Archive | May 2012

Sunshine and Roses

Wednesday, May 29, 2012

Today is the day the funeral home will be bringing Sephora’s ashes home. Apparently they were busy over the weekend and didn’t have time to come by the house yesterday…so the burden comes today. I feel more prepared today than I was yesterday. One of my voice students came by for a lesson this morning, which I wanted to cancel but opted to stick it out, praying it would take my mind to a happier place. We had a great lesson today, so that put me in a pretty decent mood! I sat down on the couch after the lesson, and Chris called to check up on me. He’s found a new love of gardening and is helping our good friend Jodi with her landscaping business…since he’s got the big muscles!!!

On the days that aren’t so good, or even when we need a smile and a laugh, we enjoy watching the footage from our wedding last September. I know I’ve shared our story in a previous post, but as I sit here and reminisce about that day, I can actually breathe. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath since being admitted to the hospital on Friday, May 18…the day that changed our lives forever. Thinking about the crazy weather we experienced from Hurricane Lee the week of our wedding, and then thinking of the sun finally bursting through the clouds on our wedding day, it reminds me that every tragedy, every rainstorm, every tear, every instance that knocks the wind out of you…the sun does truly shine again! The birds will sing in the morning. The rainbow can be viewed after the storm. The flowers will bloom again. The fireflies will cover the fields in the evening. The stars and moon will twinkle and shine in the night. When the sky is clear, we can actually see Sephora’s star among the rest. My aunt and her boyfriend purchased a star in Sephora’s name through the International Star Registry when she was born. Not only is Sephora beaming down at us from Heaven, but her star will forever shine in the Heavens too!

Although today may be difficult, I can call it a good day. The sun will shine again tomorrow, and my little angel is wrapped in the arms of all of our family and friends up above. Yes, today is a beautiful day with my Beautiful Angel. My Sephora Angeline.

“…Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Comfort and Isolation

I’ve been told I should not isolate myself from my family, however, sometimes I just do not feel like socializing with anyone. I don’t believe I’m doing so, but I do acknowledge that I enjoy being home in the air conditioning with my husband. I’m trying to mentally prepare for today, and in doing so, I feel my body becoming stressed…my migraine knot is getting tighter, my heart is palpitating and beating faster than normal. I wouldn’t be surprised if my blood pressure started to creep up again.

The funeral home is supposed to be bringing Sephora’s ashes to our house today. The knot in my throat doesn’t seem to go away anymore. I need to cry for her and to grieve in my own way. We also have an appointment to meet with one of my midwives to check to see how my incision is healing, and to make sure my liver enzymes and blood platelets are back to normal. We also are supposed to be meeting with our Life Group tonight. I can tell you, at this moment, I don’t feel like going tonight. I do know that reconnecting with our group and centering ourselves back to our Higher Power will be good for us once we get there.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage–I have conquered the world.”

Grant Us Peace

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Sephora’s Garden

Church this morning was desperately needed. Yesterday was not such a good day, and our home church really does a great job centering us again. It was kind of surreal being there today without Sephora in my belly. Every Sunday, while they play the loud worship music, I would always rub and touch my belly wondering if Sephora was hearing and feeling the vibrations from inside. When it hit me that she wasn’t there, I knew the worship time was probably going to be a challenge…not like I haven’t been challenged already. Then they played the song that hits me every time…

“Higher than the mountains that I face. Stronger than the power of the grave. Constant in the trial and the change. But one thing remains. Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. On and on and on and on it goes. It overwhelms and satisfies my soul. And I never ever have to be afraid. One thing remains. Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love. My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love” –Jesus Culture “One Thing Remains”

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Reality Is Becoming Real

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Today started as a pretty normal day. I gently rolled over to give Chris a kiss, checked my blood pressure to make sure it was still normal, rolled the other way to get out of bed…we ate breakfast, got the oil changed in the car.

I had just finished telling a few of my family members and friends that I felt like I “feel too ok” given our situation. I hadn’t cried in a few days, which I suppose is normal. On our way back from the oil change, we made a few other stops, and then it kind of hit me. I had my sunglasses on so Chris couldn’t see I was crying. I miss her. I miss her more than I thought I would. I think I’m finally coming down off of that “too ok” feeling, which is a good thing. I wish I could just pop in a ridiculously sad movie and cry hysterically for days.

I started wearing a necklace that one of our friends gave me. It’s a pendant with a mother and baby. It’s engraved on the back with Sephora’s name, and it even has a little screw in the bottom where we can put a lock of Sephora’s hair inside of it. This way, not only will her spirit be with me, now I’ll actually be able to carry a physical part of her with me around my neck, everywhere I go. I know this is a process and there will be many up and down days. I just have to allow myself to feel what I feel, and be ok with it.

Psalm 71:20-21 “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”

Coming Home

Thursday, May 24, 2012

After 7 days in the hospital, we finally got to come home today! Chris was at home letting out our dog when the doctor came by to let me know that I was well enough to leave today. After he said I was healthy enough to go home, I asked him what time I could actually be leaving. He looked at me and said I could be out within the hour! I sat straight up, asked for my paperwork, jumped in the shower, and waited for the nurse to give me the go ahead to bust out! One of our friends, Diana, came by to visit before we left. Her wonderful husband is a great pastor, and he performed our wedding ceremony. She shared with us how much Sephora’s story has touched her life, and how much she has enjoyed watching us grow through our journey with our little Sephora. It’s so nice to hear all of the wonderful stories from our friends of how our little Sephora has helped to strengthen their faith and relationship with God. Another friend shared with us, that she didn’t understand how we couldn’t be mad at God for giving us the hand we were dealt. But if we are able to walk through our pregnancy while holding onto God’s hands, then why should she even question the one thing that has helped us to make it through? She feels now that her relationship with God is much stronger now than it has ever been. Broken relationships with her family and old friends are being healed. Our little Sephora did that for her…and I now understand her purpose. I understand why we were chosen to carry her and to love her. Not only has Sephora changed our lives, but she has and still continues to change the lives of those that surround us. We are hearing stories of the lives of people that we’ve never even met, who Sephora’s brief time on earth has touched.

Dr. Habecker, the doctor who performed my c-section, also stopped by to visit before we left the hospital. He just wanted to send his condolences and see how I was feeling both physically and emotionally. He also shared a beautiful story with us. He looked at me and said, “I’ll never forget Sephora’s birth because of you and your husband’s beautiful singing to her in the OR. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of that intimate time with her. It truly was a very touching and emotional moment that I’m thankful to have witnessed.” It melted my heart to hear him say this to us.

We arrived home at 12:30pm. The first thing I did was look at the hard work my husband and our florist, Jodi, had done on our garden while I was in the hospital. Chris walked me around and showed me all of the different flowers they had planted to welcome me home. I then made my way over to Sephora’s Garden. It was a very surreal moment. I stood in awe of their beautiful work and the symbolism behind all of the blossoms planted for her. I sobbed for a few minutes as I stood over her garden. Chris walked over and held me for a while as I took in all of the emotions of that moment. I had been looking forward to seeing her garden from the moment she was born. I don’t know if Sephora’s Garden will ever be finished…like our love for her will continue to grow, so will her garden. I’m thankful to be home today. I’m thankful for the love and light that was used to prepare Sephora’s Garden. I’m thankful for all of the thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement from our friends, family, and blog followers that we’ve never met. There will be times when this journey will not be easy, but we are comforted in knowing there are so many people that care about us and continue to pray.

Mark 9:36–37
Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sephora’s Garden ~ Filled with Bleeding Hearts and Angel’s Wing Begonia

Today is the day we were supposed to go home, but my body apparently had other plans. Although my blood work has been getting better, it isn’t quite good enough for the doctors to feel comfortable enough to let me go home. We had so many visitors come by this weekend to spend some time with us and our little Sephora. Today, our visitors have slowed a bit, so that gave Chris and I a little bit of time to be together with our baby. I had started to get sleepy after lunch, shortly after my mom had arrived to hang out for a bit. I ended up sleeping for nearly 2 hours! During that time period, our Palliative Care Team nurse, Sharon, stopped by to visit. She spoke briefly with Chris in the hallway. We were able to keep Sephora in our room with us from the moment she was born which was so comforting to us…and she wouldn’t have to leave us until I was discharged from the hospital. Because I had been so sick, and now had to stay yet another day in the hospital, Sharon had told Chris that we were approaching the unfortunate time of having to hand our baby girl over to the funeral director. When I had awakened from my nap, Chris shared this information with me. I knew this day would eventually come, but as her mother, I just wasn’t ready. I asked Chris to hand Sephora to me, and I held and kissed her for a while. At this time, Sharon walked into my room, held my hand, and just sat with me for a few minutes. She told me the funeral director would be arriving in nearly an hour and a half…to which I sobbed a little harder.

My day nurse came in a few minutes after this conversation took place, to check my blood pressure. Of course, it was too high yet again for me to be discharged from the hospital, and I had to get back into bed to relax for a bit. I handed Sephora to Chris and got back into bed. Chris continued to hold and rock Sephora in his arms as time quickly slipped through our fingers. He eventually sat next to me in bed, and we held her together until Sharon came back to dress her in a new tiny white dress and bonnet. She handed her back to us, and we held her for another 10 minutes until the funeral director came. It was a very trying and challenging hour and a half, but it was beautiful. She was absolutely perfect. She was our beautiful little baby. Our faith assures us that we will be reunited with Sephora one day–and that belief sustains us. We know she is watching over us, and her spirit is with us in her garden. I can’t wait to get home to see the work my husband and our floral designer, Jodi, have done to Sephora’s Garden. Until we meet again my Beautiful Angel. My Sephora Angeline. We Love You.

Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief…But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:9, 14

Let the Healing Begin!

Saturday, May 19 2012

After singing “Happy Birthday” to our precious Sephora, I held her in my arms wrapped in her warm blankets all night.  My nurse came every hour to check my vitals, just to make sure I was getting better.  Each time she came in, I also had her listen to Sephora’s heart and lungs as well.  I had noticed I was hearing her tiny little cry a little less than I had when she was born, which we were told would eventually begin to happen.  Her breathing had slowed, and her heart was still beating.  I just held her close to me and sang to her some more.  I really did my best to keep her warm.  The next hour came, as did my nurse…she listened to my heart and lungs and then to Sephora’s.  She looked at me slowly with very sad and loving eyes, and told me she could no longer hear any heart or breath sounds.  I immediately turned to Chris who was laying on the cot next to me, shook my head, and began to cry.  She had passed peacefully in my arms, and I hadn’t even realized it.  The nurse called the NICU doctor in who took Sephora back to the bassinet in the room so he could get a good listen as well.  Our little Sephora had passed at 2:50am.  They wrapped her back up and handed her back to me.  I held her all night as I tried to sleep.  Sleep never came to me that night.

We had so many visitors today.  I still wasn’t feeling very well because of the magnesium they were still giving me to help to combat the high blood pressure from the Preeclampsia and HELP Syndrome, so we really tried to time our guests’ arrival and departure very carefully.  My best friend, Annette, and some of my family spent most of the day with us on Saturday.  I was in and out of sleep most of the day, but it was nice knowing they were in the room while I slept.  The magnesium I was on made me feel like I had the flu, so I was extremely hot and nauseous for the 48 hours they had it running through my IV.  Because I felt this way, I needed to have my room as cold as it could possibly get, and all of my guests were frozen while they visited in my room.  I thought it was so funny, because they all were asking the nursing staff for blankets to wrap themselves in.

At 9:30pm, my parents finally arrived to meet our precious little Sephora for the first time (as they had just arrived from overseas).  After we had found out the diagnosis, my mom decided she was going to get a tattoo of Sephora’s feet with her name somewhere on her leg.  As soon as she walked into our room, the first words out of her mouth were, “Holy crap!  Her feet are huge!”  I hadn’t laughed so hard in days!!!  Danielle and Susan, coworkers from my job, also stopped by around 10:30pm to have a quick visit and to hold Sephora.  They brought 3 cards from everyone that I work with.  When we opened the final card, it was filled with money–so freely given by them and greatly appreciated.  Thank you to everyone who blessed us this day.  Your encouragement, love, and blessings mean more to us than you’ll ever fathom.

Isaiah 66 12-13

For this is what the LORD says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and held on her knees.

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

I love this image of God as a compassionate mother, caring for her child in good times and bad. It has been important for me to remember that God loves us always, and we don’t experience loss because He does not care for us. Our pain is His.  Love and peace can rise out of even the most overwhelming sense of grief.