Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to our sweet Reagan Marie. How we miss you! Enjoy spending your first Christmas with the King. Love, your Mommy and Daddy

Friday, December 24, 2010

Poem-Christmas in Heaven by Wanda Bencke

I see the countless Christmas trees
Around the world below,
With tiny lights like heaven's stars
Reflecting in the snow.

The sight is so spectacular
please wipe away that tear
for I am spending CHRISTMAS

I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so dear
but the sound of music can't compare
with the CHRISTMAS CHOIR up here.

I have no words to tell you
of the JOY their voices bring
for it is beyond description

I know how much you miss me
I see the pain inside your heart
for I am spending CHRISTMAS

I can't tell you of the SPLENDOR
or the PEACE here in this place
Can you just imagine CHRISTMAS
WITH OUR SAVIOR face to face

I'll ask him to lift your spirit
as I tell him of your love
as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful
and let your spirit sing
for I am spending CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
and I’m walking WITH THE KING.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another blessing-Reagan is going to be a big sister!

This announcement maybe a little overdue, since I am now almost 17 weeks along in my second pregnancy. In the third week of September we found out that God had blessed us with another baby. I can't tell you how much joy this has brought us. Joy, along with a bit of anxiety of our rainbow baby. For those of you that don't know a rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.
We've covered some great milestones, making it out of the 1st trimester, getting great results on ultrasounds and tests. However, I know that passing those milestones, doesn't mean that I am bringing a baby home. There is a multitude of things that could go wrong between now and then. I feel especially blessed that I have not had too much anxiety of that possibility. Sadly, I know it is possible because I know of a couple of brokenhearted mamas that have lost several babies. So when you see me, please don't tell that God is going to let me bring this baby home. Only God knows that answer. We appreciate your prayers for our little one due June 1, 2011.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The time in between

Many friends have commented on the fact that I have not posted for awhile. It's not that I don't think of posting. I think of things that I would like to blog about, but I just haven't had the energy. Sure I may walk 4 miles in a day, but to gather my thoughts, write them down and have my heart feel like it's been ripped apart once more is more than I could take right now. Writing has been healing for me and part of me has missed it. The other part of me just doesn't feel having my insides be so raw. I think of Reagan everyday; how it must be like in heaven, what it's like praising God and being filled with joy. I also think about how it would be with her in my arms, how my arms fill so empty, how my heart still hurts so much and how it is learning to live with the pain. This is my new normal.

A month ago today, we said goodbye to our cat Saboo. I had Saboo for almost 13 years. She had been through a lot; five moves, a divorce, two long periods of time when I was in Europe on holiday, a marriage, having to live with a dog (sure Philo is friendly, but he is still a dog), and battling Chronic Renal Failure (kidney disease). Several months back during one of our many trips to the vet, I learned that if I wanted to prolong Saboo's life she would need to receive Sub-Q fluids. This meant that I would either need to bring her into the vet three times a week or learn how to give her the fluids myself. Knowing Saboo's attitude, I didn't think the fluid procedure would go well. I thought she would became a recluse and never come out from under the bed except to take care of business and to eat. Bob and I said lots of prayers and they were answered. It sometimes took some trickery to get a hold of Saboo to give her the fluids, but we managed to do fairly well. I was very thankful.

After Reagan passed, Saboo was quite the companion. She was a true comfort and a great to snuggle with during my many naps. God has great timing and I am thankful that I had Saboo to grieve with. Another friend of mine, also had to put their pet down after losing their child. It's hard to explain the heartache that you feel. Obviously, losing a child is much different than a pet, but it brings the heartache to a whole new fresh level. Feeling the hurt and raw emotions all over again. I wasn't prepared for it. God grace washed over me the days following Saboo's death. I was shocked to see that it had been a month since she passed. I knew she lived a good life and it was her time. A concept I am a little too familiar with.

Thanks for your patience and your prayers.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Advice I would give myself if I had known what I was going to go through

I belong to a support group online for moms or dads carrying to term despite a fatal diagnosis. This group of mostly women have been incredibly helpful. They are supportive, informative, loving, caring and can relate to the heartache of what we have been through or are facing. I would probably be in a padded room somewhere if it weren't for these women.

My heart always aches when a new member joins because it means there is another baby that has a less than one percent chance of making it. I feel relieved that they found the group so that we can offer support, information, and other types of assistance to them. The other day we were asked "Knowing what you know now - if you had the chance to go back in time and give your pregnant self a piece of advice or a tidbit of wisdom, what would it be?"

My first thought was "not to feel guilty; not to feel guilty for the things I didn't do or didn't do enough of." After Reagan's passing I have quickly learned what's like to be envious. Memorabilia envy. We are not talking about the kind of envy when you learn your best friend has an autographed picture of Russell Crowe or owns every movie staring Matthew McConaughey. We are talking about memorabilia that you will never be able to get more of. No more baby pictures, no more foot or hand prints of your precious baby, no more lockets of their beautiful fine hair, no more tiny outfits that they had worn, no more stuffed animals that your baby touched. No more anything.

I quickly learned that I had memorabilia envy when a saw photos of another baby, yet they were in color and the mom had on a regular shirt not a hospital gown. I emailed my photographer and asked her if she could work on a photo or two to see if she could put it in color. Reagan's hand knit dress has beautiful pastels colors in it and I wanted to be able to see the colors in the photo. She said because of Reagan's condition it really was best to have the photos in black and white. By the time the photographer got back to me, I realized that I was envious.

In our group, the soon to be mama has read about the guilt we mamas feel from the things we didn't do. She sees the way we mamas oh and ah over pictures of all the little angels. This soon to be mama doesn't want to feel like she left anything out. I don't blame her.

Here's what else I would do:

Take more photos; during the nine months, during labor, and a million of them after delivery. Have someone in the room just to take photos, so that way your hubby can be holding your hand. Photos of just your baby's ear, head, hand, foot, back, nose, eyes, mouth. Make sure the shots are from every angle, not just from the side.

Talk to your baby out loud. I told Reagan I loved her a million times, but most casual conversations were just thoughts in my head. I wish she had heard my voice more. When I think of her hearing me I think more of me talking directly to her, not me chatting with my mom, Bob or my friends (which I did a lot of that).

Have a blanket or something monogrammed with initials or the baby's name before the baby is born so you can take photos with it.

Don't freak out when the driver of the hearse and/or limo isn't going the direction you think he should be going. Luckily God intervened and told me to chill. It wasn't the best route, but we got there and the service couldn't start until we did. Sorry to those who got lost along the way. Look to see if there are going to be any road closures the day of the service. There was an art show in our town and luckily we did avoid any of the art show traffic.

I was surprised how alone I felt when my hubby stepped away to talk to family in the waiting area or to grab a sandwich from the deli. Have a nurse relay the info or have someone grab him some food. I didn't know I would feel like that until it happened. He didn't leave my side after I told him how I was feeling.

I am really thankful that we did the following:

A private childbirth class. Reagan was our first. I had wanted a non-medicated delivery, plus I wanted to know how to labor. We had the most incredible instructor, who is now our friend. Barbara Negelow with Ready Birth took our situation and made it a joyful experience. She advised me that if I labored with Reagan without medication and being able to rest, that when Reagan was born, I maybe really exhausted and not be able to thoroughly enjoy the time we had with Reagan. I had never thought about the labor as such. I am really glad I had pain medication and an epidural. I was able to rest and be with my daughter and all our visitors throughout the day. I had been awake from 1:30AM until 11:45PM, that's a long day. I also made sure that I was not given any drugs that would make me too sleepy or loopy while delivering Reagan.

A private tour of the hospital. We saw the NICU department and avoided the nurseries.

After delivering Reagan we got those little buttons that say, I'm A Mom, I'm A Dad, I'm A Grandma, I'm A Grandpa. We handed them out to the appropriate family members to wear at the reception after the funeral/burial.

Called NILMDTS for photos. I am so thankful for these photos. They are beautiful and there is not a day that goes by that I don't look at these photos. I have to clean the glass on the frames from the kiss marks I leave.

Bring good tissues; either bring them yourself or have someone bring them. You will not want to use the hospital tissues unless you want a raw red nose.

Bring an eye mask and ear plugs. It's hard enough to sleep in a hospital.

When friends offer to do something, let them. Our church community, friends and family helped us immensely.

Find a point person that is not involved in anything else to be the go to person for your out of town guests. For directions, etc. Have someone print out directions from where guests are staying to the; funeral home, church, cemetery.

I am very thankful that we had Reagan's service planned out before she was born. We didn't have it finalized, but we had songs picked out and had an idea of what we wanted the service to be like. My husband, who is an ordained ministers, wrote the service a week prior to Reagan's birth.

We had all the time we wanted with Reagan. The funeral home didn't pick her up until 10:30PM. We had the gentlemen come in our room to get her. We said a prayer while handing her over. Handing Reagan over was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Don't have the funeral home wash your baby's clothes.

Spend as much time as you want with your baby at the funeral home. We saw Reagan earlier in the day before the visitation. So when we went back that late afternoon, we didn't feel rushed or feel too emotional when greeted with all of our guests.

We had a friend take pictures at the visitation, funeral and burial. Remember there may be pictures you won't want to see now, but may in the future.

I am sure there will be other things that I will remember and include on this list.

Remember most of all, cherish the time you have with your baby; whether in the womb, during the birth, and after. Give your baby all the kisses you can.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Holding Me

There's not been a time through my pregnancy or my grief that I have felt alone. True, I have been surrounded by a wonderful husband, family and friends. However, I am not talking about the absence of being with another person. I am talking about that emptiness that can permeate every single cell of your body. The emptiness I should feel when I think of holding Reagan, kissing her little feet, breathing her in. It's especially in those times that I feel cradled in the arms of Jesus. The same arms that are wrapped around Reagan now.

The lyrics in a song by Plumb, Beautiful History, sing out to me as if Jesus himself were singing to me;

“I am here
I’m holding you
You’ll make it through this
I am here
I am here”

He is here.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grief's ugly side

For several years, more than I like to remember, I have had a problem with anger. Actually the problem wasn't so much anger, but how I handled the anger. Been so angry you could just scream? Well, that would be less harmful than the way I handled it. I threw things, broke things, slammed doors, drove my car too aggressively, and probably spanked the dog a little too hard. I have had to replace way too many cordless phones. I am thankful that iphones cost to much to replace, so I have yet to throw mine.

I knew handling my anger this way was not healthy for my soul or my relationship with God. I knew we, God and I, because we are in this together, had to find a new way. Lots of prayer, lots of deep breathing and becoming a mom changed the way I handled my anger. Although my hormones kept things interesting and heated at times (with myself), carrying a baby in my womb changed my perspective on anger and things that caused me to get angry.

The grieving process has several stages; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. One does not necessarily go through the stages in any particular order nor does one go through all of the stages. Now that I am going through the grieving process I am challenged with the stage of anger. I don't want to feel angry. I have worked really hard to control my anger and to change my perspective on the things that I got angry about. So being told that it's ok to be angry at God is just troubling for me. There have been days when I have questioned the fairness of it all, and asked, "Why me?" I have yet to be really angry. Honestly, I hope I never get there.

I sort of think of the situation as that with my spouse. Sure, he might do something that frustrates me, but when I think of all that he does for me, I feel so blessed that I can't be angry with him. I feel the same way with God. I struggled for years with infertility and God blessed me with a top notch doctor to remedy the issue. God then blessed us with a child. She's now in heaven and not in my arms. As hard as that is, I think of all the people that are closer to God because of Reagan. I remember a priest who would end Mass by saying, "Let us do all for the greater honor and glory of God." That was Reagan's life, for the glory of God.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Time is tricky

Every Tuesday since Reagan was born, I was very aware of when the time was 10:03 AM. Today was the first exception. It's been six weeks since my little Reagan was born. I spent the morning walking with a friend and on the way home I noticed it was a little after nine. Ah, I was in labor six weeks ago I thought. I remembered being anxious and excited. The same kind of feeling as when the roller coaster cart starts edging forward on the track. Away we go, no turning back, and no matter how hard you scream, laugh or cry the ride won't stop and yet, it will always come to an end.

When I realized that 10:03 AM had past I was a bit disappointed that I had missed it. I missed not being able to mark the moment and say a prayer or look at a photo of my little girl. I was also thankful, thankful that for once on a Tuesday at 10:03 AM, I didn't feel like my heart was being ripped out.

Time is tricky. On one hand I want time to go slow so I can easily remember each detail of Reagan's birth and the time she was with us. On the other hand I want time to pass quickly because I know the further down the road I travel, the pain won't feel so fresh. Then again there are days when the pain feels like it all just happened yesterday, not six weeks ago.

I think about how my day would play out if Reagan was here. Running errands wouldn't be as simple or as quick. It takes time to get your little one in and out of a car, so I've heard, not actually experienced. I would be running out of diapers and wipes, instead of tissues. I would be writing out thank you notes for baby gifts, not acknowledgments for attending my daughter's funeral. I would be tired from getting up and feeding Reagan during the middle of the night, not because I can't fall asleep or stay asleep, because the thoughts of losing Reagan won't leave my mind. I would have no time to check Facebook or other emails, instead of having plenty of time to read blogs about other mom's losing their children and how they are handling it. My evenings would be scheduled with dinner, bath, and bedtime for Reagan instead of dinner and a trip to the cemetery. If Reagan was here, I wouldn't be asked when I was going to try to have another child. Who would even think of asking a new mom when she was going to have another child when she has a six week old on her hip? If Reagan were here, I would take her with me to Hallmark to pick out a Father's Day card for her daddy. Instead I will be making him one all by myself.

If Reagan were here she wouldn't be in the loving arms of Jesus. Knowing that Reagan is in His loving arms makes my heart not ache so much.

I'll Be There

"Daddy please don't look so sad, momma please don't cry.
Cause I'm in the arms of Jesus, and he sings me lullabies.
Please try not to question God, don't think he is unkind.
Don't think he sent me to you and then changed his mind.

You see I'm a special child, I am needed up above.
I'm the special gift you gave Him, a product of your love.
I'll always be there with you, so watch the sky at night.
Look for the brightest star and know that's my halo's brilliant light.

You'll see me in the morning frost that mists your window pane.
That's me in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain.
When you feel a gentle breeze from a gentle wind that blows.
Know that it's me planting a kiss upon your nose.

When you see a child playing and your heart feels a tug,
Don't be sad mommy, that's just me giving your heart a hug.
So daddy don't looks so sad and momma please don't cry.
I'm in the arms of Jesus and he sings me lullabies!

~Claudette T. Allen

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reagan's Birth Story-May 4, 2010

Imagine a love so strong that saying hello and goodbye in the same day is worth the sorrow. -Anonymous

We, mostly women, spend a lot time worrying about things we don't need to worry about: the dreaded "what ifs". Statistics show that 89% of what we worry about doesn't even come true.

When Bob and I got back from our "baby moon" in April, the pressure to have decisions made about Reagan's birth plan just seemed to take hold on me. It was eleven weeks until my due date. Eleven weeks to: attend a private child birth class; call Hospice; read and study upon other Trisomy 18 cases; find micro-preemie clothing for Reagan; pick out a plot at the cemetery; talk with the hospital regarding insurance; write our birth plan, and yet; hold on to hope that God might heal her.

I struggled with the "what ifs":
If Reagan comes early what do we do medically?
If Reagan comes to term then what medical decision do we make?
If we have the doctors go to extreme measures, at what point do we stop?
If we put Reagan on a ventilator, then for how long?
If we get to bring her home, what things will we need?
If this, then what?
If that, then what?
If, if, if, if, if.

God had this answer to all those questions. Early Tuesday morning, May 4, I woke up around 1:00 am to use the bathroom, not an unusual occurrence. I figured it would be one of those nights when I was up a couple of times. I just seemed to keep going. I know I drink a lot of water, I carry it wherever I go, but this much was ridiculous! Ever feel like you might fill up the toilet? Or that you could go to sleep while waiting to finish? Well, it was starting to feel like that. After finally finishing and crawling back into bed, it seemed like Reagan moved a bit and perhaps stepped on my bladder. However, that was not the case nor was it my lack of bladder control. My water had broken.

That was the starting point of my denial that I was going into labor. I walked around the house, thinking, This is NOT happening. Please God no. I am not ready. Reagan is not ready. I am not ready to have to say goodbye. I am supposed to have nine more weeks! Nine more weeks for her lungs to develop, nine more weeks for her to get stronger, nine more weeks for her not to belong to the 95% of Trisomy 18 babies that are miscarried or stillborn.

After 20 minutes, my contractions started and my denial quickly turned into acceptance. I woke Bob up, who went straight into "amazing husband" role. He comforted me and suggested that we call the doctor. I am surprised how a simple task could escape my mind. We started timing the contractions; an average of 45 seconds long, every three minutes. Because the contractions, although short, were happening pretty quickly, we decided to get to the hospital. I never packed so fast in my life, especially with a towel between my legs. (For those who don't know, once your water breaks the water doesn't stop coming out).

We quickly drove to Northside Hospital, checked in and proceeded to our room. After changing into the lovely cotton/poly blend, green and blue gown, that accented my eyes, I slid into the soft 500 thread count sheets. Actually, I was in so much pain that I didn't notice how soft or harsh the sheets were or what color the gown was. I just knew that I wanted to be wearing whatever was easier for the nurses to give me a shot of pain killer. You learn things very quickly about yourself when you are in pain. I don't like to be sitting or lying down and I feel much better if my feet aren't covered up by a sheet (too constricting). My birth coach, Barbara Negelow, mentioned that my contractions shouldn't be any more painful than my worst menstrual cramps. Considering those are pretty bad, I already knew I may not be able to handle contractions without pain medication. I didn't want too much though. We were concerned about the side effects of medications. I wanted to be alert when Reagan was born so I could spend every possible moment with her.

Another major concern for me was that some sweet nurse would be-bop into our room all giddy about us having a baby, not realizing Reagan's diagnosis and likely outcome. All that worry, a waste of time. It never happened. The staff at Northside was truly amazing and a blessing, especially considering what we were going through.

Soon after getting settled into our room, I was hooked up to an IV, received pain medication, and was able to relax somewhat. How can you really relax though, when you know that in a few hours you will meet your baby and you just hope she will be alive.

Reagan was hooked up to the heart monitor, and her heart rate had been fairly steady throughout the past several hours. Trisomy 18 babies can have a challenging time during delivery due to heart issues. A couple of hours into labor, her heart rate started to fluctuate, going from 150 bmpm to 60 to 120 and back to 150. I felt so helpless after Reagan's diagnosis and now watching my daughter's heart rate change so rapidly was heartbreaking. As a mom, you want to help your children whether they are in your arms or in your womb. There was nothing I could do but pray. And now, I felt like I was pleading with God. Please don't let my daughter suffer or feel any pain, and please Lord, let us be able to spend some time with her alive. Please God, don't let her die before we meet her.

God answered our prayer. He answered with 21 minutes. After a few pushes, Reagan Marie was born at 10:03am on May 4, 2010. She made a few little sounds-- sounds that I can't put into words, sounds I will never forget hearing, and would love to hear again. The doctor put Reagan on my chest where we were able to warm and comfort her in her new temporary world. She was so beautiful and although tiny she seemed bigger than I thought she would be. I held her and told her how much we loved her over and over and over. So much joy and love we felt. What an incredible gift from God. We were in awe.

Bob asked the doctor, "How long to do think we have?" He said, "I'm not sure, minutes, hours maybe."

After I held Reagan for several minutes, I wanted Bob to hold her. The nurse cleaned Reagan up a bit, swaddled her, and gave her to her daddy. How precious to me are the memories of seeing Bob hold his daughter for the very first time, so gentle, yet so secure.
While Bob was holding her one of the nurses came in to check Reagan's heart rate. She pulled away the baby blanket swaddled around Reagan and put the stethoscope on her chest.

She said, "I don't hear a heart beat". She then looked at the clock and gave the time of death, 10:24 am.

As she left the room, Bob stood and brought Reagan to me and at that same time, in my mind, I saw a picture of Jesus kneeling with arms open wide. Jesus's expression was one of longing for Reagan to come to Him, for His child to come home and be with Him in the heavenly kingdom. That picture was a gift from God that He didn't have to give me. The comfort that the picture of Jesus waiting for Reagan brought me was overwhelming. Jesus was now taking care of our little Reagan.

The 21 minutes that she was with us, all she knew was the warmth and love we gave her. She got to hear our voices outside of the womb, to hear her mommy and daddy tell her over and over how much we loved her and how beautiful she was. It hasn't been until now, nearly four weeks later, that I have actually thought about the fact that our little girl died right in our arms. The morning was so peaceful, her transitioning from my womb into this world and our arms, and then into the heavenly kingdom. I am so thankful for what God had for her on earth: meeting us, with no suffering, no pain, only love.

We wanted to have her measurements taken and to give Reagan a bath. Reagan measured 13 1/2" long, 1lb 12 oz. Her daddy lovingly gave Reagan her first and only bath. He took such care of his little girl.

Our nurse brought in an outfit that had been donated to the perinatal loss office. It was the cutest multicolored hand-knit dress and hat. The dress fit Reagan perfectly, which I shouldn't have been surprised. For weeks I had looked online to purchase some outfits for Reagan and couldn't decide which ones. God once again answered another prayer by having the perfect outfit for Reagan.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all He has done. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

We wish God had healed Reagan and that she could be here with us on earth for a longer period of time. Instead she is healed and in heaven rejoicing. What a beautiful picture, our little girl with so many other loved ones in heaven worshiping and praising God.

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Rev 4:8

The rest of our day was blessed with visitors, which I will write about in another post, "Our day with Reagan."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scripture that blesses twice

During my pregnancy I didn't have the unusual food cravings that most women have. Instead, I developed a craving for really long hot showers. I am positive that our water bill increased by 15% during my pregnancy. Sorry, dear. I am thankful we weren't on some kind of water restriction, because the hormones would have me talking to the city officials.

In our bathroom, in view from the shower, we have a plaque that says:

Love never fails

Those words you hear often at a wedding ceremony, taken from 1 Corinthians 13. Wonderful words to reminisce and focus on in a marriage. So often when giving into my long hot shower craving, I would focus on the plaque reading those words and how they related to my relationship with my unborn daughter.

Love always PROTECTS, I will not terminate my pregnancy.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward. Psalm 127:3

Love always TRUSTS, I will trust that God will only do things that will glorify Him.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5

Love always HOPES, I will continue to hope for healing for Reagan here on earth or in heaven.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Love always PERSEVERES, I will continue to protect, trust, hope and love Reagan.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

The long hot showers may have ended but my thoughts of Reagan continue when I see this plaque. How nice it was that God gave me a daily reminder of what He was entrusting me to do.

Love never fails, never...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bedtime Stories

A month or so before Reagan was born I stopped at Barnes & Noble and picked up a few childrens books. I bought My Story Bible, On the Night You Were Born and God Gave Us You. I knew I probably wouldn't be given the chance to tuck her in her own crib and read her a story before going to sleep. My only opportunity would be to read to her before she was born. So many times I would sit in the glider in her room reading to her. Rarely could I make it through a book without crying. I hoped she could hear me whispering the words to her because sometimes it was just to hard to read them out loud.

Reagan's footprints are printed on the inside cover of God Gave Us You. It's such a tender story of a baby bear and how the bear came to be. To us it's a gentle reminder how God blessed us with Reagan, God chose us specifically to be her parents. I still love to read this book whether at home or at Reagan's grave site. Such joy there is to open this book at see her little footprints. Those footprints say to me, she was here. We will never have the opportunity to take more pictures, create more memories with her (until we join her in heaven). All we have is what we have already experienced. God gave us Reagan, to protect her, to love her, and to give her back. Although our story has lots of suffering and heartache, it has a very happy ending.

We miss and love you our sweet Reagan.

1 Thessalonians 3:6
But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reagan's Celebration of Life Service

Some events are hard to plan because you want everything to be perfect down to the very last detail. When that event is your daughter's funeral it's even harder because now your planning in the midst of tears and heartache. After Reagan's diagnosis we gathered thoughts, ideas on what to do to honor our sweet daughter. Perhaps to the outsider there may have been things that didn't seem perfect, but to us her parents, it couldn't have been better. We could not have had such a beautiful service if it had not been for the hard work of our church family and friends. We thank you for all that you have done. We wish Reagan could have know you in this earthly life, but we have hope that she will know you in eternal life.

To listen to the service, you can listen/download here,

If you would like a copy of the service (that includes songs in there entirety) please let me know.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

For so many years, I struggled to get through mother's day because I so desperately wanted to be a mother and wasn't. It was that horrible feeling just like single people feel on Valentine's Day, chalking it up to a stupid Hallmark money making holiday. Five years ago I became a Godmother to J.P. I was then somewhat relieved to belong to the "mother" category, but still felt that I was sliding into the category, like passing a test because it was graded on a curve.

For many years I knew of the deep pain that women feel who want that blessing from God and don't receive it. People that haven't walked that path just don't know how it hard it is, so be surrounded by a society that oozes parenthood. I didn't join our neighborhood women's group, I loathed being around parents that complained about the nuisances of being a parent and I bit my tongue when people asked when we were going to have children. Being newly married, people just think it's the next natural step, as if that decision was as easy as ordering take out. Yes, I will have one child, female, cute as a button, smart and well behaved. Thank you.

When we conceived Reagan last October, I was in awe. God made me a mother, he blessed us with a child. In January I had a scare, I had some light bleeding. While driving to the doctor, I praised God for making me a mom. God didn't have to bless me with a child, but He did. I would ALWAYS be a mom regardless of the outcome.

This Mother's day was different than any other I ever experienced. I had breakfast with my mom, my stepmom and my mother-in-law. Three moms that wanted to take away every ounce of pain I was experiencing. My husband, who is such a romantic, made sure that I had a beautiful Mother's day card and gift, the perfect gift. I received a heart shaped charm necklace that reads, You are always in my heart, and on the back it reads, Reagan Marie May 4, 2010. Receiving this engraved necklace in time for Mother's day is a wonderful story that I will share soon.

My Mother's day wouldn't have been complete without visiting Reagan at Arlington. Her flowers brightened and covered the fresh laid sod. Small pieces of Georgia red clay sprinkled the area reminding all that the grave was recently dug. The gentle breeze spread the sweet fragrance of her flowers all around us as we sat next to her grave reading scripture. It's amazing how grief overtakes me one minute, so much so that I don't even recognize the sound of my sobbing. I have never felt this much pain. Not only are my arms empty, so is my womb. The next minute I am amazed how peace and joy fill every ounce of my body. I have never been so dependent on God's promises. It's God's promises that make it possible to have hope. Knowing that our sweet little Reagan is praising God and resting in the heavens is truly the best gift, a gift that I receive everyday.

To all the moms, Happy Mother's Day. To all the women that pray to become mothers, I pray that God blesses you with children and I pray the God comforts and strengthens you if He doesn't. To all the moms who have lost children, in the womb or after, I weep with you and pray for God to comfort you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fields of Joy

The sun is rising and my heart aches with tremendous sorrow yet my heart is filled with unbelievable joy. Today is the day we will bury our Daughter, Reagan Marie. Although I have never heard Reagan laugh, I walked into her room this morning and heard a child's giggle. How can I let my heart ache so much when God gives me such comfort?
There have been so many little and big gifts from God this week. He continues to strengthen me and wow me.
As our journey continues I reflect back on who I was before February 18 (the day we found out we were having a little girl and that she would need God's healing hand) and the person I am now. I also reflect on how God gave us and continues to give us the strength and grace we need.

We love you our sweet little Reagan. You have touched so many lives, your life in my womb, the precious 21 minutes we had with you and now in the arms of Jesus. The outpouring of love for you is unmeasurable. We are so proud of you and greatly honored to be your parents. Thank you God for choosing us!

Our little angel is playing in the fields of joy in heaven, giggling away.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Our Reagan is in Heaven

I can't begin to describe the sorrow I feel that our Reagan is no longer with us. I can't begin to describe the joy I feel knowing she is with our Lord and Savior. Jesus welcoming her with open arms.
Our sweet Reagan was born on May 4 at 10:03 am, we had 21 most precious minutes with her, until 10:24am.

Please see the following link for visitation and memorial service. It should be updated by Thursday morning.

Visitation will be Friday, May 7, from 6-8 PM at H. M. Patterson Funeral Home, 4550 Peachtree Road Northeast, Atlanta. At Dunwoody Community Church, a Memorial Service celebrating the life of Reagan Marie Baima will begin at her birth time, 10:03 AM, Saturday, May 8. Following the service and internment, a reception for family and friends will be held at Dunwoody Community Church.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Feeling the life within me

A few weeks after Reagan was diagnosed, one of my prayers was that Bob would be able to feel her kick, really kick. Reagan is usually really active around my bed time and around 3am. Two time frames that probably aren't the best to get a loving spouse to patiently wait for the next kick. Well, things have changed in the past couple of weeks, Reagan will kick or move upon hearing Bob's voice (when he talking to my belly) and several times throughout the day. Kicking enough that Bob only has to wait a few seconds and pow! It's such a blessing to see the smile on his face and the look in his eyes to feel his daughter connecting with him. Thank you God for these wonderful blessings!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is it too much to ask?

From the outside appearance, I look like the average third trimester pregnant lady. I get the questions of when are you due, what are you having? Other moms, who I don't know, saying "oh, you have prom to look forward to and her wedding." It's really hard to just to keep smiling and say yes, that will be great. Some days I just don't have the energy to tell them that I will be lucky if my little girl makes it to term or how over the top I will feel if I get to take her home. I haven't even given it a thought about Reagan going to prom or getting married, my thoughts are just about her making it one more day. Although they don't know of Reagan's diagnosis, I must say it's nice that women share in the excitement of a woman being pregnant.
What's not so nice is when you go your regular OB doctors office and meet a new doctor and for some reason they haven't bothered to look at your chart, so they have no idea that our daughter has a fatal diagnosis. So they go along with the usual heart rate check (where hearing her heart beat is music to my ears and I that I am so fearful of the day that I don't hear it) along with measurement of my growing tummy (where I am normal according to the chart, but since the Doctor hasn't read my chart she doesn't realize that Reagan is two weeks behind in growth and that I am on the high side of normal for excess amniotic fluid). So for this Dr. everything seems great until I ask her if she has read my chart and if she is aware of Reagan having Trisomy 18. No, she answers. I then proceed to inform her what she should have already read.
Going to the doctors office is one place that I feel like I shouldn't have to explain everything over and over. It should be a safe place, a place where I don't have to pretend that everything is great. They should realize how hard it is to sit in a room full of pregnant women who are busy planning their child's nursery. They should know that I am not having a tough time choosing which shade of pink to decorate the nursery but instead choosing which dress I would want Reagan to wear for her funeral.
I am not asking them for sympathy, I am simply asking them to know my medical history, our daughter's diagnosis and to have a bit of compassion to what we are going through. Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Maternity Photos

Some of our maternity photos are on Oana's blog. Wow, not only does she have extreme talent, she's a joy to work with. If you are in need of an updated family photo, give her a call.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lastest Doctor's Apt.

Time flies, already I am 28 weeks pregnant and several weeks have past since I have posted anything. I realized two days ago that I have just been wanting everything to be "fine" and that my "fine" may just be of a different reality and that God will prepare me for it.
Our last doctor's visit was April 8, to see Dr. Trevett the perinatal specialist. It's always so special to see Reagan moving on the u/s screen. Our little girl just dances around. Although that might a bit frustrating for the tech to be able get accurate readings, it's a blessing that she is so active. Reagan is growing, so is mommy. If you haven't seen me in a while, then you will be quite surprised how I have grown. Part of that is due to that I am on the high side of normal for amniotic fluid. A common side effect from Trisomy 18. So we are praying that I stay within normal ranges and/or that having extra fluid doesn't cause any issues (pre-term labor). Draining the excess fluid would be too risky for Reagan and me.
I am constantly amazed at medical technology and how they are able to get an approximately weight for Reagan. She is weighing in at 1 lb and 10 oz. She is growing which is a blessing.
Starting at 30 weeks we will start to visit the dr. every week, some weeks for ultrasounds and other weeks for regular check ups. I passed the glucose test, so I can have donuts for breakfast. YEAH! Thinking that will only happen about once a month, if that. Besides Krisy Kreme is 17 minutes from my house.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

James 5:14

"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord."

Today my husband, Reagan and I had the pleasure of being prayed over and anointed with oil by the elders of Dunwoody Community Church. Over the past couple of months we have been prayed over by our wonderful small group and by a healing prayer group at another church. Each time has been special and a blessing in it's own unique way. To have our elders, who we put such trust in, those that listen and follow God to now follow the words of Jesus as it is written in James.
The prayer of each elder strengthened us, warmed us and brought us renewed hope.

We were also reminded of God's creation, Elder Bob brought in a Camellia flower, bright pink with brilliant green leaves, God's beauty in nature. Bob said how each living thing that God creates is perfect. Whether it's a flower, or an infant in the womb, it's all God's perfect creation.

I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! Psalm 139:13-14

Although it's hard to always remember, but it brings such peace that God has everything under control. He doesn't need my help and it actually makes it easier for me if I just let go and let God.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A lovely day

Three weeks ago I was worried that Reagan wouldn't make it to today. Thank you God, for not just another day with Reagan, but the twenty eight days since Reagan's diagnoses. In my search online for support with Trisomy 18, I found out about a great program called, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
I contacted one of their photographers, Oana Hogrefe, to set up a maternity photo shoot. I spent the last week praying for good weather. God answered my prayer. It was sunny and beautiful. Our good friend, David, let us use his backyard. He has spent several years building waterfalls, and gardens, it's a true escape.
We just had a fabulous time being photographed. I truly enjoyed being able to capture this time in our lives, now 6 months pregnant. Besides what other time can a girl get her picture taken without her sucking in her tummy.
Oana is so very talented, always checking for the best lighting and best place for her to take the shot. Very creative too! Check out her work and you will see what I mean,
Thanks Oana for making today such a great memory. We are blessed to know you.

Beauty... is the shadow of God on the universe ~Gabriela Mistral

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gliding away into Peaceville

When I was much younger and we used to visit Grandma and Grandpa Bouslog, we would sit outside on their glider. The glider was a combination of green and rust colored metal and it was either freeze your buns cold or burn your buns hot. Of course my feet couldn't touch the floor so it was up to an adult to make sure it would glide, back and forth. I just loved it. I am sure in my mom's pile of pictures we could find a picture of me sitting on it. There are lots of things I remember about visiting my Grandparents, but remembering the times on the glider brings back such great memories.

A couple of months ago (before Reagan's diagnoses) when my friend, Kristine and I were at Baby's R Us, she was showing me what I should register for; the must haves. I was feeling quite overwhelmed until we came upon the row of gliders, happiness sank in. I was thankful that they didn't have any metal green gliders, but ones made of wood with comfy cushions. There are even pockets to stash stuff, so when I lose my iphone, remind me to look there. Since my legs still seem to dangle depending on where I sit, there's an ottoman, so I will be able to operate the glider back and forth myself. I felt like Goldie Locks testing each one out until I could find the one that was just right.

Then came along the unpleasant chapter in my fairy tale, Reagan's Trisomy 18 diagnoses. Struggling to find peace and tranquility, I decided that I wanted to go ahead and purchase a glider. I had recalled the peace that I felt when I sat in the glider at the store and when I was a child at Grandma's and knew that I wanted to create that peace while sitting in Reagan's room. Kristine knew that I need that peace too and to our surprise she and our small group gave Bob and I the glider I had picked out. Their generosity and thoughtfulness warms my heart. I give thanks to them every time I sit in the glider. We are also thankful there were only six bolts needed for a quick and easy assembly. I hope they know the peace it brings to me, rocking my baby, reading to her, praying for her. Having hope that one I will do all those same things but, have her in my arms instead.

If one falls down,
his friend can help him up. Eccl. 4:10

Monday, March 22, 2010

When every day has tears....

I have cried every day since February 18. For so many reasons I have cried; sadness that our little girl was diagnosed with a fatal chromosome disorder, having to meet with a funeral director instead of picking out paint colors for Reagan's room, knowing that our Christmas card probably won't be a picture of Reagan sitting on Santas' lap, and realizing that the firsts we want to celebrate with her we may not be given the chance. Then there are days that my tears are tears of joy. The day when our small group laid hands on us and prayed for Reagan, the day when we went to a healing prayer service at Riverstone church and that the musicians played our favorite song. We were also given a watercolor painting of Reagan praising God in my womb. What a joy is it to imagine our child praising our Glorious and Sovereign Lord. The tears even came yesterday at church when we were singing 'How Great is Our God' knowing that our wonderful God is listening to our prayers and the prayers said on Reagan's behalf. Knowing and trusting that the Lord Our God has an amazing plan for us...

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, March 19, 2010

Seeing our little Reagan on the big screen-24 weeks

It's been a month, a really long month, since we've seen Reagan on an ultrasound. I have felt her moving around quite a bit in the past several days, so I knew that she was doing fine. Still there was something just so relieving seeing and hearing her heartbeat and seeing her move around. That little girl of ours can't be still. I cherish each movement I feel, even the ones at 3am. Reagan is growing, that is evident by the size of my expanding tummy. She's still measuring a couple of weeks behind and we can still see that her heart has a VSD (Ventricular septal defect, a hole in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart). The miracle that we've been praying for that God would heal her here on earth hasn't happened, but we still have hope that it will. Meanwhile, God gives us little miracles; feeling her kick, giving us another day with her, seeing that she is growing. I am thankful that God trusted us to protect her and love her.

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1-2