Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mimi's Grief : Angel Flight

Today my mother, Carol, is guest blogging over her experience watching me be hospitalized with Jake, our helicopter ride across Texas and Jake's stillbirth.

I have always loved the song by Radney Foster called ANGEL FLIGHT.  Coming from a military family, and a having a dad who was a Navy Pilot, it just tugs at my heart strings every single time I hear it.  It wasn't until recently, as in just a few weeks ago, when it was playing on the Cd player in my bedroom, that I had a different view of the song. 

My husband, daughter, grandson and I were all in my bedroom.  They were all talking to me as I was trying to get clothes folded, and I had put this CD in to listen  to.  When Angel Flight came on, the tears started falling out of my husbands eyes.  Let me tell you something, my husband is a Cowboy and is about 6'2.  It breaks my heart to see him cry and like most men you just don't see those tears fall very often.  Seeing his heart break all over again hearing this song just broke my heart into a thousand more pieces.  During the time of right after we had learned of Jake's passing , he had come down to be with us and wait for Jake to arrive, and that night when we checked into our hotel the front desk clerk asked us if we were there because we had a new baby in the husband just broke down and bawled right there in the lobby at 2 a.m.   I could do nothing but stand there and hold my husband.   This song now takes on a whole new meaning.  I thought I would share the lyrics below with you...


                          Artist: Radney Foster
                              Song: Angel Flight
                           Album: Revival

All I ever wanted to do was fly
Leave this world and live in the sky
I left the C130 out of Fort Worth town
I go up some days I don't wanna come down

Well I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Come on brother you're with me tonight
Between Heaven and earth you're never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I'm taking you home

I love my family and I love this land
But tonight this flight's for another man
We do what we do because we heard the call
Some gave a little, but he gave it all

I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Come on brother you're with me tonight
(Come on brother you're with me tonight)
Between Heaven and earth you're never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home

Well the cockpit's quiet and the stars are bright.
Feels kinda like church in here tonight
It don't matter where we touch down
On the Angel Flight its sacred ground

I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Gotta hero riding with us tonight
Between Heaven and earth you're never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home

There is so much about this song that reminds me of a moment in time of  Jake and my daughters heroic quest to save his little life.   

When it talks about leaving this earth and living in the sky, we know that Jake is happy in Heaven....even though we would much rather have him here.  We know that when it was his time to go the Angels came down and got him and took him to be with Jesus and all of our family that has gone on before.  When it says "Come on brother I'm taking you home" my eyes start tearing up and I think of Jake's big brother Payton who loved him without ever seeing him.  He was so looking forward to having him join their little family.  I love how it talks about "you're never alone"...we know Jake is always with us.  His "Angel Flight' was sacred ground. 

This song also brings me back to the day the helicopter came to the hospital to pick up my daughter to fly her to a  hospital that really wasn't that far away, that was NOT our first choice, but one that because she and Jake were so medically fragile at the time her attending physician chose to have her sent to.  You can't imagine what it's like to wonder this many months later if only they would have sent her to the hospital where we wanted her to go to,  that we had experience with, if Jake would have lived and  if they might have tried a little harder. 

I was here at home, on February 7th, about 3 hours north of where she was, approximately 160 miles away, taking care of her oldest son.  We knew the helicopter would be coming that morning, and we had decided that Payton and I would drive down that afternoon to come see her at her new hospital.  She called me early that morning and told me that there had been a change of plans and that they were sending her to yet another hospital that we didn't know about at all.  She started texting me and telling me the flight nurse was in her hospital room getting her ready to go. 

 She took pictures of herself as they took her down the hall and texted me. 

 She took a picture of herself outside of the helicopter and texted it to me. Somehow she accidentally hit the "solarize" setting on her phone's camera...I couldn't help but laugh and text her back and ask her why she was green!!

 Let me tell you something, to be a mother and know that your child is about to be flown on a medical helicopter far far away from you is one of the most loneliest heart wrenching feelings in the world. When she texted me and said the helicopter was about to take off I couldn't help but stare into the sky knowing that my baby girl was up there somewhere and sent a million prayers her and Jake's way.  She had many many people praying for her that day. It's a day that  will be emblazoned in my memory forever.  We are still incredibly thankful for that flight crew, they did everything in their power to make my daughter comfortable, and to make sure Jake stayed stable during the 30 minute flight.

Because of the flight crew and Jessica and all of the equipment needed to monitor her and Jake, they were unable to take ANY of her belongings with her on the helicopter.  Payton and I ended up having to drive from here to Beaumont to the hospital she had been at, to pick up all of her things, hug all of the nurses who had taken such good care of her,  and then drive across from Beaumont to Houston.  It was a good five or six hour trip in the end.  I was SO HAPPY to walk into that hospital room and see her sweet smiling face.  Payton was so happy to see his Momma.  We had to return back home that night.  I hated to leave her there, but I had to come home to babysit my granddaughter.    That Thursday morning they were starting the Magnesium treatment/IV to help Jake's neurosystem and brain.  They had told Jessica it might make her feel bad, so once again I hopped in the car and drove down to be with her.  His heart had been beating fine that morning.  It was some time after I arrived there and between that dreadful time the nurses came in to check his little heartbeat that the angels came and took him home.  She and I are forever grateful that I had come down and was there, and that she wasn't alone in the hospital room to learn of Jake's passing.  Just like anyone who has gone through this, you just wish that you could have known that they were going to be called to heaven , that you somehow could have grabbed a hold of them and kept them from going somehow, because we of course want to keep them here with us, even though without a doubt they are happy little clams in heaven and are running and playing and being held and loved on by our mothers and fathers and grandparents who are already there.  I think we are entitled to feel selfish like that. 

I've gotten to where I almost hate to look at pictures that were taken "before"  a loss, before a tragedy, when you are looking into the innocent faces of those people who will find themselves faced with a new reality after those photos were taken.  We had no way to know that Jake's little heart would stop just three short days later and he would be taken from us.  She had just spent 15 days in the previous hospital holding on to Jake for dear life and another three in the new hospital.   There is still a big empty spot in our hearts today, and the tears come to our eyes at random times and random things like this song make them fall when it brings back these memories like they were yesterday.  

The hurt lessens some as time goes by , as my daughter reaches out to other mothers to help them on their journey, to give them a hand to hold.  If you are reading this story and you too have lost a child, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you daily.  :)

Jacob Austin we Love and Miss you every day!!

<3 MiMi sends her love to you each night on Angels Wings!! <3

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I will carry You

As many of you know, a good friend of mine recently had to say hello and goodbye to her sweet baby boy Tyler  on the same day like so many of us have.  While she was in the hospital, a lady who had too been in our shoes gave her a basket with items to comfort her. 

One of the items in the basket, was the book I will Carry You, By Angie Smith.
  My friend had previously read the book digitally and on her next trip to our town, she brought it to me.  I had heard from many people that the book was very good. 

Truthfully, I have even recently considered buying it for myself.  I just haven't.  When she sent it to me though, I felt like I was in the right place to read it.  Friday night I began my journey through learning Angie and Todd Smith's journey through saying goodbye to their sweet Audrey Caroline.  I read a couple of chapters and set the book down with intentions of finishing the book on Saturday.

Saturday afternoon, after I had taken Payton to the lake to go swimming, and we had stopped by the cemetery to visit Jake I came home to finish the book.  We experienced a strong set of severe thunderstorms that knocked out our electricity from about 7:00pm Saturday night until 2:00 pm today.  These storms gave me plenty of unexpected time during the few remaining daylight hours last night to devote myself to this book.  I spent all afternoon reading.

Soon after I began reading I was reassured when I  read that " He( Our Lord) has not forgotten , nor has he abandoned us."  I know all too well how easy it is to get lost in my grief and sorrow and to begin believing that the Lord has abandoned me, or forgotten me altogether.   Angie believed from the day she learned of Audrey's many problems that the Lord hadn't left her and their family.  As time passed, she and her husband made a point to include their children in the short amount of time they would have with their daughter.  They asked each of their three daughters what they would like to do with their youngest daughter and what they would individually like to teach her.

I can only imagine the horrible pain this question and the answers the Smith family received from their daughters. 

Angie quotes Job while describing her hurt.  This verse is so very much how I feel, and shows how really nothing has changed since the times of Job, and the Lord is still here for us.

"Yet, if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away.  Surely, O God, you have worn me out."  Job 16:6-7

Angie speaks of wanting to run away from her pain and trying to fill the void in her life that the hurt is leaving.

I know from experience, wanting to fill this big gaping hole in my life and knowing that no matter how hard I try.  Nothing but the Lord could ever fill it.

As I read page by page of I will carry you, tears came to my eyes.  Angie's five year old daughter had drawn a picture of a rainbow with a clown by it for her baby sister.  She wanted to put it in Audrey's "basket" (casket).  She then asked her mother if they could put it in the mailbox and if the man would get it and take it to her.   This touches me because just the other day Payton was drawing a picture of a rainbow.  He has on more than one occassion wanted to take something to Jake.  He made him a necklace and told me to take it to him.  He asks if I can tell Jake to come down from Heaven and come live with us again.

Payton's Rainbow picture
I love the way Angie explained to her daughter that although Audrey was not physically in the house with them she could see what they were doing, and she could see the picture her big sister drew her out of love. 
Then, after this simple explanation, her daughter took the picture she had drawn and lifted it over her head, and tilted her head backwards as if looking for her sister's reaction and after a moment smiled.  Angie asked her if her sister liked it, and she said she did.

The idea of the rainbow is so beautiful.  After all of the clouds have gone, and the rain is over, there is something beautiful in it's place.  It is logical for me to see where children would understand this.  Unlike me, who focus more on the storm most days.  I am stuck on the ugly and worrying about all of damage it has done and will continue to do.  The picture below is of clouds here yesterday produced by a  Severe Thunderstorm.

As I thought about Rainbows today I wanted to make my own rainbow, to show how my view of a rainbow is.  This turned into a craft episode in the middle of my bedroom floor.   I compared how my rainbow took so much effort to create and how it was so elaborate.  Payton's rainbow is simple, mine is more a man made idea of what a rainbow should look like.  I wonder which one God likes more.  I'd like to think he likes the simple.  We should be happy with the rainbow he created for us.  The one he and Jake and Audrey and all of the other people in Heaven look down upon.
These are the materials I used for my rainbow, Payton just had crayons. :)

<3  My finished rainbow picture   <3

More tears fell as I read of the love of a big sister when Angie took Kate to the cemetery to visit Audrey when her grave marker came in .  Kate was so very excited to go see her baby sister, and at two ran and got a piece of a Barbie magazine to give to her.    Angie spoke of great sorrow in Kate's eyes as she realized that they were not actually going to see her sweet baby sister.

I've seen and known this hurt as I've talked to Payton over the last five months.  Payton often asked in the early days if we could see Jake because he never had that pleasure here on earth.

If you haven't read the book "I will carry You" by Angie Smith.  Please do.  If you cannot find it or currently don't have the funds to purchase a copy for yourself.  Please let me know.  Feel free to email me at , I would be happy to send it to you.

I hope each of you have a blessed Sunday evening.

Much Love and Many hugs from one hurting mommy to another.
Little Rainbow

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flowers for his funeral

      On the Tuesday before Valentine's Day, I was out attempting to order flowers.  Not for any happy occasion though.  I was searching for the perfect flowers for my Jake's funeral. I first went to the florist here in my hometown.  The ladies tried to be nice and helpful.  I was just not liking what they were showing me.  The flowers they had to display were droopy and lacking color appeal.  I wanted his arrangements to include blue Hydrangeas and white Roses.  The ladies at this florist dashed all of my wants, telling me that hydrangeas wouldn't last... they would wilt too fast and they weren't willing to budge on what I wanted.  They brought me ugly yellow daisies that I didn't want and were trying to add white carnations as well... neither of which I asked for..  I was in tears, thinking this would be all I had to choose from.  Finally, we made the decision to leave and see what other florists in the area could offer.

        At the second florist, the owner was so very friendly and didn't mind showing me every single book with casket sprays and stand up arrangements she had.  She had beautiful flowers to display and even called the flower wholesaler she uses while I was there to ensure she received the flowers of highest quality for Jake's funeral.  The sweet florist, whose name is Janae, also agreed to put little stuffed animals into the arrangements if we brought them to her, along with the baby print ribbon I told her I would like.  I left feeling elated.

        Shopping for the ribbon and animals for these arrangements was hard work emotionally.  I had been out of the hospital two days and was having to do things I had never dreamed of.  First, I traveled to our local Hobby Lobby to look for baby ribbon that most people would include in a standard baby mum, this made me teary eyed... so I was walking with tears in my eyes... when I came face to face with the ex-wife of my brother in law, who gave me ugly looks from where she was busy stocking ribbon on the shelves, even when I tried to smile through my tears.  I turned around and left the store, nothing was worth being made to feel like I shouldn't be in a store, especially when I was looking for my son's funeral.  I next went to Michael's and escaped the ugly looks and found some ribbon with tiny blue baby feet and also a solid baby blue ribbon.  These were perfect and I was again on my way.  The next day, it was time to shop for the animals.  We tried several department stores with to no avail.  Finally , we ended up at trusty Wal-Mart.  My son and I had to face the baby section.  HORRIBLE TORTURE that was.  There's nothing like going to look for cute baby animals three days after losing your baby, and knowing the animals you are purchasing are for your son's arrangements at his funeral.  We ended up purchasing two that day... my son wanted to buy the giraffe... I wanted the elephant. : ) They went great with the flowers we had chosen.

          Janae went above and beyond her call of duty, going in to her shop early in the morning so that she could complete the blue heart arrangement i ordered with Hydrangeas.  This was so that they would look their best on the day of his funeral.  She will never know how grateful I am for her.  After the arrangements were complete, she rushed them to the funeral home, so they could be delivered to the cemetary in time for Jacob's graveside service. My heart still smiles to this day when I think of all she and her floral shop did for me in a time of great grief and heartache.

          These are the flowers from Jake's funeral.  I wanted them to be original.  My son was original and deserved better than droopy flowers and generic sprays that could have been made for anyone.  I left knowing that what we had ordered would be perfect.

I loved the sweet blue bows in his spray

Blue hydrangeas with white Stargazer lilys

The spray of yellow and white daisies my sister, brother in law and niece ordered for Jake's service

This beautiful arrangement was ordered by Jake's Great Grandmother <3

This arrangement was ordered by Jake's Great Grandmother Nancy

This arrangement was ordered by my former co-workers at the District Clerk's Office

This sweet arrangement was ordered by a good friend of my mother

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What I'm doing - 5 Months Later

Today, July 10,2012, marks the 5 month anniversary of my sweet Jacob Austin being born still.  I have been in my planner frame of mind for the past couple of weeks and for whatever reason have started trying to plan what I will do for Jacob's first birthday.
Yes, I know. February is SEVEN months away... but for some reason it made me feel better and kind of sad too at the same time. 
I have been on Pinterest looking at first birthday party ideas for boys.
I have Googled Angel birthdays.
Either way I look I have decided that the world is not prepared for parents having to think about their child's birthday in Heaven.
As I looked through party websites and such I saw plates for girls that said little angel, the boys say little rebel - that won't work. 
When you look up first birthdays, there are lots of cute photos for inspiration to take with your baby.  I can't do that.
I have decided I want to have Jacob, my sweet Angel baby a normal first birthday party.  The only thing normal though will be the cake and decorations.  My sweet baby won't be in attendance at his party.  These are some of the ideas I have found.
I am in love currently with blue elephants for his party!
 I really want Jacob to have a sweet First Birthday Party Hat to sit on the table with his little cake.  Oh how this brings tears to my eyes thinking about how he won't have pictures made wearing it and eating his cake. <3

I have also thought about having a Peter Rabbit Birthday.
This little rabbit cake has the bunny digging for carrots. :)
This would be the party hat that I'd get for a Peter Rabbit themed party.

Of course you know I love Rocking horses, after all Jake's headstone will be shaped like a rocking horse, so the thought did cross my mind to see what I could find party wise in Rocking horses.

As many things as I like, it's a good thing I have seven more months to finalize the details. It is so very hard to make decisions when it regards my precious angel baby.  I want everything to be just right, just as it would be if he were here with me to celebrate his birthday.

To see all of my ideas for Jacob's First Birthday visit my  Pinterest.

5 Months is a long time to be without Jacob, I can only imagine what these next seven months will be like leading up to his One Year Anniversary in Heaven.

Monday, July 9, 2012

God, Take This Child

I found this poem yesterday while looking for a nice poem for The Parents of Stillborns.  I have people visit my blog who are searching for poems for parents of stillborn babies and about stillborn babies. 
I thought this one was nice. 
 So many people can identify with this fully.
  I hope it touches your heart

God, Take This Child....
By Nancy Scott

Sweet child whom we never really got to know,

It’s hard for us to let you go.
We waited and we wanted you.
We had so many dreams for you.
We think of smiles we'll never see.
We think of events that will never be.
There will be no first steps and no first teeth.
There is only a void and our own grief.
We planned to take you to places far and near.
We yearned to keep you safe and free from fear.
We hoped to show you much of your new world.
We wanted to teach you as your life unfurled.
It’s hard to understand why you, our baby, died.
We feel so numb right now, many tears we’ve cried.
We have so many questions and no answers seem to come.
We tried so hard to save you; nothing could be done.
God, we stand before you broken-hearted
and ask you to heal these lives that must be parted
from this little one we can no longer hold,
who will always be a part of us, even when we're old.
God, take this child in your loving arms.
No more can he suffer any harm.
Bless him always and bless us too.
Be with us and help us to make it through.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

What a 4th!

So, it's official... most of the holidays are over for a good little bit... well the big ones anyhow.  It's official Thanksgiving is November 22 and Christmas is shortly thereafter... that means we baby loss mommies have four months of a break from holidays... excluding birthday month anniversaries and things of that nature. 

As all of you know, yesterday was July 4th. 

When I woke up yesterday, my good friend Lynsey and her husband were on my mind, since this would be their first holiday without their son, so soon after losing him.

Yesterday also had been one month since Jake was supposed to have been born.  One whole long month since his due date had come and gone.

We celebrated in usual fashion by grilling steaks and hamburgers... visited with family.

Payton and I even played outside in the sprinkler for good measure.

To top off the evening Payton, my mother and I watched a huge fireworks display in a town nearby.

I loved seeing the grins on Payton's face as we watched... then out of nowhere a glimmer of sadness filled me.  I began thinking how Jake should be with me... how he was supposed to be watching them from earth here with his family, not in Heaven with his heavenly father.

I bet he had the better seats though.  ;)

Do you think the babies in Heaven get to take a break from their homework to watch fireworks?

I hope so.

These fireworks were so beautiful and
 made an awesome night!
Every smiley face that popped last night was upside down... except to the people in Heaven watching the brilliant display in Texas!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Experience has changed me

Over the past five months my thoughts and feelings have changed in regards to losing Jacob. 
At first I was heartbroken, unable to function without thinking about my sweet baby or balling up in tears.  As time has passed, of course I am still heartbroken and miss my baby boy, but in a different way.  A couple of months ago, a good friend of the family and her husband received the horrible news that their sweet baby was "not compatible with life", and upon birth would pass away.  In that  moment, I felt extreme sadness for them and was dreading the day they would lose their baby.  This day came earlier than they had planned.  Sweet Tyler was born on Thursday morning via emergency c-section.  He lived one precious hour here on earth.  It was in the instant his mommy messaged me to let me know he had gone home to be with the Lord, that I was somehow grateful.  Definitely not grateful that my boy isn't here with me or that her baby had gone to Heaven, but grateful because now I have experience in losing a child.  Because of Jake, she has somewhere to turn.  My sweet friend and I now share more of a common bond.  One that I wish we didn't have to.  My son, and her five year old step-son share a common bond of having baby brothers in Heaven.  I am glad that through my pain and sorrow, someone can now find some comfort and peace.  The Lord works in Mighty ways that at the time of Jake's death I didn't understand.  I never dreamed that I would have a friend who lived off of my advice and past experience on grieving and child loss. 

As the milestones have began for my friend, mine have become refreshed in my mind.  I remember leaving the hospital without Jake... I remember all too well the pain of sitting at home and watching the clock on the wall.. waiting for the time when I would leave home to attend my son's funeral.  I remember sitting at Jake's funeral, staring at his casket, amazed that I was having to do this. 

My heart is broken in a whole new way.

Not for me so much anymore.

But for my dear friend and her family, as now they begin this journey through grief.

My heart is broken for any new parents who are learning today that their child is incompatible with life, or those who without warning lose their child.

I know what it's like - I'm on that road too.

And, it's never ending.