talked about names. Joni liked the name Steven for a boy, go figure. I liked the name Astri for a girl. I was big into genealogy at the time and the nameAstri appeared several times in a Norwegian branch of my family.

Okay, fast forward to April 2004. It was a Monday and I had gone to work as usual. At around 9 or 10 that morning Joni called me and said, “I need to go to the hospital”. Oh boy, not good. Astri was not due until June. I raced home as fast as I could to pick up Joni and Adam and off we went. Adam is, and was, home-schooled if you’re wondering why he was home. The hospital was only about a mile away so that was good.

They took Joni in right away to make her comfortable while Adam and I went off to fill out paperwork. But we were all together again in time for the ultrasound. The doctor confirmed what we were already beginning to suspect. Astri was no longer living.

After that, they put Joni in a delivery room. All that was left to do was wait. They said the baby would come out naturally. They were going to make Adam wait outside when it was time but I think God had other plans. Joni gave birth very quickly and sooner than was expected. The three of us were alone in the room when it happened. Maybe you’re thinking that wasn’t a good place for an 8 year old to be, but I’m glad he can look back on that experience and say, “I was there”.

Astri Celia Brandt was born on April 26, 2004. She would have been 5 this year and starting school. She was with us for such a short time, and yet she will be with us forever. I love you Astri, and I miss you.

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased and said unto them; Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.f


  1. I don't know what to say.

    I'm sitting here knowing I want to comment. Knowing I want to show my support. I have only known you and Joni a short time, but I've grown to like you both, and very much admire your faith.

    Its a little easier to see where your faith has come from now. In such horrible times, we can turn to God, or not...and its been my experience that turning to God was the only way to get through trying times. I can never know how that felt. I can never know that pain. But I do know faith, and I do know that your relationship has only grown stronger, your faith only stronger.

    Thank you for sharing this. You are an example of the fact that we can make it through anything, with God on our side.

  2. Thanks R,
    It felt like a big hug coming right through the screen.
    My side of the story speaks of immeasurable faith.Unsurmountable. Had I not had faith, would I have been able to carry three people through this difficult time? (He did all the work) My God is my strength and tower, always will be, in good times and in bad.
    Thanks for reading and being a new friend on the other side of the screen. *smile*

  3. I feel like you two were my first friends on blogger, so it was definitely a virtual hug...I most definitely admire you both.

  4. Wow! I had no idea. My sister had the same experience a few months back and it almost tore her to shreds so I can imagine what you must have both gone though. Again, thank you for sharing this. You don't know how much this story encourages us to keep reaching out to God and to people especially those who're hurting. Adversity only strengthens us because He supplies the grace.



  5. Thank you for reading Caroline. You're right, these are the moments that bring us closer to God. I hope your sister has experienced His love and comfort too.

  6. Dear Joni and Steven and Adam, As I sit and read your story it makes tears roll down my face and know that my heart aches for you guys. But in an instant it quickly comes to relief as I realize that your strength is what we all need. Thank you for showing me where to turn in my most darkest hours. I love you's And I have to add: I'm so sorry I couldn't be there to hold you like you've done for me so many times. :(

  7. Hi there Anonymous, I'm so glad God brought you here, it's exactly why He wanted this blog created. He was there to hold us during this difficult time, just like He is holding YOU right now!