As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed. Vincent Van Gogh
Monday, January 30, 2006
Our story begins on November 11, 2003. Exactly one month after my second son's first birthday. My wife and I were surprised to find out she was expecting our third child. We were a little nervous since we lived in a small apartment, but also excited! Could it be that this new baby was our girl that we so desperately wanted?! After two wonderful sons, we both secretly hoped for a girl. The next few months went by and we made plans for our expanding family. There were sonograms, doctors appointments and baby showers. One sonogram we found out we were having a girl. Wow, what exciting news! I imagined so many things that we could do with her. You could not contain the excitement we had for the baby.
We picked the name Karli Michelle. At that time I would talk to her. Call her by name. To let me know she heard me she would leap in her mother's womb. I would put my hand on mom's belly and she would push back at me. Almost like saying, "Here I am dad.” Than came the month of June. My wife was around 36 or 37 weeks along. Due to my second son being delivered C-section, we had to make a tough decision to either have another C-section or VBAC. My wife wanted to just have the C-section to safe. So the doctor scheduled it for July 6, 2004.
The weekend of the fourth of July she noticed Karli was not moving. She was not to concerned, thinking that all babies slow down when getting ready for birth. But that Monday worry changed to terror. The baby was not even responding to touch. I was awoke by my sobbing wife, worried for our little one. My mind raced with terrible thoughts. What would we do if something bad has happened? How could we cope? We rushed to the hospital hoping that we were wrong and Karli was o.k.
The triage was where we found out the news. I remember the nurse that was taking care of my wife. She was nervous when she could not find Karli's heartbeat. It was an awkward moment for her. She knew what she feared, but could not tell us. She got the attending to do a sonogram. We saw our daughter on the screen. The doctor pointed out the heart that we had seen several times before. But this time it was no longer beating. Our hearts sank and we both started sobbing. Our little girl was gone. This was a total shock being just hours before our scheduled C-section. My mind flashed back to an ER episode on TV where one of the doctors lost their baby in a similar way. This time it was no TV show. It was real and it happened to us!
Then next few hours were a blur. I called our family and they rushed to the hospital to be with us. We had so much support from our friends in our faith. Some even staying over night at the hospital sleeping in a tiny office with only straight chairs. My colleagues at work also helped us in many ways, as well as SHARE.
Karli Michelle was born at 4:32 PM on July 6, 2004. She came into this world silent but was beautiful. She had lots of brown hair. Was 7 lbs., 10 ½ ozs. and 20 ½ in. long. I held her tightly, walking around the room with her singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider” as I caressed her hand. Thinking back I wish we had more time with her. Soon she was moved to the funeral home.
One of the hardest parts of the whole ordeal was to tell our oldest son, who was seven at the time, his baby sister was gone. Much of which I don't think he understood. I think that was the first time he saw me cry.
At her burial I read a poem I wrote. This poem was written in two parts. The first was started when Karli was still alive. The second, a few hours after her birth.
As I sit and watch the sun rise,
I think of all I have with me.
As I stare at the stars in the skies,
I dream of what will be.
Soon I will have a brand new baby,
Although the future I cannot see.
I can imagine a beautiful girl
With brown hair and brown eyes
With rosy cheeks and a head full of curls.
I hold my new little one.
She wraps her hand around my finger
And I caress the tiny hand with my thumb.
Now the time has come and gone
For our new baby to arrive.
We know from God she was sent
And for the brief moment she touched our lives,
We will love her an eternity.
As I held her in my arms only for a little while,
Hoping to look down on her and see a smile.
That would not be,
Not at this time and place you see.
But my hope is a future time
When God will bring her back to me.
You see there is no safer place
Than to be in God's memory.
I also held her little coffin for a few moments and told her my goodbyes.
This July will have past two years but our wound is still there. We have a hope to see her again someday. That helps us cope with our loss now, but it doesn't take away the pain that we have.
It's kind of strange how such a small life can impact you so much. She was only here for a short time, but she has changed our lives forever. I will never be the same person I was. My wife and I continue to use expressions like "before Karli” or "after Karli”. That was a turning point in our lives.
Looking in the future, the next few years are a little gray. We have no concrete plans to have another baby, but we are talking about it. It's really just a matter of when. But one thing is for certain, we will never forget our first daughter, Karli Michelle.
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