Friday, March 22, 2013


The past month has been such a blessing to us!  We welcomed Polly's little sister, our rainbow, on February 19th.  Blakely Lynn Dawson was born into the world screaming at 7:55am, 8lbs 5oz, and 20.5 inches long.  To say we are thankful is an understatement.  Now after we have had our rainbow baby with us for a month, I have started to grow familiar with this new normal of having a baby in our home.  I look at Blakely and realize what a miracle she is.  She has already blessed our lives so much and we thank God for her daily.  There were so many times where I wondered which day in my pregnancy something would not form correctly and when we would get bad news.  I know that sounds depressing but it is true and it was a constant fear.  Although I never had the nagging worry that something was very wrong, like I did while I carried Polly, I was just in disbelief that things could be alright.  We prayed constantly that we would be able to bring this blessing home.  I honestly could not even imagine what it would be like to have a normal experience.  As Blakely's due date got closer I worried more and more.  It was like the days kept flying by and her birthday would be here before I knew it and that ever looming question.....would she be ok?....took over all my thoughts.  But God sent me so many signs to remind me that He is in control and I believe He was also telling me that things would be alright.  As I lay in bed the night before my c-section, Blakely got the hiccups.  She had those many times but I thought that was ironic as I lay there wondering what her birthday would be like.  Hiccups were always a good sign of lung development and I would find a great comfort in feeling Blakely hiccuping away in my belly.  Even now I smile when she has them, thinking of how excited I was the first time I felt them.  I feel asleep to them that night.  The next morning was a blur.  I remember getting ready and heading to the hospital, feeling very anxious but knowing it was all out of my hands.  As we drove to the hospital, I even heard the one song on the radio that had become "Blakely's song" for me, another sign from God that He was with me.  As the were getting me ready at the hospital, we were introduced to the various people who would be in the room when she was delivered.  All were very kind as we answered the question that this was not our first child and that we were more nervous than excited.  The nurse that was getting me ready also asked us some questions.  As I tried to keep it together I explained it wasn't our first child and before I could really get much out about Polly, she said that she remembered us.  She had been our night nurse the two nights I was in the hospital here.  She ended up being a night nurse for me again and I was so thankful because along with her we had other nurses take care of us again that we had in 2011.  Many told us they had heard we were pregnant and were anxiously awaiting our visit.  Soon it was time for me to head to the operating room.  All I could do was pray as they wheeled me into the room and got me ready for surgery.  It was very different this time, but looking back I think that was God again helping me to not know what to expect and therefore I was almost preoccupied from my worries with the buzz of activity around me.  Soon Whit joined me and we waited for the moment we would know Blakely was here.  I prayed the night before she was born for God to let me hear her cry.  To me if I heard her screaming, that meant she would be ok.  Well God granted that comfort to us because before the doctors could even say she was here, we heard her screaming.  The tears were flowing from us as we sobbed out of joy and also from many of the nurses and specialists in the room.  That moment I had feared suddenly turned into joy as she continued to cry and cry.  Her cry was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.  The next thing I know I have her sweet face next to mine and all I could do was kiss her over and over.  Her sweet eyes were opened and she made the cutest faces as she tried to adjust her eyes to the new world she was in.  The rest of our hospital stay was a blur of happy precious moments, visitors, and no sleep, which we loved every second of it!  Many of the nurses and specialists who had helped Polly, even ones we had never met, came in to tell us congratulations.  It was priceless to see so many faces who had met both of our babies.  The past month has gone by so fast, much faster than I could have imagined and it has been perfect.  How thankful we are that God answered our prayers with the cutest rainbow baby, the one we prayed for from even before we knew of her.

Today is a bittersweet day for us.  Blakely is 31 days old, which is the age Polly made her trip to Heaven.  I look at Blakely and realize how very young that is.  It hasn't felt like she has been here a month yet.  I can't let my mind wander too much, it is too painful all the what-ifs, but one thing that has helped is for me to think that if it wasn't for Polly, we probably wouldn't have Blakely.  I believe without a doubt that Polly watches over her too, jusy like big sisters do.  The happiness that both of our girls have brought to our lives is indescribable.  Our 31 days with Polly, although very scary and painful, were also some of the happiest and I would relive them again in a second.  Blakely has brought us so much happiness too, more than we could have imagined.  We have a forever hole in our hearts that only Polly can fill, but the fullness that Blakely has already brought to our lives has been precious to us.  How thankful we are for God to bless us with two beautiful girls who have changed our lives for the better.  Do we miss Polly every second of every day?  Yes, may be even more now that we see what could have been, what we missed out on.  But we wouldn't have traded being parents to either of our babies for a second.  We will always be grateful God chose us to be parents to our beautiful Polly and Blakely.  

As we continue our journey we wanted to extend our thanks to everyone who has prayed for our family.  We may not be quick to get back to your emails or phone calls, but every note and message has been received graciously and we are so thankful for the support group we have in each of you.  Please enjoy some of our precious pictures of Blakely's arrival below.  All our love!

 Blakely Lynn Dawson
Born February 19, 2013

 Blakely and her proud Daddy

Getting her first kiss from her Mommy

Monday, February 4, 2013

Counting Down

We had our 36 week ultrasound last week.  Blakely is still breech and in a position where they don't think she will turn.  Her feet are up in front of her face which makes it pretty much impossible for her to be able to kick and turn head down.  So for now the plan is to have her delivered via c-section on February 19th.  Our doctor thinks that is the safest way for her to be born.  I have imagined her arrival into the world hearing a healthy baby crying and squirming in the doctors hands, both things that Polly didn't do.  I've been told c-section babies don't typically react that way, so I am bracing myself for some silent moments and breath holding right after delivery.  I have been watched very closely and go back for one more non-stress test and then one last ultrasound.  I can't even express how surreal and terrifying it is to have an official date of when we will meet Blakely.  I've had to ask numerous times if that is the best decision for her because I don't know what is in this situation.  We've notified the pediatrician and also our contacts at the hospital in Augusta so everyone knows when Blakely will arrive, just in case we need them.  In the mean time we are waiting and counting down the days.  It seemed like Feb. 19th could not get here fast enough, but now I am terrified of it being so close.  I wish that I could have known those final weeks I carried Polly would be the last time I would feel her so alive, kicking and moving about.  I am scared that these are the same moments for Blakely.  I tell myself that it can't happen again, but I am scared that it will.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in your fears so I try to focus on the fact that God has got this, He always has and I need not worry.  Cast your worries unto Him.  He has known the plan this whole time.  I pray that 2013 isn't a year of tears and heartache for us, but one of blessings and healing.  That we will be blessed to have Blakely be a part of our family here on Earth.  I can't imagine what it is like to have a normal experience and being able to bring home your baby.  It seems impossible in a way with these final days are upon us, that everything might be completely fine.  So I am trying to take it all in and love all of these moments with sweet Blakely.  I make sure to rub her little head, talk to her, and play music for her that I can tell she definitely enjoys.  I kind of don't know really how to feel in a way, I am just sort of here going through the motions each day as we wait for the 19th.  I know I ask for prayers so often, but as we prepare for Blakely's arrival we ask for prayers again.  Please pray for Blakely to be blessed with good health and mature working lungs.  Please pray for Whit and I as we wait and prepare.  Your prayers truly humble us and we could never say thank you enough to each of you who still think about our family. 

Matthew 7:7  ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

1 Peter 5:7-9  ”Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Preparing Through Prayer

As the weeks move on, the closer our due date gets, and the more nervous I get.  I just wish I could know how this will turn out.  I am coming to terms that this is out of my hands, that God is in control.  That is obviously something I have always known, but to be reminded how you do not have any control is very humbling.  Humbled is probably the best way to explain how I feel the majority of the time.  All I know to do now is to pray and wait.  My daily prayer is for this baby to be ok, for her to be able to come home, and for Whit and I to get the opportunity to raise a child on Earth.  We have also named this little blessing Blakely Lynn.  Blakely will share her sister's middle name, something we hope will help her feel connected to her older sister, her own guardian angel.  Like Polly, we wanted our second child to also have a unique name, one that you don't here too often.  And we like how they sound together, Polly and Blakely, they sound like sisters already.  :)

I've been going to the doctor weekly this month for extra monitoring.  I've had weekly non-stress tests where they measure the baby's heartbeat and make sure it goes up during movement and down when she is resting.  So far she has performed beautifully and her heartbeat has sounded good.  These tests are about 20 minutes at a time, so I have some peaceful moments to sit and pray and listen to her heartbeat.  I've come to enjoy this bonding time with her despite the reason I am having them done.  They are watching her closely and she is a good size and has remained active, all good signs of a healthy baby.  I will also have 2 or 3 more ultrasounds.  One thing they will look at is if Blakely is practicing breathing.  I've already been able to witness watching her "breath" on an ultrasound and it is such a relieving site.  There is still worry since they checked things like that with Polly, she was obviously doing what she was suppose to and not indicating something was wrong, and that babies don't use their lungs until they are born.  So as you can imagine there is comfort in seeing things progressing and hearing good news, but still a lot of worrying.  I've also read that hiccups are a good sign of lung maturity, that it shows the lungs are developed enough for hiccuping.  I never felt Polly hiccup, which that doesn't mean she never did, it could have been that I just didn't feel them, but last week I felt Blakely hiccup and you would have thought I had won the lottery with how excited that made me.  I made Whit confirm that they were indeed hiccups.  I have to remind myself that there is no guarantee, but you can't be too disappointed with hearing good news and having good signs like that.  I do have one specific worry, which is more of a hurdle than a health concern, but we found out that Blakely is breech.  I am 35 weeks and she is running out of time (and room) to turn around, which means a c-section for me if she stays where she is at.  I had Polly naturally and had an uneventful labor and delivery, our rollercoaster began immediately when she was born.  The thought of surgery scares me.  What if I can't get up and go like the last time?  What if I am less aware of what is going on?  Also babies born via c-section tend to have a higher chance of breathing issues for various reasons, but I also know plenty of babies are born healthy that way.  We just want to have her here safe and healthy and don't care what that takes.  It worries me that she isn't doing what most babies do right now, but then again it doesn't take much to get me worrying.  Worrying is something I pray about daily and is always a constant struggle.

So please pray that Blakely is just doing things on her own timeline (much like her mother) and that she will turn head down and be born the way that is more natural and helpful for her little lungs.  If that doesn't happen, please pray for a safe procedure and for the doctors that will perform it.  Either way we ask for prayers for Blakely and for us.  We know God knows our hearts even better than we do and have continued to rely on Him to give us peace and a calmness as we await little Blakely's arrival.  As always we thank you for thinking of our family.  We truly feel your prayers every single day. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

14 Months

14 months ago our world came crashing down.  We spent our final hours with our baby girl, our only child, our precious Polly who gave us the gift of parenthood.  We had sat by her bedside for a month praying and crying and begging for a miracle. I cannot express into words how it changes you when you are told your child will not live.  As you stare at her and kiss her and hold her, knowing you will never get to touch her again.  Waiting for that moment when the doctor tells you she is gone.  It is a terrible, indescribable pain that changes every single part of you.  And then you are left trying to navigate your world without the child you had prayed and planned for.  To come home to all of her unused items we had carefully picked out, to see the stocked pantry in preparation for staying at home, to see the basket of clean, neatly folded onesies I had washed just days before she was born, and on top of all of it, to see the layer of dust on all of her furniture from us being gone for a month.  Then that's it, the world expects you to just return to normal, but what is normal for us?  Loosing a baby isn't normal.  In fact one thing I've learned is that child loss is a taboo subject, one that most people are not comfortable talking about so they just don't.  It warms our hearts to hear Polly's name or know someone is thinking of her, so it took a lot of getting used to to realize that most people don't want to mention anything.  Usually it is for fear of upsetting us, but that is a huge myth in grief......we are already upset, it isn't like mentioning the baby we lost is suddenly going to remind us of the pain because it is already there.  The pain never goes away, it doesn't dull or "get easier", you just get used to it.  You somehow learn to live with it, which we are still trying to figure out how exactly to do that.  The holidays and celebrations make it a lot harder to handle our grief.  We just try to figure out a way to make it as painless as possible, although there is no getting around the hurt.  I am completely worn out emotionally from all the celebrations that have happened over the past few weeks.  I have been an emotional wreck and just allowing myself to feel all of these emotions and "cry it out" so that I will hopefully have some calmer, more stable days ahead. 

This week I also realized how close I am to my due date.  I will be 33 weeks this week and am getting very nervous about all of this.  I'm scared but will do whatever it takes to bring home this baby.  I can't come home to an empty nursery again.  In the middle of my crying spurts and fearful thoughts, I have felt calmness.  I know this is out of my hands, but that doesn't make it easier.  I am just not prepared to say goodbye to another baby.  I know she won't heal my wounds, but I know she will bring joy to our lives much like she has already.  We are already in love with her.  I am going weekly to the doctor now for extra monitoring as my due date approaches.  I feel like I should be doing something but there isn't anything to do but wait.  Normally you would be washing clothes and preparing a nursery, doing some last minute shopping, etc.  Instead we are preparing by having a game plan with all the medical professionals who will be there that day, to have MCG on stand by in case we need a chopper, and preparing in the event we have to leave our home for weeks again.  That is all we know and although most babies are completely healthy when they are born, we can't have the rug pulled out from under us again.

So 14 months later, at the start of 2013, here is where we are.  We still miss Polly every day, she is our first thought when we wake up and our last when we fall asleep.  I still shower her with kisses and keep fresh flowers by her tiny box.  We still talk to her.  I cry often, more often than you would probably care to know.  The 11th is still a difficult day.  I miss her smell.  There are many things that I am unable to do and events I cannot attend.  We are still trying to learn how to live without her.  I would give absolutely anything to hold her again.  Some days the pain is so bad it makes it hard to breath.  We still sob, cry listening to a song on the radio, and feel our hearts break when we see parents with their baby.  My stomach turns every time I see an ambulance or hear a siren.  I still spend quiet moments in her nursery.  14 months later we have hope too.  Hope for this baby, hope for the future, and we are trying to pray in faith knowing God is in control and will take care of us.  We are not "over it" or doing better or any other way that people try to measure how you are coping.  There is no timeline for grief.  We just take one day at a time because that is the only thing we know how to do.  As we countdown the final weeks before our second daughter arrives, we ask that you remember our family in your prayers.  Please pray for peace and comfort in the weeks ahead for us and for a healthy baby with perfectly working lungs.  Thank you for your prayers.