19,613,070 Seconds

Our lives have changed so much in the last 4 years.  I’d always wanted to have children of my own.  I’d always wanted to hear little voices calling, “Mommy” from upstairs.  I’d expected my life would be care free, worry free, and pretty easy.  Never did I ever imagine my first baby would die.

4 years have passed since we received the word that our 1st baby had some pretty severe abnormalities inside of her tiny little body.  Our 20 week anatomy scan was supposed to be a very exciting hour of watching our baby move and wiggle on the tv screen.  We watched in awe as the tech showed us her face, fingers, and feet.  When she finished, she told us to hang tight until the doctor could see us.  We walked out of this appointment with sad eyes following us out of the building, and tears flowing down our cheeks.  I looked at my husband as we walked arm in arm and exclaimed, “We’re having a baby girl!”  I was so excited and sobbing hysterically at the same time.

We met with our peri-natologist.  After 2 hours of scanning my belly, and eventually scheduling an amniocentesis, we learned our 1st baby was indeed going to die.  She had a very rare and severe chromosome abnormality called Trisomy 13.  We then were faced with the decision of what to do next.  I’ll be honest…for 30 seconds, the thought of inducing and delivering her early crossed my mind.  Then I woke up from my daze and remembered she was OUR BABY!  There was no way in Hell were we going to remove her from her most safe, sacred space before she was ready to be welcomed earth-side.

Sephora grew happily in my belly for 32 weeks and 3 days, until I developed Severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.  My liver and kidneys were shutting down, my blood platelet count dropped, and my blood pressure was 190/98.

32 Weeks

Sephora Angeline was born on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:25pm via ceserean birth.  She was blue and not responding well to the oxygen they had given her, so my husband brought her over to me to hold.  The nursing staff thought we’d only have seconds with her alive.  She was so small.  3lbs 9oz, 16in.

Sephora Angeline

Knowing she wasn’t going to live very long, I did the one thing I knew would console her.  I sang.  Our little Sephora came to life when she heard my voice.  She passed away peacefully in my arms 4 1/2 hours later.  Although our time with her was short, I loved every single second we spent with her.  All 19,613,070 seconds with her.  She was perfect.

We have grown a lot as a family since writing my last post, both emotionally and literally.  We have another beautiful little girl who will be turning 1 year old very soon, Mr. Miles is 2 1/2, and Sephora would have been 3 1/2.

Family

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Sephora’s 2nd Birthday

Sephora Angeline

Sephora Angeline

Sunday, May 18, 2014

This weekend was one of the most challenging weekends to get through, in my more recent days.  The day Sephora was born was definitely scary.  I was so sick…my husband tells me I was actually dying.  Sephora was being taken from us 8 weeks earlier than we’d planned for.  It was a whirlwind of a day filled with intense stress, fear, excitement, sadness, and anticipation.  After we’d been told they were giving me a c-section, so Sephora had a chance to survive for a few minutes, we just held each other and cried.  Our friends and family that were with us that day left the room, but all did the exact same thing.  They circled the room and prayed for anything that they thought we may have needed for comfort.

Sephora’s birth was extremely overwhelming.  Diana, a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer, joined us in the OR to capture every moment of her life outside of my body.  When Sephora was born, they took her to the warming table to quickly warm her up, dry her off, and administer a little oxygen.  When the oxygen didn’t work, (she was still very blue), my husband carried her over to me and placed her on my chest so I could experience a few seconds with her alive.  After saying hello and kissing her forehead, I did exactly what I did to comfort her every single day while I was pregnant.  I sang to her.

Sephora’s baby brother was born 9 days before her 1st birthday (2013.)  We walked through “Sephora’s Garden” and celebrated with a few friends who decided to come over.  It was small, quiet, and peaceful…just like her.

Sephora’s 1st Birthday

For Sephora’s 2nd birthday, we enjoyed the beautiful day as a family.  We didn’t do too much actually.  I’m not certain why this birthday was so much more emotionally difficult than her first.  May it is because many people have moved on.  Most have forgotten about her, or don’t talk about her as much as before.  Why should I expect anyone to remember?  She isn’t here anymore.  That’s just it though!!  She isn’t physically here.  Those who weren’t in the thick of the experience with us are busy remembering dates for their own children.  …and that’s ok!  I wish more people talked about her.  I wish more people remembered.  I wish her story impacted more lives.  Maybe one day it will.  Until then…I’ll keep talking about her, looking for little signs that her spirit still surrounds us, and wishing she was still on earth with us.

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Mother’s Day Came Again

I’m not sure when it happened.  I’m not sure when I stopped thinking it was fun.  I’m not sure I’m happy.  I’m not sure why it is such a big deal.  I’m not sure why I feel this way…

…Until Mother’s Day came.

As social media becomes filled with anthems for the “love of moms,” I reflected and spoke my thoughts out loud to determine my inner issue.  I don’t feel like Mother’s Day is such a big deal.  “Happy Mother’s Day,” I hear while I’m doing some last minute shopping for our 2nd child’s 1st birthday party.  I respond with a quick, “Thanks,” and keep on going.  I suppose I should be “happy” to be “honored” on Mother’s Day.

2 years ago on Mother’s Day, we went to church, and I was handed a red rose for being a 32 week pregnant “Mom.”  Sephora was due in another 8 weeks.  We had no idea that we’d be celebrating our daughter’s birthday 5 days later.

On this day, 2 years ago, we were blessed with a 3D/4D ultrasound from Sustaining Grace, where we received a recording of Sephora’s heart beat inside of a teddy bear.  I was so happy to be able to get a glimpse of her, knowing our time with her was running short.She was still cozy and safe inside of my body.

I feel this way because she isn’t here.  A part of me is missing.  I don’t feel her like I used to.  There are not an over-abundance of butterflies this year.  I don’t see much of her signs anymore.  The only sign of her that I see every day, is the dimple on her brother’s face.

I feel so scatter-brained.  I can’t think straight.  My heart aches for my daughter today, and there is nothing I can do to bring her back to me.  She may be watching over me, but I can’t feel her!  I JUST WANT TO FEEL HER SPIRIT!!!

May 1 – 2012, 2013, and 2014

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30 weeks (Sephora)

I had no idea that this would be one of my last weeks of pregnancy with our precious little Sephora.  We had reached the 30 week mark, and I had decided to try on some cute maxi dresses to get me through the summer until Sephora’s due date in July.  2 weeks and 3 days later, her short life flashed right in front of us.  Just like that…she was gone.  Trisomy 13.  Incompatible with life.  That diagnosis makes my skin crawl.

40 weeks

40 weeks (Miles)

Fast forward to May 1, 2013…  It was my due date with our little rainbow baby, Miles.  The sun was shining and warm on my face.  It was a beautiful day to welcome our little boy, but he had other plans.  He decided to choose his own birthday, and arrived 8 days later!

2014…  Miles is walking!  He brings us such joy.  The dimple on his face shows me glimpses of the love his big sister has for him every single day.  Who wouldn’t want a permanent Angel’s kiss on their cheek for their lifetime?!

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I can’t believe he will be 1 year old next week!  What is even harder to wrap my brain around, is Sephora would have been 2 years old this year!  Time certainly flies!

 

 

It’s Simple… “Love”

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It is hard to believe that Sephora would have been 1 1/2 years old already.  As I sit and write today, I’m currently watching Miles play with his toys on the floor and crawl around the room to pull himself up using anything he can hold onto.  It makes me wonder what Sephora and Miles would be doing together.  Would she nicely share all of her toys?  Would she be chasing the dog around the house?  Would I be chasing her while she chases the dog around the house?  I’d imagine she’d be dressed in something frilly with little curly pigtails in her hair.

The holiday season wasn’t as challenging as I’d imagined it would have been.  We had our moments when we wished she were here to open presents, to giggle with excitement, and to make holiday crafts together.  We spent the days as a family, enjoying our time while playing with our little rainbow baby boy.  …and then I’d heard the ignorant comment through the grape vine, that someone couldn’t believe we were still talking about her.  How could we still be grieving for her?  Why haven’t they moved on?  My answer is simple.  Losing a child is completely different than losing a parent or other family member.  It is unnatural for any mammal to bury a baby.  Elephants, whales, monkeys, chimpanzees, dolphins…they all grieve for babies that have passed away.  We all grieve for as long as we live.  You should thank God that you’ve never had to experience as loss like ours.  Hold your kids a little tighter tonight knowing they are safe in your arms and not in the ground or in a tiny urn on the shelf.

Some days I still wonder why our baby had to be the one to leave earth after 4 1/2 hours of life to be made an angel in Heaven.  Why did she have to have Trisomy 13, a chromosomal abnormality that 1:16,000 babies get?  She looked so perfect on the outside.  Why did every cell inside her body have to be “abnormal?”  For what purpose was she given to us, only to say goodbye so soon after her birth?  The only reason I have come up with…she was made with love and born to show the world that something beautiful and perfect could be born and pass on into a better life.  She taught us the real meaning of “love.”  All Sephora ever knew was love.  She knew love from her family, friends, and people who never met her.  I had no problem telling anyone who asked when her due date was, that she wasn’t going to live very long.  The amount of belly touching, with permission, was phenomenal!  People asked us why we chose to carry and give birth to a baby who likely wouldn’t survive.  My answer…She was my daughter.  She was my first born.  I sang to her every day.  We worked out together.  I loved her.

It’s Simple…  “Love.”

Capture Your Grief 2013, Day 17: Time

The phrase, “Time heals all wounds,” is a phrase that is so easy to speak, but completely a myth when it comes to death.  Even though I may look okay on the outside, you never truly know where my heart is at any given time.  I was giving a voice lesson to an 8 year old last evening.  While we were working together, like a typical 8 year old, she got a little side tracked and made mention of the pendant on my necklace.  She says, “It looks like Mary and Baby Jesus!  Is that what it is?!”  I shared the symbol stands for a Mom and her baby.  She looked a little closer and then noticed the pin on the bottom of the necklace and asked what it was for.  I explained that I had placed memories of my daughter inside of it, and also showed her the back of the pendant which has Sephora’s name engraved on it.

It has been 1 year and 5 months since Sephora’s birth and passing.  In that amount of time, my husband and I have had another baby.  Miles was born 9 days shy of Sephora’s birthday.

Capture Your Grief 2013, Day 16: Seasons

We announced our pregnancy with Sephora just before Christmas 2011, when I could no longer hide my baby bump.  The winter holidays always hit the hardest because I have always felt the month of December is meant to be spent with family.  As the days pass, I feel I don’t always grieve enough for Sephora.  It’s as if I’m too “ok” with her passing.  It almost seems that her pregnancy and short life was a figment of my imagination.  When the holiday season comes, I am very quickly reminded by all of our friends and family who have not forgotten about Sephora that she did live.  She was on this earth.  Her purpose was clear.  She was sent to change the lives of any person that heard her beautiful life story.  I welcome the seasons and every holiday because they bring her back to life.  Through the laughter and tears, she still lives.