Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chapter 4

It was a girl. A beautiful, quiet baby girl. I just wanted to take her. I wanted to hold her. I saw the resident doctor struggle to hold on to her limp body. I just wanted her. They finally brought her to me. Martin held her first. I just keep saying sweet baby over and over again. She was so sweet! She was so perfect. She was just beautiful. There was NOTHING wrong with her!! Why couldn’t I just keep her and hold her forever. The doctor handed me a washcloth so that I could clean her face if I wanted. I tried. But couldn’t. I wanted to memorize every inch of her face. Every minute detail. I would stare and then I would have to look away. It was too much. Every time I took a breath it would seem as if she was breathing. I just wanted her to open her eyes. I wanted her to cry!! I wanted to take her home with me and say, “Nope, this really didn’t happen. It’s been a cruel joke, and she’s coming home with me.” Then reality would hit, I would look down at the sweet face, again, and marvel at her perfectness. Martin and I would switch off holding her. It was so hard!! I wanted to hold her forever, and at the same time. I couldn’t hold her anymore. It was too painful. When it got to that point, I offered her to Jessica. She very tenderly held my child. As she started to rock her, and say sweet soft things to her, I started to let myself recognize the sweet spirit that had filled the room. The doctors and nurse had already left the room to give us “as much time as we needed”. I watched Jessica rock her back and forth. I heard Jessica telling me what my heart knew, but what my head couldn’t get yet. That she was there. And she was.

Miracle #9 was that my good friend Denise Pearce had recently sung at an infant funeral. There she heard about “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” a non-profit organization that finds professional photographers to volunteer and take pictures of infants that died. If this hadn’t have been recommended, I am not sure what I would have done. The photographer that was contacted said that he would come at any time of night. That he would be there no matter what. At 2 am, a sweet man quietly entered the room. He very quietly spoke to Martin and had him fill out the needed paperwork. He calmly set up his camera, and took Rebecca Phoebe to the warming station to take some pictures. He then brought her to us where we couldn’t help but hide our emotions. There was something deep in my heart that knew that these pictures, although very painful to take, were a gift from heaven. He very respectively moved the baby to various places in our arms and on the bed to get some amazing shots. Phoebe was wrapped up in a silky white and purple blanket that I had bought months before. That blanket now is on our bed. It is the only tangible thing that we have that our daughter touched. It is the only thing we have to snuggle. I hold it every night and pray that I could fall asleep a little bit quicker this time. It is our consolation prize.

As he finished, my spirit just wanted to jump out of my grieving body and hug the man that gave such a priceless gift to us. How can you repay someone for that? I will never forget his kindness. I have prayed many times that his family and business will be blessed for the work that he did for me.

As Martin took her back, I had an impression that she was fading. That it was time to let her go. What a horrific experience. This was a step that I was not willing to take. How can you say goodbye to your baby? How? Knowing that she was forever going to be in those pictures was the ONLY thing that even allowed me to let her be taken her out of my sight. I just wanted to breathe her in forever.

Miracle #8 was the impression that she needed to go, and that Jessica confirmed that she had the same feeling. Martin cradled her one last time as Jessica took some pictures. She was then wheeled over to me. I spoke to her. I told her not to leave me, and that I expected her to stay with me and help me. But more importantly that I loved her, and that I would miss her terribly. As they wheeled her away, terrible sobs overtook all of us. I honestly don’t remember much after that. I remember being wheeled into a room in the farthest corner of the floor. The floor that was above the floor where all of the new mommies were with their double beds and sweet infants to hold. I got to look at a box that holds the hat and blanket that once held my baby. I got to have my husband sleep a few feet from me. I got to sleep by myself.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chapter 3

At home I was pretty angry. The contractions were really coming and I hated them. They no longer meant that I would see my baby soon. All they were to me now was unnecessary and cruel torture. As Martin brought our ready-to-go suitcase down, I angrily unzipped it and began to take out the new nursing jammies, the pacifier, and everything else that I knew I wouldn’t need. My baby was dead. I was carrying a dead baby. The thought just keep stabbing at my clouded haze of grief and surprise. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me! Martin and I just kept sobbing and holding each other. Eventually, I squared my shoulders and said, let’s get this done. I don’t want to deal with this anymore. As I was walking out to the car with Martin still gathering things inside, a neighbor up the street pulled over and said, “So when are you going to have that baby?!” . Of course she didn’t know. I told her that we had lost the baby and that we were on the way to the hospital. She immediately threw the car into park, jumped out and hugged me. We said our goodbyes and away to the hospital we went.

I was angry as we parked in the same place we had for two previous births. I was angry as I walked past all the people staring at me outside the hospital. I was angry that I still had to sign in at the front desk, and grateful at the same time that all I had to say was my name and no questions were asked. There was a lot of unspoken sympathy on their faces.

We were led to a room. It was the same room that we were in when we had Hyrum. At first, I didn’t want that. Then, sweet memories of the birth came, and I realized, it was okay to have a birth and death in the same room. It was almost comforting to know that we were blessed in this room. Life is so close to death sometimes, and it is by the grace of God and His plan that keeps us in mortality.

Matt was already waiting in the room for us. He just happened to have been in Denver and was able to be dropped off. Miracle #3. He hugged us and I went and got dressed. Shortly after, Matt gave Martin and I blessings. It was set up that Linda would pick up Valerie from the airport and she would go to our house. I was so relieved to know that Valerie was going to be there.

They gave me an epidural right away. I was hoping they would start the pitocin as well. It wasn’t until 1 ½ hours later did they start it because Martin asked. I went through cycles of emotion over and over again. From intense sadness to pain to anger to acceptance and a whole range of emotions in between.

To add to all of this, I was having a really hard time with the epidural. I kept feeling really “weird” is all I could say to describe it. I was in a weird haze, I felt dizzy laying down, nauseous and had a headache. I really didn’t feel well!

I guess it got bad enough that Martin thought he was going to lose me too. They had to give me blood pressure medicine a few times because my pressure kept dropping really low. Martin said there were alarms going off silently all the time. The hard thing was, there was no belly strap on my tummy for the baby. I had gotten so accustomed to that thump, thump, thump, as much as watching for the intensity of the contractions. I tried not to dwell on it though. I had to do this no matter what. I had to make decisions about funeral arrangements, what we were going to name the baby, and then it hit me. What about the kids?!? How do we tell them? How will they handle it, especially sweet Tyler who has a hard time letting go of anything, including a screen door? All of a sudden my whole thinking shifted for a while, from me and Martin to our kids.

Do we let them see/hold her? How do we tell them? We were having such a hard time; I don’t think we could have been strong in front of them. And then it came to the funeral arrangements. What do we do? This is where I would get angry a lot. I didn’t want to choose a casket. I didn’t want to think about where to bury her. I didn’t want to have this big production and luncheon and make this a big sordid affair. I wanted to have my baby and I wanted to rebel. Fortunately, Heavenly Father was watching out for me.

Miracle #4 happened when he chose my doctor and my nurse. My doctor was the sweetest man. He took a lot of time with us, telling us things that he had researched for us, talked about the various options we had in determining how she died. He pulled up a chair and just listened. We asked him his opinion about what we should do about letting the kids see Phoebe. I don’t remember his suggestions, but I do remember feeling good about not letting them see her. I didn’t want to have that stress at the hospital, when that could be the last time I saw her. I couldn’t deal with their grief too. So another step had been taken. I started to realize that one step was enough for me. I couldn’t think too far down the road or I would start to freak out. I couldn’t even think about delivering, and what that would be like.

I was starting to get really frustrated that the labor wasn’t going faster. I just wanted to have this done! Looking back on it now though, I realize that Heavenly Father was giving me time to cope and adjust and make decisions before my little girl made her entrance. I just kept saying to myself, one step at a time. Throughout all of this, I had an extremely attentive nurse. She was very sweet and soft spoken. She tenderly took care of me. I didn’t know this, but occasionally as she was tending, she would quietly go to the corner and weep. With her shoulders shaking, she too was touched by this experience. I don’t know why that meant so much to me when I heard that, but it touched my heart.

Miracle #5 was when Matt and Valerie showed up at the hospital. Kristie and Linda were back at the house tending the kids which allowed me to see my sister and Martin, his brother. Valerie was a welcome relief. We laughed, we chatted, and we cried a bunch! It was so nice to have her there. It was a distraction that I definitely needed. As the hours wore on, Matt needed to be getting back to Kristie so they could go home. Valerie desperately wanted to stay and almost did, when Matt gently reminded her, that her help was more needed at home. As much as we all wanted her to stay, she knew she needed to go. I didn’t know that my labor was still going to last quite a bit longer.

At first, I didn’t want anyone in the room for the delivery and I had told Matt and Valerie as such. As the delivery progressed, I started to feel a lot of pressure. With each contraction I felt as if I had to squeeze to keep the baby in! Next door, I heard a woman who was obviously very close to delivery. I really tried hard to block out the screams, because I knew that she would probably be able to hold her sweet baby soon, and her anguish would be over. For me, I was just trying to hold my dead baby in long enough for the doctor to arrive, only to deliver the biggest heartbreak I think I would ever have to experience. I really tried to block out those screams.

I finally told the nurse that I was really afraid that I was going to deliver this baby without anyone there to help. It’s one thing when it will be a happy reunion, but I could not be alone. Not now. I would need someone to attend to my every need, and the needs of my child. I could not do this alone. She offered to check me. I was complete and the baby’s head was right there. She very quietly and quickly turned off the pitocin the slow down the contractions and then she went right out to check on the progress of the doctor. I heard him from the hallway asking if I could just hold on for a little bit longer. Sure no problem. I was hoping my torture could last a little bit longer. My nurse, Nell, pulled up a chair, right next to Martin, and sat with us. Not talking. She didn’t have to. Her presence there was so reassuring. I knew I was in safe hands. The contractions had slowed down, which led into Miracle #6.

We got a call from Jessica shortly before (?) midnight. She said she had landed and that she was getting a rental car and will be here soon. I thought she wasn’t getting in until 1 am. I couldn’t believe she was going to be here so soon. I didn’t hold my breath that she would make it for the birth, but I knew she was coming. That’s all that I needed. Little did I know that Jessica would walk in MOMENTS before the birth. I had just put my legs up to start pushing. There was a knock on the door. Nell went to the door, said, “You’re the sister.” She let Jessica and in and Jessica came right to my side. There was no time for a hello hug. As I pushed the second time, I knew that this was it. I was going to see my baby. I immediately started to cry and sob as the sweet baby came out of me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chapter 2

On Saturday April 19th, I had lots of contractions! I even thought that it could have possibly been it! After a bath, and they were still coming, Martin finally put his foot down and had me pack my bags. Feeling that I was getting closer I finally complied and really was starting to get excited that we were getting closer to seeing our new little one. After I packed I was completely exhausted. It being the early morning now, I laid down to get some rest, knowing that if this was the real deal, the contractions would wake me up and we would go in. They somewhat subsided, and the next day, I continued to have them, but they weren’t as strong.

This brings us to Wednesday April 23rd. I was folding laundry that evening and was having some really nice contractions. Martin seemed to have been a lot more interested in timing them, ever since I passed the magic week. Before that, I think he was too worried to really want to find out.

He plopped down on the couch next to me, and told me to tell him whenever I was having another one. I can’t remember the timing of them, but I knew something was different, and they felt stronger. As we were getting up to put the laundry away, I asked Martin if he wanted to kiss the very active belly. He gave a sweet kiss and then we put the laundry away. I think by now it was about 11 pm. We climbed in bed and tried to go to sleep. I know that Martin was awake for quite a while and would periodically ask from a sleepy state how I was doing. After lying in bed for at least an hour, I decided to take a bath. The contractions continued and I really hoped that this was it.

I got out of the bath and realized that the guest bed needed new sheets and that I should probably get the bed ready for Linda just in case. I figured activity may even help the progression of the labor. As I finished I had two choices. One, I go to bed and see if they wake me up. Or two, we should start the ball rolling. I really wasn’t in the mood for the middle of the night trip to the hospital, AND I felt okay about trying to get a few hours rest. I pretty much knew that I wasn’t going to have the baby instantly and that the labor will probably be a long one anyway. I also had a Dr’s appt the following morning and knew that I could get checked.

From this point on, miracles started to make themselves known. A week before this, my visiting teacher and good friend Jennifer Butler had called to see if I needed anything. I asked her if she could help with this Dr’s appointment with the kids, knowing that Martin would have been helping me with the two other appts we had had for our kids the last two weeks. She said that wouldn’t be a problem. Miracle #1. Ammon and Tyler were at school, Aaron was at preschool, and Jennifer told me to drop Hyrum and Emily off early so that I could have a little time to myself. She also reemphasized that she had no problem hanging on to them if anything should happen at the Dr’s. I really wanted a pedicure before the baby came and contemplated getting one before the appt. I figured I didn’t have enough time before, but maybe after the appt. I figured I should probably get something to eat. I went to McDonald’s got a cheese-less sausage egg McMuffin, and some orange juice and settled in to a very nice quiet mini-van. I put on a morning talk show, and thought about calling Martin. I dismissed the thought for now, and decided to call him when I was done brushing my hair and putting on my make-up. Martin, must have sensed my thoughts and called a moment later. He asked what I was doing and told him. I invited him to come along since I was “kidless”. He agreed so I picked him up. We weren’t planning on having him come. Miracle #2.

As we got to the Dr’s office, on about three hours of sleep for me, and by now, the contractions had gone a little wimpier, I was ready to see if my cervix had changed. I told Dr. Braun as she came into the room, that I had been having some major contractions and that if my cervix hadn’t changed that I would quit. She laughed and said that wasn’t really an option. I felt, that if I hadn’t changed, we were definitely going to have to discuss inducing options because I didn’t see me doing this on my own.

As I laid down on the table to measure and find the heartbeat, I asked her how I was measuring. She said that I was about 34 weeks but that was normal at this stage in the pregnancy. I was 38 weeks. The Sunday before, my belly was HUGE!! And now Martin and I both felt it had gotten a lot smaller.

Next to the heartbeat. She went to the normal place and couldn’t find it. She searched and searched for a while. She told me that I was the third person today that this happened to and that maybe it was the device not working very well. After an uncomfortable while on my back, she decided to go get the ultrasound machine. At this point, Martin got very worried, and I was trying to calm him. I figured that the baby was just hiding and that all was well. I had just felt the baby last night as late as 1 am. As she came in with the machine, we saw that the baby was head down. I saw the familiar shape of the spine and looked right where the heart should be beating. I looked really hard and knew that I was not seeing any movement. She tried several times to try and capture it a different way. Before she said anything I pointed at the screen and said that’s the heart right? She said yes, and I am not seeing any movement. I was still in denial, and at the same time knowing that what she was saying was the truth. My baby had no heartbeat. She decided to pull in another Dr. to make sure that she wasn’t missing anything. I immediately asked for a blessing. I told my Father in Heaven that I had enough faith for my daughter to be raised again. I knew that Martin had enough faith and that through the priesthood, we could have her again. In my blessing, I don’t remember anything, other that I wasn’t told she was going to live. I was told that this would be an experience for me that I can use to bless the lives of many other women. And that I would be blessed. After Martin was finished with my blessing, he placed his hands on my still stomach and prayed silently. I knew for what he prayed. I added my wordless prayer to his and yet I knew in my heart that our baby was to stay with her Father.

Shortly after Martin finished, our last hope came through the door. Maybe something was just being over-looked. As we looked at the still image again, we knew that our baby was gone. Grief over took us as we realized the gravity of what happened. In a quiet hour, in the still of the night, our precious baby, had left this frail existence. Flashbacks came as I relived this intense moment of intense surprise and grief with my miscarriage. And yet this time, through a miracle, I wasn’t alone. I had my eternal husband by my side. Knowing that we would now have to go through the delivery process, and engorgement, and bleeding, and hormones all without the baby we got ready to go get our things.

After I got dressed a nurse pulled us into another room and talked to us. I was already playing the “what if” and “If only I had” game and was wishing I had come in only 8 hours earlier, that maybe we could still have her. The first thing she said, was, “This wasn’t your fault”. I burst to even more tears, and Martin held strongly to my hand. She went through the cycle of grief and that it was okay to feel all of those range of emotions. She said it was important to not hold in the tears and to let the emotions play out. Martin instantly broke down and started sobbing. My sweet husband was trying so hard to be strong. I cradled him and he cradled me. The nurse explained what would happen and that the hospital was already notified and would be waiting for our arrival.

After trying to compose ourselves, we walked out of that clinic no longer looking forward to this big belly, still contacting. We walked out of the clinic in a thick fog of grief. I couldn’t get a hold of any of my siblings. I knew that they needed to be here. I drove Martin back to work to get his car and we drove home separately. I was sobbing and praying that I could drive safely enough to get home.

I was almost home when I finally got a hold of Valerie on the cell phone. I tearfully told her that we had lost the baby; she said okay, I will be right there. I am at Costco, I will get Jon home and I will be on the first flight. I knew she would come.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chapter 1

Because so many of you do not know what happened, I have decided to post excerpts from a journal that I have started to write about all of this. These are tender things from my heart. I hope you will be able to find some solace from these words. Some of the things are not the happiest of thoughts so please forgive me. Thanks again for all of the prayers.

As Martin and I thought about our family, we knew that we wanted a 6th child. We also wouldn’t have minded a little break between Hyrum and the next one. One night as I was complaining of some pretty major mood swings, Martin mentioned that I might be pregnant. I was waking up a little bit nauseas, but would explain it away. I was also pretty tired, but I had a lot going on in my life. The following morning I decided to take my last pee stick and show him that he was wrong. Martin was in the shower not knowing what I was doing. I dipped it, waited a few moments before looking at it, and behold, there were two definite lines!! In the past, I am usually pretty in tune with my body and know that I am pregnant even before the tests will show positive. So usually, five tests later, I finally prove that I am pregnant. This time however, Martin had called it and he was right. I immediately start laughing. Martin, not knowing why, asked. Subsiding the giggles, I told him that he was right. Martin and I were both strangely okay with this unexpected news. I had heard of a lot of women that cry when they find out they were pregnant again, especially after having so many. I strangely felt very calm, but also in a bit of a shock.

We held of telling the kids for a little bit. We decided to tell them pretty early on however, because I can get pretty hormonal a.k.a. grumpy, even when I really didn’t want to be. I thought it would only be fair to the kids so they knew that mom still loved them, and that I needed their love in return. We prefaced the conversation over dinner. We asked each kid if they wanted another sibling. They all said yes. We asked if they wanted a girl or a boy. It was a resounding, GIRL!

Throughout the pregnancy I remember some very poignant memories that I usually don’t have. As I was at the doctor’s for the initial visit, the nurse who had cared for me with Hyrum’s pregnancy was actually happy to see me! I had had so many unpleasant experiences before with Dr’s and nurses telling me when I should have or stop having kids that I was expecting the same backlash. I told her that it was a surprise pregnancy but we were happy to have it. She was taking my blood pressure and looked me in the eye and said, “Sometimes the surprises are the biggest blessings.” I was touched by her remark and filed it away in my mind.

Hope, my NP, was equally excited to hear we were pregnant again. She said if anyone could do it, Martin and I could. As the time went on I kept getting comment after comment from medical people and others that I was meant to be pregnant, meaning I look great, or I was handling all the kids and being pregnant so well. I felt good to hear those comments and at the same time was a little frustrated that I was once again going to be pregnant and nursing for another 19 months! I was still nursing Hyrum when I got pregnant and had to wean him because I could not sustain both being pregnant and nursing. I was running and exercising about 2-4 times a week and was excited to not be nursing to drop that weight as well. So when this pregnancy came, I was okay with it, just maybe a little disappointed for selfish reasons. Throughout the pregnancy, I was never upset that I was pregnant, just maybe weary with the whole experience. I am usually the person to say “I love being pregnant.” I still could, but I was just tired.

As life was crowding in, I was still primary president, Martin was going full swing with his real estate, and maintaining a job, my extended family was having issues, I had five sweet active children and I was pregnant with my 6th. I was weary! I got a few priesthood blessings, and again, poignant things stuck with me. I couldn’t really forget the blessing that blessed me with the patience of Job, and the many people would come to my aid that I would have not expected. Hmmm…to be tried as Job. Not something I really wanted to experience.

When we got our ultrasound, I had already decided that we didn’t want to find out what the sex of the baby was for the first time. I never thought I would have been strong enough, but this time I was. Martin went along with it, because that was what I wanted. When we got the results back, we were told that the baby had a slight abnormality with the baby’s kidney, but it wasn’t that big of a deal, and that the baby would get another ultrasound when the baby was born. I was still worried, because I am a mother, and needed another blessing. I was blessed to know that the kidney would not be an issue.

Well, as I had expected, contractions started early again. They got really bad, this time around 27 weeks. Fortunately, they did not change my cervix so I was somewhat in the clear. Contractions become something that I just dealt with. About five or so times I was borderline going in to the hospital because they were regular and somewhat painful contractions. I never did and tried to stay really in tune with my body and with the spirit, as another blessing had admonished me to do. Because I was concerned with how many I was having and still having the duties of being wife and mother, I asked for another blessing. I was blessed that I would carry to term and that all will be well with the baby, if I continued to take care of myself. Because of that caution, I tried my hardest to stay in tune and to take care of myself. During this pregnancy, I developed hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. It was very difficult a lot of the times to not feel shaky and that I was eating the right kind of foods. Food was definitely hard for me this pregnancy. I really didn’t have much of an appetite, but would force myself to eat because I knew I needed to.

With the knowledge that we would carry to term, I continued in my resolve to not do a “walk of shame”, that I would go in the hospital when I knew it was time. Whether it was to stop labor if it was too early, or to go in to have the baby. As I got closer and finally past the “scary” point where they would let me go into labor, I really got my house ready! I had already painted Emily’s room a yellow and a hopeful pink that would soon to be a little girl’s room. I painted and redecorated the boy’s bathroom, and was now onto cleaning! The nice thing was, I felt great! There was a point that I felt like I was doing great. I got a lot of work done in small and large bits of time, where eventually I felt I had a handle on my house, but it wasn’t overwhelming to try and stay on top of it.

Martin kept bugging me to pack my bags, and I kept bugging him to set up our new bassinet. He told me he didn’t feel right about setting it up until we had the baby. I agreed because the kids probably would have found it as a new jungle gym anyway. Because we didn’t know what we were having, we had a hard time getting everything put out. I felt totally strangely calm that it was okay that the little girl clothes were in the far corners of the basement, on the bottom of a bunch of containers. Usually, I have a dresser all ready, diapers set-up, everything ready to go. Not this time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The first post is the hardest

Where do I begin? Most of you know that our sweet angel came to us on April 25, 2008 at 12:48 am. She was 7 lbs. 6oz and 21 in long. She was perfect in every way. Maybe too perfect. Our Father in Heaven saw fit to take her back to live with Him.

Since that horribly sweet day I continue to go through a variety of emotions. As soon as I feel I am coming to acceptance, it hits me again, as if I didn't really believe it.

One of the things that I witness DAILY are the miracles that I see. Along with all of the heartache and grief, I am reminded every day that I am being carried through this. Heavenly Father seems to know that needs that I don't know to ask for. From a friend stopping by on a REALLY bad day and offers to take all my kids, to another friend who watched our kids so that Martin and I could go on a much needed date.

Rebecca Phoebe continues to touch lives across the country. People that I have never met either send emails through friends/relatives and even gifts. I know that thousands of prayers have been said in our behalf because I feel them. Everyday. Thank you.

The kids have been able to adjust fairly well considering. They have a few breakdowns every once in a while but for the most part understand that they will be able to see Phoebe again. Both Grandmas gave something to the kids that mean a lot to them. Grammie Michel gave a Build-A-Bear Angel that they can snuggle when they miss Phoebe and Grandma Jordan crocheted a blanket to wrap the bear and the kids up in. Both continue to serve as a comfort for them.

Every day is a challenge for me. I am still trying to re-adjust to what life is now. For nine months I prepared for 6 kids and the challenges and joys that it would present. At the same time, my arms ached to finally hold my newborn in my arms. I guess I should be patient then, to prepare myself for what life is now. It amazes me how difficult this is. Fortunately, I have an inspired Relief Society President (who just called me to check in on me me as I was typing that, no joke!) who has been helping me so much. I get so frustrated every day that I am not able to function like I used to. I used to be able to handle so much. Now I am reduced to realizing I can hardly handle anything. I hope that someday I will be able to stand on my own two feet again.

I've had to swallow my pride quite a bit, and accept help that has been so willingly been given. I cannot express the intense gratitude I feel for all of those that have helped me this far. My burdens have been made light because of how much has been shouldered for me through my friends and family.

I go to sleep thinking about my sweet baby and I wake up thinking about her. I don't know how long this hole will be in my heart, but I do know that there is one who understands my grief. My Father in Heaven also lost a son in a very cruel manner. He too was powerless to change the outcome. Had Christ not suffered all, all of us would be lost. He could not have broken the bands of death so that I could see my precious daughter again. I know He grieves with me and understands the depths of my soul. How grateful I am that he holds my hand like I held my child's. I am not in this alone.

Thanks to you all for your love and support. We are overwhelmed by the immense outpouring of caring and thoughtful people who continue to watch over us.

We love you.