Monday, February 27, 2012

I visited you today

Dear Avery,
     I went to the cemetery to see you today.  It was the first time that I have been since your funeral one week ago.  Your dad went back to work today, so he was not home to go with me.  I was nervous to go by myself, but I felt really guilty that I have not been to see you yet.  I really enjoyed our time alone today and I am so glad that I decided to go.
    Your tiny grave it still covered in red clay.  It will be a long time before grass can grow over the spot where you lay.  It feels like it has been so long since I had you--since I held you in my arms and heard your tiny cry.  It seems so distant that we watched them lower your little casket in the ground.  The fresh red clay is such a concrete reminder of how fresh this wound really is.  A week and a half ago I was in the hospital giving birth to you and now you are gone.  It is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that you are no longer with me.  It is like time is flying by and standing still all at the same time.  I miss you so much.
     Every time the sun is out it makes me think of you.  Everything makes me think of you, but something about the warmth of the sun makes me feel like you are with me.  The sun was shining directly on your grave today sweet baby.  It was warm and beautiful outside while I visited with you.  I laid down beside your grave and soaked up the rays while I talked to you.  I really felt like you were there in the in the brightness letting me know that you are okay.  Thank you for watching over me Princess. 

                                                      I love you so very much,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One week

Dear Avery,
      Today marks one week since we said hello and goodbye. It has been three days since we laid you to rest and I miss you more than ever.
     The day of your funeral was perfect. The sun was shining bright in the sky and the weather was warm.  Your daddy and I went to get you dressed early that morning and you truly looked like a tiny sleeping princess. I didn't want to let you go. We studied your fingers and toes and  ran our fingers through your velvety soft hair. I am so glad that we had that special time with you. 
      I did alright until they had to close your casket. It was so definite and so gut wrenching that I would never have the opportunity to stare at your sweet face again. I love that precious face so much. Your daddy and I kissed your little forehead and drenched you with our tears. We had to say goodbye and we walked out of the chapel so that we didn't have to watch. 
     Your funeral was beautiful. It was so special that Deacon Todd was able to do your service. He knew you during your short life and was there to baptize you right after your birth. I truly believe that he and his wife Elizabeth love you and it meant so much to have them there to celebrate your life. I wrote you a letter that I read during the service. It was really, really hard to get through, but I had to do it for you. Your daddy stood with me while I read and held me up. I couldn't have done it without him. 
     You rode with us on the way to the cemetery. It took everything I had (and your dad's much more rational voice) to not open the casket and see you again. We congregated around the Holy Innocents monument for your graveside blessing. Deacon said some beautiful words and blessed you one last time. Everyone left but our immediate family and we walked over to your grave. I wanted to stay with you until the very end.  That was the hardest walk that I have ever made. I felt like my legs didn't work. Everything was a blur. I will never forget the image of them lowering you into the ground or how deep the hole looked. I will never forget the way the red clay looked on top of your tiny white casket. I will never forget how helpless I felt when I had to walk away and leave you there. 
     I wish you could tell me what you are doing now. I wish that I could just get a little glimpse of what your life is like in heaven.   I know you are well taken care of baby girl, but I want to see it with my own eyes. 
     Jenni said she was a little jealous that Kyle got to meet you before her. I am sure you two have found each other by now. I wonder what you guys are doing. Whatever it is, I hope that you are happy and that you both know how much I love you. 
     I think I have watched the video of your birth everyday since we have been home. I love listening to your cry. They told us that you would probably never take a breath. That cry meant the world to me. 
     I stare at your pictures constantly to help me remember every detail. I know I'll never forget, but I love to look at your beautiful face. 
     Every night, I snuggle with one of your blankets. I can still smell you and it feels like you are right there with me. I desperately want you to be right here with me.  
     We went to church last night and Deacon Todd had lit a candle on the altar for you. It was beautiful just like you. He told me when I walked up to get ashes and I started to lose it on my way back to my pew. I had to walk out and regain my composure. When I came back, they started playing a song from your funeral and I almost lost it again. I miss you so much Avery. 
   I love you more than anything,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I miss you so much

Dear Avery,
     The days since your birth have been really hard.  I miss you so, so very much.  I feel like we had to cram a lifetime of love into a tiny amount of time and it wasn't enough for me.  No amount of time with you would have ever been enough.  I will never forget the time that we had.

     When I lay down to sleep I relive every aspect of your life.  I can see your precious face again and all is right for awhile.  Then I wake up and remember that you aren't here and I feel sick to my stomach all over again.  I can't sleep for very long.  My mind is constantly racing.  I think about every detail over and over in my head.  I didn't know whether you were alive or not when you let out your first cry.  I keep playing that sound in my head on repeat.  It was the most beautiful music that my ears have ever heard.

     My milk came in this morning.  It seems like a cruel joke when I have no baby with me to feed.  I imagine what it would be like if I had you here with me.  I would give anything to comfort you in the middle of the night.  I want to hold you and rock you and feed you so badly, but I can't.

     We planned your funeral yesterday.  I want for everything to be perfect, just like you.  Your daddy and I went to the cemetery to pick out your grave first.  You will be buried under a beautiful evergreen next to many other babies that have passed before you.  I wonder if you have already met them all in heaven.  It was really hard to see all of the tiny graves, knowing that one of them would soon be yours.

     We met with a man named Marty at the funeral home to make your arrangements.  I talked to him about a month ago and we cried together on the phone.  He lost his twins many years ago.  If you see them, tell them that their daddy loves them very much and still misses them everyday.

     Your daddy and I asked to see you again yesterday.  I couldn't stand the thought of you being in the same building but not right there with me.  They brought you out so we could hold you again.  You were still swaddled up in your blankets and looked like a beautiful sleeping angel.  We sat there and cried while we told you how much we loved you.  I know you weren't in that body anymore, but I know that you could hear us in heaven.

    Your funeral will be at 10:30 on Monday morning at Ratterman Funeral Home on Bardstown Road.  Your daddy and I are going at 8:00 so that we can dress you one last time.  You will be wearing a beautiful satin gown with pearls and lace and dainty pink ribbon.  There is a group that makes these gowns and donates them for babies like you.  They are made out of donated wedding dresses because a wedding is the most important day in a girls life--your most important day just came early.  I have been trying to sew you a bonnet to match your dress, but I haven't been able to get it perfect yet.  I will keep trying.

                                                         I miss you princess,


Friday, February 17, 2012

Rest in peace my sweet angel Avery Alis

Dear Avery,

     Yesterday was simultaneously the best and worst day of my life.  Bittersweet is the only word that I can think of that could describe the feelings that your daddy and I are experiencing. 

     I had my procedure done on Wednesday and they removed close to a gallon of amniotic fluid.  They kept me in monitoring for a short while, but nothing seemed to change so they released me in time for dinner.  That night, long after the procedure, I started to feel crampy.  I called the on call doctor around 1:00 in the morning because something just didn't feel right.  She basically talked me down and told me to go back to bed.  At about 2:45 I woke your dad up because the cramping was becoming very intense.  He humored me, and we left for the hospital to get checked even though we both expected to turn around and come back home.

    We arrived at the hospital at 3:00 am on Thursday morning.  The nurse checked me and confirmed that I was already 3cm dilated and 90% effaced-I was in labor.  They moved me down to a special room in labor and delivery that is away from all of the other rooms.  I was having very strong and consistent contractions by this point and my water had partially broken, but resealed itself.  I labored for about 3 more hours and then requested my epidural to ease the pain.

     After getting my epidural, the nurse asked if I wanted her to go ahead and check me again or if I would rather her wait until later.  I told her to go ahead and check since she was already in there.  I was already 10 cm and fully effaced.  They decided to check me again around 9:30 to see if I was ready to push, my water broke the rest of the way, and we could already see your hair.  They called in Dr. Link to begin the delivery. He told me to hold my breath and push in 10 second intervals.  I pushed for two sets of 10 on the first contraction and then rested.  On the second contraction, they counted to 10 but I was determined to get you out so I kept pushing until 13.  You literally shot out and Dr. Link had to catch you in mid air. 

    They immediately cut your cord and laid you on my chest.  You opened your beautiful blue eyes and you cried.  Yes, my perfect baby with the imperfect lungs, you were able to cry out to us.  It was the most beautiful sound that I have ever heard.

     I have been stressing and worrying over all of the unknown details of your birth for the past months that we have known about your condition.  I have prayed and prayed for you to be strong enough to meet us while you were alive.  I was so scared that you would be born still, that you would suffer pain, that we would make the wrong decisions for you--I have literally spent hours going over every possible scenario in my head.  I know that God was watching over us because your birth and life were perfectly peaceful and serene. 

     You were absolutely beautiful.  Every feature was sheer perfection.  I must have kissed your curly black hair, your tiny fingers, and your adorable belly a thousand times.  I held you as close to me as I possibly could and buried my face in the nape of your neck.  I wanted to feel you, touch you, and drink in absolutely everything about you.  I stared at your perfect face for hours and ran my finger over your soft and delicate skin.  I studied your tiny toes, the elegant curve of your lips, and your perfect little bubble butt.  I committed every tiny detail to memory. 

    Your time with us was short lived, but everything that we prayed for happened.  All of your grandparents were able to meet you while you were still alive.  Your birth did not compromise your life-you were so strong sweet baby. You passed peacefully in my arms about an hour after your birth.  You never struggled and were never in distress.  Your dad and I were there with you holding you close as you became the most beautiful angel that God has ever created. 

     I only find comfort in the fact that you are in the loving arms of Jesus.  I know that Aunt Pallie, Papa A., and Kyle were there waiting for your arrival as were many other loved ones from mine and daddy's families.  I don't understand why God had to take you, I probably never will, but I am so blessed for every second that I have had you in my life.  From the moment you were conceived you have been my strong and beautiful daughter--the baby that I have always dreamed of and was lucky enough to carry.  You are worth every second of sadness and grief and I would do it all over again for 5 more minutes with you.

     I promise that you will never be forgotten.  Great things will happen on this earth because of your short presence here.  Your brothers and sisters will always know about their big sister Avery--their special guardian angel.  You will always be my baby, my sweet precious Avery Alis.  You will always be the first granddaughter on both side of our family and you will always be mine.

My heart is broken into a thousand pieces today.  Handing your body over to the nurse was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do.  My empty arms feel so heavy without you in them.  Please watch over us as we plan your funeral and lay you to rest.  Send us a tiny piece of your strength so that we can make it through this without you. I love you more than I have ever loved anything.  I would give everything I have to bring you back, but I know I have to wait patiently until God is ready to bring me to you.

     "An Angel in the book of life wrote down our babies birth, and whispered as she close the book....."Too beautiful for earth."
                                           Rest in peace my sweet beautiful angel,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You are my Valentine

Dear Avery,
   I just left Dr. Link's office and it is looking like you will be coming to meet us soon.  I am in the very beginning stages of labor, so it does not necessarily mean that we will meet you today.  Dr. Link wants me to get the procedure done as soon as possible, so I am just waiting for him to call me with an appointment time.

     Since labor has already begun, there is a good chance that the procedure will just make my contractions more efficient. As I wait to check into the hospital, I realize that I could hold you in my arms today.  That would make today the best day of my life. 

     Your heartbeat was very strong this morning and I think that you are tough enough to survive labor.  I can not wait to see your beautiful face in person, but feel free to stay in and bake a little bit longer if you are not ready.  I am praying for every second of your life outside of me to be peaceful and comfortable for you.  I pray that you will feel no pain, but only the love of your family surrounding you.
                                                          I love you so much sweet valentine,

Monday, February 13, 2012

So much love

Dear Avery,
  I have never felt more love in my life then I did this past weekend.  I knew that some friends were planning on joining us at mass and taking us to brunch to show their love and support for you.  What I did not know was that our church would be filled with people who were there just for you.  It was amazing and so humbling.  We are so incredibly blessed to have such amazing people in our lives. 

     The most precious gift that I have ever recieved (other than the oppurtunity to be your mom of course) was a beautiful scrapbook that our friends put together.  They all wrote us heartfelt letters, poems, and bible verses and compiled it into a book that we can keep forever.  It is so special to us because it is a testament to the love and compassion that we have felt throughout this journey.  You are the reason for all of this Princess!  You are so unconditionally loved.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Update from MFM appointment 2/10/12

Dear Avery,
       We went back to meet with Dr. Weeks today and to see your beautiful face again.  You were very active throughout the whole scan.  You are getting so big sweet girl!  Dr. Weeks guessed that you are about two and a half pounds.  You yawned, arched your back, and stuck your tongue out.  We were even able to see that you already have a head full of hair!

    All of the information that we have already gathered still seems to hold true.  We are praying for the maximum amount of time with you after you are born.  I am hoping to carry you as long as I possibly can.  I am still holding onto hope that we might be able to bring you home--even if it is only for a day.

     You, my dear, have an olympic size swimming pool compared to most babies' little bath tubs.  A 9 cm barrier around you would be considered an excessive amount of amniotic fluid.  There are nearly 16 cm of excess fluid surrounding you and it is increasing every day.  I has become very hard to feel you move because there is so much room for you to float.   I am between 30 and 31 weeks right now and I am measuring past full term from all of the extra fluid.  It is becoming very painful and will only get worse from here. 

     Fortunately, Dr. Weeks has a solution to this issue.  I will be getting an amniotic reduction sometime in the next couple of weeks.  They will remove one to two gallons (possibly more) of fluid in order to shrink the size of my uterus and give me a better chance of carrying you to term.  This does come with some risks, but I think the benefits outweigh those possibilities.  There is about a 5% (or less) chance that the procedure could send me into immediate labor or cause a placental abruption.  If there is hemorrhaging from a placental abruption, I would have to deliver via c-section which is not ideal for our situation.  The procedure is relatively simple and would take less than an hour.  I will have to stay overnight in the hospital for observation to monitor for signs of labor of hemorrhaging, but I will most likely be back to normal the next day.
                                                              I love you sweet pea,

Look at all of that hair!!
 Sleepy yawn!
 Some face shots:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun day with a few tears

Dear Avery,

     Overall, today was a good day.  It was student appreciation day at work, so we got to be silly and have fun all day.  The sun is out again and it feels like a beautiful spring day, even though it is the third day of February.  I had a little breakdown later on, but I didn't let it ruin my day.

     My class got all of their tests out of the way first thing this morning and we spent the rest of our time watching movies, going to magic shows, and playing in volleyball games.  I had to sit this years volleyball game out since I am not quite agile enough to pull my weight on the faculty team these days.  I did, however, join the faculty cheerleading squad. The fourth grade hairstylists fixed us all up for the game and I came sporting a high side ponytail with a green and white polka dot bow (Ann's crimped hair took the cake!)  I didn't last through many cheers and ended up sitting to take in the rest of the game, but it was fun nonetheless   

     I talked to Mimi on my way home from school, and she told me that she was getting a pedicure after work.  I thought that sounded like a wonderful idea, so I pulled into a nail salon in Plainview on a whim.  The ladies there were really nice and it may have been the best pedicure that I have had in Louisville.  She massaged my swollen feet for a REALLY long time and it was amazing! 

     My little breakdown came while I was at the nail salon.  I have gotten really good at talking to strangers about you without getting upset, but there is one question that keeps popping up that I simply can't handle.  Now that I am so big, people have started to ask if I am just ready to "get it over with and be done."   There is no way to answer this without either lying or getting into a deep conversation.  The answer is no, I am not ready at all.  I would carry you forever if I knew that you would be safe and happy.  No because even though I am getting uncomfortable, "getting it over with" means that I would be wishing away my time with you.  No because as much I want to see your beautiful face and hold you in my arms, I am not ready to say goodbye. No because I want my time with you to last forever. 

     The ladies were extremely compassionate and I knew that they meant no harm, but some things just sting a little more than others.   Even though I got upset, I love having the oppurtunity to share your story.  Every new person to know you is another person to lift you up in their thoughts and prayers, and that makes the tears worthwhile. 

      I am still sticking to my resolution to show you happy times while you are with us.  I refuse to dwell on the sadness when there is so much that we have to be thankful for.  Your dad and I are going to dinner and bowling (I will stick to keeping score) with some friends from his old job tonight.  We are getting maternity pictures done in the morning and I am ecstatic!  I am so thankful that Courtney Ellis (of Courtney Ellis Photography) made the selfless decision to volunteer for the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to document your time with us.  I love you so much sweet girl and I want to remember absolutely everything about your life.  You are so special sweet pea and I am honored to be your mom.

                                                                          All of my love,