Thursday, December 16, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The OLDEST Brother.......such a sweet heart, and our little helper. He is so smart and funny. He loves playing soccer and baseball, running, riding his bike, anything trains, and his baby brother!
The LITTLE (OLDER) Brother.....sweetest smile and the best belly laugh. He adores his big brother and does everything Wesley does! He loves playing outside running and jumping, trains, and anything with wheels!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
We had a GREAT summer! We have just enjoyed our sweet little boys so much. We played outside every chance we got (when we were not melting in the 100+) HEAT. My precious boys are little fish, and they LOVE the water. We spent several days at the Y pool, and countless hours in our little pool at home, as well as the sprinklers. It was a pretty common occurrence at our house this summer, to walk by and see our little ones streaking through the sprinklers! Whatever it takes to stay cool:)! They are little monkeys and love the trampoline too. It has been a great way to get that extra energy out! We also made a few trips to Papa and Mimi's, and they came to visit us several times. We LOVE it when Papa and Mimi are here....my boys just can't get enough of them. We even witnessed Papa and Mimi on the trampoline a few times:)! Davis is fascinated with my Dad's car (mini couper), and his boat! He talks about them all of the time! We had a ton of fun playing with all of our friends, and just enjoying no schedules or "places" to be! There is a picture below, documenting Wesley's horrible black eye. He had a little accident with his power wheel! Thankfully, he did not require stitches, and after about five minutes, he was VERY proud of his battle wound! Toward the end of the summer, Wesley also had to have his tonsils out. I will admit it was HORRIBLE! He was miserable, I was miserable, we were all MISERABLE for about 10 days, and then right before his bday, he made a complete recovery (PRAISE GOD)!!!! When we were explaining to him about having his tonsils removed, he said "Mommy, they are gonna put little ones back in, right?" What a sweet precious boy he is! Davis is literally talking in complete sentences, and we have conversations with him! He is not the typical one year old! He is afraid of nothing, and wants to try everything his big brother is doing! They are both just growing and changing so fast....bittersweet! I thank God every day for my precious little blessings, and for sharing them with us!
Wesley and Davis a truly best friends, and they play amazingly well together. I am so thankful for the sweet relationship they have! It is my daily prayer that their relationship will continue to strengthen and grow the older they get, and that they will always be close!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Over the last five months there has been a tremendous amount of healing in my heart, since the birth/death of our sweet baby girl. Although the pain is better, I know it will never go away! It is a typical practice for us to go to the memorial park where Caroline is buried, every Sunday after lunch. We take the boys with us, and we talk about Caroline, that she is in Heaven with God and Jesus, we show them her grave, and then we blow kisses to her. It is such a rewarding time, while being so sad all at the same time. While our little guys were running around Sunday afternoon, I looked at my sweet husband, with tears in his eyes, and we talked about how much we miss our baby. I can't express to any one what it is like....we just wish we could hold her little body one more time, and whisper sweet I love yous to her. We know that she would never choose to come back to this earth if she could, but oh how we miss her! Each time we visit her grave, we straighten her flowers, dust off the tiny cherub, and admire the precious pink cross her Daddy made for her. I have to admit as I look around at the other graves, and the headstones, I am always a little jealous that our sweet baby's headstone is not in place. But, as strange as it is, sort of glad that it is not, because to me, when her headstone is finished and delivered, that is the true end to our journey. I just can't fathom what it is going to be like to see my precious baby's name on a headstone. We waited for almost 33 weeks to meet her, spent 17 weeks wondering how we would cope with not having her in our arms, and we have spent 20 weeks waiting on the news that her headstone is ready. Today, we found out that her headstone will be delivered tomorrow, and that we can come and view it tomorrow afternoon. I am so happy that it is ready, and I am looking forward to seeing it. We put a lot of time and effort into choosing the perfect cross, the best lamb, and the sweetest angel, so finally getting to see it will be good. But, at the same time, I am flooded with sadness. I know looking at her tiny little grave with her headstone will be bittersweet. For me, it is the end to a long journey, but the beginning of another. It will just seem so final to me. So, if you think about it, just please say a prayer for us tomorrow. It will be hard for me to go and purchase the "perfect" flowers to put on her grave, as well as finally having the opportunity to visit Caroline's completed grave.
" I thank my God every time I remember you". Philippians 1:3
(the verse on her headstone)
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Four months have passed. It is hard for me to believe that exactly four months ago, a few hours after giving birth, we were leaving the hospital, without our baby, headed straight to the funeral home to plan her memorial. The pain of loosing our baby daughter is still so real, and still hurts so bad. Thankfully, we have had a lot of healing over the last four months. While our hearts are still breaking for our loss, we are able to rejoice more and more in Caroline's gain! As we visited her tiny grave today as a family, Rhett and I talked about details of her birth and death, and how at times, it still does not seem real. As we walked away from her grave with our boys, I felt the sadness of not having her in my arms, but thankfully I was reminded of the joy I have in our wonderful boys and what a blessing they are!! I am learning to truly surrender it all to Jesus, because that is the ONLY way I can make it in this world without my precious little girl.
I LOVE this sweet hymn and it has been on my mind a lot lately. I think it is one of God's gentle reminders to let Him take my burdens and worries. Praying you can surrender your "problems" and let Jesus carry you!
**Stop my play list at the bottom if you want to hear the hymn
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I am not quite sure when this "start over" began in our family? Somewhere in my disciplining of my precious Wesley, I offered him a chance to "start over". I am sure this came about during a fit that was not being stopped by any form of discipline or reasoning with my ever so stubborn preschooler :).....you all know what I am talking about. I was surprised on this particular day that something so simple calmed my precious child, and he once again became rational....forgetting whatever he was so upset about. I have used this several times with him when the situation seemed appropriate, and it seems to work. This morning, as I was hurrying to get out of the house and run errands, and get everything checked off of my list, Wesley was just beside himself! Nothing was right, everything was "not working", he was refusing to listen and obey, was not sharing...etc, etc. Needless to say, we were having a rough morning! I will admit that after too many time outs to count and one spanking my nerves were frazzled, and I was becoming impatient......not how I like to be with my babies. Wesley was once again sitting in time out, when I asked him to come to the kitchen and have a "talk". In his sweet little boy voice, he looked at me with his big brown eyes, and said "Mommy, I am sorry for being ugly, I am just having a bad day. Can I just start over again?, that will make me be good"! He was truly sorry for being ugly, and really wanted to start over! I just grabbed him in my arms and gave him a big hug, and we talked about being kind to each other, obeying, etc, and we were both very glad to just "start over". The rest of our day has been great, and he has been the complete opposite of this morning!
I know there are a lot of days that I need to do the same thing. I am guilty of being selfish, stubborn, angry, worried...........all of the things my Savior does not want me to be. As I sit here and think about my precious little boy, and trying to parent him, I realize that God is teaching me a big lesson too!! I just love the moments when I know He is speaking to me through my children. I have been worried about things that should not worry me, stubborn and trying to make plans, frustrated that my baby girl is not living this life with us, and many more! I know that my God is in control, and He loves me, and His ways are PERFECT. I know that my sweet Caroline is safe in His arms, the same arms that have held me, and will continue to hold me. I know all of this, but I am human; a sinner; and I think I need to "start over". I am so thankful that my God loves me enough, and cares for me enough to let me "start over". This road I am walking is tough, God never said following Him would be easy, but He has promised to walk it with me. So, today, I am going to join my sweet Wesley in "starting over"....giving God my worries, sadness, frustrations, stubbornness and many more. It is my prayer that if you are in a rough spot, that you can give it to God and let Him be in control. I speak from experience that when we do that........everything works out for the best, and life is so much sweeter!
"Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning,
great is your faithfulness".
Praising God that HIS mercies are new every morning!!!!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
My parents came to visit us this week, so we were able to go on a fun anniversary date last night! Rhett took me out to dinner at a super yummy restaurant last night, Folk's Folly......if you are ever in Memphis....eat there because it is great! He surprised me this morning with a troll bead bracelet, with four beautiful glass beads, and then initial beads for our three children! I love it:)! He also sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers this morning. I truly am blessed with the best husband in the world, and I thank God for him every day! Happy Nine Years to my very best friend, and the best husband ever!!!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
"Save a Place For Me"
Don't be mad if I cry, it just hurts so bad sometimes,
'Cause every day it's sinking in, and I have to say goodbye all over again.
You know, I bet it feels so good to have the weight of this world off your shoulders now,
I'm dreaming of the day when I am finally there with you.
Save a place for me
Save a place for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon
Save a place for me
Save some grace for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon
I have asked the question why
But I guess the answers for another time
So, instead I pray with every tear
And be thankful for the time I had you here
Save a place for me
Save a place for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon
Save a place for me
Save some grace for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon
I wanna live my life just like you did
Make the most of my time just like you did
And I want to make my home up in the sky just like you did
Oh, but until I get there
Until I get there
Save a place for me
Save a place for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon
Save a place for me
Save some grace for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon
Sunday, May 2, 2010
"The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit"
I am so burdened for all of the many women all over the world who are members of this "club". There are millions of women who feel the deep desperate pain I do everyday, who long to hold the baby they never knew, or the one they only knew briefly. This is honestly the hardest thing we have ever walked through. One thing that is a constant struggle for me is that some people have forgotten about my precious baby girl, or don't even know she existed. It is very hard when people ask me how many children I have, to say two, and even harder to say three, but one lives in Heaven. While I am still joyful and I do have peace about Caroline, her brief life, and her amazing eternity in Heaven.....I am still grieving my baby girl. So many family and friends see me on the outside, and think "she is doing great and really seems to be over this".......while on the inside my heart breaks and hurts for my loss....... the loss of my very much wanted and loved daughter. I am made aware everyday of other women just like me, whose hearts are breaking for their precious babies, and my heart aches for them. I know the desperate feeling of giving birth to a baby you know will not live, and leaving the hospital empty handed, the agonizing decisions that come with planning your infant's funeral/burial, the desperate felling of visiting her grave, the sad empty feeling of longing to hold her once more, and the wish that things were different. But, I also know the love of my Heavenly Father, that He cares for all of us in this club, the unexplainable peace He has given me over the last 6 months, and the joy in knowing I will see and hold my amazing little Caroline again one day. It is my prayer today, that all of the mommy's who are "celebrating" their little ones who are no longer here on this earth, will have the same amazing peace from God that I have, and the assurance that they will see and hold their baby's again one day!
So, since this is a day of "celebration", I will tell you how we participated. Right after Caroline's birth and death, we were asked to share our testimony about her in our church spring musical. The title was "Help Is On The Way". Since the beginning of our journey, Rhett and I have wanted our experience to some how benefit others. I will be honest, I thought this was a little "soon", but since that is what we had prayed for, we were very excited to share about our journey. As the weeks passed and the date got closer, I realized that talking without crying was just not going to be possible for me. Thankfully, my amazing husband, was able to stand before our church, hold my hand, and share some of the details about our little girl. We did this tonight, on the International Babylost Mother's Day.....I had no idea until today, that May 2 is dedicated to this. I was overjoyed that on this day, Sunday, May 2, Rhett I stood before our church family and he shared about our daughter. What a way to celebrate my new "Mother's Day". We were able to tell of our journey and how from the beginning God has provided for us, guided us, shown His love and mercy to us and has truly been our "help on the way". I am so thankful to know that my God has had this planned from the beginning; that on an internationally day dedicated to mother's who have lost babies, we were able to share about ours. God has held us close and provided so much for us over the last months, and it is because of our faith in Him, that we are able to continue on this difficult, yet amazing journey!
"And my God will meet all your needs, according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus".
"Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight".
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wesley, Davis and I have been PLAYING so much! We have been having amazing weather, and we have taken full advantage of it. We have been to several parks with different friends for play-dates, taken a few zoo trips, and played outside almost every day, for many hours! One "new" fun thing we have done this spring is visit the Botanic Gardens. They have an awesome part of the gardens dedicated to children. There are many super fun things to play with, and we have really enjoyed going there with our friends!
We started our Easter weekend with a trip to a local farm. We rode pony's, and the trackless train, visited with the Easter bunny, fed the animals in the petting zoo, and took a hay ride for an Easter Egg hunt. The following pictures are from our fun day at the "farm"! I have more Easter pictures....still on my camera ( I know that is bad), so I will do a separate post later.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Today I am thankful for:
-My precious family--I think I have the most amazing husband in the world, and the most precious children (I am sure I am a little biased :)!!)
-I am so thankful for my freedom to worship my Saviour, and the joy I get from serving Him
-I am thankful for the sweet little reminders of our baby girl
-I am so thankful for the promise that I will see Caroline again, and get to hold her precious little body, and kiss her sweet head.
-I am thankful that I do not have to walk this road alone-God is right there with me, carrying me many times, and for the awesome family and friends I have!
-I am thankful for the sweet friends who talk about Caroline, and let me talk about her----she will always be my baby girl!! Thank you for letting me be a proud mommy!
-I am thankful that I have a future, and God has a great and mighty plan for us.
-I am thankful for the sweet laughter that fills our home, for the beautiful smiles I get everyday, the "I love you mommy" that I constantly hear, the many "hold-me" requests, the noise from trucks and toys, loud-happy squeals, the many games of Candy Land played, tons of dirty muddy laundry, reading the same book 20 times, sleeping in the rocking chair, morning snuggle time, beautiful little faces, awesome memories, and the JOY of motherhood!!!
What are you thankful for?
"Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever!!"
Thursday, March 18, 2010
This has become very common at our house....Davis climbing on the table to finish off any food that might be left up there.......such a funny baby!!!
I found this precious baby in the cabinet (it has safety locks??), and he was saying "nack".....translated to snack!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
So, when this song was sung Sunday night at church, I had mixed emotions. I really wanted to stand there in the sanctuary and sing the words like I always have, but I COULD NOT! I had not thought about how it would feel to hear one of the songs from her memorial....and let me just tell you it was tough. The sweet words of this hymn are so very true and dear to my heart, but it brought back SO many emotions! This past weekend was hard for me, because it marked one month since Caroline was buried. I just sort of had a hard time all weekend. Thankfully, I had a couple of sweet friends that sent me really sweet messages on Friday and Saturday. It is a blessing to still have prayers for comfort and peace being prayed on our behalf! Those friends were once again a simple reminder of how God has blessed us, and is providing for me! When they started playing this song in our dimly lit sanctuary, I could not stop my tears. My sweet husband put his arms around me and just held me....he truly knows how tough it is, and he truly feels my pain. I thank God for giving me such an amazing husband!! The selfish human part of me wanted to RUN out of there and find somewhere to just cry and be sad. But, God quickly reminded me that:
"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives".
Every day is hard. There will never be a day that I do not think about our precious baby Caroline. I miss her, and I ALWAYS will. But, I have a hope, a peace, a future, ....because my Saviour lives, and He has taken away all my fears! My life is so full and blessed, and absolutely worth living, because HE LIVES! I thank God for the simple ways He is constantly reminding me that in the midst of our sorrow and sadness; He loves me, and has a plan for our family!
I am amazed at how many people are reading our blog!!! In less than 72 hours, we have had almost 300 people log onto this site. I am overjoyed by the many comments/emails/notes we have received about how Caroloine's life is blessing others. I pray for any one reading this that is struggling with anything right now. I hope that you can find the strength and courage to face tomorrow, because God does live, He does care about you, and He has a great and mighty plan for your life!
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit". Psalm 34:18
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and His weakness is stronger than man's strength".
1 Corinthians 1:25
It is very true that every day does get better, but every day is still hard. There is not a day that I do not think about her, and desperately miss her. There have been some "awkward" moments for me. In the grocery or Wal-Mart, workers that have seen me for the last 8 months (I think my pregnancy's with Davis and Caroline sort of run together for some people......seems like I was pregnant for a really long time!!), have asked me where the baby is, or how old, etc., and that is tough! I could be on the verge of tears, and to then have to explain that we did have Caroline, but there were complications, and she is now in Heaven is REALLY hard. I never want to ignore the facts about my sweet little girl, but I also do not want to upset some sweet person, that is just being kind, and asking about my baby. It is just a very fine line. When I am faced with a situation like that, I usually end up comforting the other person, and then they feel even worse! This aspect of the grief process has been tough, but I am constantly reminded that my God is right there, and He is carrying me through the unexpected tough times.
"Look to the Lord your God for strength, seek His face always".
1 Chronicles 16:11
Our sweet Wesley is handling everything so well. He has a great "three year old" understanding of Heaven. He talks a lot about his baby sister. He tells me often that he sees her, and that she is "happy now". He has said many times that Caroline is so happy in Heaven with Jesus. He believes that Jesus has lots of toys, God has lots of chips and coke, and now Caroline is not "missing a piece", and she loves Heaven. He also believes that she has pancakes every morning for breakfast (his dream), and that she plays trains and swings all day with the angels! What an amazing image of happiness and joy for him. He knows that our sweet baby girl could not be healed on this earth, but that our Jesus is holding her perfectly healed body, and that she is rejoicing, playing, running, singing, and experiencing immeasurable happiness now. I do not know if she eats pancakes every day??, I hope she does, but the point is that our precious little boy has a fabulous understanding of the joy and happiness that Heaven is. I believe that God is using Wesley and his precious ideas of Heaven, to help me through the "tough" moments. It is no secret that sometimes my emotions can get the best of me, and I just can't stop my tears....usually when I am overly tired, or just feeling sorry for myself! It is in these moments that I hear..."Mommy, I see Caroline, she is dancing and singing", or "Caroline is eating pancakes with Jesus, and she is so happy now". How could my heart not be uplifted and a sadness turned into joy by these simple reminders of how happy and whole my precious baby is now, that she is in Heaven? I know that she is so very happy now, and is enjoying everything good, and for that I am joyful. The human part of me still wishes that things would have been different for her, but because of God's love for her and me, I can rejoice in her beautiful gain!
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal". 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
The last four weeks have been hard, and joyful. It seems as though just yesterday I was pregnant with Caroline, while at the same time, it seems like a longer time has passed. I know that everything will continue to get better for us, as the grieving process continues. I am so thankful that there are many more good days than bad, and for the gentle reminders that God is still in control, He is still on His throne, and He loves us more than we could ever imagine! I know that God has an amazing plan for us, that will continue to unfold over the weeks and months to come. I am very grateful that I have my faith and relationship with God, and that He is the one carrying my family and me, and giving us peace and hope!
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power with all of the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know his love surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God". Ephesians 3:16-19
"Even to your old age, and gray hairs,
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you,
I will sustain you and I will rescue you!" Isaiah 46:4
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
We spent the day after she was born preparing for her memorial service. Rhett and I met with the funeral home early on Friday morning. We were so blessed to have such understanding and caring people to work with. They truly made a very sad time for us, as bearable as possible. I had no idea what to expect, but they had everything we needed, and the process was not as hard as it could have been. Looking back, I think I was in a sort of daze, and just going through the motions. My precious husband was amazing, and so supportive. He was/is my stronghold, and answered questions when I could not. He completed sentences for me, held my hand, and wiped many of my tears......he truly took care of me.
We chose a beautiful white casket for Caroline, and we also had several things placed in it with her. She and I have matching pearl bracelets. Her bracelet was so very tiny, but it was so beautiful. This is another one of the little details that were so amazingly "worked out". I ordered our bracelets just a few days before Caroline was born, and they were supposed to take 2-3 weeks to make. But, praise the Lord, they arrived just 3 days after I placed the order, on the day she was born and died! Each bracelet has a silver disc, with Caroline engraved on the front, and the words "forever loved" on the back. Her sweet bracelet has a tiny cross on it, and mine has a charm with precious little baby feet. I am so thankful I have a matching bracelet, and I will forever treasure it. We also included a picture of our family, Rhett, me, and our sweet little boys. I chose to put my old Bible in with her. This is the Bible I had in high school/college, and for the first part of our marriage. Rhett bought me a new one a few years ago, because my old one was literally falling apart. I absolutely love that Bible, and still read it quite often. I always enjoyed reading the notes I had in the side-bars, highlighted verses, and dates written that I read a certain verse that really spoke to me. I wanted to give all of that to my sweet little girl, because it meant so much to me. She was also buried with a soft a cuddly rabbit, that had Psalm 139:13-16 ....printed on the belly. These were just a few of the special things we wanted to do for. Knowing that she has a few things from us, things that are special and close to my heart, provide me with some comfort.
On Friday, just 24 hours after her birth, we also had the very difficult task of choosing her final, "earthly", resting place. In the previous months, Rhett and I had visited a particular memorial garden, but we had not made a decision. At the time of her birth, we were still undecided on whether we would choose cremation or burial for her. I remember talking to our pastor while I was in labor at the hospital, about what we were planning. I expressed to him that we were still so unsure about what we wanted for her, and what would be best for our family. At that point, I just wanted some one to tell me what to do.....so that would be one less decision for me to make. I am sure he saw the desperate look in my eyes at 1 AM that morning, and he sweetly took my hand, and spoke very wisely to me. He said he understood how terribly hard this decision would be for us, and that there is no wrong choice. He told us how the memorial for her would be, with either choice. He then kindly gave us the best advice when he said, "Amanda, you will know exactly what to do for her, when you meet her. Mama's always know what is best". Once again, I was overwhelmed with peace and comfort, and felt a huge relief. Oh, how correct he was! Once our sweet little angel was born, we knew with certainty that she would be buried, and not cremated. Over the weeks leading up to her birth, this decision was really weighing heavy with me, and it was so wonderful to finally have a peace about her final resting place. Let me say here that we in no way think there is anything wrong with cremation (we heavily considered it for Caroline), but when the time came, burial was right for us. I just could not gain the peace I needed over cremation. The only reason I have for this is just that it was not the right decision for Rhett and me, and thankfully we do have that much needed peace over having buried our sweet baby.
We are so pleased with the memorial garden where Caroline is buried. It is very peaceful and quiet there. There are many trees, you can hear the birds chirping, and it is just a beautiful place. The weather for her memorial was fantastic. It was chilly, but the sun was shining and the sky was crystal blue. I kept thinking what a beautiful day it was, and I know the beauty Caroline sees every day in Heaven is a million times more beautiful. She is buried right beside a pond, and there was still snow on the bank of the pond during her service. I could go on for days about her service and how beautiful it was. There were a lot of absolutely gorgeous flowers, that meant so much to us. I know my sweet little girl would have loved fresh flowers as much as her mommy!
Before her service began, Rhett and I took Wesley to the memorial park early. We wanted to have some time alone with him, and try and explain to him what was happening. He did amazingly, and in his own sweet 3 year old way, has a wonderful picture of Heaven. We opened her service with a sweet friend of ours singing "It is well with my soul". Cheryl did an amazing job, and it meant so much to us for her to be able to sing. I truly do not know how she did it, but I am so thankful she did. That hymn is one of my favorites, and although my heart hurts every day over our sweet Caroline, and the journey we have had with her, it is truly well with my soul; because I know that God holds us all in His hands, and His plans are perfect for us. Even when we don't understand why or how, He does, and that is all that matters. Our preacher did an amazing job! His words were very encouraging and comforting. The promises from our Heavenly Father, given to us through Job's many trials in his life, are so true and uplifting. He was correct in saying that in the beginning of our journey we had to put our minds around her diagnosis, and then through it, and now we have to put our minds beyond it. Her service was concluded with our music minister singing "Because He Lives". Another of my all time favorite hymns. The only way I can face tomorrow without my sweet baby girl, is because I have a Savior that lives, and loves me, and has a PERFECT plan for my life. Because He lives, we can all face tomorrow!!!
At the end of her service, we spent some time talking with our family. It was very hard to feel so much pain and grief, and also to see how several of our family and close friends were grieving our baby girl. Caroline's life was very brief, but every day, I see/hear about more and more ways that she had a positive effect on some one. I am thankful God chose me to be her mommy, and I am even more grateful for the many ways she is making me a better person. After every one left, Rhett and I spent some time alone at her grave, and then we headed home. As we left, I had many emotions. I could not believe I was walking away from my sweet baby girl, but I was also thankful for the closure we were beginning to experience, and for the "new normal" that would develop over the weeks/months to come.
After the service, we had some fellowship time with our family at our house. We enjoyed a great lunch provided by my sweet friend Carrie. Having our family here to support us and celebrate Caroline's life was wonderful. We are so thankful for every one that cared for us and her, and for those who travelled a long way to be with us. Rhett and I decided in the beginning that we just wanted to be alone with our boys after our journey with Caroline was over. Thankfully, our family respected our wishes, and after lunch, every one headed home. We were truly exhausted, but all we wanted was to love on each other and our precious baby boys. I just knew that my sweet boys needed as much normalcy as I could provide, and honestly Rhett and I needed room to breathe. The weeks and months leading up to Caroline's birth and death were filled with so much uncertainty. We were worn out from labor/delivery, and all of the many decisions we made in such a short amount of time, and we welcomed the quietness in our home that afternoon. We knew the emotional rollercoaster was in no way over, but we were ready to embrace the healing and closure that we so desperately needed.
Thank you very much to all of our family and friends for loving us and our precious daughter. It has always been our prayer that she would be a blessing to others, and we are so thankful we were chosen to help full fill her purpose. It is comforting to hear how her story has been a blessing to some one. We are doing really good, and every day gets better. There will never be a day that I do not miss my baby girl, but I know we will see her again. Heaven has always sounded so wonderful and amazing to me, but now it is even sweeter, because I know I will hold and kiss my lovely baby girl again. I hope Heaven is your desire, and Rhett and I are praying for all of the lost souls in this world. I pray that every one can experience the joy in knowing eternal salvation and happiness, that can only come from Jesus Christ! To God be the glory, great things he has done!!!
Monday, February 15, 2010
February, 11, 2010
3 pounds, 10 ounces, 16 1/2 inches long
Born at 7:57 AM, welcomed into Heaven at 8:57 AM
I have decided to go ahead and write Caroline's birth story. It will never get any easier to write all of the details down, and I want to be able to remember them, and I know so many people that have been praying for us, want to know exactly what happened. I decided to share this on our blog, because there are so many ways that God made himself evident over the course of her birth, death, and burial, that I want others to see how He always works for the good of those who love Him. From the beginning of our journey with our beautiful precious baby girl, it has been our hope to give God all of the glory in everything with her, and that is what we hope to do.
Last Wednesday, 2/10, we had an appointment with our perinatologist, who has been monitoring Caroline and her condition since 16 weeks. The previous week we had seen my OBGYN, and she was gaining concern over the fact that Caroline's sweet head was measuring full term, 40 weeks, at just 32 1/2 weeks. This was a huge change in her condition, since her head had always measured very small. We talked at length with my fantastic doctor, and she felt that we would deliver no later than 35 weeks, but that we needed to see the specialist. We went to our appt. with our two sweet boys in tow, and were of course looking forward to seeing our sweet girl on the ultrasound. During the ultrasound there were a few other problems that were discovered, and it was confirmed that her head was very large. Our doctor agreed that we needed to have her ASAP.....in no more than a week. Rhett and I were fully expecting this, and while it was very hard, we were glad to have somewhat of an idea as to when she would be born. At this point we were pretty confident we would have a C-section, b/c an induction at 33-34 weeks becomes an ethical issue, and the size of her head was a concern for them. Let me just stop here, and add that one of the things Rhett and I both struggled with over the course of our pregnancy was that at some point it could become difficult to make medical decisions for me and our Caroline. We knew there was a chance that when she was born that medical intervention could benefit her (intubation, certain procedures, IV's, feeding tubes, etc.). We knew that none of these procedures would change her condition, or make her better, but that they could become options in certain situations. As a mother (and nurse), it was very hard for me to say..."NO", we do not want any type of interventions for her......knowing they would not change her prognosis, only keep her alive. It was our prayer over and over that there would be no "gray" areas; that we would have an absolute peace over every situation. I can only sing God's praises over this huge prayer request of ours that was quickly becoming a burden for me, because He took care of all of those "gray" areas for us, and every decision we had to make was truly surrounded with God's peace. There was no better feeling than knowing and feeling the presence of God throughout everything!!
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". Philippians 4:7
We left our appointment with hope and peace. We knew from everything seen on the ultrasound, that our sweet Caroline would not be with us long, and the doctor was not very confident that she would survive birth. Another prayer of mine throughout our pregnancy was that we would just be able to hold her alive, and be with her when Jesus called her home. It was hard for me to know that the chances of that happening were very slim, but I still clung to the fact that God was in control, and I had to give all of my worries and concerns to Him. I prayed right there that some how we would hold our living baby girl, and that we could sing to her and love on her for as long as God allowed. I had no idea if this request would be answered, but once again I just felt an overwhelming peace that God was taking care of all of the details.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and DO NOT be afraid". John 14:27
Rhett and I thought we would take the boys to the Children's Museum after my appointment, since we knew we would be having Caroline soon, and we did not know how things would be after her birth. We got the boys loaded in the car, and as soon as we left the parking lot, I had a contraction!! About 8 mins. later I had another one, and so on and so on. I just thought they were Braxton Hicks. I had been having them on and off for the last several weeks, but they always went away after a few hours, or rest. We thought about heading to the museum still, but time was an issue, since Rhett had to get back to work, and we were getting hungry, so we changed our plans and headed for lunch (thank goodness) at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants (Wesley LOVES to have chip/dip lunch dates with his sweet Daddy). All through lunch my contractions continued, but I just thought I was tired and stressed about all of the stuff I still wanted to to before Caroline was born. I just kept telling Rhett there was no way this was "It".....I mean how perfect would that be!! After lunch we went home, and Rhett went to work. I was not feeling all that great, but was determined to get our laundry done, finish sweeping/mopping, etc.....just in case. Of course this turned out to be one of the days my sweet boys were far from interested from napping! I think I finally rocked them both to sleep around 2, and they napped together in the recliner.......so precious! By this time my contractions were between 5-8 minutes apart, and getting somewhat stronger, but I still did not think they were anything to be concerned about. As the afternoon went on, I did get my laundry done, between many "contraction breaks". My sweet friend Julie came by to check on us, and it was great to have her company. By about 5 pm, my contractions were 5 minutes or less apart, and I called Rhett to come home......b/c I was getting pretty uncomfortable. Thankfully we serve an AWESOME God, who has had everything planned out from the beginning of our journey, and things could not have been more perfect. My sweet parents were driving home from Indiana from babysitting my nephews for almost 2 weeks. Their plan was to stop by and "get some sugar", and then continue home......I know they were exhausted. I had talked to them several times that afternoon, but chose not to tell them about my contractions, b/c I knew they would be WORRIED. When they walked through our door at 5:45, they could tell something was wrong. I told them I was having contractions, but it was probably nothing, but they might want to consider spending the night with us....just in case. Rhett thought much differently than I did, and said y'all definitely need to stay, b/c I am pretty sure she is in labor. I was still not convinced, because it just seemed too perfect that I would go into labor the day of my doctor appt., when we found out that we need to have her ASAP......but looking back God was in control and had every little detail worked out. Things could not have been any more perfect, from contractions starting pretty much when we left the doctors office, to my parents driving through that night, to getting my laundry done :)! Rhett finally convinced me to call the doctor on call, and get his opinion. I was sad that my regular doctor was not on call, but the doctor we had was great! He told me to take some Tylenol, drink lots of water, take a hot bath, and if things did not improve, to call him back in an hour. I did what he said, although I was hoping something would help, I was pretty sure it would not. So in that hour, I packed a bag, there were so many things to remember, since this was not a typical birth. I just thought I had more time, so I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. I was in no way prepared to leave my boys, and I was feeling anxious about that.....I had never been away from Davis in 16 months, and only two times with Wesley. I knew they were in fantastic hands with my parents, and we would not have wanted them anywhere else, but it was still tough to leave them. Needless to say, my contractions did not improve, and were now about 3 minutes apart. I called the doctor back, and he said to head to the hospital. I remember feeling excited that this could be it.....but still shocked that it was NOW, and not at all how we thought it was going to happen. God's plan is always so perfect, even when we don't realize it!
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future". Jeremiah 29:11
This verse in Jeremiah was the verse that came to my mind immediately when we found out about Caroline's diagnosis at 16 weeks, and it has been such an inspiration for me throughout our pregnancy with her. God's plan was/is perfect for us and our sweet Caroline, and it was just amazing to see Him fulfilling His plan.
When we got to the hospital, there were women in labor everywhere! I guess it was the night for babies! As Rhett and I sat in the waiting room waiting to be called back, there were several people who wanted to ask us questions, they had no idea what we were facing, and assumed we were there to have a healthy baby. It was hard to not ignore these "overly interested" people, but God put words in my mouth, and just handled a "tough" situation. Thankfully, we were called back pretty quickly. By the time we got the hospital, checked in, it was about 10 PM. The nurses confirmed that I was most definitely in labor, and that we should plan to stay the night. Rhett and I had not discussed much about the fact that we would prob. be having a c-section that night, we just thought that since I was in "labor" we would go with it. Once the doctor came in, we realized that his recommendation was to go ahead with the c-section, at around 11 that night. The main reason was that at 33 1/2 weeks, labor is typically stopped, not allowed to progress. He was very kind, but shared that he would not be able to give me pitocin to speed labor/contractions along (since I have had a previous section), or break my water......mostly because this would become an ethical issue......since I was not full term. All along the doctors treating us had hoped that I would just go into labor.....to avoid any ethical issues.....just not at 33 1/2 weeks. Since I was in labor, and we knew the recommendation of the specialist was to deliver within the next week, he was definitely recommending a section.....and this would not "create" any ethical issues. The doctor treating us was great, and he was in constant contact with my OBGYN. I can not express the overwhelming stress and heaviness I felt when we were faced with the decision to have the section late that night, or wait and see what happens...fully knowing that labor could stop and we would be sent home. Tears began to fall, and I literally could not catch my breath. I looked at Rhett, and I could tell he did not know what to do either. All I wanted to do was call every one I knew and get their opinion......at like 11:30 at night. But, deep down, I knew what we were supposed to do. I can say for sure, God was speaking to me. I felt as though I could not breath, and I knew He was telling me that He had a plan, and for us to just let go, and let Him be in control. I looked at Rhett again, and said...."No c-section", and he said "I agree". Thankfully, the doctor was very kind, and understanding, and he said he would respect our wishes. He originally said he would not be able to break my water or anything, but once he did an exam....he changed his mind. He realized that I really was in labor and had a good chance of having her soon, so he broke my water, and we were well on our way. I have to add here that our amazing preacher was at the hospital with us until about 1 AM.....he is such a Godly man, and Rhett and I are so thankful he was there to pray with us, and just minister to us. He truly has been wonderful throughout our entire journey. The night progressed with absolutely no sleep or rest....and no food. Ice chips are good, but you can only have a few.....so I was quickly becoming mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. My contractions were so strong and about every 90 seconds......much worse than when I was induced with Davis. I wanted to make it as far as I could without an epidural, not to be a hero (as some people suggested), but to just let my body work naturally. At about 3:30 AM, I realized how tired and exhausted I would be if I continued, and my body needed to rest. So, much to Rhett's happiness, I got my epidural around 4, and was quickly able to rest, no sleep, but rest and lots of prayer.....just what I needed. My night nurse was so kind, and she sat on my bed for a while and we just talked, and she said she had been praying for us and Caroline, and would continue to. I now realize what an impact our precious little girl had on her, because she had never experienced anything like our situation before, and she shared with me how grateful she was to be a part of our experience. At about 5, I was about 8 cm, and they predicted we would have a baby in a "few" hours. I just could not believe that this was really it, and that we would soon be meeting our precious little angel baby. Rhett and I were so excited to meet her, but so scared and worried for our sweet baby. We just prayed that she would be peaceful and experience absolutely no suffering or pain. I just remember praying for her and thanking God for her. I knew that she was not "perfect" in the world's eyes, but that she was beyond perfect in God's eyes, and she just like my precious boys, would be perfect to us.
" For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be".
This verse was also so special to me throughout my pregnancy with Caroline. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Caroline was no mistake, that God carefully formed her exactly the way He wanted her to be, and that although I do not, and will never understand why he chose this life for her, HE..God ordained it, and she just like all babies are gifts from heaven, no matter how perfect they may or may not be in the world's eyes. I knew my sweet little girl was going to be absolutely beautiful, and the fact that God created her so carefully and with so much love, gave me such a peace in a very hard time.
I remember starting to feel just really weird about 6. I thought I was just getting anxious, but when my legs started tingling and my heart started racing....I got a little scared. I finally called my nurse about 6:45, and they quickly realized that it was time! Rhett and I were ready to meet our daughter. God was at work behind the scenes the whole time. I started pushing around 7, and my regular OBGYN got to the hospital about 7:20. Praise God I was stubborn and did not call them to come and check me at 6......because our wish of our regular doctor delivering Caroline would have never come true. While we were happy with the doctor we had, we were so relieved to see our sweet regular doctor. She has been amazing throughout our entire experience, and it meant so much for her to cancel half of her morning clinic to just be with us. I think I pushed for less than an hour, and Caroline was born. It was surreal, and so different than anything I could have imagined. Normally, you hear lots of commotion and crying when babies are born. My room was quiet, and we heard our doctor say..."Hello sweet angel, we are so happy to meet you precious Caroline". I knew I would probably not hear her cry or make any noise, and we did not. Looking back it hurts my heart to know that I never heard my precious baby's voice, but I am so thankful for the peaceful atmosphere surrounding her birth. Caroline was quickly placed on my chest, and Rhett and I just marveled at our beautiful daughter. She was so tiny, with the longest fingers and toes. Other than her amazingly beautiful cleft lip, her little body was perfect. I remember just cradling her in my arms, and trying to sing "Jesus Love Me" (I sang this to her everyday she was in my belly), but I could not get it out. Rhett and I were able to surround her with our love and kisses, as her short life on this earth quickly faded. I will never forget the look on my wonderful husbands face as he held our baby girl. He was/is one proud Daddy, and we both are better for having met Caroline. My doctor grabbed our camera, and started snapping pictures for us........that is a gift that I will always treasure. She was able to capture those first few moments we had with Caroline, and we can always look back and remember the special time we had with her. The hour Caroline lived passed quickly, and I was holding her when she went to meet Jesus. I don't know how I knew the moment it happened, but I did, and she was so peaceful. It will forever be etched in my heart and mind, the moment she saw her Savior, her Creator. I looked at Rhett and we just kissed her and loved her, and thanked God for her. Giving birth to my baby girl was amazing, and it is a day I will never forget. Letting her go to be with Jesus was the hardest thing I will ever do, and my heart longs to hold her and kiss her just one more time. But, I know that she is resting in the arms of Jesus, dancing with the angels, she is whole and complete, she is healthy and happy......things that she could have never done with her earthly body.
The rest of the day was filled with family coming to see her. Rhett and I chose to just have our boys there, with my parents, and also his parents. It was hard enough to share her with them, and we just felt it was better for us to limit our visitors. Wesley was/is so in love with his baby sister. I had no idea how he would handle everything, but he did amazingly. He wanted to hold her, and just kissed her and rubbed her tiny face. He truly loves his sister. He knew that she was going to go live in Heaven with Jesus, and he said several times...."Caroline is happy now, mama?". My precious friend Carrie was there for part of her birth, and she was able to meet Caroline as well. Carrie was with me when I found out about Caroline's diagnosis (Rhett was out of town), and I am so glad my best friend was able to meet and hold my precious daughter. Our preacher also came by that morning, right after Caroline passed away. We were so thankful to have him there to pray over her.
The rest of the day we had our sweet baby girl with us, as we waited for the photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. This a service that will always be dear to my heart. Having professional photographs that captured our sorrow and joy, will forever be very special to us. In the time waiting on the photographer, we did several things with our precious baby. We made a Christmas ornament with her hand/foot prints. We also had her footprints stamped in my Bible. We gaver her her first bath, and dressed her in the beautiful white smocked dress we had brought for her. We were able to put her precious little smocked bonnet on her head as well. Rhett's grandmother knitted Caroline a gorgeous white blanket, and we chose to swaddle her in that, with her rabbit. She was absolutely beautiful all wrapped up, and we just laid on the bed and stared at her, trying to take every little detail in. As the afternoon came to a close, we were facing the most difficult task of the day. We had our precious time with our angel, but it was time to say our final goodbyes, and hand her over to the funeral home. I do not think Rhett and I were fully prepared for this.......honestly it was something I had not really thought about. Although we knew Caroline was not there with us, it was still very hard to hand her over to a stranger, knowing that was the last time we would see her on this earth. I can tell you that at the moment that sweet lady walked out of my room with my baby, I felt completely empty. She had just taken a precious piece of us with her, and we were devastated. That is a feeling that you can never imagine; it is truly gut-wrenching. Here is where I was once again reminded of what an amazing husband I have. He held me in his arms and cried with me, and prayed for us as a couple and family. This is a moment that neither of us will ever forget, and that will forever be engrained in our memory.
Thankfully, I was doing well enough, just eight hours after delivery to leave the hospital. My doctor left the decision up to me, but she was comfortable with it, and we decided to leave. I knew how many things we had to get done on Friday, to prepare for Caroline's memorial and burial, on Saturday (that will have to be another post). It was bittersweet to leave the hospital. My whole pregnancy I could not imagine how it would feel to leave empty handed...without our baby. Thankfully we had a peace and calmness that only came from God. As difficult as the whole day was, it was joyful as well. In one day we said hello to our beautiful precious baby daughter, and we also said goodbye to her. We had closure to a journey that has changed us forever.....for the better. Her life on earth was very brief, but it mattered. I am so thankful to have witnessed first hand how God used the 20 hours of labor/delivery/life/death of our baby girl to affect those she came in contact with. I will never understand why God had this plan for us and our Caroline, but I will forever be grateful for what He and she taught me during our journey. To God Be the Glory!!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows". James 1:17