the countdown {with photos} & a prayer request

I thought I’d do one final post before S comes! For those who can’t see my twitter or facebook, here is a belly update from the past few weeks. You {might} notice that I wear the same shirts a lot. It wasn’t staged for these photo, it’s actually because I really only fit in about 5 shirts max right now! ;)

(forgot to take a 35 week belly shot besides this heart one)

I attempted to zip up my hoodie and this is what it looked like :) Today I’m 39 weeks and days! Which means…

Yep, just {4 days} until Boy S arrives!

We travel to Denver Monday evening to spend the night. Tuesday morning we have to be to the hospital by 6am and by 7:30am I will be in surgery! We would love and appreciate your prayers. There is quite a lot of emotion going through both Ted and I right now.

Ted and I went out on a date last night and talked about how it’s really just hit us so hard this week. The fear and uncertainty is really hard to push aside right now. We’re seeking peace but asking for prayers as we know that these next few days will probably be filled with intense emotion. I personally haven’t been able to let myself “go there” – to the morning of having S. I am more afraid than I’ve ever been this entire pregnancy. We both just want him here, safe and alive in our arms. It’s hard to explain, but it is really hard to picture that after what we walked through with Eisley’s birth just shy of 14 months ago. Anyways, I guess I’m just asking for prayers for {peace that surpasses our understanding} surrounding us.

Thank you for following our journey and praying for us. Thank you for loving us so.

Next time you see a blog post… it should be filled with photos of Boy S!

xo, Jami

Even just the tiniest glimpse.

I can barely find the words lately to express what’s going on my heart and mind. It’s part of why I haven’t shared my heart (on my blog) in the past 6 days. I’m in a really strange place right now. When I first came home from the hospital I didn’t mind being around people but writing was what I found to be the most therapeutic for me at the time. Now, I can barely write words expressing where I’m at.

I’ve been in such a need of the eye contact and/or the sound of the voice of a loved one asking me how we’re really doing and the comfort in the tears shared with a friend or family member as we talk about my sweet Eisley. I’ve found these things to be very healing right now.

::Let me just pause my confusing babbling to say a {huge} thank you to all my dear friends who’ve written or skyped or called or tweeted or even commented here lately. It has meant the world to me. Seriously, I can’t say thank you enough::

Ted and I both feel like we’re taking steps backwards in the “grieving process” as Eisley’s due date nears.

December 17, 2010.

 The date we waited for with great anticipation after we first heard Dr. H announce when our little “surprise baby” was due. The idea of having a newborn added to our family during the beloved holiday season was so exciting. And then when we found out she was our Eisley we we’re even more excited (not gonna lie, I really hoped she was a girl)! The very date we thought of with great anticipation just months before is now another kind of haunting reminder that she is gone.

We’re doing a few significant things on her due date but I keep thinking even though they might be “healing” for us, it won’t be the same as having her here with us. Obviously. Yet we are hoping for peace and healing on that day rather than a feeling of depression at our reality. December 17th will probably be intertwined with a lot of different emotions and as the years go by it might be less and less raw but the ache will still be there.

A few days ago I was driving and listening to music that’s been ministering to me right now. My heart was heavy and I was crying “hot tears” (as I call them), the kind of tears stemmed from a place of deep sorrow and grief and even anger.  As I was crying, something came to my heart and poured from my mouth immediately;

 “Father, please give me a glimpse of my daughter’s joy as she’s with you.”

I find myself whispering this prayer to my Father over and over, especially when I have those overwhelming moments of despair, sorrow, grief, etc. Sometimes, I even close my eyes and picture her with Him. I often remember this photo which you might recall me sharing a month or so ago;

I think of her in heaven experiencing things we cannot even fathom and it helps me as I ache. So this is my prayer, that since I do not have her here to with me and therefore I can’t tangibly experience her joy, that I will instead get a glimpse of my Eisley’s joy as she’s in the presence of our Father.

Jesus, please keep mending our hearts. Give us a glimpse of our daughter’s joy as she’s with You. Even just the tiniest glimpse, Father.

Where my heart and mind aren’t connecting.

The past few days I have been having flashbacks of the day Eisley’s heart stopped beating. It all comes back to me, like a nightmare, only this is our reality.

I’m lying in the hospital bed as they use the monitor to search for her heartbeat. 5 minutes pass, then 15, then 30. I think deep inside I knew but I kept hoping. 45 minutes passed and I began to have a hard time remembering to just breath.

My heart was racing and they kept finding my heartbeat low where hers normally was. Each time they would find my heart and I could hear it beating, I would just close my eyes and listen and feel my own heart in my chest. This wasn’t her heart, it was mine. My heart racing  because I knew she was gone.

They called Dr. Hill in and he came quickly along with an ultrasound machine. I felt like I was in a horrible nightmare as they plugged it in and kept thinking “This can’t be happening. I just felt her this morning”. They put the warm jelly on my stomach and I had to force my eyes to look at the screen that would tell me if my baby girl was still hanging on or not. I could see right away, she wasn’t reacting as she normally did when we had ultrasounds. I could see she was still. Dr. Hill brought the wand over my belly for a few minutes and finally pointed to the screen. He told me we were looking at her heart and that is was no longer beating.

I immediately began moaning and crying out “Oh God, no” over and over. The most horrible moment, realizing she was no longer with me.

I couldn’t even bring myself to call Ted and I had one of my favourite nurses make the dreaded call. Ted told me when he saw my number pop up on his phone, but heard Deb’s voice instead of mine; he knew. Our girl was gone.

Because I was alone so often, I had this horrible feeling that if I ever did lose Eisley, that I would be alone when I found out. And I was. My body shook from shock and sobbing for what seemed like forever but was probably not even an hour. I felt so alone and confused during that time. But when I finally regained my composure, I realized, I was most definitely not alone. Dr. Hill and two of my nurses had stayed by my side and  Dr. Hill was actually rubbing my leg to comfort me, which I didn’t notice until I looked around. Dr. Hill stood close to me with tears in his eyes and my nurses were crying as well as they stood by my bedside. I wasn’t completely alone; I was surrounded by two nurses who I have grown to love and our amazing Doctor who has been such an incredible blessing throughout our pregnancy. Once I really opened my eyes, I soaked up the comfort they offered me in that time and the tears they shared with me meant the world to me.

One thing I still wrestle with is that I didn’t feel God’s presence when I found out my daughter was gone. Maybe it was because of the hopes and dreams I had for her were gone in an instant, but in that few hours of my life, I felt so confused, and alone and even abandoned by the One I placed my hope in. That is the one part of the week that still bothers my heart greatly and I’m still trying to process the entire day… and the time I felt without Him. But He  did provide me with people who loved me and grieved with me, until Ted was able to get to Denver.

I guess where I am at currently, in this hour and sporadically throughout the past few days is denial. It sounds so twisted, that I can remember these horrible moments yet I feel like this can’t be happening. She can’t be gone. My heart still can’t believe what my mind keeps telling me. She is gone. I think that is why I keep having these flashbacks. I want to “make sense” of what happened.  I just want to understand what happened and it even ask it replays over and over it just doesn’t seem real. Denial. One of the “stages of grieving”, I know, I’ve heard. I go through probably all of the stages throughout one day and over and over sometimes. It will probably be like this for a while and I am really trying to let myself feel what I need to feel.

Yesterday little things I read or heard or saw kept triggering this feeling of  “it just doesn’t seem fair” in me. We had dreams and hopes for our daughter that were all gone in the instant they told us that her heart had stopped beating. Yesterday I kept thinking of Chase and how he will never know his little baby sister Eisley. They were going to be 16 months apart and they were going to be best friends. He was going to be her protector and give her big sloppy wet kisses. He was going to be the best big brother Eisley could ever had. All of those dreams are gone… and it breaks my heart more than words can say.

I will always tell Chase and someday our other children, of Eisley and who she was and the legacy she left behind, but it does break my heart that they will never personally know her and grow up with her. I watch Chase run around and I mourn the loss of his baby sister who I want so badly to be running along side him.

Our hearts and minds are having a hard time connecting the dots between what is reality and where we had such  hopes and dreamed for our daughter. It’s even hard for me to put into words because it’s so obvious physically… she is gone… yet my heart doesn’t quite grasp that fully.

I know this is kind of  a raw post, but it’s where I am at and I always want to be real and raw. Will you please pray for me? For Ted? For our hearts and minds to begin to connect the dots as we mourn the dreams we had for our Eisley and at the loss of her life. I am not strong, I am really the weakest I have ever felt. It’s not that I am in an unhealthy place but I’m hurting and aching and in need of your prayers. Ted is too.

Thanks for your love and support in this time.

‘Glory Baby’

Years ago when we lived in Wisconsin, my mom would drive me to school and would play Watermark- her favourite band at the time. I probably know every song word for word, and guess what?… I know their song ‘Glory Baby’ word for word. I haven’t thought about the song for years and until now, I could never relate or understand the deep sorrow and pain that went into writing these lyrics. Our Eisley is a “glory baby” and this song speaks to my heart so deeply now. And to think years ago I first heard this song… I don’t know what He is doing and sometimes I question Him a lot and as I grieve, I try to understand… but I do know that He is comforting me and bringing me peace in the most amazing ways. He is showing me He is with me as I grieve.

‘Glory Baby’ by Watermark

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…

Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…

BRIDGE:
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

One week; wishing time would stand still.

It has been one week since we first held our sweet Eisley and had to say our earthly goodbye. I wrote in my journal of how I wish time would stand still. Time is moving forward a lot faster than my heart is healing. I close my eyes and imagine myself holding her for the first time again. Remembering how in awe I was at her tiny hand between my thumb and finger. I can still picture her tiny little Chase-like nose and her beautiful mouth shape and lips. Her tiny soft toes… everything so perfect.

After she passed away Tuesday and we decided to be induced, they told us that is could take a while for my body to deliver, because it just wasn’t time. They told us that there will be changes her body will make immediately and they prepared us for what we might see. They told us that her skin would be lose and could even be falling off and that her features will have changed. I immediately wondered if we should just do the c-section so things would be over quickly. But they reminded me to think about future pregnancies and also the healing process which would be incredibly difficult on top of the loss of our daughter. I couldn’t even believe I had to face these questions right away and to think about being pregnant again… hours after losing her… it was the most difficult thing.

The 3 decisions to choose from for delivery were; one, a c-section. two, induced labor. Or three, go home and wait for my body to naturally go into labor. I knew immediatley 3 was out of the picture. It had only been 2 hours of knowing she had passed and I ached knowing that she was inside of me, but she was no longer alive. No way could I go weeks of waiting for my body to deliver her. And they also told us that Eisley would have a lot of changes during that time. I couldn’t bare the thought of what we might see weeks later.

We choose to be induced. It took 3 days (72 hours) for my body to deliver her naturally but we don’t regret the decision. We we’re able to see our daughter and she wasn’t anything like they had told us.

When I delivered her (which someday I will share about the actually delivery part and maybe soon) I was terrified to look at her. I actually asked them to clean her and dress her before I saw her, because I was so afraid of what I would see. Ted later told me, he was afraid too.

The nurse I had at the time I delivered her said, “Oh Jami, she is so beautiful.” She paused and I wondered if she just had to say that. “She is so beautiful. I was afraid of what we would see since she passed away 3 days ago… but she is perfect.” I just looked at Ted’s expression as he looked down at our daughter and realized, our nurse was right. Ted’s face said it all. She was perfect.

Even no matter what she would have looked like, she would have been perfect to us. Although, I am extremly thankful that it didn’t end up being what they had told us. Thank you God.

One thing that helps me are the photos Ted took of our little Eisley. It felt so strange to pull out the camera in a time like that, but we knew we would want photos of our daughter because our memory may fail us, although I pray we will never forget.

(I may never share all of the photos, just some for now….)

Ted and I both wish we could have had more time with her, but we agreed that any amount of time with her, wouldn’t have been enough. We were only able to keep her with us for a few hours after her delivery because of the changes her body would go through outside the womb. I’ve already shared, but the time we did have with her were that of peace. We felt complete peace as we held our little Eisley and we knew it was right that she was with Him.

We didn’t get a lot of time with her on earth, but I do believe that I will see her again and I will spend eternity with her. Right now she’s hanging out with Jesus and He’s telling her how much she was and is loved by us and by Him.  A friend gave me a photo last night that made her think of Eisley. It is incredible.

It makes the ache inside a little easier when I think of her in heaven. Healed and whole. In the arms of Jesus, who’s showing her the universe.

‘I Will Carry You’

I am in awe and I had to share just how incredible our God is. I must share.

(You’ve may or may not have heard this part of our journey before…) Months ago I was on my way home from running errands. I heard this story on the radio that touched my heart deeply and caused me to have a much needed conversation with my God. That very evening I felt that God was preparing my heart for something big. I came home and told Ted about this conversation with God and what I felt. I even wrote it on my facebook status that very evening.

I wrote a blog in greater detail about that day here. Please read it because it pieces all of this together in the most beautiful, awesome way.

Yesterday, I recieved a package from a friend, of books she ordered from Amazon for me. She bought me 3 books, one titled ‘I Will Carry You’. I briefly looked over them but sat them down because since I’ve come home, nothing has satisfied me for very long. Hours later after I went from trying to surf the web to trying to watch tv to trying to journal what I am feeling to trying to eat, etc.  Nothing has been able to distract me from my pain, so I just didn’t even try to read one of the books.

Hours later, I finally decided to read the summary of the books. ‘I Will Carry You’ immediately captured my attention. I realized it was a story of a family who walked through the tragedy of losing their daughter and even despite knowing how hard it would be to read it, I began. Soon, I was as page 25 and realized in complete awe, I knew their story. This was the exact couple I had heard on the radio that evening as I headed home from errands. It was the exact couple whose incredible faith and trust drew me into hearing their story. It was the story that led me to talking with God and the very night he spoke to me about preparing my heart for something big.

I began crying as I told Ted about this miraculous and amazing thing. Iam still in awe. I mean, this was the story I had hear prior to beginning this journey and walk with my sweet Eisley. It was God preparing me, it really was. And now here I am with the very story that spoke to my heart, in my hands and not long after our tragedy.

This is God. This is my no means a coincidence. (I even wrote my friend and asked her if she knew when she bought the book. She didn’t have any idea.)

And just as I was beginning to feel like He’d left me, He does this, like He’s gently reminding me, “I’m still here, Jami”.

I’m already pretty far in the book and I told Ted I feel like someone reached deep inside my heart and mind and put it in a book. It’s so similar and how she describes how she felt during appointments and throughout the entire procress, made my heart ache in a very familar way. I will write more as I read it, but for now I just had to share how incredibly AWEsome our God is.

post edit; a friend just sent me this song the couple had written for their daughter. It touches my heart so deeply.

I will remember, I will grieve.

The very moment they put Eisley in my arms, after they cleaned and dressed her, I felt a peace wash over me. For the first time in my life I felt the “peace that passes understanding”. I looked at my beautiful baby girl and just knew… it was right that she was with Him. It wasn’t because she looked ill or sick… she didn’t, in fact, to the naked human eye, she was perfect. Her hands, her fingers, her tiny finger nails, her feet, her toes, her little nose that looked like Chase’s and her lips that were shaped like mine but big like her daddy’s.

She was perfect. But I knew, she was meant to be with Him.

I can’t really explain it, but yesterday from the moment that I first held her to our final earthly goodbyes, I felt peace. She is whole and healthy with Him. She rests between His shoulders. She isn’t suffering, she isn’t fighting. It is what is best for her.

I thought her being here with us would be best for her and now I know it wasn’t.

Like so many people, I felt like Eisley was going to make it. I truly felt, deep inside, she was going to win this battle for her life. I did. I don’t have answers, and right now, I don’t feel like I need an answer. Right now, I just know, it is right that she is with Him but we are grieving that she isn’t with us.

Someday, maybe soon, I may question this. Right now, I feel the utmost peace, the kind which passes my understanding. The kind that says, this is truly difficult and I am filled with sorrow, but God I trust You and will rest in that.

The day I found out Eisley’s heart stopped beating, that her fight was done… I didn’t feel peace. I can’t really say what exactly I felt.

Today,I ache. I ache deep inside. When I cry, I keep literally reaching for my heart just wanting the pain that’s deep inside to just calm. The ache that feels almost physical, to stop.

I grieve as I sit here with this stillness in my womb. Silence. My body no longer holds my precious Eisley. She is no longer here with me on earth.

We are filled with grief and stricken with sorrow, we will be for months and years to come. I will always ache when September 14th rolls around each year, the day her little heart stopped fighting. I will still remember September 17th, the day of her birth, as bittersweet. I will still cry and wonder what life would be like with her when her due date, December 17th comes each year.

But even more than just those 3 dates, I will mourn and grieve maybe every day from here on out for a while. That’s okay and I know that. 

But I will also remember.

On April 26 I will remember with joy, the day that I found out we were pregnant with our little surprise baby. I will still remember rejoicing on August 8th at our ‘Pink or Blue party’ where we found our we were having a girl, our precious Eisley. I will remember feeling her little kicks and hiccups deep inside.I will remember the very first time I felt her kick from the outside, at the very same time her daddy felt too.  I will remember the ultrasounds where we watched her suck her thumb and stick her tongue out. I will remember the heart monitoring and hearing her swift heart beat, beat, beat to let me know she was okay.  I will remember the night before she passed, when she reacted to her daddy’s voice as he talked to my belly. I will remember her final kicks to me the morning she passed away, like she was saying goodbye to me. I will remember the day we finally gave birth to her, September 17th-  the perfect delivery of our beautiful baby girl and the peace that washed over Ted and I when we held her. I will remember how perfect her little nose, mouth, ears, toes, feet, fingers… how perfect and beautiful she was.

Our Eisley is with Him, which is really comforting, but we still ache and we will. We feel the loss of our daughter so strong right now.

And we will never, ever forget Eisley and her journey, her strength and the the legacy she left behind before even entering the world. We will never forget what we have learned as we were allowed to be her parents. She was a miracle baby is now safely in the arms of her Heavenly Daddy.

We will remember and we will grieve, but we will someday she her again.

Arrival.

Eisley Antalya Davis

Born September 17, 2010

2:10 pm

12.5 ounces & 10.5 inches long

She was so strong in her battle to survive. She was stunning, beautiful and perfect. And now she is whole and healthy in His arms.

We love you Eisley. You are our sunshine. Our little joy. Your little legacy and journey has changed how we view life now and has inspired us to live better lives and to be better people.

You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace, my sweet Eisley.