Friday, November 23, 2012

Our Emily Faith (Molly) Bear

**NOTE: I wrote this post back in April, but for some reason never published it. So here it is...Long overdue**


April 18th started like most other days: Getting the girls dressed and ready for the day. But this Wednesday did not go exactly as planned. I ended up having a friend over for the morning because she needed some encouragement and the two of us had not talked in at least a few weeks so we needed to catch up any way. It was a really good time of fellowship (and eating strawberries and chocolate), while two of our kids played together.

I spend the rest of the morning getting lunch on the table and getting the girls down for naps. This also happened to be the second afternoon I had gotten both girls down to nap at about the same time. I had just sat down on the couch when I saw the mail lady coming toward our front door. I tried to jump up and make it to the door before she rung the door bell (really did not want the girls to get woken up, I needed a few minutes of R&R). I did not make it in time, but the girls did not wake up.

When I opened the door sitting there was a box. I was not expecting a package that day and it was pretty heavy, but I was still not sure what it was. I brought it inside and opened it. What was inside took my breath away and made me start to cry all at the same time. 

Inside the box was our very special, personalized Emily Faith Bear, created by Molly Bears.


I was not prepared for the emotion that I would feel when I saw this bear for the first time. She was perfect.

Molly Bears is an organization that makes teddy bears for families that have lost a baby. They make the bear to be the weight of the child that has died. And each bear is made specifically for the family. There is no one size fits all bear. The people who make these bears really care about each and every family who has lost a child(ren). When someone requests a bear they can also request things be added to the bear to make it extra special. 

When we left the hospital after Emily died, the NICU staff gave us a bear to give to Maddie. The bear was white and had a red bow. I felt like our Emily Faith bear should be similar, so I asked Molly Bears if they could make our bear white and give her a red bow and make sure there was a lady bug some where on her. I think they did a wonderful job. 

Here is the beat from the hospital and the bear from Molly Bears
Keep in mind that the person who created our Emily Faith bear never saw a picture of the other bear. Our bear does not weigh what Emily weighted at birth since she was so tiny. Instead our bear weights what Maddie weighted when she was born (almost 5lbs). The reason for this was I wanted the weight to be significant to our family and I ordered this bear long before we even knew we were pregnant with Samantha.

Molly Bears is an amazing organization

UPDATE:
"Baby Emily Bear" as we call our bear from Molly Bears is well loved. Some days she is in my room on my bed. Other days she is in the girls room. But I think most of the time she spends in the living room in the play area. Maddie loves to carry her around and play with her. From day one, I decided that the girls should be allowed to play with and lover on Baby Emily Bear. The bear is a physical reminder of Emily and I want the girls to always feel like they can hug and play with her.



Monday, November 19, 2012

I Knew This Day Would Come

Our oldest, Maddie, is almost 4. It amazes me everyday how much she is growing up and changing. Over the last few months she has talked about Emily almost every day. At random times throughout the day she will say something like "I miss Emily." or "I wish I could go to heaven and see Emily." or "I wish Emily could come back to our home."

That is the one thing about an almost 4 year old, she seems to need the same thing explained over and over again. There are times when I just want to say "Your sister is dead and she is never coming back." But I know that is not what she needs me to say. So instead I explain to her that Emily is in heaven with Jesus. Then the questions come...mostly WHY??? It seems like lately just the simple answer that we used to give her is not enough. She is asking more questions.

Tonight was different. The questions and statements were the same, but I knew that she needed more. After we had talked for a bit about Emily at dinner I told her I had pictures of Emily. I asked her if she would like to see the pictures I have of Emily? She said yes and then went back to eating dinner. That was all that was said.
After I put Samantha to bed tonight I was talking to Maddie and asked her if she would like to see that pictures of Emily. She said yes, so I pulled out the book I had made of all the pictures I have of Emily. It was amazing to see her connect with the pictures. It was like for the first time Emily was a REAL baby.

We talked about all the equipment that was on Emily and how the doctors used it to help Emily breathe because her lungs were not able to breathe on her own.

We talked about how tiny her hands and feet were.

We talked about the picture of mommy and daddy getting to hold Emily before she went to heaven to be with Jesus.

It was a really special time. I cried a little. It has been a long time since I have looked at Emily's photo album. I wanted to get the little box of all the things that we have of Emily's and show them to her, but I had just put Samantha down to sleep and could not go back in, but I plan to show her them very soon.

I am sad that I even have to have this experience with my children, but I am so thankful that I can share it with them. Emily will always be a part of our family and even though Maddie and Samantha will have no memory of her, they can remember her.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Ticker...& Other Random Musings

When Emily first died I would read other women's blogs and see the little ticker on the side of the page that said how many years, months, weeks and days since their baby had died. I would sometimes think, wow it has been a long time since they lost their baby...Tonight I was looking at my blog and happened to glance at the ticker I created for Emily. It says 1 year, 3 months, 1 week and 1 day since we said goodbye. I am in "that" place now; it has been a year and and 2 months since I started blogging. This blog has been a wonderful outlet and even an aid in my healing.

In the first few months after we lost Emily I felt like I just had to write. There were days I would write several posts. Writing helped me process and handle the intense emotions that I endured. The writing was always for me. I pray that what I have shared and will share in the future will be a comfort to others, like so many blogs were/are to me.

I often wondered, as I read other baby loss mom's blogs, why they did not blog as often after a year, two years. I know understand, at least for me...Sometimes life gets in the way, another child joins the family, there is just not as much to say, as time goes by the pain in not as intense and so the need to process the pain decreases.

I wish I had the time and even the desire to write more often, but for me this is a place to come when I need to process or just share how I am feeling. I think I have decided that I will never be one of the "great bloggers" who does it for a living. This is a blog dedicated to Emily Faith and how our family is coping with not having her with our family everyday.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Her Eyes

Last Tuesday I was watching 19 Kids and Counting. It was their season finale. The episode where they find out that the baby Michelle Duggar was pregnant with died at 18 weeks. It was a very hard episode to watch, but I was so touched by what Michelle Duggar said. She really shared her heart.

She shared a letter that she wrote to her unborn daughter. The one part that stuck out to me was about her daughter's eyes. Since her eyes were not open yet, she never saw anything on this earth. The first thing she saw was the face of the Lord. When I heard her say that I thought, that is so neat that for so many of our babies, the first face they saw was that of their Heavenly Father. 

Emily never got to see my face or that of her daddy or sister, but she gets to see that face of her Creator everyday. As much as I wish I could have seen her eyes and have had her look at me, even for a moment, I love the thought that she saw His face first. 

I am not going to share the link here, but if you are interested you can visit the Duggar site and there is a recording that Michelle Duggar made of herself reading the letter she wrote to her unborn daughter. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When It Is Least Expected

It has been almost 2 months since I last wrote. Life with a newborn and a preschooler is challenging and oh so rewarding. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. But then other days I feel like "Super Woman" and actually accomplish a few things. The last two months have been a roller coaster of emotions.

Tonight I was putting Maddie to bed and she asked me if I would lay with her for a few minutes. Tonight Samantha was already in bed, so I had the time to spend with Maddie. The dishes and picking up the rest of the house could wait. Having these moments with my oldest daughter is something to be treasured.

So I climbed into bed with her and she cuddled up to me. It was then that I was struck with an overwhelming sadness. I instantly remember my first night home after Emily died. I had not seen Maddie for more than a few minutes for almost a week; so when I put her to bed I laid down with her and just cuddled her and rubbed her head. We both fell asleep this way and I work up about an hour later.

I miss Emily so much. It is in the normal life moments that I am reminded of how much. I go through so many days not really stopping to think about Emily, but then it hits me like a ton of bricks. I will be holding Samantha, and looking into her sweet face and she smiles at me and I am sad that I never got to see Emily's first smile, I never even got to see her eyes.

I am so thankful that I have been blessed with the chance to mother Maddie and Samantha. And I am thankful for the 23 weeks 3 days and 10 hours that I got to have Emily Faith in my life.




Sunday, February 5, 2012

Samantha Ann is Here

It is hard to believe that our little peanut is almost a week old. I have tried several times to get on here and update that she had been born, but it seemed like every time I sat down my attention was needed else where.

Samantha Ann
January 30, 2012 at 8:37am
7lbs 2 oz
20 inches long

Only minutes old

Sleeping baby

Sisters

This was the most uncomplicated pregnancy, labor and delivery. The only hiccup in the whole process is that my husband was sick. For a few weeks I had been telling people that I was pretty sure that the baby would be born either January 30 or January 31, not sure why, I just had an intuition.

On Sunday, January 29 I had a lot of things planned to get done, including a clothing exchange to get clothes for both girls. I made it through the clothing exchange, but I had a lot of contractions during the exchange. But I was convinced that they were false labor and just went on with my night. I finally went to bed about 11pm hoping to get some sleep and thinking the contractions would probably go away. Well they did not go away, and at 2am I decided I would take a bath and start timing my contractions. They started at 7 - 8 minutes apart, but quickly went to 4 - 5 minutes apart. By 3pm I decided we should go to labor and delivery just to be on the safe side. The worst would be that they would just send me home. So I woke up my husband and told him we needed to go. (Did I mention that he had been sent home from work on Sunday with a fever? Plus he had a cough, not a good way to have my birthing coach. Despite how he was feeling, he never let it show and was such a great support to me).

Once my mom got to the house to watch our other daughter we headed to the hospital. By 4am I was admitted to the hospital and was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. My doctor came by at 7am and checked me and I had progressed to 6cm and completely effaced. About 8am he came back and broke my water, not long after I started pushing and after only 6 pushes Samantha Ann was born at 8:37am.
They placed her on my chest as soon as she was born. It was such a wonderful experience. I got to hold her and just marvel that our baby girl was here and healthy. They hospital recently changed their policy and the baby now stays in the room for everything. It was awesome to be able to see or hear her all the time. The only time she left my room the whole time I was in the hospital was the first night for a few minutes to do her hearing test and check her weight. I am so in love with this little girl.

Just a little over 24 hours after she was born we were both released to go home. Life with two little girls at home is so wonderful. Our oldest took to her sister immediately, it was instant love. Maddie wants to hold and hug and kiss her sister all the time. She is also such a big helper. If it is something that the baby needs she is more than willing to go get it.

Over the course of the pregnancy we went through a lot of names. We always agreed on the names, but we just could not narrow it down to one or even two. The morning we went to the hospital we still had 5 names on our list. As with our other two girls our first choice was not what we ended up going with. In the end we decided on Samantha Ann. One of the primary reason why we decided on Samantha Ann was the meaning. Her name means God heard and He has favored me. I think the meaning fits this little life that we were blessed with after such a tragedy a year ago.

I miss Emily Faith like crazy, and wish she was still here with us, but I am so thankful for our Samantha Ann, our little rainbow after the rain.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Year Ago

Dear Emily,
It has been a long time since I wrote you a letter. But tonight a letter seems the most appropriate way to express how I feel. I am just 16 days away from my due date with your baby sister. That's right you are going to be a big sister. I have wondered since I got pregnant with you sister if I would deliver her on your birthday. I have prayed that it would be your day and that you and your sister would not have to share the date. At this point it does not look like she is coming tomorrow, but a lot can change fast.
I have been functioning really well the last few months. I miss you so much, but life has gone on and soon we will have a new little one in our family. Welcoming your baby sister does not mean that we will love you any less or think of you any less, but life is going to change for us again. Oh how I wish you were here with us celebrating your first birthday. But if you were here with us, then I would not be pregnant with your baby sister. I know that God had a plan for your short life and I also know He has a plan for your baby sister, who will be joining or family soon.

I have been thinking about you a lot today and how much you changed my life and our family's life in your short 23 weeks 3 days and 10 hours of life. I am so thankful to be your mommy. I can't wait until I get to see you again in Heaven.

I love you forever and always,
Mommy

Tomorrow is Emily Faith's 1st birthday. Life has been so busy and crazy lately and I have been so focused on my current pregnancy and getting us all moved in before little Neptune is born that I have not spent much time thinking about how we would commemorate Emily's birthday and death. I was even at the point where I was not sure I wanted to do anything. But tonight it has hit me hard. It was a year ago that I was in the hospital and we were making a final decision about her name. A year ago was a rough night for me, I had contractions all night and the next morning it became obvious that I would be delivering that day, January 26th.

Up until a few days ago I had really thought that I would have a brand new baby at home by now. I never thought that I would make it this far in a pregnancy. I am so excited that I have, but at the same time I really wish I was holding this baby, and that there was not the chance that this little one could be born tomorrow. I had it all planned out, but I know God has other plans, and while His plans don't always fit with mine...His are perfect. I know this little girl will come at the perfect time for her.

I have decided that we will keep tomorrow simple. Maddie and I are going to make cupcakes with pink frosting and then when my husband gets home from work tomorrow night we will release three pink balloons for Emily. The rest of the day I plan to keep as normal a schedule as I can. I think it is what is best for our whole family.

I am not sure what to expect from tomorrow, but I know that it is probably going to be a bit of a difficult day.
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