Friday, January 30, 2009

Because Now I Know

Today I was going to write a generally cheery post (okay, at least cheerier than late) but then I read something that I knew I had to share my readers.

You can read it here.

Normally, I probably would have donated at least a small amount and left it at that. Now, having known the pain of losing a child, I will pray fervently for this family that they will be able to afford to spend all the time possible with their sweet girls. It just seems so not fair.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There You'll Be

This evening I looked up from my station at the kitchen sink to see a gorgeous swath of pink across the sky. At the same moment, TOIAW called me into the room he was in because he, too, had discovered the same pink glow.

Later I thought of this song and smiled and cried and then smiled through the tears.

There You'll Be
When I think back
On these times
And the dreams
We left behind
I'll be glad 'cause
I was blessed to get
To have you in my life
When I look back
On these days
I'll look and see your face
You were right there for me
In my dreams
I'll always see you soar
Above the sky
In my heart
There will always be a place
For you for all my life
I'll keep a part
Of you with me
And everywhere I am
There you'll be
And everywhere I am
There you'll be
Well you showed me
How it feels
To feel the sky
Within my reach
And I always
Will remember all
The strength you
Gave to me
Your love made me
Make it through
Oh, I owe so much to you
You were right there for me
[Repeat Chorus]
'Cause I always saw in you
My light, my strength
And I want to thank you
Now for all the ways
You were right there for me
You were right there for me
For always
[Repeat Chorus]
In my dreams
I'll always see you soar
Above the sky
In my heart
There will always be a place
For you for all my life
I'll keep a part
Of you with me
And everywhere I am
There you'll be
And everywhere I am
There you'll be
There you'll be

I know you're up there, Lovey, thanks for saying hello. We miss bunches and love you even more...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Don't Care

About your advice, that is. Actually, the readers of this blog have offered nothing but great advice via comments or email. Unfortunately, not everyone is as sensible as you, my dear readers. I need to let go of some of the anger I've felt today so here goes...

  • I don't care that you think we're young and have 'plenty of time' for kids therefore we should just 'relax' and let things happen. Remind me again when you did your reproductive endocrinology residency?

  • I don't care that you think I should resume my class schedule and/or increase it so I 'keep busy.'

  • I don't care that you think it's probably better that Sarah died because 'it would be so difficult' for us to have a special needs child. Furthermore, I didn't realize you were in possession of a crystal ball allowing you to see into the future and know that Sarah was going to have special needs.

  • I don't care that you think it's time we consider adoption.

Bottom line, unless we ask your opinion or you have something genuinely kind, considerate, or useful to say, just keep it to yourself because I don't care what you think. The thing is, some people have offered very useful advice. Today, for instance, I received an email from a friend who suggested I start running (which is a great idea and something I've actually considered so I talked to my trainer--who's also a runner--and she's going to incorporate it into my workouts). The difference between her advice/suggestion is that she took a cue from me--that I was going to begin working out again--and elaborated on it. Had I said I was going to lay on the couch every day, her suggestion of running might not have been so well received. Maybe I'm being too sensitive? Oh well, I think I'm entitled...

Please understand that I know everyone means well. I just wish everyone knew that when someone is hurting there's a better than even chance they don't expect anyone to say something profound that will instantly remove the pain. I remember many years ago I was on a business trip with a colleague who, in the middle of the night, received word that her father had passed away. We had just celebrated her birthday the evening before and I was just heartbroken for her. I sent her a card but I couldn't think of anything to write in the card so I wrote something like, "I don't have anything to say that will make this better but I'm praying for you and I'm sorry." Later she told me how much that meant to her. We've had so many people send similar messages to us and it means so much to us, too.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Not well.

That's how we're doing on the New Normal campaign. I just keep thinking "I'm supposed to still be baby is supposed to be inside me growing and kicking...things aren't supposed to be like this!!!" TOIAW is struggling also. At least two people at our school asked about Sarah so he had to tell them she passed away. He wants me to be there with him and my teacher is also encouraging him to encourage me to come back soon but I just don't feel ready.

How is it that Sarah was so much stronger than both her parents?

Operation New Normal

Today is the first day of our 'New Normal' campaign. I don't have enough data to provide an accurate assessment of progress, however, I have yet to make any panicky tear-filled phone calls. Well, unless you count Andrew at Fisher House who, bless his heart, had to use his ESP skills to understand what the heck I was saying when I called to set-up a memorial fund for Sarah. Those FH people have hearts of gold, I tell ya... But that--shockingly--was the first time I cried today. Yesterday I didn't fare so well but considering it was the two-week anniversary of Sarah's birth and the one-week anniversary of her passing, I figure I'm entitled. Even so, I felt lifted by many prayers because TOIAW were able to talk about our Flippy and smile when remembering our week with her.

Here's something else that makes me smile: We bought Sarah's urn on e-bay. I know that's probably the most irreverent statement you've ever read but it makes me laugh. They had the same one at the funeral home but it was--I'm not kidding--six times as much! We thought we'd look online and see if we could get it for a little less but we didn't think there would be such a huge difference. It's a beautiful, modern piece that holds the ashes but is also a vase. We're going to have it engraved with her name and a verse or poem. TOIAW and I have big plans to make a donation, in Sarah's name, to a children's charity (more on that later) and this leaves more money for that so it's win/win. I'll never think of e-bay the same again.

I am going to do a little laundry and house cleaning today (I've traded the maids for a dog walker, at least for a few weeks). I'm also going to work on a letter I'm writing to Sarah chronicling our amazing week with her. It's difficult to write but it makes me feel so close to her. Here come the tears...I knew they were near.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I've Read It Gets Worse

My brother and sister-in-law sent a book to me via my parents. It was recommended to them by some friends of theirs who have had two babies born around twenty weeks (and she's currently pregnant). I honestly cannot imagine how they manage to wake-up every day because every morning my pain begins the instant I open my eyes and the intensity is crushing. At least for the past couple of days I have been reminded of this verse which isn't as great as it probably seems because what I actually think is something like, 'yes, God's mercies and compassion are new every morning but so is the depth of my pain.' I'm not going to get a good grade for faith this week.

So, yeah, mornings are the time I miss Sarah the most (and I've read the pain actually gets worse as the initial shock/numbness wears off...I'm not sure that's even possible). Every morning at 9, Sarah had a 'care time' which is when the nurses would feed her, change her diaper, check her IV's, take her temperature, check her blood gases, and a few other things. Her care times were every 4 hours but the morning one at 9 was my favorite because I had been away from her for so long and I just couldn't wait to see her. The nurses were really good about letting us help with the care times which was great because it's pretty much the only time we were able to touch her.

Don't get me wrong, though, I mourn Sarah all day. After my initial morning freak out, I generally pull it together but by late afternoon I've had 2-3 bouts of tears and at least one of those is related to anxiety over the future. TOIAW's next assignment is a very selective and prestigious one but I've never embraced it. Rather I viewed it as something to be endured. The loss of Sarah has only magnified those feelings. At another time in our lives I would embrace this move as an adventure but right now all I can think is that it is postponing--and even decreasing--my opportunity to have a baby. I cannot say where we're moving but it is not a modern or Western country. Apparently there is an IVF clinic there that TOIAW thinks we should investigate. He's out of his ever lovin' mind if he thinks I would undergo treatment for anything other than a sore throat in that country.

I wrote the above earlier today but had to leave so I'm finishing it now. I spoke to the NICU social worker earlier today. She made me feel less crazy which was nice. TOIAW and I are the stereotypical male vs. female grievers which is something I already knew but it's still nice to have a professional shed some light on it. I told her all about my fears/concerns about the move and infertility how I feel that is complicating an already complicated situation. At least one other person in the world understands...that feels so good!

I'm not sure if I mentioned it earlier but we had a small service for Sarah on Wednesday. It wasn't exactly what we thought it would be but it was nice and private and the chaplain who conducted the service had met Sarah in the NICU. We also had a rabbi to say a couple of Hebrew prayers. I wanted to ask him to read Psalm 121 but I forgot to tell TOIAW that so it wasn't coordinated. God is good, though, because guess what psalm the rabbi read? This psalm has been on my heart since Sarah was born. I have lived in Israel and know the hills there very well so when I think of this psalm, I think of those majestic hills and all of the people who have lifted their eyes to the hills and called on their Maker for strength.

We also had to speak with the decedent affairs person so we did that after the service; not a timeline I would recommend but the hospital is an hour away from us and we just couldn't bear the thought of our Flippy being in the cold, sterile hospital morgue any longer so we wanted to make arrangements for her. I didn't actually see Sarah's body on Wednesday but TOIAW and my dad did although she was wrapped in a blanket so they didn't see her face. TOIAW left a picture of us with her; he couldn't stand the thought of her being alone. We finalized the cremation arrangements today and should have her "back" next week. It's odd, but the big things like the service and making final arrangements don't bother me as much as the little things do. I suppose that's because you kind of steel yourself for the big things but it's not possible to do that for everything.

I'm rambling again, huh? Sorry.

We took my parents to the airport--again--today. It was nice to have them here but it's probably time for us to begin dealing with this, in a week I'll be begging friends to come visit. I'm not going to begin classes just yet but I am meeting with my trainer twice next week. This is about the only positive step I can manage right now but it's a good start, I think.

So that's about it. We're making it. We really miss Sarah but we always will. We are so very thankful for the precious week we had with her!

P.S. See what I mean about the mornings being worse? There is a markedly different tone between the part of the post I wrote this morning and the part I wrote later. I'm pretty sure I don't have multiple personalities...yet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just Let Me Know

Because I can't let every post be depressing, I have to tell you about the 58 'Barak Obama Headquarters' souvenir shops we saw today. Okay, I use the term 'shop' loosely since they were all just tables set-up in gas station parking lots. To be fair, several had tents that looked professional and one was in the back of an Escalade so there must be some money in it. We didn't stop at any of them but they appeared to have a wide variety of of merchandise sporting the 44th president's likeness. They're all open until tomorrow so let me know if you I can get you anything. It would probably be good for me to get out anyway.

This Stinks

Last week I promised myself that, no matter what happened, I wouldn't let my blog turn into one of those painful to read/every post makes you cry blogs. I'm pretty sure I won't be keeping that promise, sorry. You see, when you're in a place of great sadness, it's difficult to write like you're not and not writing doesn't seem like an option either. So here we go...

My parents arrived today...again. They left Saturday but I knew my mom didn't want to leave me or Sarah. Before last Sunday I wouldn't have understood that but now I fully get it--and then some. I know from several of their friends that in addition to mourning Sarah they are heartbroken over TOIAW's and my grief.

TOIAW and I rested well last night which probably helped us get through the day though I shudder to think how it could have been worse. It's just that we miss her so much. I can't stop thinking about her and I don't want to...I simply don't want it to hurt so much (as if there's anything about this that is simple). My mind keeps drifting to 'what was I doing at this time last week' and, in addition to savoring the sweet memories, I'm questioning whether or not I spent enough time with her. People assure me there will be a time when I don't cry every day but I don't really believe that now. Several people have mentioned how strong we must be to have been through all we have but, you know, having Sarah for a week made every miscarriage, every negative pregnancy test, every doctor's appointment, every shot, every everything worth it. More than worth it, actually. Today TOIAW mentioned trying again soon. Of course we know nothing will ever replace our sweet Sarah but now more than ever we want to be parents because if the seven days we spent with Sarah are any indication, parenthood is an amazing thing! We'll certainly need to have a follow-up appointment and get the results of the placental pathology report but I do plan on researching clinics and programs next week. I'm someone who needs a plan.

It's so hard to think of the future without her. We had such plans for her and for our family and now they're gone. It seems so unfair. The loss of our hopes and dreams for Sarah seems just as huge as the loss of Sarah.

Wow, this is a depressing post.

So this evening we went to Target to buy a bin to store Sarah's clothes and other items. We also bought a safe in which to store a box the hospital gave us containing the outfit she wore when they brought her to us, the blanket she was wrapped in, a few pictures, all the tubes hooked to her (odd, I know, but I'm glad we have them), and a shell they made us with her foot and hand prints. I have crooked pinky fingers and so did Sarah. I wish we had pictures where we could see her eyelashes and eyebrows which are the same light color as mine...I have red hair and so did Sarah. She also had my eyes but she had TOIAW's nose. I always wanted to kiss her little nose but I forgot and I really regret that. I really regret not kissing her more--I think I only kissed her once--but TOIAW kissed her several times and that comforts me. Look at me--a paragraph that began about a trip to Target ended with a description of Sarah and how I wanted to kiss her more. I cannot keep my thoughts from drifting her to her.

At the same time, I can't imagine having any thoughts that don't involve Sarah.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Email I Had to Write Today

If you're reading this from blog land, you're probably just coming in on the middle of the story. The really short version is I went the hospital early last Sunday morning and discovered I was dilated to a 3-4 and had our baby girl a few hours later. She was tiny and early but amazingly strong and we had a great week with her. We never could have imagined it would end so soon...

Dear Friends,

I know this probably seems impersonal but right now it's the best way for us to inform you that our daughter, Sarah Abigail, went to heaven this morning. She was born 11 January 2009 at 10:53 am and died 18 January 2009 around 8:00 am. It seems she developed an infection and despite the tremendous fight she gave, she was just too tired. When it became apparent she wasn't going to make it, the doctors and nurses brought her into a room where TOIAW and I held her as she went to be with Jesus. I will never forget the beauty and peacefulness of her sweet face. I will never forget my precious Baby Sarah.

But, oh, how blessed we are to have had a wonderful week with her! I suppose some would not have wanted to have that, but we couldn't imagine it any other way. Actually, at one point last night we were told the situation was terribly grave and TOIAW and I made the decision to make her comfortable but when we got back to her bedside she was actually doing better which gave us a few more sweet hours to spend with her and to rest which made it easier to say good-bye.

The pain we have right now is beyond words. I have an actual pain in my chest (don't worry, I'm fine) that I can't help but think is my heart breaking. I keep thinking there is something I should be able to do to help ease the pain but I know there isn't. I guess that's the consequence of losing someone you loved so completely. I cling only to what I know:

1. God loves us and has a plan for TOIAW and me.
2. Our God is loving God and even though we don't know why He needed Sarah with Him, He is far more wise than we are.
3. We are loved beyond our wildest dreams and supported in prayer by friends around the world.

So we are clinging to each other. We want this to draw us closer rather than tear us apart. TOIAW is my biggest supporter when it comes to not blaming myself. I know we will get through this but I also know it's going to be tough. We're just going to ask God to grant us grace for the moment; we know He can and will sustain us for that's exactly what He's done this past week.

My parents left yesterday but will be here again tomorrow. We haven't made funeral arrangements but plan on just having something for TOIAW, me, and my parents. That probably won't make sense to everyone but we feel strongly it is what is best for us and Sarah. We promise to celebrate her life every day. A few people have asked how they can best memorialize our sweet girl and, in the absence of your favorite charity, we would love to have donations made in Sarah's name to
Fisher House.

Thank you again for your prayers, kind words of support, and love. You have no idea how much it means to us.

Much love,
TOIAW, Rachel, & Sarah

P.S. Rest has been rather elusive for us so if you're so inclined please pray that we will relax and get some rest tonight and in the coming days.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Song That Never Ends

Did you ever sing that song at camp? It's been in my head recently because I have the cold that never ends. Three weeks and counting...rock on. Every time I cough, the muscles between my ribs burn, however, it no longer hurts to breathe so I have that going for me...and, um, I also have another issue when I cough but I won't go into details other than to say that, after pregnancy, I am fully prepared to deal with any and all bodily fluids.

I've done only the bare essentials this week and my house certainly looks like it. It's going to take me hours to de-clutter enough for the maids to do their thing next week. It looks like the weather this weekend is going to be just right for hanging around the house because it's supposed to be cold and rainy again. Perhaps I'll find time to blog about TOIAW's annual family New Year's adventure. At least it will bring back warmer memories of Florida. Speaking of which, let me give you some advice: If you find out you're pregnant in August but decide not to buy any warm-weather maternity clothes because you won't need them until the cooler months pause for a moment to consider any travel plans you might have. I can assure you that even in December, Disney World is not so much fun if you're wearing jeans.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Just Remembered...

...when we're at our house TOIAW expects me to prepare his food. After two and a half weeks of eating out and having others cook for us, I'm a little out of practice. I should probably begin with a menu and a list which seems doable--at least in theory because I have yet to take action on that--but the part where I actually go to the store and purchase the groceries makes me want to crawl back in bed. Actually, I just really want to go back to bed because we didn't get home last night until around 2 a.m. Apparently, however, there is a kick boxing expo going on in my womb which makes it difficult to stay asleep. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think this was supposed to happen at 23.5 weeks.