Archive for the ‘Our Parents’ Journal’ Category

Baby Starr Never Forgotten

My little angel was brought into this world on Jan. 24, 2005 and passed on April 12, 2005. Saphfyrre Starr passed in her sleep, perfectly healthy, nobody knew how and why it happened. Only God knows. The short period of time that she was here… she touched many lives. There is not a moment or a day that goes by without knowing she was present. We celebrate her life everyday! My oldest daughter is now 11 and talks about her baby sister to everyone! Words will never explain the pain, but knowing we’re not alone in this big world is very comforting.

Evan James McAlister

It was the year of our daughters 2 birthday and we thought that now is the time for extending our family. A good 3 years between our children would be perfect. Well, nearly a year later and numerous negative pregnancy tests, we talked with our OB and decided that we needed medical help to get us to pregnancy. The process was frustrating and heartbreaking. Prescription clomid was the first choice, then it went to artificial insemination. Again, frustration and disappointment. We then found ourselves seeking medical help from fertility specialists. Success was made within 3 tries. We were elated with the news of being pregnant. Upon the initial ultrasound and fertility drugs involved we were among the numerous couples that were pregnant with multiples, twins to be exact. This news was frightening, yet joyous to know that our Maggie was not only going to be sister of one but a Big Sister of 2.
Having twins put us immediately put us in a slightly higher risk pregnancy. We received a multitude of ultrasounds to ensure proper growth of our two baby boys. From the beginning we knew that one of our two boys was smaller than other. We also found that smaller one had some other defects that were not life threatening. He had a two vessel umbilical cord vs. the normal 3 vessel cord, also the little guy was also found with just one kidney. He also had an extra digit, instead of a ‘2 thumbs up’ he was able to give a ’3 thumbs up’. Again these were not life threatening. There was one other defect that caused a little concern, but not yet a life- threatening issue. The little one had a small growth in the back of his skull that the doctors continued to monitor during each ultrasound.
We continued to have our appointments and some were very promising and others a little more concern.
Moderate bed rest did come into play at 31 weeks gestation when I started to dilate. Following doctors orders of bed rest and continuing to get monitored 2 times a week, things were still doing, well, just okay.
By 34 weeks gestation, (this was a Monday) I started feeling some pain in my abdomen. I went in immediately to get monitored, both boys’ heart rates were doing good so I was sent home. By Thursday, I had a regular appointment for an ultrasound, this is when we found out that our littlest of the boys, no longer had a heartbeat. We lost Evan James, at 34 weeks gestation. We were devastated to say the least. We really only had to go 2 more weeks in order for the boys to be born without issues of lung development and other organ development.
The cause of death at the time was to be determined after I gave birth, which I was told I needed to carry both boys for at least 3 weeks. Well, I did better than that, I went 4 weeks and delivered both Evan and his healthy brother, Owen.
After delivery, it was a bitter sweet. On one hand we had a very healthy boy and on the other hand we had a child that did not make it to this world for even one breath. We got to hold both boys and spend as much time with Evan as we wanted.
After spending nearly 5 days in the hospital due to surgery recovery, we were sent home with only one baby. ONE, when we embraced the idea of TWO.
There was never any determination of why Evan passed. All tests showed inconclusive results. He was a stillborn.
When we found out we lost one of the boys we didn’t know what to do, how to cope knowing I had weeks to still carry both boys. Our life could not stop to grieve for Evan enough, we had to get home and raise a brand new baby and a 4 year old. Life could not stop for an instant. That is what was the hardest part of losing Evan.
We then, of course, started to look for people and places that were going to guide us on a path of healing. Being Christians we looked to our parish first and found some comfort, but not what we were yearning for.
We looked into the support group at the hospital, again, it was okay, but not what we needed to help us cope of losing one of our precious children.
That’s when a friend gave us a clip from KARE 11 news about Faith’s Lodge. We immediately got our application in and found ourselves pulling up to one of the most beautiful ‘homes’ we had ever seen.
We spent 4 days at Faith’s Lodge with other couples that had also lost a infant or child. The connection was there. They knew what we were going through. We found ourselves being engaged in numerous activities that lead us to conversations about our children that had passed. Never did the conversations seem weird or taboo. Opening up and crying and then laughing with each other is exactly what we needed to help us cope with our loss.
There were six couples total there including us. We become a family of sort, sharing dinners, laughs, cries, talents and most of all the commonality of losing a child. Never did we think we couldn’t talk about our child or how we were feeling. It just seemed natural.
Once we left Faith’s Lodge, we knew we had to become a part of making this a reality for other families/couples that have lost a child. We believed so much in the mission of Faith’s Lodge, we asked how could we get involved. That’s when we were introduced to the Family Outreach Committee. Knowing that we can get the word out of this wonderful organization continues to be a part of our healing process.
We thank Faith’s Lodge for the opportunity to meet some people that were going through the emotions we were going through. We continue to have communication with most of the couples that shared the same week as us. As a matter of fact, we have become very close friends with one of the couples that we met on our most important step in finding some peace with our loss.
Those that have helped Mark and Susan build a place like Faith’s Lodge, well, we can’t thank them enough either.

Samuel Evan, our little love

We found out we were pregnant with our first baby in September of 2011. We were overjoyed! We quickly started making a place for a precious little one in our home and hearts. At our first doctors appointment, we were able to see our little one bouncing around and even waving hello. We knew we would love our baby forever. Then, at our 15 week appointment, our dreams were dashed when it was discovered that our sweet little baby had a fatal condition called Posterior Urethral Valves (PUV). This condition, that happens in 1 in 8000 male pregnancies, is completely unpreventable and has no known cause. We were told, “It just happens sometimes”. PUV is a blockage in the urinary tract that causes a backup in the kidneys and bladder. It also causes the fatal lack of amniotic fluid needed for lung development. We were told he could not live with this condition and we were advised to terminate the pregnancy. Obviously, we would never end our sons life, so we carried him with faith and love for as long as we could. At 35 weeks, much longer than we were told he would survive, after a very long labor and an emergency c-section, he was born into this world on April 14th, 2012. He lived for four hours and went to be with Jesus with his daddy by his side. (Sadly, I was not able to be with him since he had to be transported to another hospital and, due to my c-section, I was unable to go with him). It breaks my heart that I couldn’t be with him, but I know my husband gave Samuel enough love for both of us. Now, we are trying to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and dreams. We are trying to figure out how to live without our very loved and very wanted little guy. If you’d like to read the full story, you can find it on my blog, Nothing Without You, at http://imnotingwithoutyou.blogspot.com/.

Our Precious Angel Abigale

Our story starts the day we found out we were pregnant. We had been trying for months and couldn’t wait to get a positive sign on the pregnancy test. Sure enough we got in August 2011!! We planned and planned for our bundle of joy’s arrival! We found out we were having a girl at 19 weeks along! At 24 weeks along, (December 17th, 2011) our world came crashing down… My water broke and we were rushed to Abbott Northwestern where hopefully, they could keep me pregnant longer. 4 days later though, contractions came fast and I was fully dilated. Our baby girl was coming whether we were ready or not and so they performed an emergency c-section while I was put under. She was breach, so we knew it would be a c-section. We met her after recovery and instantly fell in love. She was beautiful and perfect in every way!!!!!!! We had so much hope that everything would be okay. But our crushed world crumbled more. Our precious daughter whom we named Abigale Tera, had stage 4 brain bleed with bleeding in both ventricles. We found out that is common with preemies because their blood vessels are so fragile. How could this happen?! Our perfect baby girl, we just met her and already have to make the decision of continuing medical therapy or taking her off the ventilators due to her not having the good quality of life she deserved. We both agreed we felt it was best to take her off the ventilators because it wouldn’t be fair to her to have to be trapped in her own body. No parent should ever have to make that decision for their child 🙁 It was the most horrible day ever. December 26th, 2011, 5 days after she was born, our precious daughter grew her wings while in our arms. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about her, miss her, love her. It hurts our hearts and we feel a huge hole in our hearts. It’s not fair at all. We just don’t get why this happened. We both are going to make sure her memory will forever live through us. We miss you and love you Abby!!!

Going to Faith’s Lodge helped us both so much. We met 7 other couples who knew our pain and hurt. We were able to relate to them and it was comforting that we weren’t alone. There were great activities we got to do in remembrance of our precious Abby and it also helped because it was a chance to get to know everyone. We had been going to a grief counselor before coming to Faith’s Lodge and that helped a lot too, but actually meeting others who feel the same way you do, who struggle every day like you do, was a different kind of help we needed. It also gave us hope. I would recommend going to Faith’s Lodge to anyone who has lost a child. It’s a place you wish didn’t have to exist. But it does and it’s a great place to go to help the healing process. I still think about our time there and how peaceful it was. And all of us that were there that weekend have stayed in touch. Thank you Faith’s Lodge for helping us meet others and for showing us there is hope.