Thursday, November 25, 2010


I have so many things to be thankful for this year, my amazing husband, my four beautiful children, and my wonderful friends and family. Someone had posted this story on one of the message boards I am on for parents of children with anencephaly and it really struck a chord so I thought I would share it.


Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes as she pushed against a November
gust and the florist shop door.
Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her
second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.
During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over
her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's company threatened a
transfer. Then her sister, whose annual holiday visit she coveted, called
saying she could not come.
What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a
God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with
others who suffer. "She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a
"Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered aloud. For a careless driver
whose truck was hardly scratched
when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her
"Good afternoon, can I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her.
"I....I need an arrangement, "stammered Sandra. "For Thanksgiving?
Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with
a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?" asked the shop clerk. "I'm
convinced that flowers tell stories," she continued. "Are you looking for
something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that
could go wrong has gone wrong.
" Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, "I
have the perfect arrangement
for you." Then the door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, "Hi
Barbara...let me get your order." She politely
excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared,
carrying an arrangement of
greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems
were neatly snipped...there were no flowers.
"Want this in a box?" asked the clerk. Sandra watched for the customer's
response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers!?!
She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed. "Yes, please," Barbara
replied with an appreciative smile.
"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by
its significance, but I can feel it
right here, all over again," she said as she gently tapped her chest. "Uhh,"
stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uhh... she just left with no
flowers!" "Right...I cut off the flowers. That's the Special... I call it the
Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. "Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing
to pay for that?" exclaimed Sandra. "Barbara came into the shop three years ago
feeling very much like you feel today," explained the clerk. "She thought she
had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the
family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major
surgery." "That same year I had lost my husband, "continued the clerk," and for
the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no
children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any
travel. "So what did you do?" asked Sandra. "I learned to be thankful for
thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for good things
in life and never thought to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but
when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark
times are important. I always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but it took thorns
to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God
comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort
others. "Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her
friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've
lost a baby and I'm angry with God." Just then someone else walked in the shop.
"Hey, Phil!" shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man. "My wife sent me in
to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement ....twelve thorny, long-stemmed
stems!" laughed
Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra doubtingly. "Do you mind me asking why
she wants something that looks like that? "No...I'm glad you asked," Phil
replied. "Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we
were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through
problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me
she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from "thorny"
times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My
wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks to
Him for what that problem taught us." As Phil paid the clerk, he said to
Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"
"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said to
the clerk. "It's all too... fresh." "Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my
experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's
providential care more during trouble than at any other time.
Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love.
Don't resent the thorns." Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time
since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take those
twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."
"Thank you. What do I owe you?" asked Sandra. "Nothing." said the clerk.
"Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's
arrangement is always on me. "The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra.
"I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you'd like to read it
It read:
"Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a
thousand times for my roses, but never
once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value
of my thorns. Show me that I have
climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears,
the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant."

The moral of this story: Thank God for your thorns.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ella's Ashes

We picked Ella's ashes up from the funeral home Saturday. I was so excited to get them! To have her home. I hate it that her "home coming" was in a marble box. I wish she could have seen our house. That we could have showed her her brother and sister's rooms. That she could have slept in our bassinet. But it is still good to have her home, to have all of our kiddo's under one roof. Even if she is not really here. Really she is in Heaven where she belongs. And really there is no place (other than here in my arms) that I would rather her be!

It was difficult to find an urn for her. There aren't a lot of great urn's out there for babies. But I think the one we chose fits her well. A beautiful urn for a beautiful baby!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Measure your life in love...

This has always been one of my favorite songs that they play at Christmas time. I heard it today and bawled my eyes out. It seems to take on a little bit more meaning this year.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Missing my girl....

A Mother's Love
I didn't have to look into your eyes
to fall in love with you.
I didn't have to hear you cry
to know you loved me too.
I didn't need to hold your hand
to cherish you for always.
Within my womb, we shared our hearts,
you touched my soul.
You sweetened my spirit.
You gave me memories I will always hold clear.
Yes, my heart aches since you departed too soon.
But a mother's love does not end with death.
For you are my child,
Forever my love is yours...
Author Unknown

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ella's Birth Story

I am writing this down as much for myself as for everyone else so please forgive me if there are moments of tmi. I want to make sure I can remember as much of it as possible. It might get pretty long.

I went in on Friday, October 30, 2010 to be induced. I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. My in laws came to the house and were going to stay there and wait until the kids got up and they would get them ready and bring them to the hospital. Jacob and I arrived at the hospital and they got my IV going and got my blood work. I was already having steady contractions on my own. When I got to the hospital I was 2cm dilated already. About 7:00 they started my pitocin and I got my epidural shortly after that. At 9:00 my doctor arrived and checked me and I was 3cm dilated. It seemed that things were moving right along. I assumed things would go much like my other deliveries and we would have a baby by early afternoon. The nurses kept checking me about every hour and I wasn't making any more progress. About 3:00 my doctor came in and said we needed to stop the induction for the day. Pitocin can cause kidney problems which can cause swelling and with my fluid levels already being so high they didn't want to take any chances. So the plan was to turn off the pitocin and we would start it again the next morning. They left my epidural in place so I was pain free and able to get a good nights sleep for the first time in weeks.

The next morning at 4:00 am the nurse came in and checked me. I was 4cm so I had made some progress through the night. At 5:00 the nurse came back in and said they were worried because all of the fluid they were putting in me was not coming out. They had given me like 6000 ml of IV fluids but I had only put out about 250. They did more blood work to check my electrolytes and put these things on my legs that were like blood pressure cuffs. They would fill up with air and then let it out. It was supposed to keep fluid from building up in my legs and feet. They also started my pitocin again. The day went on and I wasn't making any more progress. I was effacing more but not dilating. I was also starting to swell, everywhere. My legs and feet looked like sausages. About 3:00 I started having chest pains and my doctor said we had to shut the induction down. Fluid was starting to pool in my chest and it would start to compromise my lungs and heart. They also measured my belly and I was now measuring 47cm or 47 weeks pregnant. I was pretty sure they were going to tell me it was time to do a c-section but my doctor didn't even feel like that was safe with all of the fluid I was carrying. So it was decided that I would go home and come back Monday night and they would give me cervadil overnight and Tuesday morning they would start the pitocin again. That would give time for the swelling to go down and for the pitocin to get out of my system.

They took out my IV and epidural and told me to wait about 2 hours before I tried to get out of bed to make sure I had full feeling back in my legs. The epidural wore off but the pitocin was still in my system so I was still having strong contractions. I was in a lot of pain! So they gave me some kind of narcotic pain reliever that I now can't remember the name of. They also had me get in the shower. I was having back labor and the warm water in the shower was about the only thing that helped. I bet I stayed in the shower for about 2 hours. When I got out of the shower I was starting to feel bad from the pain medication that they gave me. It wasn't long before I started throwing up. They ended up deciding to go ahead and keep me overnight since I was in so much pain and throwing up.

By Sunday morning I was feeling much better and went home about 9:00am. I laid around the house all day Sunday. I was in pain just from all of the fluid I was carrying. It was also Halloween so that evening Jacob and his dad took the kids out trick or treating. I was so miserable from the pain of the fluid that I wasn't able to sleep at all Sunday night. I was also starting to have regular contractions again and I think I got in the bathtub about 3 times because it was the only place I wasn't in pain. Monday morning I had to be at my doctor's office at 9:00am to go over what we would do Monday night for the induction. My mom came over to watch the kids and my mother in-law drove me to my doctor's appt. When I got to the doctor's office I mentioned that I had been having contractions all night and he wanted to check me to see if I had progressed any more. When he checked me I was a good 5cm dilated and completely effaced and Ella had moved down low. He said if I wanted I could go on over to the hospital and he would break my water and start the pitocin. That sounded great to me!

Jacob had went to work that morning because we thought Ella wouldn't be here until Tuesday so I called him and told him they were sending me on over to the hospital. He is a union carpenter and luckily he was working on an addition to the hospital so it only took him about 2 minutes to get there. We made phone calls and let the family know that it looked like Ella would be here soon. I got to the hospital and they got me in my room and got my IV started. My doctor came in and wanted to break my water and I was so miserable from the pressure of all of the fluid I agreed. I should have waited until they got my epidural in but I just wanted some relief. I have never seen anything like it when he broke my water. I literally flooded the room! The fluid just kept coming and coming! I wasn't aware at the time but whenever he broke my water the pressure from the release of all of the fluid caused a placental abruption. As soon as my water was broke the contractions started coming fast and furious! They couldn't get my epidural because my blood work wasn't back yet. The doctor came in and checked me and I was 6cm and bleeding quite a bit.

With my next contraction I told Jacob that I needed to push. He went and got the doctor and he said I was completely dilated. He told me I could wait and get my epidural or I could go ahead and start pushing. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to sit up and get my epidural so I said lets just do this. Let me just say that I do not, for any reason, recommend having a baby without an epidural. Wow, that was painful! I only pushed for about 10 minutes although if felt like about 10 hours! Miss Ella Joy Roth made her arrival at 11:27 am on November 1, 2010. She had made us wait through 4 days of labor only to come so fast that mama didn't even have time for pain medication! They laid her on my belly and the nurse listened for a heartbeat. "It's there but it's faint" she said. She got a hat for her head and I snuggled my baby. The nurse came back over and listened for her heartbeat but this time she couldn't find it. Jacob and I took turns holding her while they got me cleaned up.

Once I was decent again Jacob went and got the kids so they could meet their sister. They were so excited to finally meet her! I was a little bit worried about how Brighton would react. He is the oldest and had a pretty good grasp of what was happening. He did really well. He had a lot of questions. He asked if she was dead and we told him she was. He had a lot more questions and we tried to answer them as best we could. The girls were great! They kissed and hugged and poked her. They each took a turn holding her. Once the kids were done spending some time with her we let the rest of the family in. Once everyone had a chance to meet her they moved me into my postpartum room. We spent the next couple of hours passing her around and loving on her. A photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came and took pictures of Ella. About 4:00 all of the family left so we could spend some time alone with her before we had the funeral home come and get her. Jacob and I spent the next couple of hours just loving on our baby. Right before the funeral home came our preacher arrived and said a blessing over Ella. About 8:00pm someone from the funeral home arrived to pick Ella up.

That was the hardest part for me. I had been fine all day until I had to give my baby up. Jacob walked her to the nursery where the person from the funeral home was picking her up. He said he took her in there and left and went back and got her, and took her in there again, and went back and got her. Finally he left her and came back to the room. We both had a good long cry.

I was able to go home the next morning. I had lost quite a lot of blood and the doctor gave me the option of having a blood transfusion but said he thought if I just took it easy for the next couple of days I should be alright. So that is what I have been doing. Just taking it easy and trying to heal. We are pretty much taking it moment by moment. Thank you all so much for all the prayers, and cards, and meals. This has all been made easier by the caring and compassion of all of you. Thank you!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ella Joy

Sorry it has taken me so long to update. It has been a rough couple of days. Ella Joy Roth was born yesterday November 1, 2010. She weighed 3lbs 11oz and was 15 inches long. She had a faint hear beat when she was born but when the nurse checked just a few minutes later it was gone. We spent the whole day loving on her and showing her off to everybody. Someone from the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came and took pictures of her and I hope to have a couple of them back soon to post. She was a beautiful girl and for only being three pounds she was a chunk! I will try to get her birth story up in the next day or two. Its a long one. We are still in the hospital but are planning on going home later this morning. Thank you all so much for the thoughts and prayers.