Monday, January 20, 2014

Remembering (unedited)

It has been a long time since I have sat down to write.  I've wanted to, I've been thinking about it, but couldn't figure out exactly what to write.  Here we are, in 2014, starting our third year without Polly.  We've been through 2 rounds of "Polly dates" and also 3 holiday seasons without her.  Has it been that long?  It seems like only yesterday, we were getting ready for her arrival.  Thinking that the only thing we would have to worry about would be if we knew how to buckle her in the carseat.  I remember having Whit put the carseat in my car a few weeks before. I remember driving around town and I would glance back at it, imaging it holding our sweet Polly.  Wondering what it would be like to have a little passenger heading to the store with me.  I can effortlessly take myself back to those days and then to the days we were in the NICU.  The days that were both blessings and the worst of our lives all wrapped together.  I still struggle with the question "why?".  Why our baby?  What did I do wrong?  Was it the time I slipped on the steps at 12 weeks?  Or the time I was around second-hand smoke?  I asked our nurses how and why, they always assured me it was not my fault.  Your job as a mother, and as a parent, is to instinctively protect your children, something I had already failed at.  Despite the heartache, stress, lack of sleep, recovering from delivery, and all the emotions coursing through me, I would go back in a heartbeat to see Polly again.  To rub her tiny back, something that the nurses said she loved.  To read stories to her over and over.  To hold her on that wonderful day that a nurse gave me the chance to cuddle for hours.  I will never forget it.  Still, as time goes on, I do struggle daily with my broken heart.  Yes, Blakely has been such a blessing.  A true rainbow for us and brings us smiles every day.  But my heart aches to get to hold her sister too.  I wish she could know her sister here.  I also struggle with how society puts a limit on grieving.  Please know and don't ever doubt that I am not over this.  You are never over the death of your child.  But I can tell many are used to our story.  The sensitivity that was there in the early weeks and months has lessened.  The world keeps turning, other life experiences happen, and most don't realize what it is like to go on living without our precious child.  The ones who changed your life forever.  You can't go back to who you were, you can't figure out who you are becoming.  Each day is a test, a struggle, to find a new type of normal.  I still feel anxious when meeting new people.  Will they ask the same question of "how many children do you have"?  And how do you answer?  Is it worth it to tell them the truth?  Will they understand?  Will they become uncomfortable?  I have 2 children, not 1 and that is the truth.  That is the honest truth.  I brought 2 beautiful girls into this world, but God needed one of them much too soon.  Polly is a part of our family too. 

The day Polly became an angel will forever be etched in my mind.  I can't look at November 11th, or even that entire month, and not feel an overwhelming sense of sadness.  The night before, we got some terrible news from the neurologist.  She said she hoped for better news for us, but for now they were not expecting her to wake up.  I remember not believing her.  I thought she just didn't know how strong my girl really is, that Polly would show her.  She had handled 2 ECMO machines almost the max amount of time and succeeded in coming off of them.  She had tolerated me holding her for hours, singing to her, and even having sponge baths.  She had used been on both types of ventilators.  She was a fighter.   I remember going to eat that night, just Whit and I since our family had left.  It was the first time we were really alone.  He thought the same too, we had heard bad news before, Polly did the incredible of coming off ECMO, she can beat this too.  I remember going to sleep, dreaming of bringing her home.

The next morning, we awoke to our phone going off.   It was a nervous nurse telling us we needed to get to the hospital.  I remember seeing it was 7:30am and knowing that this is right in the middle of the time the nurses changed shifts.  Why would they be calling now?  We couldn't even call in to check on the babies then because of the change over.  I remember starting to panic as it started to sink in what might be happening.  Please God, not us, not our baby girl!  She is our life!  I remember sobbing as Whit frantically drove to the hospital.  We were only a few miles away but it took an eternity.  I remember the phone ringing again, this time asking if we were close and telling us to not scrub up, to come in immediately.  I remember how it felt to hear those words, this was serious, this was it.  We couldn't get there fast enough.  I remember screaming at Whit as he got off the phone through sobs asking if she was gone.  She wasn't, but what we didn't know at the time is they had just revived her for a second time.  It was getting worse.

I remember being dropped off at the closest door so one of us could get to her as quickly as possible.  I remember running into the elevator which was filled with doctors and nurses, holding their coffees, ready to start their day.  One lady in particular looked at me and she just knew.  I saw sympathy in her eyes as I sobbed and trembled all over.  She knew that look in a mothers eye, I didn't even have to say anything.  I remember running, literally running, into the NICU.  I remember seeing Polly's room, filled with doctors and NICU staff.  All watching and starring at the monitor.  I don't even know how he said it, but I remember hearing the words from that doctor that she would not make it.  I remember Whit running in and me sobbing and rocking myself in the chair next to Polly.  All the while seeing numbers on her stats that we had never seen before and seeing the support of the machines at their max.  There was nothing else they could do.  I remember our sweet ECMO nurse Carmen, who we hadn't seen in almost 2 weeks, having a hunch and coming to visit Polly that morning.  I looked up and she was running to me, arms stretched and let me cry on her shoulder.  I remember how helpless it felt to sit and wait, to know we would have to make a decision no parent wants to make.  I remember calling first my mom and then my in-laws to tell them the news.  I didn't even have the words to convey what was happening.  I couldn't tell them she will die, it just isn't in a mother's vocabulary.  I remember Whit, tears-streaming, stepping out of the room to make a phone call and minutes later the hospital pastor came in to ask if he could baptize Polly.  This was not how I envisioned such an important life moment for her.  I remember watching him gently cup his hands in her room sink, blessing the water, and baptizing Polly, all while we watched at her bedside.  It was such a peaceful moment, despite the circumstances.  I remember feeling grateful for him.  I will never forget the hours of holding her, snuggling her in the blanket a dear friend had sent her that was blessed by his church.  I remember the staff taking pictures for us, although we never asked and at the time I was confused as to why.  Those pictures we cherish now, they are our special pictures.

I remember two very special doctors being there for us when they didn't have to be, one was not even working that day.  I remember them hugging us and telling us we are good parents and that turning off life support is a christian decision.  I remember them telling us she was not in any pain.  I remember the many nurses coming in one at a time to say goodbye, to hug us, and to say they were sorry.  I remember the nurse who was watching her that morning crying to me and apologizing, she didn't know what happened, and I told her it wasn't her fault.  I remember knowing the time was coming and watching these two doctors, the pastor, and several of Polly's nurses and fellows holding hands around us and praying for Polly.   I remember when they turned off the machine and she was gone in an instant.  I remember how silent the room was without any monitors beeping, any machines running, only silence.  I remember when the doctor said she was gone and the sobs and cries that came out of us.  It was unrecognizable.  I remember how different Polly felt without being attached to wires.  We got to change her diaper, bath her, make her footprints and handprints in clay, and dress her in a special christening gown that one of the doctors had given her.  One only for special babies she said.  I remember Carmen asking if she could hold her and how touched I was by that.  I remember us crying over her little fingers and toes, her perfect tiny body that was half Whit and half me.

Then I remember it was time to go, but we couldn't leave her.  I remember Whit insisting on carrying her.  We were escorted by Carmen and the pastor through the back of hospital, out of plain site.  I remember the workers stopping what they were doing and solemnly watching, knowing why we were there.  I remember thinking we were walking so very fast, I didn't want to go so fast.  The thought crossed my mind of grabbing my baby and running away with her.  I remember when we reached the door and Carmen turning around telling us she would take her.  I remember kissing her a million times and wanting to do so a million more, especially on her little lips.  I remember the feeling of my heart being ripped out of my chest as they carried her away.  I know Carmen was protecting us, we did not need to see behind that door.  I remember Whit throwing his hands up at the sky and crying out to God and me just holding him and crying also.  It seemed like we were there for hours.  I remember going to collect her things and getting hugs from the staff.  They were telling us they would never forget Polly and that she had changed their lives.  I remember what it felt like to walk out of the NICU for the last time, but not with our child in our arms.  Then I remember the numbness setting in.  I remember crying all over the items we had been able to bring back with us that night, and holding each other.  I remember smelling her sweet scent on the only onesie that hadn't been washed yet and then waking up and the scent was gone.  I remember the emptiness.  We went to the annual memorial at the hospital that happened to be the next day.  Many of Polly's nurses came to pay their respects.  I remember the surreal moments of being in that room with other families who had lost children.  We were a part of this terrible club that no parent wants or ever imagines they will be in.

I remember what life was like before loss.  Before grief was an ever prominent part of our lives.  I remember the hope of having children and the feelings of joy as we waited for our first.  I remember the day I found out we would be parents, Jan 25th will be 3 years.  I remember the hopeless feeling of loss and then joy and tears of finding out we would be parents again.  I remember Feb. 19th and the relief I felt when I heard a screaming baby, even before the doctors announced she was here.  I remember worrying I could never love another, but discovering God gives special places in your heart for all of your children.  Although we hurt deeply ever day still, we also have hope and joy through the blessings God continues to give us.  I am proud of who I've become and how my sweet girls have changed my life.  I would not replace being their mother for anything.

I remember, I don't ever want to forget.

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.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I have prayed for God to give me grace so much lately.  Literally every day I say something along those lines, whether it is for me to handle insensitive comments, or deal with the realization that Polly is not here, or for me to be gracious and enjoy these calm moments of pregnancy instead of worrying all the time, or grace to just make it through the day.  I pray for that a lot because I struggle a lot.  We both do.  Something hit me today that really struck me and I felt the need to share.  Whit has been listening to a Christian talk station and has found a few pastors really encouraging.  We talk about the things he has heard often and they have become a great way for us to grow in our relationship with the Lord.  Whit borrowed my car and left the station on this morning (I'm sure God planned that), so today when I was running errands and wasn't paying attention to the radio.  I heard the announcer say something about kids, which caught my attention.    They were interviewing a couple, the man was a pastor, who was telling a story of a tragedy, although I didn't know what happened yet but knew kids were involved, it got my attention.  Their tragic day happened in 1994 outside of Milwaukee and the family was traveling to celebrate 2 of their children's birthdays at one of their older son's houses.  This couple had 9 children, 3 were grown and the other 6 were in the car ages 6 weeks to 11 years old.  They were traveling on the interstate when suddenly there was a large piece of metal in the road, the husband tried to steer out of the way but it was too late and the van struck the metal which made the gas tank explode and the entire car burst into flames.  They lost all 6 children who were in the car.  The father said that they get asked a lot "when did you realize what had happened, that they were all gone?" and his answer is "in about 30 seconds".  It was at that instant as his wife and himself stared at the car that was engulfed in flames.  I of course am crying so hard as I hear this story at this point.  I can't even imagine.  And here they are, almost 20 years later talking about their faith and how they were strengthened that day through this tragedy.  The father is a minister and one of the first things he said, moments after this happened, was that "God had prepared them for this".  He said he didn't know why he said that to his wife, but that calmed her as they took in what had just happened.  And they didn't turn away from God because of this horrible tragedy and rejoice knowing their children are with the Lord.  I would have been in elementary school in 1994, and here I am being touched by their story and in a way able to relate.  It made me realize something, that I need to focus more on my walk with God than on the grief that can so easily overtake you.  It is much easier to lay in bed and cry all day about Polly being gone than having to get up and face the world and there are many days that I want to just cry in bed.  But I have to realize that instead of asking God why did this happen, that I have to understand (and it brings me to tears to think this) that God wasn't doing something TO us, but He CHOSE us to be Polly's parents.  And that for Polly's little sister, we pray she is ok and healthy and will be able to be part of our family on Earth, but He also chose us to be her parents too.  I can't know what her purpose will be and I can't focus on the fact that this can happen again because it can.  I choose to focus on the fact that God picked us on purpose and we are blessed to say we are Polly's parents instead of looking at ourselves as "that couple who lost their child".  These are all ideas that have crossed my mind but I finally really realized that today.  God isn't mean, didn't do something terrible to us, He chose us out of the billions of people in the world to be Polly's parents, her biggest fans.  I just had it on my heart to share such a huge story about this family and that I believe in my heart that like that couple's children, Polly had a purpose which she fulfilled in a mere month.  And we are very proud to say we are her parents.

2012 has been a difficult year to say the least and although the intense feelings of grief have either dulled slightly or we've figured out how to manage them better (or both), we do have hope for 2013.  Hope in this sweet child in my belly who will be here before we know it.  Below is a link to the story I was telling you about.  It is very tragic and heartbreaking, I can't read it without crying, but it is worth it and you will gain something from it.  There is even a sermon from the father at the bottom.  Thank you for not forgetting Polly and for praying for us and her sister.  We are 30 weeks this week and praying for grace yet again, this time for the grace to get through the last 10 weeks of this pregnancy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Holidays

As Christmas gets closer I find I am missing Polly more and more.  I had always had such vivid dreams of what we would do on her first Thanksgiving and Christmas and I never could have imagined she would not live long enough to enjoy those holidays.  After going through one round of holidays without her you would think we would have a better grasp on things and can handle it better the second go around.  I am finding it very difficult.  Thanksgiving I got through but Christmas is big.  Such a huge and important holiday.  I should be buying gifts for a 14 month old and making those holiday memories with my tiny family.  Instead we have a huge hole in our hearts.  I've thought about sponsoring a child that is Polly's age each year to buy presents for, but this year I just can't do that.  It is too painful to look at all of the little baby items, I've pushed most of the baby stuff out of my mind to help me cope.  The holidays are going to be tough especially because both of our birthdays are around them, Whit's being before Christmas and mine shortly after.  There is a lot of celebrating and we honestly can't jump into celebrations like we used to.  Our hearts are so tender and sad without having our little blessing here to celebrate with.  I've gone back and forth about buying a stocking for this baby, but have ultimately decided to wait since we don't have a name for her yet.  I bought Polly's stocking the day before I had her, knowing exactly what she would be called and even though I had 2 months until Christmas I just had to go ahead and order it.  I have 2 months left in my pregnancy and I just can't bring myself to plan ahead that far, although that isn't a lot of time.  So this year we are having to do things differently just to make it through.  Christmas is still my favorite time of year, but you can imagine the heartache that comes along with it.  There is nothing we can do to make that pain go away, but we are trying to focus on the meaning of Christmas this year, instead of how we should divide up our gift list to our family members.  I've also felt God trying to reach out to me lately.  Sometimes I feel so distant, even from God, but I know it is only because I have blinders on and don't take time to listen like I used to.  But I think I have just felt lost and alone but lately, one after the other, I've heard or read things that have said basically that God knows your heart and He knows your pain.  He understands when others don't.  And He loves me, He hasn't forgotten about us although I honestly wonder that sometimes.  People get busy with their own lives and I imagine God gets busy because He is God, but I've reminded myself that God knows everything and  has never left me.  So just working on my faith and with the emotional rollercoaster that is missing Polly, being pregnant and praying for this child, and for the upcoming handling the Christmas season.  And as far as an update on our rainbow, there really isn't much.  This pregnancy has been just as uneventful as my pregnancy with Polly.  I even had to do the 4 hour re-test for diabetes and passed the second go round, which also happened with Polly.  We are in our third trimester now and starting to realize, which may sound silly, but that this is really happening.  That our second daughter will be born in February.  We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.  I am getting more attention while out in public, which I try to shy away from the chit-chat questions I get.  It is hard to answer them when the person asking doesn't know where we've been, doesn't know the heartache we've dealt with, and that we have learned that just because you see someone pregnant out and about doesn't mean everything is going to work out.  But I am so thankful for everything being smooth sailing, it is just eerie how similar both pregnancies have been.  I pray history doesn't repeat itself and that next year we will have a child to share the holidays with.  Missing Polly today and always.