Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Story

It all started on a quiet date night.  After ten years, that's when our youngest son had been born, my husband asked what I thought about having another baby.  Of course at first I though he was just kidding.  But he reassured me quickly that he was serious as he knew that would be a serious issue for me.  We thought about it for some time although probably not as long as we would have.  God had other plans for our family.

We went on our annual family vacation to Lake Glenville, NC (the most beautiful place we know of and plan to move there some day.)  We took a boat right one night and much to my surprise, I saw three shooting stars.  You would have to understand that I am never fortunate enough to see things like that.  All I could think about was what a beautiful sky God had provided for us that night.  Soon our vacation ended and back to Kirkwood we headed.

Not long after I began to feel a bit nauseous and in just a few weeks, well.... I couldn't wait for my husband to get home from work.  I think my exact words to him were "how would you like to have a permanent souvenir from our favorite place in the world."  We were both so very excited.  Never had we ever imagined that in less than a month from the time we started thinking we wanted to have a new baby, that it would be a reality.  We obviously made an appointment to seen the doctor who is also a dear friend of mine.  We shared the exciting news with our wonderful children Grayson who is 16 and Evan who is 10.  I think they were utterly shocked at first although they had asked for a baby over and over for years.  Grayson was actually so surprised she said "you planned this?"  I can only imagine what her 16 year old mind was thinking.  Then we called our parents.  My parents said they had always thought we would have another baby and we so excited.  Glenn's parents.....sheer surprise.  I can remember Glenn saying "are you sitting down? Next year when we go to Lake Glenville, we will be a family of 6 (the four of us, the baby and of course our little Lucy dog.)  I can hear Glenn's mom say it just like it was yesterday, "Lucy's gonna have puppies?"  I'm sure she was just kidding but so surprised and excited they were really glad they were sitting down.

We were scheduled to see Angela on September 8th, 2011 and could hardly wait.  After dinner on the 7th, the kids and I began to joke with my husband Glenn about what if there are two.  That means two cribs, two car seats, two of this and two of that....finally he stopped us and said stop before you guys give me a heart attack as we all laughed until we almost cried.  But secretly, that was truly my hearts desire.

We arrived at the office the next morning and was scheduled to have an ultrasound before seeing Angela.  (I refer to her as Angela because like I said she is my dear friend.)  As the tech began the scan she said well there is definitely a pregnancy there, with a puzzled look on her face.  Then she said congratulations, there are actually two.  Two tiny beating hearts visible to our very eyes. Heart rates 123 and 113.

I was so excited I couldn't contain my tears and Glenn, I think was just in shock with a big ole smile on his face.  That was the explanation for why I had been so nauseated since before we even knew we were having a baby.  Double the hormones.  We finished the ultrasound and then off to see the doctor.  When she entered the room I can vividly remember the look on her face.  She could not believe it either but had a few concerns.  For those of you that don't know much about twins, you have identical and fraternal.  Identical share one placenta and fraternal each have their own.  Our twins were identical.  Then there becomes the issue of whether or not they are each in their own amniotic sac or if they are both in the same sac.  It appeared that it was possible that they were in the same sac.  Angela discussed with us how many of those pregnancies end in miscarriage early on and even if they do not it is extremely high risk as they are in danger of getting their cords tangled as they grow and cause fetal death.  So we made a plan to return in two weeks for another scan and left the office with many emotions.  We were extremely excited that we were not only having one baby, but two.  But we also left with worry in our hearts with a lot of praying to do.  I remember calling my mom in tears, and her reassuring me.  I prayed the whole way home.  When Glenn came home from work that evening, we gathered the family in the living room and broke the news.  The kids were screaming with excitement.  They just kept saying "we knew it, we knew it!"  We explained the situation to them the best we could and our decision not to tell anyone yet because there were still so many things that could come up.  Then we called Glenn's parents.  I am certain by the sound of their excited voices, they were glad they were sitting down once again.  We explained the whole situation to them as well and asked for their prayers.  They were also supportive.

Then suddenly later that afternoon I felt a wave of comfort.  We had decided to possibly have another baby, and God had quickly taken care of that.  Three shooting stars, one for each of our babies and one for us.  I just knew in my heart that it was all going to be ok.  We returned two weeks later to the office and when the tech started the scan, there it was.  The membrane that represented two amniotic sacs.  That meant they were each in their own sac.  God had answered our prayers.  Although I don't have a picture of the membrane, here are my girls at 9 weeks and 3 days.  Heart rates almost identical at 167 and 165.

At that point we decided that since Angela would be on maternity leave soon and we would still need to be monitored closely to begin to see a perinatologist, Dr. P.  Because I am a labor and delivery nurse,Ii knew Dr. P well and as far as I was concerned, he was the best.  We made an appointment to see him in another two weeks.  Meanwhile, I had begun to get even sicker, but one night at work I decided that I was going to try to eat a pickle.  Up until this point my coworkers did not know that I was pregnant, much less with twins.  I can remember my coworker Jane walking by and saying "what are you pregnant too?"  Several others had mentioned it before this point and I had blown it off.  But that night it just came right out.  "As a matter of fact I am and there are two!"  You should have heard the silence and seen the looks on their faces.  It was kind of a relief not knowing how much longer I was going to be able to keep it a secret as sick as I was.  Not able to eat or drink hardly anything and despite available medications, ended up receiving fluids at home and a pump to help control the nausea.  That did not work well either and due to the painfulness of the PICC line, we had it removed after a couple of weeks.  By then it was time to see Dr. P and yet another ultrasound. 

Each ultrasound was so comforting as Glenn and I were able to see our little ones grow and actually begin to look like babies.  We watched them move and kick.  It was just truly amazing and our other children loved hearing about it.  Everything looked great at this scan.  They were too small to get weights at 11 weeks but they were 4 and 4.4 inches long with a final due date of April 27th, 2012.  Dr. P spent several hours with us explaining everything from the excitement, the risk that identical twins face such as not sharing unequal parts of the placenta and twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), treatments, delivery, etc.  We were extremely reassured that no matter wha,t we had the perfect doctor for our babies.  Even Glenn was completely informed about everything in a way he could understand without medical terms and I have to say that even I learned a lot that afternoon. 

 Baby B

 Baby A

 Both babies together vertex/breech:  in other words one baby had her hiney in the other ones face

Baby A's head and Baby B's bottom : They spent a lot of time in this position vertex/breech

Dr P also talked to us at that visit about my history of preterm labor and that it can be brought on by stress.  He suggested that we have a more detailed ultrasound to reassure us that all was well.  After a terrible experience with the staff at the specialty ultrasound office, we were reassured by Dr. P that all was well and the measurements were all normal.  We also got some really good pictures after 2 and 1/2 hours at 12 weeks and 3 days.  The perfect birthday present for Glenn.

Profile of Baby B

Face shot of Baby A

Profile of Baby A

At this point I just wanted to buy something for my sweet babies so I bought a set of matching gowns, sleepers and burp cloths.  It was that afternoon that Grayson came home with so interesting information....hahaha.  She said, "Mom, you can not dress them alike or give them similar names.  If you do, I learned in psychology that they will have an identity crisis."  What a kick we got out of that.  Psychologist know everything huh!

It would be another 3 and 1/2 weeks before we were to be seen in the office and we would see the nurse practioner at that appointment.  Meanwhile Dr. P was keeping up with me at work making sure all was ok.  As of October 31st, my nasuea had resolved and other than some swelling and mild cramping I was having all was well.  When we arrived for our appointment, once again another ultrasound and wow what a difference this week.  They were so all over the place.  Once again vertex/ breech.  We were so hoping at 15 weeks and 5 days today to be able to tell this week if they were boys or girls.  And man were they cooperative.  First we saw Baby A.....Girl!

Baby Girl A!!!

 Knowing that they were identical we knew that Baby B would also be a girl but then we saw it!

Baby Girl B!!!

We were also able to get a few more profile shots as we watched Baby B bounce Baby A up and down on the monitor.

 Baby A Profile with estimated fetal weight of 5 ounces and heart rate of 165.

Baby B profile with exact estimated fetal weight and heart rate.

We then visited with the NP for a while, discussed the cramping and treatment of it as well as the swelling believed to be due to the fact that I had ketones in my urine.  We also discussed the fact that I had lost a slight bit of weight that we needed to work on that but as long as the babies were growing....lets just work hard on it.  We left the office once again just in awe.  It was always so surreal that there really were two precious little babies in my tummy, and now we knew they were GIRLS!  We we got home that evening we told the kids.  The story was kinda funny from the night before.  The kids knew that hopefully we would be able to tell the gender and were super excited.  Evan said, "Mom you have to promise to tell me first before anyone, not even dad."  I explained to him that dad would be with me but him knowing first would mean that he had to change their first poopy diapers.  He said, "so, it's just two."  Then we explained meconium to him and very quickly he said, "OK then I just want to know second."  It was hysterical the look on his face as he thought about meconium.  Grayson was super excited that they were girls and Evan was a little teary.  He really wanted brothers.  Actually they had originally hoped there would be one of each.  But after our neighbor got home and he was excitedly telling her that they were girls, he was excited.  He said, "It is gonna be just fine.  Grayson is going to go to college after next year and I'm gonna teach them to be just like me!"  What a relief that he was finally excited.  My neighbor Sara actually took him shopping that weekend and he brought the girls home matching outfits.

 Matching outfits from Evan and Mrs. Sara

Over the next several weeks our family was even more excited.  We began to talk about the nursery and decided to register for things we needed so that when our families asked us about Christmas presents (as some of them already were) we would have some things already picked out that we needed.  Wow was that fun.  I think Glenn and I spent 3 hours in Babies r Us alone and then when we came home the kids helped us add some more things.  This was also the very day, November 17th that we decided as a family what we would name our babies.  We picked their first names as a family and the kids picked their middle names.  Annalise and Grayson picked Chloe for her and Emmalyn and Evan picked Claire for her.  We excitedly called our families that night to tell them.  My friend Sara had sent me a text the day we found out they were girls that I had not shared with my family.  I really had not even given it much thought but she had said that she was going to call them Anna and Emma, her two favorite girl names until we picked real names for them so imagine her surprise when we told her their names.  And my families surprise when I showed them the text.  At this point although I had lost weight, I definitely looked pregnant. ( I only wish I had taken a few pictures.)  Not very often but occasionally I would feel the babies move.  Just a slight flutter and twice I destinctly remember feeling an actual kick.  Both times on the left side of my tummy by my naval.  I couldn't wait until Glenn and the kids could feel it.

I was keeping up with Dr. P at the hospital and even had the opportunity one night to discuss my biggest concern, having an epidural as I had done it without one before.  We spoke at great length about a lot of things.  My pregnancy, epidural, and just OB related topics in general being that he is a wealth of information.  I asked him at that point what he thought about my kids coming for my next ultrasound since they were older although I had always been hestitant in the past about things like that.  He thought it was a great idea.  They were old enough to enjoy watching the babies move around and what they would see.  My husband and I talked about it and decided it would be a good idea to take them for the next appointment since it would be on November 23 and they were out of school.

I work night shift so I worked Tuesday night the 22nd of Novemeber and then left work to meet my family at Dr. P's office for an 8:00 appointment.  I remember their faces as they walked in the building with their daddy and how excited I was that we were going to get to experience this as a family.  We anxiously sat in the waiting room and then she called us back.  And so it began.... a quick move across my tummy and we caught a glimpse of them both.  Then we had to look for the improtant things.  As she began to look more intensely my heart began to race.  I began to feel a little nauseaous as I clearly saw there was no heartbeat for one of the babies and had not initially seen one on the other baby either.  I thought I was going to be sick and there we were, as a family.  What a horrible feeling.  The tech left and called for another tech which is when Glenn realized something was wrong but was not exactly sure what it was.  Apparently at that point they called Dr. P and told him there was a problem with both of the babies.  When the new tech came in, when she put the probe on my tummy, I saw the heart beating on one of the babies.  What a relief.  She at that point called out in the hall and said we're ok.  As she continued to look, I still realized that there was no heartbeat for what we knew was Baby B at that point.  She continued to scan and took a few pictures of Baby A one that appears to be waving which she wrote hi mom and dad on and another that you could see the thumb and she wrote on the picture thumbs up.  An attempt to comfort my children I believe.  Evan definitely had no idea anything was wrong.  Grayson may have known there was a problem but I don't think she realized what it was.  She has not mentioned it to this day.  When Dr. P arrived, he cheerfully walked in thinking all was well after the tech had called out and said all was good.  Then totally caught off gaurd when the tech asked my children if they wanted to wait in the waiting room while the doctor talked to us.  I quickly sent them as Dr. P was saying do I need to.  After the children left the tech scanned again and showed Dr. P Baby A and the fluid around her with a heart rate of 123 which was lower than in the past.  Then she moved to Baby B and the fluid around her and then I can still hear those words like I'm still sitting on the ultrasound table, "And I'm sorry to say there is no heart rate for Baby B."  It came over and over and over in my mind as I sobbed in my husbands arms.  We were both in total shock  There had been no sign that anything had been wrong before today. 

 Our last pictures of Baby A before we lost her

After I calmed down, they moved us to a room to talk with the doctor.  I remember passing other pregnant women in the hall and just about losing it again.  As I entered the room, the NP who I had never met but once before walked right in and put her arms around me.  No words just arms.  I was so hurt but so thankful for her arms that day.  Dr. P then came in and I'm really not sure he even knew where to start.  There seemed to be no explaination, no reason, no problem.  So he basically just comforted us with his words.  He explained to us the ways the death of one twin may affect the other.  And we began to pray.  And I know that he was praying right along with us.  He assured us that we could check on Baby A as often as I needed to especially over the next two weeks as those would be the most critical after the first 48 hours.  We left the office that day with one precious baby girl in heaven and the other we were praying desperately would hold on.  As we entered the waiting room both of us red eyed I'm sure the kids knew something was wrong.  We quietly rode home together as I tried to hold back the tears. 

When we arrived at home we once again gathered in the living room this time with devastating news.  As I burst into tears Glenn explained to the kids about Baby B.  Then I gathered myself enough to help explain how her death my effect Baby A and how we needed to pray so very hard for our other baby sister.  We held the kids as they cried, I'm sure angry and completely not understanding why such a terrrible thing had happened.  Once again we chose not to tell anyone other than our parents and close family as we needed there ferverent prayers and quickly.  I also called my best friend back home and fell into the arms of my sweet neighbor Sara. 

I constantly prayed for my sweet babies.  Both of them.  Looking back only one of them needed my prayers.  We wanted these babies soooo very much.  We loved them sooo very much.  We needed them sooo very bad!!  I begged and pleaded for with God for my girls.  Then the office called.  They needed some blood work they had not drawn while I was there.  They said I could come tomorrow if I wanted but not to wait too long.  We decided to go ahead and go back to have it drawn because I had to pick up my car.  As I entered the office, I could barely contain myself.  The hurt, sadness, anger.  It was more than I could bare.  I was quickly taken to a room to avoid having to wait in the waiting room.  When the NP came in to draw my blood, I remember asking her could I ask her a favor.  She said sure, anything.  And then I asked her if she could rescan me.  I think partially hoping there was some terrible mistake, that this was all a bad dream but ultimately to check on Baby A.  I just needed to know.  Glenn asked me was I sure and I said, "yes, I just have to."  We went back into the ultrasound room and I apologized to the tech.  I can remember telling her how sorry I was for asking her to do this again because I know it was hard enough to have to go through it the first time.  She was very nice and told me it was fine but I'm sure she was dreading it as much as I was.  (And I'm sure my poor husband too.)  As she put the probe on my tummy I guess she was only assuming I wanted to check on Baby A.  I immediately still saw her tender little heart beating.  What a relief.  Then she asked if there was anything else that I wanted to see.  I asked her to please let me see my other baby and she did.  She held it there for a minute and just let me cry.  What a small gesture of respect to my precious baby.  Then she showed us the fluid around the two babies.  I really don't know that much about ultrasound in terms of fluid other than knowing pockets, but there was definitely more fluid around Baby A than Baby B.  We thanked her once again and left the office once more heartbroken for our babies.  The one we lost and the one we were praying would survive without her sister.

That night I called Dr. P with questions.  Just a few but I needed answers.  He was surprised that I had come to that point so quickly but was very willing to take the time to talk to me.  I knew that one of two things were going to happen.  Either I was going to have to carry the body of my heavenly baby until the other baby delivered healthy or I was going to have to deliver two angels that had gotten their wings too early for their mother's comfort.

Our focus other than prayer was to just get through the next day, Thanksgiving.  Of course I was not feeling like I had much to be thankful for.  My husband held me and reminded me of our other two children and of each other.  He was trying go hard to comfort me yet my grief was just too strong.  I was up all night praying and got up early the next day to cook Thanksgiving dinner trying to pretend that everything was as normal as possible for Grayson and Evan's sake.  I opted not to have Dr. P scan me this day because in my mind I didn't want to ruin anyone elses Thanksgiving.  So first thing Friday morning I called and he told us to meet him at 9:30.  And so we did.  I was so scared that I couldn't even look at first.  As we began to scan, when I finally looked, I saw it.  Perfect stillness on both of our tiny babies hearts.  He did not even say anything as he looked and measured partly because I'm sure he knew that I knew.  And then when it was all over, he told us that he did not see any cardiac activity for either baby now.  I can remember looking into his eyes as he said it.  And as he fought hard not to tear, it was like looking through his giant alligator tears straight into his heart.  And not just because we are coworkers, but because he really does care.  For all of his patients and I believe with all of my heart that he is a deeply spiritual man that God put in our path for this purpose.  I sobbed some more as Glenn held me and he gave us as much time as we needed.  I wish that I had asked for copies of the ultrasound pictures he took that day but I didn't.  Maybe one day I will.

Now we had the most difficult decision of our lives laying in front of us.  What now?  I knew what the options would be because that is my job but I had to listen to them as a greiving mother.  We had to decide whether to induce labor or wait and let it happen on its own.  We decided to think about it, go home talk to our children and then make that decision.  We drove home in silence holding hands. When we arrived home Grayson opened the door and I just fell into her arms.  Evan was next door at Sara's house so I called to have her send him home.  She knew right away what the results had been and God bless her for not asking me any questions.  We spent several hours with the kids talking about what had happened and explained about the babies still having to be born.  We just held each other as a family.  That's all we could do.  We decided that it was best for all of us to go ahead and induce labor that afternoon.  Not just for the four of us but for our precious Annalise and Emmalyn as well.  For those of you that are labor nurses you will understand. We called both of our parents and let them know what had happened and that we would be on our way to the hospital shortly.  Then we arranged for Sara to keep the kids for us.

Dr. P had asked if there was anyone that I specifically wanted to take came of me so that he could talk to them about it and let them know I was coming.  Of course my special friend Leslie was working and so loving agreed.  (Leslie had trained me when I first came to this hospital to work).  She called me before I arrived just to let me know that she loved me and that she would be waiting for us.  What a blessing she was to us.  We arrived and were set up in labor room 3.  An empty labor room that was, with no baby warmer.  It was just all so wrong.  So very, very wrong!  She admitted me and shortly after Dr. P came and checked my cervix in order to decide the best induction plan.  By exam we all thought it would be a long process lasting into probably the next evening at best.  Dr. P decided that cytotec would be the best plan and Leslie brought me my first dose shortly after he left.  It was around 2pm in the afternoon and I was somewhat already crampy.  But as she handed it to me,  I just burst into tears.  That too was just so very, very wrong.  It started to work fairly quickly making my cramping closer together and although epidural was a great fear for me, I opted for one around 5pm.  I just didn't want to feel anything, physically or emotionally. 

Seven pm arrived and my night time coworkers begin to arrive.  Chris immediately came into my room because she had no warning prior to her arrival what was going on.  I can just remember the feeling of her friendly arms around what seemed like my whole body.  And together we wept for my precious girls.  Kate also came in shortly and brought me a book and the one most important thing that in my rush to pack I hand forgotten at home.  My Bible!  Oh how I would need that over the next hours.  Chris and Kate took over my care at 11pm after Leslie left.  My epidural was replaced around midnight and finally I was comfortable enough to drift off to sleep.

And then it happened,  I got his uncomfortable feeling in my left side around 0145.  I turned over and then thought I was feeling my catheter.  After just a few minutes I realized that was probably not the case.  I called for Chris as Glenn stood holding my hand.  As I heard her in the hall, my water broke around the first baby.  I was terrified.  Although Glenn and I had prayed it would be fast, I just wasn't ready.  It is hard to explain but it was almost like as long as they were inside, I could still protect them.  And I was just about to fail.  Chris walked Glenn right through all that was about to happen as I already knew and had never been so terrified in my life.  My life that was already out of control was about to start spinning.  So while I waited for Dr. P to arrive I prayed silently for peace enough to honor my girls.  And just about as fast as that at 0206 and 0213 they were both laying in my arms wrapped in swaddling clothes.  And as I looked down upon them Emmalyn had her arm around her sister Annalise.  We named them fairly quickly because that was important to us.  Annalise came first and Emmalyn second.  After Dr. P was finished he looked at our girls and was thankfully able to give us a reason based upon their appearance.  They had developed acute twin to twin transfusion syndrome.  If there had to be an answer to prayer at that point, that was it.  There was a reason.  Just not some unknown that would haunt us forever.  He hugged us and told us how sorry he was for our loss and then we were left alone with our precious Annalise Chloe and Emmalyn Claire to grieve.  I held them, kissed them, sang to them, listened to special lullabies with them and read portions of my Bible to them.  How tender was the love that we felt for these two precious girls.  The two girls that we would never hear cry, we would never wipe their tears, send them to school, watch them get married.  The two girls we wanted so bad. 

Chris and Kate tenderly bathed them, dressed them, took their pictures and footprints for us.  Then graciously as I held them in my hands they were baptised before our Saviour.  No better place to be than Heaven if they couldn't be in our arms.  For the rest of the morning and into the afternoon we just held them.  I layed them beside me in my bed in my arms as Glenn rested and played sweet lullibies.  I just couldn't take my hands off of them.  I needed every minute I had.  Every touch I could get.  I needed to tell them over and over how much I loved them.  I didn't want there to be any doubt, although they already knew.  On earth "I" needed to tell them.  As I sat there with them, I prayed asking God would there ever be anything that could take this pain away?

As the time came for us to leave the hospital and come home with empty arms, there were decisions that had to be made and the chaplain came in and prayed with us.  At Dr. P's recommendation we offered to let the kids come up and visit us with the Annalise and Emmalyn as he strongly feels that helps with the healing process.  Grayson said, "Mom I want to but I just can't" and Evan, "Mom I don't think that would be good for me right now I'll just look at their pictures."

We had to decide where would their bodies go although we knew where they were.  We seemed to be avoiding the decision as I have always been ok with cremation and Glenn has always wanted burial.  I think we both were trying to avoid causing the other more pain.  But for those of you that know us we move a lot and have no place to call home.  Not even a place that we know for certain in the future we will be forever.  So when Glenn asked me, I finally told him that I could not bare the thought of burying my girls somewhere and leaving them far away from us, EVER!  He agreed.  We both wanted them close to us.  So we decided to have their bodies cremated.  We made the appropriate phone calls and prepared to leave the hospital.  That is the hardest thing I have ever done.  As I sat and watched my strong husband hold our babies for the very last time in his arms my heart just broke, and as I lay them in that bassinet and kissed and prayed over them for the last time I literally fell into pieces.  I din't know how I would ever survive.

My coworkers were extremely loving and respectful of our privacy and for that we are greatful.  For those of you that may read this you will never know how much that meant to us.  Our babies were not left alone as we left the hospital and their bodies were not viewed after we left at our request and we are thankful for that as well.  As I think back to the walk to the car, it must have been God that carried me as Glenn held my hand because it was not humanly possible for me to do at that point.

We arrived home and after holding my other two children for what seemed like an eternity.  We took them upstairs into the bedroom and talked to them about all that had happened.  We pulled out the things that belonged to the girls; blankets, footprints, the shells from their baptisms, and even their pictures.  We allowed them both to see the things they wanted to and did not push for them to see anything else.  They both looked at all the momentos but only Evan looked at their pictures.  Poor Grayson wanted to but just couldn't.  I pray that someday God will give her that strength.  After that all I wanted to do was sleep the pain away.  My parents were here to help with the kids and Glenn and I just held each other as we layed in bed.  I'm not sure if I dozed from exhaustion or if I prayed the whole time, it all seems like a blurr that afternoon, but one thing is for sure, I was not alone.

Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.  When I said, "my foot is slipping," your love O Lord supported me.  Psalm 94:17-18

The next day we had an appointment to meet with someone from the funeral home about arrangements.  It should have been our children making our arrangements not us making theirs.  We picked out two of the smallest most beautiful urns you have ever seen and a tear shaped sterling charm that would hold a portion of their ashes so that I would forever have them physically close to my heart.  We decided to take a little more time to decide about the memorial service although we definitely knew we wanted to have one to honor them.  We went home and pondered what would be best for us and our families.  We finally decided on a small service at Bopp Chapel with family and close friends.  My dear friend Alysa's father performed the service for us.  I spoke with him briefly before where we discussed the music that we wanted played and my favorite piece of scripture which Glenn and I had already discussed.  And other than that we just wanted BEAUTIFUL and that is just what he delivered.  A beautiful message.

You see my favorite scripture from the Bible is a passage from 1 Samuel 1:26-28 that I have shared with mothers and fathers that have lost their babies for many years.  In trying to find a way to comfort them and I guess myself in my job. I had found this scripture and prayed about it.  In this story of Hannah she prayed for many years for a son and promised God that if he would just grant her that one thing, she would return him to her for all the days of his life.  And when God so graciously gave her her hearts desire, she did just as she promised as returned her son to serve the Lord.  What more loving thing could a mother do than to give her child back to God.  Although in Hannah's story her baby does not die, I believe that the message is the same.  There is NOTHING more beautiful or important as parents than to give your children to God whether that means spiritually or physically.  As parents as we grieve I feel that we must understand this spiritual principle.  Paster Willeford could not have written a more perfect sermon relating this. It was like he just like he read my mind, however I know that it was God.

I did write a letter that I wish to share with you all in the hopes that it may be a comfort for someone else.  In the days before the service, I prayed for something, anything.  God please give me something beautiful to honor my daughters.  Then I asked Pastor Willeford to read it at the service.

My Dear Precious Girls Annalise and Emmalyn,

My words could never express the love that we have for you.  We loved you both so much before we even knew there were two of you.  And all of these dear people here, they loved you too.  You touched all these lives in such a beautiful way.  And then the first time we saw you on ultrasound, it was so surreal.  There really were two of you...two precious babies.  As you grew, we watched you kick and cuddle and our hearts just smiled to no end.  Then it all changed and our world was upside down.  As we prepared for today, all we wanted was beauty just like the two of you, but mothing seemed enough.  Then God gave me this picture......
Emmalyn you were first to see a glimpse of our Heaven; a place so beautiful those of us here on earth can't even imagine.  Then you turned back knowing you needed your sister and you reached out to her.  While we prayed so hard at home she would hold on we had no idea what that meant.  But Annalise you did.  You held on tight to your sisters hand as she called "sissy come with me."  And hand in hand our girls entered the gates of Heaven.  NOTHING is more beautiful than that. 
Here on earth we held you, rocked you, sang to you but most of all we loved you.  And the hands that touched you both the night you were born were loving like angels passing you right into the hands of God.  I will forever see your beauty when I look in your Daddy's eyes and hear your laughter in the voices of Grayson and Evan.  And in the silence I will listen carefully because one day I will hear you both call Mommy.

And that my friends I believe with all of my heart.  My husband and I along with Grayson and Evan will be reunited again someday.  Only God knows that timing so until then I must wait here drawing nearer to the Lord that I know holds my Precious Annalise Chloe and Emmalyn Claire.  Everyday as I put my neckalce around my neck, I am reminded of that.  That God loves me and them and all of us and only through Him can healing take place.

So......Let the healing begin!

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