Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Decade Without You

It's amazing how fast time goes by sometimes. It's been 10 years, a whole decade, since I last held and saw my sweet angel, Robert Allen. There's never a day that goes by that I don't think of my son. I often think of the day that we found out that we would lose him. I was in shock and devastated.

I was admitted to the hospital for bed rest and for monitoring due to bleeding during my pregnancy. I had a subchorionic hematoma and it had caused bleeding off and on throughout my pregnancy thus far but had worsened that Friday so my doctor had me admitted. While waiting for Dr. Evans, the maternal/fetal medicine specialist, to come see me that evening, my water suddenly broke. When he did the ultrasound there was no amniotic fluid and he told us that if I didn't go into labor on my own in the next 24 hours they would induce me. It was hard to hear that we would have to deliver our baby at not quite 20 weeks and that there would be no chance of survival and only a small chance that he'd be born alive at all. No parent ever prepares to hear those words.

I couldn't even begin to fathom how to handle this situation or what to do. You don't go into pregnancy thinking about what you'll do if something goes wrong, you simply assume that the end will bring a live and healthy baby. Now we were suddenly faced with questions of what would a 20 week old baby look like, did we want a burial or cremation, pictures and keepsakes, bringing the kids up to see the baby, even a name because we didn't know what we were having at that point. Things that had I had not had time to prepare for or really consider. Things that if I had known what I do now, I would have done differently.

We were blessed with a great nurse that night who tried her best to answer our questions and to help us to know what to expect. And perhaps the one thing I'm most grateful for was that she didn't act uncomfortable around us or like she couldn't wait to be finished with her shift. She also was the only one to ask if I wanted to hear my baby's heartbeat because he was still alive at that point. The most precious sound in the world to me, in that moment, was my son's heartbeat and it was the last time I would ever hear it. Saturday night I began labor and in what would be one of the most bittersweet moments of my life, I felt my baby move for the first time. So precious and yet so heartbreaking at the same time. How ironic that the first outward signs of life from my son would come just hours before his death? Yet what seems to be cruel and unfair, is one of the memories that I hold onto because it is also so precious.

I had never wanted so badly for a labor to go faster and yet, at the same time, want to never deliver because once he was born our hello's would be goodbye. But, inevitably labor had to end and on Sunday, July 16, 2006 at 10:45 am I gave birth to our son. In the time leading up to going into labor we had finally decided on names for a boy and a girl. Our son would be named Robert after his daddy and Allen after my daddy. Our precious little boy never took a breath and his heart never beat outside of my body but he was so perfect! Tiny but perfect! At only 8 1/2 inches and 6.8 ounces he was small enough to fit into my hand with his feet hanging at my wrists. Rob's and my wedding bands were so big on his tiny arms. And his feet were about the size of my pinky fingerprint. His miniature hands had beautiful little fingers and his feet...I still remember just those perfect little arches and heels! How could such a perfect little baby have been stillborn? What could have possibly gone wrong? So many questions and still, even today, no really good answers. Pathology would later determine that I'd had a 25% placental abruption but not when or why it led to my water breaking. No reason has ever been determined for why I lost my baby boy. So many questions and so few answers.

We spent several hours just holding and looking at our sweet baby. Trying to memorize everything about him. Wanting to fit a lifetime of love into hours. It was impossible. The most agonizing moment came when it was time to go home and the nurse took my son for the last time. Walking out of the hospital, childless, knowing that I would never know my son in this life was painful beyond words. It's a moment etched into my memory that still tears my heart into millions of pieces today.

We ended up taking Sterling up to the hospital later that night to meet his baby brother because he was so distraught at not getting to see him. Watching him sob, inconsolable as Rob held him was gut wrenching. How do you explain to a 5 year old what death means? How do you also explain hope and resurrection to someone who can't even comprehend time very well? Taking him there was the best decision we could have made though. To see the joy on his face as he held his baby brother brought some peace and comfort to me. I only regret that we didn't also bring Emmy, Joe and Cori. We thought they were too young and might be frightened by Robert Allen's appearance but I know better now. Emmy still talks about how she wishes she could have met and held her brother. And Sterling holds those memories and the pictures of his few moments with Robert Allen as some of his most precious. I only wish I had given the same to my other kids.

In the end, I was left with a scrapbook, some pictures and a few mementos that includes Robert Allen's bracelet, hat, robe and blanket. My son's entire life can be fit into a small, round box. With so little evidence that he ever existed it's amazing the impact he's had on my life. I miss him everyday. I long to hold him everyday. I wonder at the purpose of his life, of the whole experience. I question why God took him, why He didn't intervene to save him. I love this child, a child that I never knew, so completely and as much as the ones that I have here and I wonder how that is possible. How do you love someone you never met with such intensity that it hurts?

Ten years may have lessened the frequency with which I cry and breakdown but it hasn't changed the sorrow that I feel or the love that I have for my little boy. The grief is less raw, usually, but still there. And there are times, like tonight, where it is fresh. I expect that in another ten years I will feel much the same as I do now except that I will miss my angel even more.

I love you, my dear, sweet Robert Allen. I think you know that. I look forward to seeing you again one day and getting to hold you and see your smile for the first time. I can't wait to hear you say , "Mommy" and give me a hug and a kiss. And I know that your brothers and sisters look forward to meeting you too. Know that you are always in my heart and that I love you more than I could ever express. Happy 10th birthday Robert Allen. I wish I could be celebrating it with you instead of just dreaming of it. I miss you and love you my baby boy!

Love forever,
Your Mommy

"I carried you every second of your life and I will love you every second of mine."

Friday, July 15, 2016


Well, my baby boy is 6 years old! Despite our best efforts to keep him from growing up, he seems determined to keep doing it. He finished kindergarten this year with flying colors. He can read on his own and count to over 100. He can do simple math like adding and subtracting single digits. He also learned a little bit of Spanish in his class. He is enrolled in a dual language program so he will be learning Spanish all through school and should, theoretically, graduate high school fluent in both Spanish and English if he stays in the program. 

He still loves to come crawl into our bed early in the morning and cuddle with me. He likes to hold onto my pinky finger and pinch it. When he wakes up he'll say, "Momma, Momma, pinchy finger." He's always liked to pinch my pinky since he was just a baby and it doesn't look like he'lll outgrow it anytime soon. 

Although he is one of my cuddliest kids, he also finds it super embarrassing if I try to hug or kiss him in public. He tells me that his friends will laugh if I do it so he tries to avoid me whenver I try. I admit that I try to do it anyway just because I think it's funny how embarrassed he is by it. It's funny that my 15 year old will still hug and kiss me in public, but my 6 year old thinks he's too cool for that. 

Eddie likes to play soccer and can run and run and run all over the field. He is pretty good at it and even made a copule goals during soccer season. This summer he has become a fairly competent swimmer who doesn't need any type of floatation device. It's been a nice change to be able to sit on the side and watch the kids swim versus having to be in the pool with them, watching them non-stop. We did have one close call the first day we went swimming where Eddie had to be rescued by  the lifeguard. Even though I'd spent about 2 hours in the pool with him, testing him and making sure he still remembered how to swim, he decided to go down the slide and instead of swimming to the ladder, he decided to swim out to where Kailyn was to ask her a question. Kailyn didn't want Eddie to bother her or get on her float so she climbed over him, pushing him under and then swam away with her float. Eddie couldn't recover and started to scream for Kailyn, who just ignored him. I was on the other side of the pool watching everything happen and trying to get Kailyn to take the float back to him but she couldn't hear. The lifeguard was watching and when Eddie went under the water, he blew his whistle and jumped in and pulled Eddie out. Eddie was more scared than anything but I was so mad at Kailyn. I had to pull her out and lecture her about how she almost drowned her brother becuase she was being selfish. I also had to explain to Eddie that he is to always swim to the ladder and not out into the pool since he just isn't a good enough swimmer yet. What a way to start the summer!

Eddie is a very smart, and active boy who loves attention from his family and friends but can be very quiet when in a new situation. He follows rules well at school and church but can be quite sneaky at home. He can be a little bit of a bossy, brat at home too since he's the baby and used to getting his way. We are working on that though. We do love him though! We are so grateful that Heavenly Father sent him to our family because we can't imagine our life without him in it!

All About Me
1. Who is your favorite person in the whole world? Isaac 
2 What is your favorite color? Red
3. What is your favorite show? Star Wars
4. What is your favorite outfit? I don't know.
5. What song do you love best? I Love to See the Temple
6. What's your favorite cereal? Froot Loops
7. Who's your best friend? Isaac
8. What do you want to be when you grow up? I don't know.
9. What's your favorite book? I don't know
10. What are you really good at? I'm good at flying my helicopter.
11. Where do you want to go on vacation? Grandma's house
12. What would you buy if you had $100? A remote contorl helicopter.
13. What do you do for fun? on the Wii
14. What is your favorite animal? Uhh...lion, wait tiger.
15. Why do you want to be a 6 year old? I don't know.

And now his perceptions of us:

All about My Mom
1. How old is your Mom? 25
2. What is your Mom's favorite color? Pink
3. What is your Mom's favorite food? oatmeal
4. How tall is your Mom? 88
5. What shoe size does she wear? 15
6. What is her favorite TV show? House
7. What time does your Mom wake up in the morning? I don't know
8. What does you Mom do while you're at school? Take a nap.
9. What is your Mom's first name? Jennifer
10. What do you like best about your mom? You let us go out for dinner. 

All about your Dad
1. How old is your dad? 29
2. How much does dad weigh? 50
3. What is Dad's favorite food? Cereal
4. How strong is your Dad? 51
5. What's Dad's job? Working
6. What does Dad do at work? I don't know.
7. What is your favorite thing to do with Dad? Help him carry wood
8. How tall is your Dad? 29
9. What do you like best about your Dad? He let us have treats when we go to Menards, 
10. What is your Dad's first name? Robert


Robert Allen