Thursday, February 25, 2016

To My Daughter Abby - Love Daddy

To My Daughter Abby
It seems surreal to think back six weeks ago when we were excitedly expecting to meet you at the hospital. I have been thinking about the highlights of expecting you. I remember when we first made it public that we were having another baby and how January seemed like a long way off. I remember hearing your heartbeat for the first time. It seems like yesterday when I was looking up at the monitor watching you wiggle and I was told you were a girl and I was going to have a daughter. I was so excited and Mommy and I  began suggesting names for you. Mommy wanted to name you Abby and I compromised with Abigail. The stories of King David are my favorite in the Bible and Abigail was the name of a kind and wise woman who stopped David from a terrible mistake. She later married David. I thought the name was perfect for you.
Friends gave us so many clothes and outfits that we didn't need to do much shopping for you. I enjoyed going to the outlets in Hagerstown with Mommy and picking out some clothes for you. We wanted to pick the outfit that you would wear when we brought you home from the hospital. As the time got closer to your due date we got your nursery ready and installed the car seat in the van.
The labor started early Wednesday morning on the 13th of January. Again I was so excited when Mommy woke me up and we got ready to go. I had no idea how your birth was going to unfold. I was so worried about you and Mommy while I waited. I saw them rush you out of the operating room with a crowd of people around you. I was nervous when I was finally able to see you. I hate to admit it but I was afraid to grow attached to you in case I was to lose you. It was silly looking back on it. I was already very attached to you.
To my Daughter Two
My first thought when I looked at you was how beautiful and perfect you looked. It wasn't long before you were being flown to York and as much as I didn't want to leave your Mommy I couldn't wait to follow you and be with you. We had so much hope that you would be OK and would enjoy a life with us. I have no words to explain how I felt when we learned that you would not be with us long.
To my Daughter
I am thankful for being able to hold you and tell you how much I loved you and how beautiful you were. I told you I would never forget you. The silence of some people I cross paths with hurts me at times. Just because you are gone doesn't mean I don't think about you every day. Why would pretending like you didn't exist make me feel better? Someone told me they were sorry they brought you up. I told them you were my daughter and like anyone else I enjoyed talking and sharing about my daughter.
Abby Daddy
I look forward to seeing you again in the next life after this one. I don't think I will ever understand  why you were not able to stay here with us. As heartbreaking as the experience was I don't ever wish you didn't happen. Family, friends, doctors, nurses, and other were so kind and helpful I feel overwhelmed trying to say thank you. Everyone who met you loved you Abby. We have a few of your things that are very precious to us. I love you Abby and I will never forget you.
To My Daughter Abby Three
Love, Daddy

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dear Abby

Dear Abby,
Today is six weeks since you came into our lives. Tomorrow is a month since you left us. Some people ask me how I am or how we are doing. Other people don't say anything at all. I realize it's a difficult subject for most people to bring up. Maybe they think it will make us sad or even cry. Maybe they think that it will remind us that we lost you - when the truth is we will never forget and the silence hurts more than the mention of your name. It's OK though. I truly understand that bringing up the loss of someone's child is uncomfortable for many. Looking back at a time before you I would have been the same way.
I want to write to you even though you aren't here to read it. To just say how much I(and Daddy too) miss you. When I think about how much I miss you then the tears start welling up in my eyes and eventually spill down my cheeks. I love looking at pictures of you but it also makes me cry at the same time. Knowing that when some of them were taken we had so much hope. And when others were taken we were hurting so badly - especially during those last couple days of your life.

I washed all the clothes and blankets that you used. Except your one sleeper - the one you were wearing when you passed away. I was hoping I would still be able to smell you but your scent has already faded away. It will always be an outfit that I treasure forever along with the quilt that Grammy made you, the headband that you wore at the NICU, a photo card that the NICU made for us, your lovie and of course every single picture that we have of you!

I'll always remember how all the Doctors (and nurses) at the NICU were so caring and took great care of you. I've emailed the one Doctor a couple time and he wants us to stay in touch - he said "your family has touched me and you will always be remembered".  It really meant a lot. Another Doctor even called while you were still alive to see how we were doing and ask if I had any questions. Then yesterday we got a letter from him and it was nice to know even a month later we haven't been forgotten!
Your life was so short but you touched many hearts and so many people will never forget you. Most especially your family! We will never forget that dark head of hair, your sweet little face and those adorable little lips! You were a true beauty!  How we still wish we could have held you just a little longer and been able to watch you grow. We are comforted in knowing that you are safe with Jesus and that we will someday join you in heaven. One of our friends little boy's prayed one evening and asked for your Daddy and I to have another baby that's a girl and that she wouldn't be sick. Maybe Jesus will let you pick out a sweet little sister to send to us someday soon (though a little brother would be welcomed too). XOXO

I will always love you my beautiful little Abby Rose! And will forever carry you in my heart! <3
Love, Mommy

Sunday, February 21, 2016

We Will Dance

I already posted this but came back to add a personal note(instead of just song lyrics). This coming June, Mike and I will have been married 6 years! It was a "whirlwind" courtship. Dating, engaged and married all within a year. I always said I just knew it in my heart that he was the man for me. I've said it before and I'll say it again(many times I'm sure) that I'm so thankful to have Mike walk this journey of life with me. Through the ups and downs, good times and bad I'm glad he's the hand I have to hold and cling to. It's only been 6 years, a small amount of time, but I can't imagine life without him as my partner in this journey we call life! I love you Mike!

"We Will Dance" 

I've watched the sunrise in your eyes
And I've seen the tears fall like the rain
You've seen me fight so brave and strong
You've held my hand when I'm afraid

We've watched the seasons come and go
We'll see them come and go again
But in winter's chill, or summer's breeze
One thing will not be changin'

And we will dance
When the sun is shining in the pouring rain
We'll spin and we'll sway
And we will dance
When the gentle breeze becomes a hurricane
The music will play
And I'll take your hand and hold you close to me
And we will dance

Sometimes it's hard to hold you tight
Sometimes we feel so far apart
Sometimes we dance as one
And feel the beating of each others heart

Some days the dance is slow and sweet
Some days we're bouncing off the walls
But no matter how this world may turn
Our love will keep us from fallin'

And we will dance
When the sun is shining in the pouring rain
We'll spin and we'll sway
And we will dance
When the gentle breeze becomes a hurricane
The music will play
And I'll take your hand and hold you close to me
And we will dance

The music will play
And I'll hold you close and I won't let go
Even when our steps grow weak and slow
Still I'll take your hand and hold you close to me
And we will dance

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sweet Little One

O precious, tiny, sweet little one 
You will always be to me
So perfect, pure, and innocent
Just as you were meant to be.

We dreamed of you and of your life 
And all that it would be
We waited and longed for you to come 
And join our family.

We never had the chance to play, 
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now
And listen to you giggle.

I'll always be your mother.
He'll always be your dad.
You will always be our child,
The child that we had.

But now you're gone...but yet you're here.
We sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy.
There's love in every tear.

Just know our love goes deep and strong.
We'll forget you never--
The child we had so briefly,
And yet will have forever.

Author: C.P.

Continuing to share some of the pictures that we had taken while Abby was with us...


Sunday, February 14, 2016

I Love You Written In Red

A different kind of Valentine's Day post... Mike and I don't really do anything for Valentine's day. It's what we refer to as a "Hallmark" holiday and we prefer to save our money for a date night sometime or for a anniversary gift for each other. When agape love was mentioned this morning in church and the below song was sung and I couldn't help but thinking about how much God loves us. 

I like this definition I found to describe agape love - "the highest form of love, especially brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.

Below is a reminder for all of us that no one will ever love or care about you more than God does. He gave the ultimate gift when he sent his Son to die for our sins. 

I Love You Written In Red 

In letters of crimson, God wrote His love On the hillside so long, long ago; For you and for me Jesus died, And love's greatest story was told. I love you, I love you That's what Calvary said; I love you, I love you, I love you, written in red. Down through the ages, God wrote His love With the same hands that suffered and bled; Giving all that he had to give, A message so easily read. I love you, I love you That's what Calvary said; I love you, I love you, I love you, written in red. I love you, I love you... I love you, written in red.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I'm Rocking My "Baby"

I've always liked this saying. Probably because I don't love cleaning. Tonight, like most recent nights, Levi asked to be rocked at bedtime. And you know what, I choose to rock him. He'll be 3 soon and this Mama thought his rocking days were over awhile ago but lately he's been asking to be rocked. I'll admit sometimes at bedtime I'm in a hurry to get him in bed so I can have a little quite time before it's my own bedtime(even more so when I'm alone with him all day). But since losing Abby I've been cherishing this time with him again. Feeling his little body snuggled against mine comforts my heart. I know that soon he won't asked to be rocked any more. Or he'll be too big and I won't be able to rock him anymore. 

Because Abby never came out of her coma I never got to rock her to sleep like you'd normally get to with a child. She was always sleeping. So we held her every minute that we were awake. And when bedtime came I'd careful wrap my arm around her as she lay beside me on the quilt my Mom made her. But I never experienced that special time of cuddling her close and rocking her to sleep. So for now you will find me rocking Levi at night. Cherishing that short amount of time with him at the end of the day knowing that all too soon I'll blink and he'll be grown. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Four Weeks

TODAY is four weeks. Four weeks since I went into labor. Four weeks since we excitedly headed for the hospital to welcome our little girl. Four weeks since I awoke from a c-section to hear the words from a nurse "your baby is very sick" and a tearful husband beside me. Four weeks since heartache stole our joy and our lives were changed forever...

PREGNANCY was normal. Aside from some mild hypertension things were smooth sailing. Sure there was the normal morning sickness which wasn't as bad as what I had with Levi, it just lasted a little longer. We were excited to be having a girl! A couple of times towards the end of pregnancy I went to the hospital to have my blood pressure monitored but it and my lab work was normal every time. Because they were concerned about pre-eclampsia we finally decided to go ahead with an induction on the eve of my due date. Tuesday evening I was feeling crampy and by Wednesday morning (January 13, 2016) at 1:30 in the morning I knew that contractions had indeed started. They were about 3 minutes about for over an hour so we decided to go to the hospital. I was "barely" 3 centimeters which was a little disappointing but I wasn't surprised. I was admitted to the hospital and we decided to do laps for awhile in hopes of speeding things up. After awhile we were dizzy from walking in circles around labor and delivery and headed back to our room. I sat on the birth ball for awhile debating on if I wanted an epidural or not.

I wasn't progressing very quickly and because I had a c-section with Levi I decided to get an epidural just in case I ended up back in the operating room. I wanted to be awake for my baby's birth. So we went ahead and proceeded with a epidural. It was a relief not to feel the contractions anymore and to be able to rest for awhile. Baby and I were both doing fine. Then I started getting nauseous and thought I was going to throw up (and I did several times after I started pushing). They said people often get nauseous during the transition period of labor so the midwife checked and I was 10 cm. Time to start pushing! I never made it this far with Levi's labor so I was exited - my vbac was actually happening. An hour and a half later I was still pushing and I believe at that point there were some concerns about the baby. The Dr came in for me to push one more time to see if using the vacuum was an option, however her head was still up to high. So away we went for a c-section. My epidural had worn off at that point and I was in excruciating pain while they were getting me prepped for the c-section. I'm pretty sure I was moaning something awful and I actually couldn't wait for them to put me under the general anesthesia.

AND then I woke up. Woke up to find out that things didn't go well. That when Abby was born her heart wasn't beating and she wasn't breathing. That she was soon going to be on her way to the NICU at York Hospital for 72 hours on a cooling blanket to see if they could minimize potential brain damage. I didn't get to hold her, I barely got to see her before she was whisked away.

BUT we had hope... Hope because they resuscitated Abby quickly and because the cooling blanket had a lot of success. Most of you know how this story ends. Abby's brain damage was too severe for the cooling blanket to work. After 15 days with us on this earth on January 28th Abby went to be with Jesus.

It's strange how it already feels like it's been forever since I've held my baby girl. Since I've given her kisses. But tomorrow is only two weeks since she passed away.

Do I still cry? Absolutely. Some days I can think of my baby girl and smile. Other days tears just won't stop flowing. There will always be a part of me missing. But there is still joy. Joy that we got to meet our little girl, hold her and kiss her and tell her how much we loved her. Joy that even know we'd rather have her here with us that she is in a far better place -  heaven with Jesus. And that someday we will join her! As the verse in Psalm says...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Art Of Eating A Donut

My sister-in-law was so sweet and dropped some donuts off at our house today. And caught me just getting out of the shower at 10:00 in the morning(oops) - still trying to find some kind of routine here!! Once she left Levi wanted to know where Becky went. I said she was going home that she had just stopped quick to drop off some donuts. His response "I eat a donut!" and he headed for his high chair. Apparently today was one of those "can't touch any sticky food" days... Thanks for the donuts Becky!!

Is this not the most adorable fast??!! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

First Time I Held Abby

When I first got to hold Abby we already knew she wasn't going to be with us very long. It was very bittersweet. These were tear filled days. This particular day all of Mike's brothers and sisters came to meet Abby. For some of them it was both hello and goodbye. 

Most days I find myself doing ok. However today is one of those tear filled days. What I (and Mike) wouldn't give to hold our baby girl again... 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Levi And The Snow

Everything has pretty much been about Abby lately so now we are going to do snow overload with Levi from the other week!! He was quite excited to get outside to play! :-)



God's Gift Of Time (Remembering Abby)

We lovingly honor the memory 
of sweet Abby who was
with us too briefly.

we all need a time to grieve - 
quiet time for reflection
to sift through memories
and come to grips
with what has happened

we all need a time for tears,
not for the one who is now 
at peace in heaven,
but for ourselves as we realize
that things will never be the same

we all need a time to just "be"
when we can open ourselves to God
and let the reassurance
of His everlasting love
start to heal our broken hearts. 

(taken from a sympathy card)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tiny Footprints

These are my footprints, so perfect and so small.
These tiny footprints never touched the ground at all. 
Not one tiny footprint for now I have wings.
These tiny footprints were meant for other things. 
You will hear my tiny footprints in the patter of the rain. 
Gentle drops like angel's tears, of joy and not from pain.
You will see my tiny footprints, in each butterflies lazy dance.
I'll let you know I'm with you, if you'll just give me the chance. 
You will see my tiny footprints in the rustle of the leaves. 
I will whisper names into the wind, and call each one that grieves. 

Most of all, these tiny footprints, are found on Mommy and Daddy's hearts.

Cause even though I'm gone now, we'll never truly part.