Emily Grace Gutreuter
Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
Her legacy
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Thanksgiving Day - 11/22/07  
Boy, what a mixed bag of emotions this day brings for me, personally, but also, no doubt, to my husband and probably (as best as kids can identify tough emotions, beyond happiness, anger or frustration) to my older kids as well...

Yesterday, my physical pain is at an all-time high.  The epidural that I got 3 weeks ago helped for just about that - 3 weeks.  Truthfully, it was hard to assess whether or not it was really helping, b/c I've still been battling, big-time, my daily chronic headaches.  But in the past 5 or 6 days, the pain in my neck & shoulders has returned - with a VENGEANCE! - and now it's easy to see that I actually WAS experiencing some relief from the epidural, despite the intense daily pain in my head...Because of this returning pain, the Doctor has scheduled me for a repeat epidural on 12/5/07.  Typically, these types of epidurals (cervical, in my case) are only to be done, max, 3-4 times per YEAR - but his Nurse told me yesterday that perhaps this 2nd one will be the one that lasts?  I can only hope!!!!

As it probably is no surprise, I find that when my physical pain is at it's peak, my emotional stability is much more vulnerable to dipping way down.  Last night was evidence of that.  As I begged God for MERCY in the form of pain relief, it felt as though my entire world - all the pain, all the grief, everything tragic that has happened in our lives - just came CRASHING down upon me all at once.  I just sobbed in my sweet husband's arms as we attempted to fall asleep.  Finally, after crying my headache to an even more painful point, I let him fall asleep, and I came downstairs to do some journaling and some very candid screaming at God...Boy, I guess it's good that He also keeps some insane hours...The following is quite depressing, but it's truthful in how I was really feeling last night.  I know that it's especially gloomy considering that today is Thanksgiving Day, but maybe that's part of the dynamic in why my feelings were as intense as they were last night.  I guess in a way, the thought of Thanksgiving almost seems like a mockery in my life, right now...Even though we do have things to be thankful for.  Just understand that I'm feeling better this morning, and in no way is this a "cry for help" (other than to God) so after reading this, please don't fear that you have to worry about whether or not I'm going to "snap" or revisit the dark, dark place that I was in, this past July.  It's not that at all - it's just real, raw, deep pain that rears it's ugly head at the most inopportune times...that's all...This is my journal entry from last night...the not-so-good, the bad & the definite ugly....

"...With my headache & neck pain at the worst it's been (I've felt like this many times in the recent past, so it wasn't necessarily worse than the worst, but it was definitely equal to the worst I have felt...) I felt like my eyeballs were gonna explode and spew out of my head and onto one of my poor, unfortunate kiddies!!!  NO EXAGGERATION!!!! Knowing me, I know it's hard to imagine "Ms. Drama Queen" not being dramatic, but I swear - it's true!!!! :(

When I went to bed last night, my physical pain was so intense, coupled with emotional exhaustion and pain (we've had some very real struggles with both boys in recent weeks) that I just sobbed & sobbed in Bri's arms as we tried to go to sleep. I did a lot of "thinking out loud", trying to process some of what I was feeling in my heart - and I tell you, it wasn't pretty.

No doubt, in the past 2 years of surreal grief, I have felt this way many times, but maybe last night was the 1st time that I ever really could put words to the depth of my pain?  The way that it all came out was by my ability to identify with Job, in Job 3:16-26, when he says to God: (Try not to let this depress you - it's just real-live honesty and where I was in my grief last night.)  Anyway, Job says to God, starting in verse 16:

"Why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child,
like an infant who never saw the light of day?

There the wicked cease from turmoil,
and there the weary are at rest.

Captives also enjoy their ease;
they no longer hear the slave driver's shout.

The small and the great are there,
and the slave is freed from his master.

Why is light given to those in misery,
and life to the bitter of soul,

To those who long for death that does not come,
who search for it more than for hidden treasure,

Who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?

Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?

For sighing comes to me instead of food;
my groans pour out like water.

What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.

I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil."

I know, I know....heavy thoughts for Thanksgiving Day. It's just that last night, I was wrestling with -- 'God, if this lot in life is what I should be thankful for - constant turmoil and pain, no thank you' - I'd rather just be in Heaven with my Emi Bear.... (ok,ok...and with Jesus too).

I wish this pain upon no other human being.  But unfortunately, I know that I am not alone in these feelings of grief.  Many have gone before me, walking this path of real & intense pain, many are living it out, directly because of our loss of Emily Grace, right alongside of me, and unfortunately, many have yet to experience such loss in the future, because someone that they love & adore will not live out the full life that they expect them to.  I wish that no one else would ever have to know this hurt, but unfortunately, in this life, we can't avoid suffering."

The following Scripture reminds me that my pain won't last forever, and that God actually is doing something useful in the midst of my heartache...This is The Message translation: 

"Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ (eternal and glorious plans they are!), will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, He does!!

                                                ~ 1 Peter 5:8

I guess in some strange way, that brings me a measure of comfort...

2 Very Long & Yet Very Fast Years... 10/15/07  
This is just a short entry on this, the 2nd angelversary of Emily Grace's death.  I will journal more later, and will include some letters to Emily that each of our family members have written to her, in the last day or so.

For now, I wanted to include a few snippets from a powerful devotion that made its way into my email inbox this morning.  The words that follow spoke powerfully, into the deep place of my heart:

"...Much of what He allows in your life is not just for you to accept, but to get you to rise up!  God wants you to know how to wield the weapons of warfare, how to take a stand and how to fight.

Women are not meant to be helpless creatures.  God has given us a fierceness that is holy and is to be used on behalf of others."

With that, I leave you, for now.  I will return later today to share more from my heart, as well as from the hearts of Emily's Daddy, and Emily's big brothers...

October - A Once Ordinary Month Will Never Be The Same... 10/8/07  
In just a short 144 hours, 730 days (or 17,520 tear-filled hours) will have passed since we’ve held our precious, beautiful daughter, Emily Grace. Attempting to describe how our life has panned out since that time would take more space than the world wide web probably has available! Never in a million years could we have imagined that our lives would take such a drastic and tragic turn, just 2 years ago. To be forced to live with such a deep loss and such a huge void in our family is hard enough. But to be forced to live with this loss and face the reality that we will never be given any answers, is simply put, like pouring all of the salt from the Gulf of Mexico into our gaping wounds. 

Brian and I know the indescribable pain that results from losing one of our own. But there is this part of me that simply cannot imagine what it must be like for Nick, Dakota and Katie (as much as she can remember about life with Emily). Yes, the loss is different, but what paralyzes me sometimes is the wonderment of what a child must perceive life to mean, after such a sudden and unexpected loss? No doubt that they have thought (and have admitted as much to us) “Am I going to die in my sleep tonight?” “Is Mommy or Daddy going to die today?” “Who’s next?”   By the time we reach adulthood, we oftentimes are still left searching for and wondering what life is really all about. But as a child, we form our views and opinions of how life works, based on the very limited understanding of our realities. That said, we can only pray and pray and pray some more, that God will be gracious enough to spare our children from forming pessimistic opinions about the life that lies ahead of them. Somehow, as parents, we must have the grace to be able to instill hope and trust into our children. How do we hope and how do we trust in a world that is obviously so uncertain? The only answer to that question lies in the faith that Brian and I stand on as the foundation of our lives – Jesus Christ. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  ~ 2 Corinthians 4:18 ~

Trying to sum up the pain that we have felt in the past 2 years oftentimes seems so impossible. Music has always had a way of ministering to me, wherever I’m at in my life. If I share the following lyrics, maybe they will do a better job of communicating. The song is called “Homesick” by Mercy Me, and you can listen to it in it’s entirety by clicking the song's link, which is located at the upper right side of this page. “Help me Lord ‘cause I don’t understand Your ways. The reason why, I wonder if I’ll ever know. But even if You showed me, the hurt would be the same, cause I’m still here, so far away from Home…”

We love you Emily Grace. ^!^  You were and forever will be our Princess – the Original “Girl of Grace”!    Until we get to hold you again in Eternity, we will press on, running the race that lies ahead, and enduring (somehow) until the Finish! I know that your gorgeous face will be waiting to embrace us when we get to the Finish Line!

Until then, Sweet Baby Girl, KEEP SHINING!!!!!

Going Back... 9/4/07  
Numbness...Disbelief...Still after 23 months...To be in the place where Emily breathed her last breath...To be face-to-face with her sweet little cousin that she slept next to when she died...To try to be "strong" through it all...To know that I purposely made allowances to "feel my feelings"...At the same time, to acknowledge God's grace over us...It was all still so hard...I fear that the pain & loss & grief will never lift...I fear that my husband & I haven't really grieved "together, as one".

Being back in WI, this past weekend, with family, tucked away at a water park, of all places...a blessing to be with family, with the opportunity to just "be" and have fun...Yet at the same time, it still served as such a piercing & painful reminder that Emi should be here with us. She LOVED to swim - once when Daddy was swimming with her, he said "Emi, are you a fishy?" to which she proudly replied "NO! I'm jus' EMILY!" How we longed to see Emily & Katie splashing & having fun TOGETHER in the water, going down the water slides with Mommy...

As I sit here looking @ her pictures, listening to the songs on her website...sometimes the pain feels brand-new, as if it's the 1st day, all over again...God, please heal our broken hearts. You may never tell us how she died or why You took her Home so early, but @ least comfort us, PLEASE?! Do not let Emily's death be in vain...Use us to minister even in the midst of our pain & grief...There is no restitution for such a great loss, this side of Heaven, but we want to be used for YOUR GLORY!

Thanks God for the grace that You did show us this weekend, even though...Thanks so much for family who loves us and supports us. Thanks for the gift of Gramma & Aunt Julie who gave us the unheard of blessing of time alone with one another, no kids. We are so grateful for even just a 24 hour window of rest and the comfort of knowing that our kids were well-cared for. Thanks, also, for the love & prayers of true friends and those we don't even really know...We did feel Your covering and love over us...Thanks for being a safe God and for providing a safe place to share praise right alongside of pain - two polar opposite emotions that can co-exist in a very real and raw way...God, please give Emily Grace a special hug & kiss from her Mommy & Daddy, today. Take good care of her, please.

HOPE 5/8/07  
Hope. A word that until this past weekend, wasn't much more than a 4-letter word to me. It was one that I heard spoken, often - mostly by my husband in the frame of "you don't have it and you really need it" - but until something takes place inside of you, personally, you cannot adopt someone else's hope or someone else's peace. It has to be personal - for you - from God. This past weekend, I had a very unique opportunity to fly to Dallas, TX to attend a weekend "intensive" called Healing is a Choice. A book with that title was written by Stephen Arterburn, Founder of New Life Ministries, and from their book, they have put together a weekend of teachings/small group/big group meetings that is absolutely amazing. For 3 days I was in a safe world. A world where my pain was honored, treated delicately and genuinely appreciated. I was in a world where I was being taught that God has a better and a bigger plan for me. He hurts with me - certainly in the loss of Emily, but also because of everything else that has happened in the course of my life - He knows my hurts - but He also has a plan for me to not be consumed or stuck in my pain. He has a plan to use me as a result of what I've gone through. I learned that while we don't get to pick our "junk" in life, that we do get to pick whether or not we will be available to be used, through it. I learned that the best way to move through healing is to be willing to make real connections and to serve other people. I learned that when you take your eyes off of your terrible circumstances and you put your eyes back on Jesus, that He can do some pretty neat things! :) A real epiphany for me this past weekend was when I realized that I was no longer going to ask God to take away my pain, but rather to USE my pain for His purposes - for His Glory. That was pretty big, to me. I will forever grieve the loss of Emily Grace. She was my flesh and blood. She was ripped from my arms and my breast at a much too early age - as she was still breast feeding, it was a forced weaning that should never have been. But I cannot change what has happened. The only thing that I can do is change what I choose to do with my life from today forward. Today, I choose to live Today, I choose to love Today, I choose to heal Today, I choose to serve God is good. He is faithful - Hope is a wonderful thing! :)
See Coroner Update (Scroll Up) in the BOLD text close to song lyrics.... 4/24/07  
I am updating the info as we've received it from the Coroner. We got this info about 4 weeks ago, and thruthfully, have only had the emotional energy to share with Grandparents and immediate family - please forgive the delay and thank you for understanding....
Udpate - Way Overdue - 4/24/07  
I'm sorry for the delay in journal entries. To say that life has been crazy is an understatement - and I'm not really referring to schedule crazy, either. I wish it was just that. To hope for "day by day", sometimes, is still asking too much. Some days I feel ok, hopeful - other days, not so much. Earlier this morning I got on here and truth be told, I just didn't have the emotional energy to stay. There are days - even 18 months later - where it literally feels like someone is twisting a knife into my heart - turning, turning, turning it - the heaviness and emotional disbelief that she's gone. Then there are other days where, sadly, it's a part of our everyday, new realities. There's no predicting. Life does not stop. Unfortunately, when your child dies or something else tragic happens, life doesn't take much of a time-out in the delivery of other difficulties/issues. I am ready for the rest and comfort that God promised us when Noah was born. Many of you might remember what I'm talking about - the name Noah means REST and COMFORT. I know God didn't say exactly when it was coming, and I know that we are taking the steps that are necessary toward healing (thus rest and comfort), but I am ready for it - Brian is ready for it - the kids are ready for it. We are all actively involved in counseling now. Seems way overdue, but I think it just happened when it was supposed to. The boys are seeing a GREAT guy - totally gifted with kids, just down-to-earth (totally on their level), fun, relevant, I think he's just going to be all-around wonderful for them. Picture this big black man - probably 6 foot tall - Converse tennis shoes, nylon running uit, Nike hat, cool glasses - just fun, fun, fun with the boys - they totally love him. Please say a prayer for him, his name is Robert and we are already, even only 3 sessions into it, very thankful for him and how we know he'll reach the boys! Brian and I started counseling last month. Marriage, grief, just stuff. I like the guy that we're seeing, although I think that this process may just be a longer, more drawn-out process than I assumed. My personality is just one that wants to "tackle" the issues at hand - get 'em on the table, dealt with and knocked out. I am learning that it's not quite that cut and dry - and although I'm sure the process is necessary, it's hard to swallow at $85/hour. Thanks for your continued prayers. There is comfort in knowing that we are being thought of, loved and prayed for.
Happy Birthday To Our Beloved Emily Grace - 3/7/07  
Dear Emi Bear,

Today was your 4th birthday. We all wonder how you celebrated in Heaven? Were there lots of balloons and bright shiny party hats? What flavor was your cake? Knowing my sweet girl the way I do, I bet it was ch-ch-chocolate with ch-ch-chocolate frosting and ice cream! :) Do you remember how you used to say chocolate like that? Ch-ch-chocolate! That was just one of so many things that you used to do that made us smile. :)

Do you remember how you used to go upstairs with Daddy, every night when he'd get home from work, to "change" with him? You would go in our bedroom with Daddy, he'd go in the closet and change his clothes and you would start jumping on "the big bed" - then you and Daddy would play and watch a few minutes of Dora together, before coming downstairs again. What special times those were!

Emi, we miss you so much baby. It is still so hard - so hard for Mommy & Daddy and your brothers and Katie, and everyone else to understand. I know it wasn't your choice to leave - I know that - it was in God's plan for some reason. I pray that you understand that we're not angry with you. Our pain is because we miss you so much and long to have you with us again, as you should be.

I can't help but wonder if you were scared. Mommy & Daddy were not in the room with you when Jesus came to get you. Did you know? Did you try to call for us? We may never know, but as your Mommy, I ache when I think about not being there for you. I ache with the thought that you needed us and that we were unaware. I have to trust that somehow, you know. You must know that we would've been there in a heartbeat if we would have known you needed us. We would've given the last breath in our chests to you - but that is not what God intended. We ask Him why every single day. Maybe there will be no answers - at least there are none now.

Today you were remembered by so many, honey. We had friends and family call us, email us and even come by the house to remind us that they have not forgotten. How precious that was to us. Do you remember Miss Lori? Of course you do. :) She went to the Cemetery today and put some flowers down for you. Miss Sue came by our house and tied a BIG, HUGE bouquet of balloons to our mailbox, just for you! :) There was a HUGE ladybug balloon, a pretty "Happy Birthday Princess" balloon and a few others, too. She also sent a gorgeous flower arrangement. Katie LOVES your balloons - she's carrying them around everywhere she goes! ;) Lots of candles have been lit for you today and Daddy and I are comforted by the reminder that so many love us and so many are keeping us close in heart - so many who love YOU and were touched deeply by your spirit and your life. You were truly a gift from God, sweet Emi Grace.

It's with the hope that we will one day run to you, embrace you, kiss you, and hold you again, that we carry on. We have an Emily-sized hole in our hearts and we want you to know that we love and we cherish the gift that you are and were to us - today and every day.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart - We love you eternally! ;) ^i^ Keep Shining! ^!^
Emily Grace - 4 Years Ago Today... 3/7/07  
...Our worlds became so much richer - March 7, 2003 - We were given the gift of a beautiful baby girl, Emily Grace. Brian's first biological child, my first daughter, the boys' first sister, both sets of Grandparent's first granddaughter - She was a FIRST in so many different ways. What joy she would bring to us - at the same time, little did we know that such joy would be followed by such heartache.

As much as it seems that the natural thing to do today would be to celebrate Emily's memory, celebrate and remember the good times, it's not quite that simple. Brian and I have not hidden our sadness from our children, but we do try to be intentional about sharing our happy memories of Emi, as well. The happy memories are there - but they are still so very clouded by sadness and grief, that it's truly an effort to put a smile on and recount happy thoughts, without feeling an intensely heavy sadness, because intertwined with the happy thought is the stark reminder that she's not here with us.

I made one of Emily's favorite meals last night - Mommy's homemade spaghetti. We had her birthday dinner last night because Daddy has to, unfortunately, head out of town for business today. We know that he would change it if he could. So last night was spaghetti with ANGEL hair pasta and then I made ANGEL food cake cupcakes with a strawberry frosting. Pink was Emi's favorite color. Daddy bought a big Princess balloon that was appropriately confiscated by Katie Joy, after dinner, and we hung a banner in the kitchen that said "WE LOVE YOU EMILY!"

She should be here, blowing out the candles on her cake. I wonder if this year she would have chosen a Dora the Explorer cake or if it might have been Cinderella or Ariel from The Little Mermaid??

Happy 4th Birthday Emily Grace. We would move Heaven & Earth if we could have you back with us again. We love you. xoxo
Update ... 2/6/06  
It’s been a long time since my last entry. Lots going on, of course, with a new baby, and 3 other children to care for. The new year has been ok so far – only one true emergency so far. I guess for our family, that’s not bad. Yes, hear the sarcasm. This emergency was traumatic for me, because it was my fault. Noah has needed eye drops since birth because he’s had blocked tear-ducts. One morning in January, I was getting ready to meet a friend for breakfast, bathing the little ones, etc., and I grabbed for his eye drops on my nightstand, merely using my peripheral vision. It wasn’t until I had drops already put in his right eye and one in his left eye that I discovered that I hadn’t grabbed the eye drops, but rather an eerily similar looking bottle of SUPER GLUE. Yep – you read that right – super glue. Needless to say, I freaked out, completely – screaming for Brian to call 911 and running to the bathroom to flush Noah’s eyes, which were completely glued shut. Long story short – the paramedics came, transported us to the ER at the Children’s Hospital and they flushed his eyes for 15 minutes. He followed up with the Pediatric Eye Dr. the next day and praise the Lord, he was fine. My scars took longer to heal though – I still can’t believe that I made that mistake. How horrifying!!!!! If that is the only 911 call this entire year, it’ll be one too many. We’ve had our share and I’m ready to get 911 OFF of speed-dial! ☹ Everyone else is doing ok. There isn’t a day that passes that we don’t think of Emily and in our hearts, long for her to be here in our arms. Katie Joy tells me EVERY SINGLE morning when she wakes up, that she dreamed about her sister Emily and she proceeds to tell me what they did in her dream. Most of the time, they play – sometimes with toys, sometimes they play games. She always tells me who won. ☺ Last night, they played the Shrek “Operation” Game and reportedly, Emily won that game. How precious is that???? A few nights ago, Katie said that in her dream Emily held Noah Luke and Emily said “He’s SO cute!!!” Of course my eyes INSTANTLY filled with tears when she told me that. Whether it’s her imagination or truly a gift that God gives her to connect with Emily in her dreams – it matters not. The fact is that I would never discourage it because regardless of what it comes from, it IS a gift. Katie was only 18 months old when Emi died so she will never have REAL memories of her own. If she adopts the ones that we instill in her and share with her – then thank God she can do that!!! Emily’s 4th birthday is fast approaching. It’s still so unreal at times. Especially when thoughts like that occur. So often we watch Katie and wonder what it’d be like if she still had her best friend here to play with, to laugh with, to get in trouble with? It’d be how life is supposed to be, I suppose. Life will never be what it once was. We can only pray that whatever is left of this Earthly life will speedily lead to our Eternal Reunion with Emily ~ I can’t even fathom it in my limited mind.
Christmas... 12/23/06  

Hard to believe that another Christmas without Emily is here.  Time goes so fast, yet there are days when it feels like it's standing still.  Uuugh.

I've always been honest in these journals.  Thankfully no one has ever taken my candidness personally.  I won't change my honesty and hope that no one will change their position in not taking things personally.  

This year, it has been very painful to me to receive Christmas cards that are addressed to:  Brian, Wen, Nick, Dakota, Katie & Noah.  

I know that no one has excluded Emily's name because of negligence or in an effort to hurt us - of course I know that - and maybe it's possible that the masses think that if they PUT Emi's name on the card that it will cause more pain - but I just wanted to share our hearts.

Emily is just as much a part of our family now as she has ever been.  Does it suck to no end that she's not here with us, physically?  Of course it does.  I would give anything in the world to change that fact.  But she is still a part of our "line-up"  I signed her name on our Christmas cards because to leave it out just wasn't right.  Yes, I put "Angel Emily" on there because that's a thought that brings us comfort.  But she still comes after Dakota and before Katie.  She always will.

I can only trust that Christmas for Emily this year is unlike anything we can imagine ... One day, we'll know what she's doing because we'll be doing it with her. ;)  

Love you Emi Grace. ;)  

Thanksgiving? 11/23/06  
I'm finding it so hard today - hard to be in a full "giving-thanks" mood.  How?  I mean, I know that I have much to be thankful for - acknowledged.  I have an amazing husband, beautiful children not forgetting our precious newest baby, only 3 weeks old.  I have a roof over my head, had a warm turkey dinner tonight on our table, we have more than many have.  I understand all of that.

What I do not have, however, is my daughter.  My daughter who was ripped from my arms at an incredibly early age.  My daughter who no one had a clue that her life would be cut so short - and to think that an entire year later, we still don't know why or how!  

I am just hurting so bad today - so bad.  It sucks to not have Emily here.  It sucks to have only 5 at the table instead of 6.  It simply sucks.  

I guess today is one of those "hit me like a wave" day.  I can only hope that somehow, Emi can see down on us and she knows our hearts.  That she knows how desperately we love her and how passionately we miss her.  What I wouldn't give to have that gorgeous gift back in my arms today.  

The heart of a Mommy who has lost her child is more shattered than a vase thrown into a billion pieces on the floor. 
Emily's Baby Brother Is Here!!! 11/6/06  

God's Promise... 

Noah Luke Gutreuter
graced our lives on:

November 1st, 2006 at 6:11pm
He is very healthy at 6 lbs., 6 oz. And 19.5" long

Labor was great - 2 hours and 25 minutes and 3 pushes. :)

Brian was able to "catch" Noah, just like Emily and Katie, after our Doc delivered his head and shoulders and of course, he cut the cord ;)

He has a head of dark hair, just like his Daddy ~ He is absolutely GORGEOUS and we are SO blessed! ;)

God reminded us, by way of one of the Nursery Nurses, after his birth, that in the Bible, after the horrific flood, when He gave Noah the rainbow, that it was a sign of His promise that He'd never again bring destruction like they had just experienced, again.

We have endured a lot of grief and pain in our family this past year, and so we receive that promise for us and hold onto the hope that our Noah's new life represents!

Meet Noah Luke 

One Very Proud Daddy! 

My Gorgeous Son!!!!

Big Brother Nicholas 

Big Brother Dakota

Big Sissy Katie

Our Little Monkey

Going Home.... 

5 Babies, 5 Different Experiences ... 10/31/06  


I have been SO FREAKING FRUSTRATED the last few days b/c Noah has been giving my body real, live signals that he's coming, and even for this 5th-time mom, has had me fooled 3 times!!!! On Thursday, I went to the Doc spontaneously to get checked b/c my contractions were getting stronger and closer - come to find out that I'm 3cm dilated - up from 1cm the week before. So the OB (not mine) has me go upstairs to L&D for an hour to walk. According to the nurse up there, after walking, I progressed slightly to about 4cm and was 50% effaced. They put me on the monitor and after having lots of contractions seemingly getting stronger and relatively close together, they stop. Virtually gone. WHAT?!?!?!? So they say we can go home - this was, of course, after having a bag of fluid pumped into my body via IV.....Ick.

So things are relatively quiet on Friday, then Saturday night comes and I am feeling some pressure in my cootchie and having the timeable contractions again, some 3-5 mins apart, some 10-20 mins apart. So I call up to L&D and tell them what's going on, they say that with my history of going fast, I should probably come back and at least get checked. After talking on the phone with the Doc on call for the weekend - who does NOT work for the practice I go to - who was a complete and TOTAL BI***, I head up there. There is NO such thing as "getting checked real quick" - 4 hours later, another bag of IV fluid and a urine test, it shows that I have a UTI and didn't change from the 4cm and 50% effacement. Ok, this is freakin' ridiculous. I made the nurses laugh by promising that I was not coming back until I had a baby halfway out of my cootchie. And even then, I might just come in with a paper bag on my head.

Sunday, relatively quiet - except for the fact that I lost my plug over the course of Sat/Sun. Contractions not much to talk about.
Then today - not many contractions....but at 3:15 or so, a sudden and INTENSE pressure in my pelvis, butt, lower back. This is comparable to the beginning of this feeling that I've had in ACTIVE labor when the baby is definitely pushing on my cervix. Ummm, I'm home with 2 kids alone.

I call the OB's office and ask if I can PLEASE come into their office to get checked, that I didn't feel right. I was really nervous. I have never in my life been at home and dilated to 4cm - never, so this has me really nervous, b/c in the past, after my water is broken, or breaks, I go VERY FAST.

They say to come on in. After fighting traffic and almost getting hit by an idiot coming thru the intersection that shouldn't have been, I walk into the office like a stuffed duck, Katie and Kota in tow. Dr. Pippenger (male Doc - eww!) checks me and says that he thinks I'm between a 3 and 4, still only 50% effaced and possibly moved from a -2 station to a -1; but did not feel like I was in labor. So guess what? I get to go home.

Ok, I am completely feeling like an a$$ at this point. Brian left work early to come meet me up at the Doc's office, just in case things were different and they sent me upstairs to L&D. I called him and he was only half way to home, and told him to go home.

So 2 and a half hours ago, I was checked and told that I was not in labor - and now, in the past 1 hour and 30 mins, I have had 21 rather uncomfortable contractions, the farthest apart being 6 mins apart and the closest being 1 minute (only like 1 of those) and the average being 4-5 mins apart.

MY OB's instructions to me have been that if I have them 5 mins apart for 30 mins, to call. Ummm, I do NOT want to call this dude on call (Doc that checked me 2 hrs. Ago) b/c well, he JUST CHECKED ME 2 HOURS AGO AND SAID I WAS NOT IN LABOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe by the time you read this, I'll be in the hospital with a baby?! Probably not. LOL

One Year Ago Today - 10/20/06  

I cannot believe that one year ago today, we buried our daughter.  Those are words that should never even be used in the same sentence.  Never.  I don't care who you are.  It's just plain wrong.

I remember the hope and the faith that Brian and I and several others had that God might answer our prayers for a miracle - may seem odd to some that we'd even pray for that after Emily died, but it wasn't weird to us - it was the only option if we wanted even the slightest possibility of a miracle of God bringing her back to us.  He's done it countless times before, in History, He is still on the Throne and never changes, so we know HE COULD HAVE, it's just that He chose NOT TO.  That sucks. 

As long as I live, I will never forget the sheer and utter disgust that I felt as we were driving from the church to the cemetery, in the limo, behind the Hearse, looking out the window realizing that people were going about their Thursday, going to lunch, going to Target, filling their cars with gas, going to get their Latte at Starbucks, and here we were - driving to the damn cemetery to BURY OUR PERFECTLY HEALTHY TODDLER DAUGHTER who never should have died.  How could to world go on?  It wasn't going to for us - so shouldn't it have stopped for everyone else too?  I guess not. 

This might be a day where many would choose to go to the cemetery and lay flowers on the gravesite.  Again, for me, nope.  I don't feel closer to Emily when I go there.  I feel more icky, more reminded about the physical part of her burial - that is NOT how I want to remember that gorgeous, sweet, vivacious, gorgeous, full-of-life, (did I mention gorgeous?) precious little girl of ours.  

As raw, real and in-our-face as this all is, it still seems so unreal - so unbelieveable...yet it's our life now - it's the hand we've been dealt and we are expected to keep putting one foot in front of the other and so as hard as that is some days, that's what we have to do.  We don't have to like it, for sure, but we have to continue to be Mommy & Daddy for the 4 other precious ones that He's entrusted to our care.

We love you Precious Emily Grace - you know that we will NEVER forget - impossible!

365 Very Painful Days - 10/15/06  

It's unbelievable to us that an entire year has passed since we have held, kissed, hugged and played with our sweet Emily Grace.  

She was an amazing little girl.  A wonderful little sister, a fantastic and loving big sister and the sweetest, most love-giving daughter that any parent could ever pray for.  Her spirit was unmatchable and truly one-of-a-kind. 

She did not get enough time here on Earth.  God obviously thought that she did, but by no means do we agree. 

I recounted a memory today of a time that Emily was riding in the van with me.  We had one of her little Toddler Praise CDs in and she was sitting in her car seat, singing, from her heart, "Use me, Jesus use me, take me by the hand and use me..."  I remember it melting my heart and calling Brian at work to tell him of that sweet, sweet moment.  Little did we know that God would INDEED use her, in ways that we never could have imagined and in ways that we NEVER would have hoped for.  She has left an imprint on so many hearts - one little girl who carried so much life, love and sunshine.  

We were surrounded by love and friends today and all of your thoughts and prayers were felt as well.

We had a memorial get-together at our church this afternoon and paid tribute to Emily by way of pictures, special songs that have ministered to us over the past year (our friend Amanda sang "Sunsine - Emily's Song"), and also through sharing, prayer, etc. It was special to have those that love us surrounding us and holding us up.

Katie even told of how her big sissy sent us a ladybug yesterday She and I saw one crawling on the kitchen floor and immediately, I told her that was a gift from Emi Grace (Emi's nickname was "our little ladybug")

When that was finished, several of us went to the cemetery and released a TON of balloons, as well as put flowers on her headstone. Totally not a place we should have to go to "visit" our daughter...

The emotions obviously ran deep today - but for us, not much different than those of the last 365 days.

It was very difficult to listen to our sweet babysitter/friend, Anna, read an essay that she wrote that accounted for her memories of the day that Emily died. It obviously took us right back to the shock and horror of that God-forsaken morning. That was tough, but her heart and love poured through.

We all commented on how we cannot believe that an entire year has passed - in some ways it seems like an Eternity, in many other ways, it feels like it was just yesterday.

While you pray for us, please pray for rest, comfort and joy. Our family needs all of these, desperately.

We had long chosen the name Noah for our baby when we learned that his name means "REST and COMFORT" - Noah will NEVER be a replacement for Emily Grace, but if God's not in that, I don't know what is! We'll gladly accept a time of rest and comfort - I just pray that it's coming soon...

We will forever miss and ache for your presence, sweet Emily Grace.  We all love you so very, very much and hang on to the promise that one day - in God's timing - we will once again be reunited with you, only this time, never having to say goodbye again.  Until then, sweet, gorgeous Princess of ours, rest in the arms of Jesus and please feel our love and passion being sent up to you in Heaven.  Forever our Angel, we love you more deeply than words could ever express!

~ I've added some pictures from today to the photo section.  Some of the boys being goofballs, too.  It's nice that even amidst the pain, they can still be silly little boys. ;) ~ 

Little Did We Know.... 10/12/06  

...That the day I posted my last journal entry (10/6/06) talking about how the days were hard, how much harder things were about to get - just a matter of a few hours later... Here is what happened:

Friday night, 10/6/06, Dakota (our 10 year old) was quizzing with Daddy on his vocab words at about 7:15pm. He suddenly said "Woah Daddy, I feel dizzy" to which Brian said "Well, go lay on our bed then" (Bri was in our bathroom giving Katie a bath) so Dakota did that and then Brian continued to call out some vocab words and Dakota did not respond. So Bri said "KOTA! ARE YOU OK?" And Kota sat up and looked ghost-white pale, so Brian asked him if he was going to throw up. He said he thought he might and so Bri told him that he better go to their bathroom. Kota got up from our bed, went out into the hallway, passed the bathroom and walked into Katie's room. Bri saw this and said "Kota! Where are you going pal?" At that point, Dakota was completely out of it, glassy-eyed, etc. Brian led him to the bathroom where he then threw up 3x. From that point forward, he was non-responsive. Breathing, but non-responsive. Brian called me - I had just headed out to get my nails done - and calmly asked me to come home telling me that something "wasn't right" with Kota. I then jumped back into the car and headed home, calling 911 on my way. Driving like a freaking mad-woman, I got there before the ambulance but then they got there a few mins. later. They assessed him and saw that he wasn't responsive. They got him into the ambulance and had me jump up front to go with up to the ER. While in the ambulance, on the 10-15 min. drive, he had 2 seizures. We got to the ER and he was still completely out of it, but VERY combative. He was trying to pull his IV out, and it took 5 or 6 of us to hold him down. While in the ambulance, they pushed 8mg. of Valium to try to bring him out of the seizures, and then to calm him down once at the ER, they gave him 4mg. Of Atavan. Both high doses. They also gave him, via IV, a huge "loading dose" of Dilantin, which is an anti-seizure medication. We learned that his episode at home was in fact a seizure and that was the beginning of it all.

While in the ER, they drew blood and gave him a CT scan. Both tests came back negative. About an hour and a half after we arrived at the ER, Dakota had another seizure, this time just pulling up his legs and arms, tucking his neck and tensing up completely. Because Riverview Hospital is not a specialized hospital, they have no in-house Neurologist, so they then decided to transfer us to St. Vincent Children's Hosptial. We went by ambulance, again, where Dakota was still completely out of it, but on and off combative.

We started out in the regular Pediatric ward, they attempted to put an IV in Kota when we got there, and although he was completely out of it, not conversant at all, eyes not even open, he fought having that needle put in harder and more aggressively than either Brian or I have EVER EVER seen our son....All of that was amazing, seeing as he was still not coherent.

At about 9am Saturday morning, the Neurologist came in and talked with us and said that he wanted to move Kota to PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) for closer observation and that he was also going to order an MRI and a spinal tap to turn over every stone.

Once up in PICU, they did an EEG and then he did wake up for a short time Sat. Morning around 11am. He was somewhat coherent and carried on a simple conversation with us. At about 11:45am or so, they prepared to take him down to do a spinal tap, and their plan was to give him a conscious sedation (Pentobarbital) that is short-acting and should've worn off relatively quickly.

Unfortunately, despite the sedative, they were not successful in getting the spinal done, because as soon as they'd turn him over on his belly and strap his hands down, they tried to swab him with the Betadyne and he started fighting hard. So he was out of it, but yet was putting up that aggressive fight. After trying to give him 3 doses of the Pentobarbital, and still having him fight, they said "no more" as his respiratory rate went to apnea level, at 8 resp/min. So now, in addition to already being totally sedated from the night before, plus having the HUGE loading dose of Dilantin in his system, he now had a very large dose of yet another sedative in him that didn't even end up doing any good, because they couldn't do the spinal.

They called the Neurologist and he said that because Kota was showing some hallucinations, during his short period of being awake on Saturday morning, that he was concerned and that the spinal and MRI MUST be done -- so they arranged to have him put under general anesthesia for both of the procedures.

This was done around 5pm Saturday night. Both procedures went well - the findings on the spinal were negative, not showing an elevated white cell count, therefore no signs of bacterial infection (they were concerned about the possibility of both encephalitis and meningitis). The MRI results were not read, with finality, until late Sunday afternoon or so, and those ended up coming back negative for any brain abnormalities.

On Saturday night, the PICU nurse encouraged Brian and I to go into the Parent's Sleep Room and try to get some sleep. She was going to be right by Kota's bed the whole night and promised to call us as soon as he woke up. She had to take his vitals every hour, so she felt confident that he would wake up, at some point, during the night. We got that phone call at 2am Sunday morning (woo hoo!) We went to see him and he recognized us. At that point, he had been asleep for a solid 30 hours with just that one hour of coherency, at 11am on Saturday. He didn't stay awake for long though, maybe 10 minutes. The funniest thing was that what woke him up was his nurse changing his "diaper" and when his eyes first opened, with great drama, he said "WOAH! YOU'RE FREAKING ME OUT - I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY GRAMMY!!!!!" She told us this and we all just laughed. That was our Kota! :)

After he fell back asleep, he did not wake up again until about 8:30am Sunday morning. He did, however, stay awake after that, which we were so grateful for! He was very hungry and finally convinced the PICU Doc to let him eat. He held his food down very well and so they got permission to release him from the PICU and send him down to the regular Pediatric floor. That happened on Sunday afternoon, around 2pm or so. So, most of Sunday was a wait-and-see game, waiting for the rest of the test results and knowing that we wouldn't see the Pediatric Neurologist until Monday, sometime. Dakota was very dizzy most of Sunday and had double-vision most of the day, but he was slowly coming back as the completely goofy boy that we know and love.

On Monday, around 12 noon or so, the Neurologist finally came to see us. He confirmed that all tests were negative and explained to us that he was being given a diagnosis of "Complex-Partial Epilepsy". The complex part of it means that his seizure took on more than one physical form, part catatonic (no movement or shaking) and part tonic (shaking and more classic) and the partial part of it means that he didn't have an all-out Grand Mall seizure. He also explained to us that the 4 seizures that we thought Dakota had on Friday night (the one at home, the 2 in the ambulance and then the last one at the ER) were in fact NOT 4 separate seizures, but rather one very long one and then a second one in the ER. He said that the seizure that began it all, at home, began when he said that he felt dizzy, and based on Paramedic reports, our reports and the reports of the ER doctors, lasted for a total of approx. 45 minutes or so and that the 2 shaking episodes in the ambulance were part of the same seizure. The one later in the ER was long enough out that it was considered a separate seizure.

He also explained to us that the seizure that Dakota had 2 yrs. ago, that we all thought was a febrile (fever-induced) seizure when he tested positive for the flu, was in fact NOT just a febrile seizure. He said that febrile seizures only occur in children between the ages of 3 MOS. And 6 years and that they all outgrow them at the latest, by the age of 6. Being that Dakota was 8 when he had it, he said that they do not consider that febrile and that the fact that he had a fever WITH the seizure was purely coincidental. He did say, however, that illness and fever can lower a person's threshold and bring on a seizure, if they have a seizure disorder.

So, where does that leave us now? We finally got to bring him home around 3pm Monday, 10/9/06. He has been started on an anti-seizure medication called Trileptal, which he'll have to take 2 times per day. This medication is new within the last 6 years or so, but it is reported to have the most minimal side-effects. So, we'll try it and see how he does, after a few weeks.

Left unmedicated, the Neurologist said that he has a greater than 85% chance of having another seizure. The plan is to keep him on medication for at least a year and a half, and at that point, re-evaluate. Sometimes, they like to keep kids on it through puberty, as this is a time where they seem to be more seizure-prone.

There are some changes that will obviously have to be made in our daily lives to protect Dakota. The seizures themselves are not dangerous, but the situation that they are in at the time a seizure comes on, can prove dangerous, if not fatal. So, that basically means that Dakota will never be able to take a bath alone (which is ok because he prefers showers over baths anyway); he cannot ever swim without adult supervision; he has had to trade top-bunk for bottom bunk with his brother (Nicholas wasn't overly thrilled with that) and other things like he cannot play outside by himself, etc. Just some sensible precautions that are taken to protect him.

He will go back to have another EEG in 2 weeks and then follow up with the Neurologist in 4 weeks. We plan on sending him back to school probably Thursday of this week. We need to give him a few days to recoup and to see how his medication agrees with him. We will also have to give his school administration and teachers instructions on what to do if he should have a seizure, as well as the medication that they will have to administer if he has one that lasts longer than 3 minutes (it's a form of Valium, although unfortunately given in the LEAST favored part of the body...ahem!) We just hope that he never has one at school, and therefore doesn't have to suffer that embarrassment. :(

For those who have been praying for us, thank you. For those just learning of all of this, we do appreciate your ongoing prayers for Dakota and for our family. Obviously, with the 1 year marker of Emily's death coming up this next Sunday, 10/15/06, things are already emotionally difficult for us all, and this just didn't really need to be added to the mix. At least, we didn't think so - but God obviously saw differently. Yet another hurdle to get over, but we know that He'll see us through.

Needless to say, the events of the past weekend were very scary for us, but thankfully, Dakota is ok and home now - thank you so much to all of our friends who were up at the hospital with us, by our side, for those praying, off-site and for everything else that everyone did for us. We appreciate you all, very much.

Hard, Hard Days - 10/6/06  
It’s so unreal to think about this time last year. We were so clueless as to what was about to hit us. We had no idea that our precious baby girl would only have a little more than a week of her life left on Earth. I guess it’s a good thing that we don’t know things like that, can you imagine how you’d function if you knew that your child was going to die? Even with all that we’ve been through, and everyone telling us that they can’t imagine what we’ve been through, as parents, I personally cannot imagine what parents who have a terminally ill child must face ~ when they know that death is imminent. Uuuugh.

This has been a very difficult week in our family/home. Katie had her tonsils taken out last week and the difficulty in her healing hasn’t manifested in a physical way, but more of a behavioral way. She is already a very feisty girl, but this past week she has been unbelievably temperamental. When she’s sweet, she’s very sweet. When she’s throwing a fit, she’s been EVIL. Since her surgery, when she gets upset about something, she will stand (or sit) and pee in her pants. WHAT?!?!? She is fully potty-trained and has NEVER done that. It has been so frustrating. I met my breaking point yesterday when she and I ran out for a bit. We were at Wal Mart, finishing up our trip and she wanted to get out of the cart. I told her that was fine, as long as she stayed right by me. She did – for a few minutes. Then she turned around and crossed over to the other aisle. No problem, I just called her back. She ignored me. She heard me, but stood there with her back turned toward me, completely ignoring my request to come back to the cart. So that’s what started it. I walked over, picked her up (not an easy thing these days with a huge, protruding belly) and put her back into the cart. Let the drama begin. She starts screaming at the top of her lungs, crying, “I am NOT in the cart!!!!!” Umm, yes you are. She has a will of steel and if we push, she pushes back. Knowing the will that I have, and understanding a little bit about decent parenting, a 2-year old will NOT win an altercation. It’s not about winning and losing, but it is about letting them know that they will NOT control a situation with their negative behavior. Anyway, when I push, she pushes back. So here we are, in Wal Mart, and I’m pushing the cart to the front to check out (with only 2 items), Katie screaming at the top of her lungs, everyone in view staring at me and her, and I get into line. She’s still screaming. There are 5 people in line ahead of me. I try to pick her up to calm her down, only to discover that she’s peed her pants. Crap. So here I stand, 99 months pregnant with a belly that sticks out a mile, holding a SCREAMING and wet 2 year old, and not ONE person in front of me smiles or offers me to jump ahead of them. That fact alone made me almost as mad as the whole disaster with Katie. It just made me think that we live in SUCH a rude society, only looking out for #1. So we finally get into the truck, she’s still pitching a fit, and I break down crying. Cry the whole way home (me, that is) and when we get home, she starts again, because I put her on the potty and stripped her wet clothes off, and I’m just sobbing. So, Brian calls and hears me sobbing when I answer the phone – he of course worries that something is horribly wrong. I don’t know that I have ever been so publicly humiliated by one of our children and I don’t know that I have ever been so weak and unable to handle it.

Boy, when Momma said that life wouldn’t be easy, she wasn’t kidding, was she??? Life is anything but easy right now. Our stress with Katie and of course with just the emotions that surround this month are also coupled with poor behavior from the boys – just stupid, senseless stuff. Attitudes, making bad choices at home, fighting with eachother, etc. This morning began, literally, with them fighting with eachother and slamming the bathroom door. Ooooh, SO not a way to wake Mom up and get her out of bed – No, no, no – not good for anyone involved.

I guess all that is left to say is “please pray for our family”. Noah will be here in about 6 weeks and we all know that when a new baby is in the home, sleep is in great lack and moods generally don’t get BETTER….So we need all the prayers that we can get right now...

October 15th will be spent quietly with our family and then later in the afternoon, we’ll have an intimate memorial gathering with a select group of close friends, at our church. It will end with anyone interested going to the cemetery for a balloon release. Not a day that any of us are really looking forward to – but at the same time, I don’t anticipate that the day will be any worse than the preceding 354 days have been for us

Update ... 9/18/06  
Well, I figured it's about time for an update.  This seemed as good a time as any, because a) I am waiting for my new couch to be delivered this week and so in lieu of the floor, my desk chair is the most comfy to sit on and b) I want to. LOL

It's been such a busy few weeks - busy good, I guess, because it means that the house is getting cleaned, junk being weeded out and things in place for Noah's impending arrival. I think everyone needs to de-junk every year or few - at least. I find that even though I H*A*T*E clutter, that it still seems to creep in, get hidden behind cupboards, on bookshelves, whatever....So, I've been doing more physical stuff that I know I should be right now - most of it behind Brian's back , but truth be told, I am saving the heavy furniture moving stuff for him. I only point that out because I have been known to move desks, armoires, bookshelves, etc. when I was 8 mos. pregnant. I am a "do-it-now" kind of gal, so patience isn't at the top of my list when I want something done.

The nursery furniture is in the process of being stripped, sanded and re-stained. We're taking it from a natural oak color to a cherry color. Very pretty. Katie still has a crib to sleep in, but as soon as the other crib is done and put back together, it'll be her new big girl bed and the other crib will come apart to be worked on - that crib will be Noah's. The nursery is painted, although finishing touches not done yet and we still have to put up the chair rail. It's going to look really swell. I love that word. I'll, of course, take pictures when all is done, but I think it's going to have a "Pottery Barn Kids" look to it...Those of you with kids (or without) may know what I'm talking about.

Katie will have her tonsils taken out next Wednesday. I know it's routine and I tell myself that I will not be nervous, but I think the reality is that I will be. Until we're called back into the Recovery Room to be with her, I think I just will be...

I was feeling very emotionally attached last night and went to get her out of her crib. I brought her into my bed and just sat and held her - sound asleep - and cried tear after tear after tear that landed on her forehead. I try to rationalize with the fear in my head and the fear in my heart...People try to comfort with words like: "Lightning does NOT strike twice"; God is merciful (which I know He is), He wouldn't take another child from you..." Stuff like that. I know all of that to be true, however, that "voice" says "Yes, but God has ALWAYS loved me and my family - yet He allowed Emily to be ripped from our arms. He doesn't change, so knowing that is true, what truly says that it won't happen again?"

It's a nightmare trying to battle the rational from the irrational. And really, is there any such thing as an irrational thought when you lose your child in such a sudden, unexplainable, senseless way? I tend to think not.

I know that much of my battle is clinically defined as PTSD. I guess it's nice to have a name to put on it, but it doesn't make it suck any less. It is what it is and with time, God's grace, therapy, etc., I will move through it. It's just that all of the emotions come in such waves and some days are pallatable and other days, it doesn't take much more than looking at Emi's picture, and I am a puddle on the floor.

As October 15th quickly approaches, I wonder...I don't know what exactly we'll do that day - other than probably another small balloon release at the Cemetery...But it will certainly be a family day; holding eachother tight and remembering sweet, funny stories about our sweet Emily.

Speaking of the Cemetery - I don't like it. I think that there are lots of people who find it healing to go and visit the gravesite of their lost loved one....Not me. Brian and I talked about that last night and why I think it is that I have a difficult time separating the physical from the Eternal. He has a much better understanding and grasp that Emi is not there - Emi is in Heaven and is whole, happy, vibrant, alive and well. In my heart, deep down, I *know* that, but I guess it's the Mom in me that can't separate the two. When I think about it or when I drive by the Cemetery, I cannot help but think about my daughter, the one that I physically carried, birthed, nursed, nurtured, hugged, kissed, touched, etc. for nearly 3 years, being cold and alone in that ground. Again, I know that SHE is not in there....She's not crying to get out - I know that - but the outer shell that held the amazingly sweet spirit IS in the ground. So, all that to say, at least now, the Cemetery is not an often-visited place for me.

I guess I've gone on way too long....Probably shared way too much....But if you're still reading, thanks for letting me share and please just keep us in your prayers. Our lives have never been mixed with such blessing and such heartache, all at the same time. It's truly unbelievable that you can walk both roads, all at once.

By the way, this beef stroganoff that I heated up for lunch is really yummy - I made it from scratch in the crock pot and it's YUMMY!!!!
Can't Sleep ... 8/30/06  

It's 11:20pm and here I sit, in bed, awake, can't sleep, afraid, crying, missing my sweet, sweet Emily Grace.  This is why I love my Ambien so.  I can't take it every night though, as I will have to eventually put it away in the medicine cabinet once Noah gets here...Can't exactly take a sleep-aid with a newborn! 

I just keep thinking "God won't do this to us again - He won't take Katie too..."  But yet the fear is so real and at times, so gripping.  I have never really had fear of the boys dying, since Emily passed away, but maybe it's because they're older and for some reason, seem less likely to pass away in their sleep.  But Katie on the other hand, as you can imagine, that fear is SO real.  Emily was exactly 31 mos. old when she died, and Katie is just now 2 mos. younger than that ~ so that, I'm sure, has something to do with the fear.  

I hate this.  I hate that we've been dealt this hand.  We didn't ask for it, we don't want it.  We just want our whole family back together, ALL of us.  We want Emily Grace back.  I have never known pain so deep, so intense, so all-consuming.  Thank God it isn't this sharp 24/7 because I swear that I wouldn't survive if it was.  

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away ~ I can only beg that He doesn't take away another one of ours ~ and what I wouldn't give if He would give us back the one that He took from us, 10 months and 15 days ago...

I love you sweet Emily Grace....Forever.

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