Archive | August 2012

Sephora’s Garden

Sephora’s Garden was created by my husband and our dear friend, Jodi, while I was in the hospital with Sephora.  As the end of summer winds down, I’ve noticed that many plants in our garden are just beginning to bloom!  Our garden is filled with bumble bees and butterflies of all different shapes, sizes, and species.  Every time I open the front door, I can’t walk out without a smile on my face because these beautiful creatures are all over the garden!  Butterflies chase each other as they glide from flower to flower.  I’ve even gotten close enough to watch the bees as they collect the pollen on their feet.  Something I saw the other day, was a bird in our garden.  I’m not sure what type it was, but it was eating the little bugs off of our cone flowers!  It hopped from bloom to bloom until it got its fill of bugs.  What a blessing Sephora’s Garden is.  Watching it bloom, grow, blossom, and change brings such a peace to my spirit.  It makes me feel closer to our precious little Sephora in Heaven.

In simple humility, let our gardener God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. James 1: ~21

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God Given Angel

I found an interesting passage today as I was reading through one of my bereavement books.

Exodus 23:20 I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way, and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.

According to this, my family and friends have been given an angel to watch over them.  Our little Sephora Angeline, our “Beautiful Angel” by its own meaning, was sent to watch over us all, to guard and guide us through life on this world, and greet us with open arms on that glorious day when we get to meet her and claim her again!  Our angel was tiny and precious.  She was perfect.  Her spirit now surrounds us everywhere we go.  She follows us as we drive and as we sleep.  She is with us in our dreams and while we take time to reflect.  I look to the sky to find God, but I also look to the sky to catch a glimpse of my little ray of sunshine.  As we all walk today, look to the sky for your motivation and encouragement.  Know that you’ll never be alone.  God is walking with us all, lifting us over each wave, and picking us up when we stumble.  My little Sephora is there with Him.

Tiny Feet

Sephora’s tiny feet are running through my mind today.  At 14 weeks, she’d be smiling and cooing in her bassinet next to the bed.  Maybe we’d even be attempting to let her sleep in a crib in her own room.  I’d certainly hope she’d be sleeping through the night at this point.  I’d be kissing her feet and tickling them to make her wiggle and coo some more!

Although she isn’t here with us physically, I know her spirit surrounds us.  Like footprints in the sand…

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene, I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
Other times there were on set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
That during the low periods of my life,
When I was suffering from
Anguish, sorrow, or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
That if I followed you,
You would walk with me always.
But I have noticed during
The most trying periods of my life
There have only been one
Set of foot prints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
You have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you.”

–Mary Stevenson

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7

A Father’s Love

Life is different without our precious Sephora.  Our plans for our “perfect life” together look different now.  We got married and wanted to start a family quickly.  We did!  That morning in November, when that extra line on the pregnancy test showed up, I started shaking!  I lay in bed staring at my husband, waiting for him wake up.  I just wanted to scream, “We’re Pregnant!”  We got to see our baby through ultrasound, and were in awe of what we saw on the screen.  There was our baby.  Our baby was perfect!  Every single day of her life we loved her.  Even after finding out she had Trisomy 13 and likely wouldn’t survive…we loved her.

A father’s love is unconditional.  It knows no boundaries.  There are no rules.  His protection extends to the ends of the earth.  He’ll let no harm come to you by doing everything in his power to keep you safe.  It has been proven that a daughter’s first love is her father.  From the moment a daughter is born, she belongs to her daddy, until that day he is asked to give her away to another man she falls in love with.  The cycle continues on and on.  What happens with our precious Sephora?  She had her daddy wrapped around her tiny fingers from the moment we knew we were pregnant.  She’ll always be his from now until forever.  We won’t get to give her away on Earth, because she’s still waiting for us to hold her in our arms in Heaven.

Yes.  A father’s love is unconditional and unending.  Sephora’s smile shines down forever from Heaven to her first love.  Her daddy.

Malachi 4:6
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. (NIV)

Friends

Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Sephora Angeline

Sephora has forever left a hand print on our hearts.  She is our little ray of “sunshine” from Heaven.  She is every butterfly we see.  She continues to show us how perfect her life was, even thought we lost her tragically after 4 1/2 hours of life to Trisomy 13.  There has been a time when I said Sephora is off of the radar of many people that we know.  I feel as though some have continued on with their lives as if she were never born.  In a way, I feel like some have completely forgotten about her.  Then there are others who love Sephora as if she were their own.  These people continue to love us every day.  Some of them have added to her beautiful memorial garden. We share memories and photos of her.  We talk about Sephora’s Garden and how to make it grow larger in the years to come.  Sephora is very real in their lives.

Sephora is a constant reminder of how precious our time on Earth is.  She taught us a lesson about unconditional love.  She taught us not to sweat the small stuff, because life does go on.  We’ve learned that all life is beautiful, and you take the good with the bad.  You make lemonade out of lemons.  You find the good in everything.  Today’s blog is dedicated to those who continue to love Sephora and who continue to love us every single day.  Whether a friend, acquaintance, or family.  Thank you for your love, encouragement, and compassion.

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Great Aunt Jackie & Great Aunt Adrienne

“Auntie” Annette & Great Aunt Sherry

Danielle, Sidney, and Chelsea rushed from work to meet our precious Sephora

Uncle Jordan & Sephora

I called my only sibling, my brother Jordan, at 9am the morning of Sephora’s premature birthday, due to my preeclampsia and her Trisomy 13 diagnosis, and asked him if he had any plans for the rest of the day.  My husband was working, and at that time I didn’t feel my medical situation merited me asking that he leave work, however, I needed a ride to my doctor’s office, because I was so uncomfortable and didn’t sleep the night prior to waking up.  Before my brother and I left, I made myself a sandwich, sat down to eat it, took a bite, and nearly threw up.  I knew this was not a good sign, because I hadn’t eaten since 7pm the night before.  By the time I made my sandwich, it was 12 noon.  Jordan took me to the doctor and sat with me until I was called back through the hallway.  I invited him to come back with me so he wouldn’t have to sit by himself, and because I didn’t want to go by myself.  The nurse escorted him to the room where I’d be seeing a midwife to figure out what was going on internally with my body, while I was having my protein, weight, and blood pressure checked.  When I finally walked into the room where Jordan was waiting for me, he knew something was wrong by the look on my face, and I’m sure by the way the nurses were insisting I lay down for a few minutes.

The midwife who saw me that day, Angie, told me “You are going to have to head over to triage.”  I knew in the back of my mind, this would probably be the last visit at that office where I’d actually be pregnant.  I would never admit that out loud.  We walked across the parking lot to the hospital, got situated in triage, and waited.  I remember telling my brother I was pregnant.  At the time, he was preparing to head off to school for the Air Force.  He looked at me and said, “I don’t think I’m ready to be an uncle yet.  Can you hold this baby off for a while?”  I just laughed at him, and told him I’d do my best.  Now here we were, waiting and listening.  Waiting to hear how sick I actually was.  Listening to the sound of Sephora’s heart beat and movements on the monitor.

That day was such a crazy day.  When my brother and I realized how ill I actually was, Jordan called my husband Chris, who left work and came straight to the hospital. Jordan and my husband were in and out of my hospital room, making calls to friends and family, trying to take care of our large Siberian Husky dog, and making sure we’d had everything we needed for our stay in the hospital.  Moreover, my brother had to run home and get everything he needed for “drill weekend” at his base early the next morning.  After hearing the doctor’s decision to take us back for a c-section, my brother went to wait with the rest of our family and friends staying up most of the night as he had to be at drill in the wee hours of the morning–my brother did not sleep that night.  At approximately 11:30pm, everyone who was waiting to see us, got the opportunity to meet Sephora.  A few even stayed to hold her back in my room, once we got situated.

I love my brother for spending the day with me for Sephora’s beautiful birthday.  I think his new title of “Uncle Jordan” looks good on him.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  it does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Uncle Jordan admiring his brand new niece, Sephora

All I Want To Do Is Hold Her In My Arms Again

We finally received Sephora’s photos from the “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” organization.  We were really disappointed with the amount of time it took for us to receive the images, but finally we can view them!  Three months after Sephora’s birth, Chris & I viewed the photos together.  We had been preparing ourselves to view them for most of the day.  Watching our DVD slideshow was very emotional.  It took us back to that crazy, windwhirl of a day.  Friday, May 18, 2012.  Sephora’s birthday.

I was so swollen and uncomfortable from the fluid I had been retaining, due to the severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.  My brother took me to my doctor, walked me across the parking lot to the hospital, and sat with me for a few hours while being monitored in triage until my husband arrived.  After listening to Sephora’s heartbeat for most of the day and evening, it was time to turn off the monitors and head to the operating room to bring our little Sephora into this world.  After we’d spent some time talking to her, singing to her, and taking all of her in, we were wheeled down the hall to my room where we got to take every aspect of Sephora in.  We certainly savored every second!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. (Douay-Rheims Bible)

1 hour after surgery, and loving every minute with Sephora