Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Elliana Marie" Will be here by next week!!

After some discussion with our OB doctor we decided to be induced on Thursday October 7th if she does not decide to come before then.  That means she will definitely be here by NEXT WEEK!!  We are so excited and can't wait to have her in our arms.

Our special girls name is................Elliana Marie

The story behind her name........We have been looking at baby names and together shared some, but none really jumped out at me.  I then found the name "Elliana" online.  I fell in love with the name because it was different and I had never heard it before.  The meaning of the name was a huge reason why I just had to have it be her name.   

The girl's name "Eliana"  \e-lia-na   pronounced el-ee-AH-nah, is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "God has answered".

We feel that all children are a gift from God and that our little girl is God answering our prayers!

After deciding that I loved that name I began to look more into the name and googled it on the internet.  I found a blog of a women who also lost her first born son and choose her daughters name to be Elliana.  She also blogged about a song that a christen writer wrote and sang for her own daughter named Elliana.  Once I found the song and hear it my heart melted!!  From then on Elliana was her name!!  I would like to share the song with you and the words that I fell in love with.

The song is by Watermark and the name is Elliana's Song.  The song is on my playlist, it is the last song on the list #9.  You can also hear the song by clicking here ELLIANA song by Watermark

The words to the song.

Baby woman, tiny in stature now
But your heart is a treasure
Little princess come follow behind me now
I am reaching for you

Elliana, God has answered my prayers
Elliana, God will conquer my fears
To mother a daughter, to look you in the eye
To know that I had everything, to walk with you in life
To give you to Jesus that He would impart
The wisdom that I'm longing for to mother your heart
Elliana, God has answered my prayers

There will be others to lead and to guide you girl
But only one you'll call Mother, the honor is all mine
To show you what a woman's like
I'm so glad you're mine
Tenderness of God is twirling around
In our living room tonight
Lighten up your daddy's eyes
And know that he just wants to freeze you in time

See what I mean it is beautiful!!!!

Here are some pictures of her room.

 I didn't plan on using so much pink but then found this pink and brown bedding set and just really liked the flowers and butterfly's. 

 I bought the letters and cross from hobby lobby.  I painted the letters and painted the inside portion of the cross.

I kept the shower invitations and placed them above the closet.  That is the bassinet we plan to use at  first to keep her close to us in our bedroom. 

We are ready for Elliana to come into this world and grace us with her presence.  We are excited and ready for this new chapter in our lives.  

Please pray for us that there are no complications of labor and that she and I do well with the stresses of labor.  As mentioned before we are trying a VBAC delivery.  There are some risks with this but there are also risks with a cesarean delivery.  We will not know the outcome until we are in the moment.  It all depends on a multitude of things and really not in our control.  
Thank you so much for your prayers!
Elliana's mom~ Angela 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

37 weeks considered at TERM :-)

Today we had another OB apt.  At this point we see the doctor every week.  We were reassured that our little girl is doing well.  My body is progressing and preparing for labor.  I'm excited to say that I am dilated at 3 cm and 30% effaced.  Hopefully, I continue to make progress and able to have a VBAC, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.  Since my body is progressing my OB doctor said that we would be able to try the VBAC.  Although no guarantees this is my preference.  If she does not come by Oct. 6th we may be induced around this day.  The doctor does not want me to go past my due date.  This little girl will be here before Oct. 13th!!!

Today we also had a CST contraction stress test.  This is when they want to see me have contractions and see how she reacts to the stress of the contractions.  Over the 20 minute observation they want to see 7 contractions and 3 of them within 10 minutes.  My body had around 9 contractions on its own.  If the contractions are not occurring they have was to help cause contractions but that was not needed today.  Our little girl was doing so well she was sleeping through the activity.  The nurse had to use a noise maker to wake her up.  She instantly woke up and kicked me saying "what was that".  It is important for them to see her heart rate fluctuation with activity to see how she reacts to stress.  She passed the test with no problems.  It was nice to have Mark there this time, previously I have been doing the tests prior to going into work.  He enjoyed hearing her heart rate and seeing that our little daughter is doing well.

Pregnancy is beautiful!
Mark took some pictures of us last weeks.  I would like to share them with you.  I treasure the ones of the 3 of us together.  He was the photographer, so we only have a few together.  Nice job honey!

I will keep you posted!  
This little girl will be coming into this world soon!  I can't wait to have her in our arms and be her mother.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A glimpse of our little girl

Last week I got the opportunity or shall I say our little girl was able to help ultrasound technicians explore how to use a 3D ultrasound machine.  Last time with Benjamin we paid and had a 3D ultrasound done.  This time due to having extra ultrasounds we didn't feel the need to do it again.  But when asked to do so of course I wanted to, any time I can get a glimpse of her is a treasure.  I was glad to hear her head was down and that she was not in the breach position as she was during our last ultrasound.  I pray she stays there!  The technicians were only able to get one picture.  Her head was so far down in my pelvis they were unable to get clear pictures.  But the one picture they did get is AWESOME!!  I just had to share it.  You can see her nose, eyes, chin and sweet little lips.  It is an amazing site.

    Her right arm is going under her chin.  Both hands are on the left side of her face.  
So PRECIOUS I can't wait till the day we get to hold her in our arms!!

I am getting very excited.  Each day that passes I believe this is really going to happen.  I have always had faith but it is becoming more real to me.  

I am glad I can share this with you.  
With love, Angela

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Angie Smith's Book, Giving back

I have not shared how I got started blogging.  So here is a little story.  I heard a blurb about a women who had lost a child on KLove, a christian radio station and was interested in it since she too loss a baby.  At that time I just heard something on the radio and did not know much more.  A friend at church had told me some about hearing about a women who loss a child but it did not click that it was the same person.  I just dismissed it and went on.  Then just a couple months after we loss Benjamin a link was posted on KLove's facebook page, which came up on my wall.  I had only been on facebook for a month.  Again, I was drawn to it since there was a small picture of Angie and her husband with a very small baby.  I clicked on that link and realized this was a women who had lost a baby girl just a year before us on April 7th 2008.  I quickly became drawn into her blog which was full of how she went through her pain as we were too.  I went back to the beginning of her blog and read it ALL!  It took a while to go through it all but it honestly helped me deal with my feelings.  It showed me that I was not alone, that there are other mothers out there who are feeling and going through the same thing as me.  I needed that so much right then.  And you know what God knew that!  I believe with my whole heart he introduced me to her at the right time.  It's funny I think back on now and realize that God was trying to help me but I was too busy to notice it.  It took 3 times before I final got it.  I heard it briefly on the radio, a friend tried to tell me about it and then on facebook.  Sorry I took so long to listen, God!  Angie Smith's blog helped me so I decided to also blog our story.  Benjamin's story is the only post in 2009.  I haven't posted much since then until recently.  Now I hope my postings can help others as I know Angie's blog has.  If I can touch one soul or one heart then Benjamin has helped others as Angie Smith's daughter Caroline has helped so many.  This is why I blog.  It allows for me to express my deep feelings and I can only pray it reaches others out there.  I believe it has.  I have connected with other moms like me and my followers are complete strangers.  That's God working there. 

Since Angie's blog she went further and wrote a book, which includes a lot from her blog.  I wish I could give it to every mother with a child loss.  Then I thought I can make a small difference.  I pre-ordered 12 of her books.  One for me, one for our church library, and 10 more in hopes to give them to mothers with a loss.  I have had the books for a long time and finally this week I met up with a social worker at the hospital where I work, the hospital where Benjamin was born.  The Social worker works with the infant loss program at the hospital.  I gave these books to her and asked that she give them to mothers who tragically go through the same loss as us.  I can't tell you how wonderful it felt.  This is a way for me to give back, honor our son and share Angie's story.  I pray that it will touch the lives of others as it has touched mine.  If it reaches one soul then it is all worth it!  I plan to continue to replenish these books as they are given out to mothers.  I want these mothers to know they are not alone! 

Again I can not tell you how good it feels to give back.  It is easy to just give money to an organization but when you give your TIME and heart it means so much more.  I remember helping a local church stuff backpacks with school supplies for local children in the area.  The parents of these children do not have the means to get the supplies they need for school.  I enjoyed it so much.  In just a couple hours we quickly ran out of supplies and the project was done.  We stuffed hundreds of backpacks.  It was sad when it was over it just had not taken that long to do as we all worked together.  I sometime wonder if the giver receives more than the receiver of the gift.  I know we are helping these kids but I think I got just as much out of it as they did.  It is amazing to give back to others.  If you have not done something like this I strongly encourage you to find something to become a part of.  Giving money is good too but when you become a part of something and give something more precious than your money, "Your Time" it means so much more.  I believe this is one of my spiritual gifts and I need to use it more often!!  Our time is so precious and I know I need to work on giving it more to others.

"Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to." Deuteron 15:10

Not offten will I have 2 postings in one week but I just wanted to share this, my thoughts. 
What type of giving have you done that you have enjoyed.  I would enjoy reading your comments.  This may also help others find ways to give back with in their communities.

Have a blessed day, Angela

Oh yeah if you want to purchase this book for yourself or others here is a link to it.  I recommend going through Angie's Blog to order online.  If you click on the link from her blog to order she then is given some of these proceeds or credit back and she is always giving books to people.  This way you too will be helping that great cause.  You can visit her blog by clicking here Angie Smith's Blog "Bring the Rain"    You will see the link to her book on the left side bar.

Below are also direct links to order her book these links have already gone through her blog so if you click on them you will still be helping her give back to others. 

Amazon--Amazon link
Barnes and Noble--Barnes and Noble link

I hope you enjoy her book and blog as much as I have and if you are giving to others then bless you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

28 weeks and she is doing fine

As you know, if you know our story or have read my blog.  We had a perfect pregnancy last year with our son Benjamin but we found out at 28 weeks it was not so perfect.  28 weeks was the time when we found that our Benjamin had hydrops, which means he had fluid in his chest and abdomen.  Anyway, because of this we have been watching our growing little girl closely.  Everything has shown to be OK and once again the ultrasound shows that she is right on track.  It was such a blessing to hear this information form the Dr. who delivered our precious Benjamin.  It was nice to see him again in a different setting.  It also brings tears to my eyes as I so wish things could have been different for our baby boy.  It's hard to explain.  I don't want to miss out on the joy that we are having with our baby girl but Benjamin is never far from our minds.  I am at the point where I am experiencing things that I did not get to do with Benjamin.  Simple things I wish I could have had with him. 

We are so excited.  She weights about 3 pounds now and her heart rate is 153.  This little girl is going to come into this world and stay with us.  I believe that with my whole heart.  I just can't believe it is going to happen in 2 1/2 months!!  Based on the last 2 ultrasounds she is due to be welcomed into this world around Oct. 3rd.  So it may be the first week of October rather than the 2nd week.  No matter what she will be here before Oct.13th.  My OB doctor feels it is safer for her to enter the world than to remain in my belly any longer than that (meaning not past my due date).

Once again thank you for your prayers and comments.  They mean so much!!

 Soon to be mommy again........Angela

28 weeks and she is doing fine

As you know, if you know our story or have read my blog.  We had a perfect pregnancy last year with our son Benjamin but we found out at 28 weeks it was not so perfect.  28 weeks was the time when we found that our Benjamin had hydrops, which means he had fluid in his chest and abdomen.  Anyway, because of this we have been watching our growing little girl closely.  Everything has shown to be OK and once again the ultrasound shows that she is right on track.  It was such a blessing to hear this information form the Dr. who delivered our precious Benjamin.  It was nice to see him again in a different setting.  It also brings tears to my eyes as I so wish things could have been different for our baby boy.  It's hard to explain.  I don't want to miss out on the joy that we are having with our baby girl but Benjamin is never far from our minds.  I am at the point where I am experiencing things that I did not get to do with Benjamin.  Simple things I wish I could have had with him. 

We are so excited.  She weights about 3 pounds now and her heart rate is 153.  This little girl is going to come into this world and stay with us.  I believe that with my whole heart.  I just can't believe it is going to happen in 2 1/2 months!!  Based on the last 2 ultrasounds she is due to be welcomed into this world around Oct. 3rd.  So it may be the first week of October rather than the 2nd week.  No matter what she will be here before Oct.13th.  My OB doctor feels it is safer for her to enter the world than to remain in my belly any longer than that (meaning not past my due date).

Once again thank you for your prayers and comments.  They mean so much!!

 Soon to be mommy again........Angela

Saturday, June 26, 2010

He is always there

As we go through life we get busy and don’t always feel that God is still there with us.  If we stop and slow down we may see that he is right there.  I would like to share some times that I know God was right there by my side carrying me through the pains of this life.
During one of the most difficult times in my life or shall I say the most difficult time of my life so far was the funeral of my son, Benjamin.  I was overwhelmed with sadness.  I remember that day as if it was yesterday.  Walking to his grave site in disbelief that this was really happening, as I held my belly from the incision where he was cut out of me.  Did I just give birth to my baby boy and is he really gone?  Will I really not be able to hold him again or help him grow up into a handsome man?  I remember my brother, Bryan, Mark’s brother, Mike and Jim our brother-in-law, carrying Benjamin to us.  My first thoughts were wow what a small coffin.  Don’t know why I expected it to be bigger I guess because I have never been to an infant funeral.  I just could not believe how small it was.  As tears rolled down my face it began to rain as Bryan, Mike, and Jim carried our son to us God was crying too.  It was amazing it started to poor down rain.  I remember being worried that I would not be able to hear our preacher Victor as it was raining so hard.  Just as I thought that the rain stopped.  It never rained again like that, that day.  I believe with my whole hart that God too was feeling our sorrow.  He was right there with us, HOLDING us during our deep sorrow.

The first time you see your new born child, it is suppose to be full of joy and happiness.  When Mark and I finally got to see our son, Benjamin it was not like that.  We saw our little boy lifeless as tubes were keeping him alive.  His arm was limp, unable to feel our touch or grasp our hand.  I have never felt such pain and disappointment before.  I was completely distraught.  The extent of Benjamin’s illness was staring us right in the face and we could not believe it.  I left his side feeling so alone and so distraught I became angry, asking why, how could this be happening, this is so unfair.  Looking back on that moment in time I was not alone God was there.  I just did not realize it at that time.  In the picture below you can see the cross within the lighting above all, in the room.  God was there holding us the entire time.

If you can not see the cross then stand further back from the computer.  It is there!

In my kitchen I have some Jim Shore figurines.  Two new ones I have are Have Faith and Forever in His Embrace. I placed some cards by them that we just received since we just reached the anniversary of our son’s birthday, I cannot believe it has been a year!  One day as I was doing day to day things I saw the sun shining down hard on a special card that we had gotten and the figurine "Forever in His Embrace".  It was as if God was saying, “Yes I have him and he is in my embrace”.  I quickly took at picture of it.  I looked at the picture and thought I can get a better picture than that.  I turned back to take another picture and it was gone.  Here is the picture I took.  The writing on the angel says, “The Lord has called you home and it is within the embrace of his loving arms that you shall reside forever”.  We know where Benjamin is and Thank You Lord for reminding me of that!

 The card says "For a brief while, a wonderful miracle was yours......

On Mother’s Day I wanted to go to Benjamin's grave.  I know I do not have to go there to be close to him as he is always there in my heart.  But that day when I felt that my son should be in my arms holding me tight and giving me mother’s day kisses I just had to go.  As Mark and I approved the drive to the cemetery the song “Held” came on the radio station K-Love, the station that I now listen to all of the time.  We had this station playing during our entire labor process.  I had this song on my iPod before having Benjamin.  I remember singing it to him and the words meant different to me.  I thought it was about Mary and her Son, sacred one being taken away from her.  That is not what it is about at all.  It is about the cry of a mother and father losing their child.  It’s about when everything fell they would be held.  When all fell we were still being held and God is still holding us.  Any way as we drove to the cemetery that day this song began to play.  I turned it up and sang along.  As we parked the song ended and Kelly on K-Love said, that was played for all of you mother’s out there who have lost a child and that this day is hard but that God is holding you.  I felt comfort then.  At that moment I was amazed.  What is the likely hood that, that song would play like that as we approach our son’s grave.  I thank you God for continuing to talk to me and let me know you are there.  Here are the words to that song and you click on this site to hear it for yourself.

by Natalie Grant

Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Is appalling.

Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It's unfair.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley
and tomorrow.


If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

Some people may choose to say all of these things are just a coincidence.  I have a hard time believing that.  There are more ways I know God has shown/reminded me that he is there.  But, there are many, many, more that I never saw.  Slow down and allow God to talk to you.  This is really hard for me but I am trying hard to "Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud"

Please share some of the times that he has shown you that he is there.  Your comments are appreciated and I pray they will inspire others.  Slow down and allow him to show you his presence.
God Bless you!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An aching heart

Yesterday I woke up at 0538 just minutes before Benjamin was born.  I sang happy birthday to him, while I laid in bed thinking about that day, a year ago when we had him.  Yesterday we placed flowers in the vase we got with the plot marker.  It was nice to see all of the flowers from others.  I thought that day I should be having a party for him and giving him so much more than flowers at a grave site.  Although I am sure they had a party for him in Heaven..with our grandparents by his side.  Now I am feeling that roller coaster today.  It is only the next day but it really is filled with saddens.  I did not expect that, not sure why but I have been so strong.  I remember the pain I felt and the disbelief of what just happen.  Today I wish I had spent more time with him, as if any time would be long enough.  If I had known I only had a day I would have watched him, in amazement move about in his little hospital bed.  I would have held his little hand longer to feel that touch just a little longer.  We both cannot believe it has been a year.  It does not seem possible.  To us it feels like only a couple months.

Yes, the joy of our little girl is such a blessing.  She is loved so much already.  I love this saying which I saw in a store .."the first blessing of parenthood is loving so deeply someone you've never met".  It is so true of my feelings for her and Benjamin.  And once you get to lay eyes on them that love is so overwhelming!!  A love I truly have never felt before.  It is just amazing.  At times with Benjamin I didn't even see the life supporting machines.  I only saw our little boy and was stricken by him!  Now as we go through this again with the anticipation of our precious little girl, we can only imagine that day of love.  Being able to hold our girl I know will be one of the most amazing days of our life.  Something that is so often taken for granted will be so much more for us.  I am praying for that day.  I know as before this is all in God’s hands.  I am trying so hard to not worry or allow that anxiety to enter my soul.  I think I have done well with that so far but as we approach  21 weeks tomorrow I have allowed some of that worry to enter.  With Benjamin all looked perfect.  His detailed ultrasound was at 19 weeks, hers at 20, and both with no signs of a problem.  The world around us came crashing down at 28 weeks.  The next 7 weeks my worry is a bit more.  I can only trust and know it is in our God’s hands.  

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:9 continues to say: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”  

Please pray for me that I can remember this and put into practice what I already know.  God is all powerful and in control.  May he give me peace in knowing that.  

Happy Birthday Benjamin
We Love an miss you so much!!

March of Dimes photos

We were overwhelmed with the love support we had this day.  Thank you Joyce for the perfect T-shirts!

Thanks so much for your support we raised $1,035!!!

 It was amazing to see all of the people there supporting such a great cause.  There were groups like us remembering their loss.  There were others celebrating the miracle of life.  One dad had a sign. On one side it said Miracle 1.5 lb and on the other side it showed his son grown up at the age of 4 or 5.  It was an amazing site. 
We will do this every year to remember Benjamin and the work March of Dimes does for families during such a difficult time.  
Thank you everyone for your love and support of our walk!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Our Story, Our Loss, Benjamin Bryan

This story was written by my husband.  
We wanted to have it all written down so we could go back and remember all the details of our Benjamin.

Thanksgiving Day, November 27th, 2008, Angela and I discovered God had indeed given us one more thing to be thankful for, we were pregnant!  Like most men I was excited, amazed, anxious and a little scared after learning our future had just changed forever. Over the next couple weeks Angela and I waited with great anticipation as our child began to grow! Since the medical world likes to assign numbers to every situation, they believe that a woman 35 years or older deserves special attention! For us this translated into frequent ultrasounds of our baby, the first of which was on Dec. 11.  Angela had a little side pain and Dr. Carter wanted to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. To our amazement not only was baby in the right place, but we could already see the fluttering tissue of the beating heart! In just 6 weeks and 3 days the miracle of life had made giant strides forward, and we had pictures to prove it!

Christmas day, we could hardly wait to reveal our little gift to the rest of the family. Brenda, Bryan  and Emily had made the trip to Kansas City for the holiday so the whole family was together. After the excitement of watching the kids tear open there gifts, we presented our parents the proof of life photo and their reaction was priceless, many tears of joy were shed that day!

The next couple months went quickly and Angela felt remarkably well. Our 3rd ultrasound on March the 5th, revealed that our baby was unquestionably male! Again, we took great delight in showing off the pictures to our parents and family. By the middle of April, at 20 weeks, our baby’s heart beat was easily heard by Dr. Carter and Angela could begin to feel real movement, what a thrill!! By week 22 even I could begin to feel baby’s movement! All this time, Angela has worked very hard to complete her master’s degree in nursing education, which was to be completed at the end of April. Once she finished her thesis paper we took a much needed vacation to Marathon Key with Bryan and Emily (May 2-7th).   Finally, Angela felt she could focus exclusively on becoming a new mother and just enjoy the last couple months of an already healthy pregnancy. As mother’s day approached, we planned to have a 3-D ultrasound with the Grandmothers on May14th. We just couldn’t resist the chance to show off our growing baby boy.  This new ultrasound is done outside the Dr’s office and is not diagnostic, just a chance to see a more real likeness of the baby.  We all enjoyed seeing our baby’s facial features, fingers and toes.

 We piled in the car to drive home, when Angela got a phone call from Dr. Carter’s office. That’s odd! Dr. Carter didn’t know we were doing an ultrasound, why would she want to see us right-away?? As it had turned out the 3-D stenographer had concerns about something she saw, however she is not at liberty to mention concerns directly to the patient, so she called Dr. Carter!

Silence filled the car on the way to Dr. Carter. Was the stenographer overreacting to something insignificant? Everything looked ok to all of us, what could possibly be happening, there must be a mistake! We arrived at Dr. Carter’s office anxious and ready for a simple answer that would clear the air. We proceeded to the ultrasound and the stenographer tried to reassure us as she began to examine the baby. To our horror, she pointed out that any fluid appears very dark on the ultrasound. That was terrifying because the chest cavity of our baby was filled with a large dark area surrounding his heart! Oh my God…. we thought what does this mean? Our fears were magnified when another OB Dr. filling in for our Dr. Carter told us he had never seen an ultrasound like ours before. What?? We thought, was this really happening?? They immediately scheduled us for a more sophisticated ultrasound in the hospital the next day! We explained what we were told to our parents, who just happened to be there on the day everything went wrong.

The next day (May 15th 2009) we saw Dr. Gibbs at St. Luke’s Hospital. He examined our baby boy, still nameless, and asked that we step into a counseling room. He revealed a diagnosis called fetal hydrops (Hydrops Fetalis). I had read some the night before about fluid accumulation in baby’s chest, and the prognosis was usually very bad. He also said that Angela was developing polyhydramnios, a condition of too much amniotic fluid. Did one cause the other? What causes either condition? Did we do something wrong? Eat something bad? Can this be fixed? Is our baby going to be ok? The questions just kept coming and Dr. did his best to explain what is known about the two conditions. He explained the major causes of the condition are fetal heart failure, viral infection, fetal anemia and a large array of rare genetic problems. We were stunned, yet still in denial. Surely, this is not as bad as it sounds. Our pregnancy had been so healthy until yesterday. How can our boy be so sick all of a sudden? What did we do to cause this to happen? He went on to say he needed some blood from Angela to test for infection. He scheduled another ultrasound and echocardiogram with the Chief Cardiologist from Children’s Mercy Hospital, who helps with St. Luke’s patient once each week.

The waiting game begins and the questions build like an avalanche about to crush us. The days start going slow in anticipation of getting some real answers from the cardiologist and in the mean time Angela is feeling more and more pain from the excess fluid accumulating in her uterus. I had to work the weekend and that distracted me from the reality that was bearing down on us. Increasingly, Angela couldn’t sleep and on Sunday she had some clear discharge, she thought this must just be stress incontinence, its way too early for anything else. Right? We informed our small group at church that there is a real concern about our baby. Everyone prayed for us that night. Monday May18th, we had a regular OB office scheduled and we saw Dr. Moore since Dr. Carter just had a baby of her own. Angela told Dr. Moore about the discharge but she dismissed it, saying to tell her if it continues, it’s not uncommon for some discharge. Finally, Wednesday May 20th came and after I left work early I anxiously headed to the hospital for some answers. Angela was already at the hospital since I had to work, Mom had brought her down. Before the cardiologist appointment Angela had to complete a 3 hour glucose tolerance test to diagnose gestational diabetes, which she failed, adding gestational diabetes to our growing list of accumulating problems. We proceeded to the cardiologist appointment desperately needing some good news. After a few minutes of careful observation and discussion the Dr’s agreed that our baby’s heart was not the cause of the hydrops. We were so relieved to hear his heart was strong! The Dr. also had results from earlier blood work which showed no active infection or fetal anemia! It was nice to hear something positive after a week of bad news! However, as we will soon learn some good news, seems to have no influence on future events. Now the perinatal doctors are concerned about the fluid discharge Angela is reporting. So they ask us to go to a private exam room for a more definitive test on the discharge, turns out her water actually broke and has been leaking since Sunday night! What? That adds yet another problem, a condition known as Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM), which means labor could begin anytime and she is admitted to the hospital about 8pm, that night and placed on a fetal monitor. She got an IV placed and received antibiotics and steroids for our baby’s lungs to mature, in case labor progressed. We decided formally together that our baby boy needed a name because he may be here sooner than expected. We had talked about a few possibilities but we both kept coming back to Benjamin Bryan. (Benjamin meaning son on my right hand, and Bryan because of Angela’s closeness to her twin brother) This was the first of many long days in the hospital we couldn’t believe we had ended up hear.

Fortunately, labor did not progress and we moved to another room for what would hopefully be a long stay. We were only at week 29 ½ and just prayed for 34 weeks for baby’s lungs to develop more fully. Many of the next 5 days have melted together in our minds now. We had several visitors, Mom, Joyce, Greg, Judd, Victor & Faith. I happened to have all five days off over Memorial Day weekend and spent almost all my time in the room and my brief nights at home alone wondering what challenges lye ahead, feeling helpless hoping and praying for the Benjamin to live and live well.

During these 5 days Angela’s drainage seemed to stop and her amniotic fluid began to build up again. The Dr. Gibbs had scheduled an ultrasound for Wednesday to measure her fluid and check on Benjamin. Also, in an effort to determine for certain if her membranes were still ruptured he performed an amnio-dye test, by injecting blue dye into the amniotic fluid and checking for blue stains we will know if amniotic fluid is leaking. Also, he removed some fluid for testing of genetic markers and infection, all of which have shown nothing abnormal. Briefly there was hope that Angela would get to go home, however, the next day, there were signs of blue stains which proofed her membranes were still leaking and that forced the Dr. to keep her here until labor begins.

Unfortunately, labor began sooner than later. On May 30th at 3:20, after 10 days in the hospital Angela had a large gush of amniotic fluid. Angela was moved back to labor and delivery and placed on continuous fetal monitor. Things settled down in the afternoon, so I left the room and ate lunch then walked to the plaza. I found a perfect necklace from Brighton to give to Angela after labor. At about 10pm Dr. Lu decided the time was right to start pushing! Despite being nervous about the premature labor, we soon found ourselves excited at the prospect of bringing Benjamin into the world. Benjamin handled the stress of labor very well, his heart rate increased each time Angela pushed so the labor continued all through the night. Angela worked very hard to deliver Benjamin normally, but he just didn’t want to leave the safety of the womb. After several hours the contractions started to fade away, and the decision was made to start Oxytocin. After an hour break the medication started to induce contractions once again. Jonnie and I were the only ones in the room during most of the 8 hour labor. Even though we had the support of the 9 people waiting in the delivery room for at least 12 hours! Finally, at about 5am Dr. Lu decided that a C-Section was needed to deliver the baby. This was difficult to accept since there were numerous times it seemed Benjamin was just about clear. Within thirty minutes Angela was prepped for surgery and wheeled to the OR for the C-Section. At 5:53 am on May 31st, Benjamin Bryan was separated from his mother’s life giving support. All most immediately, the Neonatologist came into the OR and informed us that Benjamin was undergoing heroic efforts to save his life, chest compressions and drugs were all the Dr's could do to keep him alive. As the Dr's closed Angela’s incision, all the worst thoughts flooded our hearts and minds. As we left the OR, we were able to see Benjamin and the full extent of his hydrops was clearly seen. Our poor baby boy that we have anticipated for so long, was lying limp and motionless in his little bed. 
(See the Cross with in the lighting. God never left our side)

The room was full of Dr's, nurses, respiratory therapists and technicians all focused on keeping Benjamin alive. As I looked around the room, as everyone assessed Benjamin’s conditions the only words I could muster was “thank-you”. Angela reached out to him limp little hand and was devastated because he could not respond to her touch. Likewise, I felt a deep sense of despair as we left the room and went to the recovery room. That was the lowest point either of us reached. The critical condition of our son was staring us right in the face at that point.

After Angela went to recovery, we had a moment for some of the 12 family members to visit Angela. It was a very emotional time for all. It seemed the worst scenario had just been played out and we were helpless to change it. It’s not fair we thought. What did we do to deserve this? Of course there was nothing we did to make this happen, and life is often not fair. So we held each other and worked through the next hour. There was no word from anyone about Benjamin, so we assumed he was still hanging in there. I went to eat breakfast with Mom, Joyce and Greg, and quickly returned to Angela’s bedside. At about 8:15 we were given the chance to see Benjamin again, this time in the NICU. The nurses wheeled Angela, bed and all, down the hall and into Benjamin’s room. We were taken back at just how much his appearance had changed! Benjamin was pink! He looked almost like a normal, healthy baby boy! There was still a monumental amount of work to do for Benjamin, but he looked so good after just the first 2 hours of treatment! Our spirits jumped up immediately!

The room was full of Dr's, nurses, respiratory therapists and technicians all focused on keeping Benjamin alive. As I looked around the room, as everyone assessed Benjamin’s conditions the only words I could muster was “thank-you”. Angela reached out to him limp little hand and was devastated because he could not respond to her touch. Likewise, I felt a deep sense of despair as we left the room and went to the recovery room. That was the lowest point either of us reached. The critical condition of our son was staring us right in the face at that point.

This time when Angela and I reached for Benjamin, his little arms would move away, however, once he got a hold of a finger he had a marvelous grip! Even his finger nails would turn white from the pressure! We could not believe the change in Benjamin, we had hope again!

Angela was taken to a private room to continue to recover from the surgery, while I took visitors back to see Benjamin for the first time! I started with the Grandmothers, neither could wait any longer to see the miracle of life that been given to us! They were amazed at the work being done to help Benjamin and even more amazed at the sight of his perfect little hands and toes.  Our time together was brief as others were also anxious to see Benjamin. Next to visit, Mike and Lorri, then Bryan  and Emily and finally Jim and Brenda for a second time. Michelle was there but unable to visit due to a cold, Dad was recovering from knee surgery and couldn’t make it down. There presence was felt anyway, whether there in person or not. Everyone was amazed and emotional to see our little boy look so good, yet be in such a struggle to survive. Benjamin’s nurse, Christy, was very well trained and tackled the situation with all her skills. She took great pride in educating us all about the steps being taken to support Benjamin’s precious life.  We had complete confidence in her ability to carry out Dr. John Anderson’s every order. Dr. Anderson also became a man very special to our hearts.  Each time we visited he was quick to show empathy, kindness and knowledge. He always knew the right thing to say, and when to say it. On one visit, he was concerned for Angela to care for herself and to get some rest. He asked, “What do you think Benjamin dreams of?” We said, “I don’t know.”  He said, “What do you think Benjamin knows.” Again we said, “I don’t know.” Dr. Anderson said, “All Benjamin knows is his Mom and Dad, so even when we’re not right there, you are with him.” You are all he knows and he dreams about you! So for Benjamin, we are always right there with him! Time after time it seemed the good Dr. had similar words of wisdom that made our experience bearable.

The afternoon seemed to speed by. After everyone visited Benjamin, we decided to get some lunch. Everyone was starved and could see that Benjamin was in good hands with Dr. Anderson, so we left the hospital briefly for lunch on the plaza. After lunch Mom , Michelle, Bryan, Emily and Brenda left for home. I went back to the hospital and spent time with Angela. Angela was feeling pretty well after such a major surgery and was anxious to see Benjamin again. She managed to get into the wheel chair and I wheeled her off down the hall to the NICU. We squeezed in as close as possible to Benjamin, taking care not to bump any of the vital equipment supporting our baby boy. Again we were so encouraged by Benjamin’s pink color, his reflexes, fingers and toes. His vital signs were perfect, 96% plus oxygen saturation, 130 bpm heart rate, consistent blood pressure. The nurses were removing massive amounts of fluid and replacing it with Albumin. Within the first 12 hours there had been about 500ml of fluid removed from Benjamin, Dr. Anderson had already begun to wean the ventilator and oxygen delivery! Benjamin was even starting to take his own breaths over the ventilator. Everything indicated that Benjamin had taken the first big steps in making a full recovery!! Angela and I enjoyed talking to Benjamin. We told him he was doing an excellent job, that we were proud of him and that we loved him so much!!! We relished holding each of his little hands and feet. His grip still amazes us to this day. As the evening continued, our lack of sleep began to catch up to us. We had been awake for about 36 hours straight and needed some rest for ourselves. I wheeled Angela back to her room got her comfortable for the night. We were confident Benjamin was going to be alright, so I headed home to get some rest in my own bed. Once I got home, all the emotion pinned up inside came out. I cried myself to sleep that night.

At 3:30am on June 1st the phone rang. I had fallen asleep in my contacts and had a hard time finding the phone. It was Angela and a nurse had just visited her room and said Benjamin was in need of a procedure because he had developed a pneumothorax (air in the chest). Angela didn’t sound alarmed but after we hung up the phone I realized Benjamin must be deteriorating or they would not have asked us to come to his room. I got Benjamin’s room at about 4am to find Angela at his bed side, still in a wheel chair. I could see on the monitor that his oxygen saturation had fallen into the mid 70’s. He needs to be at least in the mid-80’s said Dr. Anderson, still there working with Benjamin since the previous day. Dr. Anderson explained about the pnuemothorax that developed, and that he had tried to place a chest tube to remove the accumulated air. He told us that the needle used to start the chest tube caused a lot of bleeding that they could barely stop. Once stopped however, another X-ray showed the pnemothorax had disappeared! Wow, that’s great we thought! He went on to show us the fluid that had persisted or re-accumulated around his lungs. This fluid is life threatening, it prevents the proper exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Benjamin’s low oxygen saturation was a testament to the significance of that fluid. We continued to watch in disbelief as that oxygen saturation continued to fall over the next couple hours. Dr. Anderson even increased the size of the tube used to deliver oxygen to Benjamin’s failing lungs. No change. Soon we saw O2 saturations in the 50’s then 40’s. As the oxygen fails away, the heart doesn’t get the energy if needs to function well and his once strong heart, began to slow, setting off another alarm. As his heart rate slowed, his blood pressure dropped, further limiting the oxygen delivery to his heart and lungs. This vicious cycle continued for another hour or so. We continued watch Benjamin’s O2 sat. fall through the 30’s, the 20’s and even below 10. I heard one of the nurses say out loud that “we have color change”. I stubbornly thought maybe he was turning pink again, Angela had to remind me that the color change was bad. Our hearts continued to drop right along with his. It just seemed surreal, as if we weren’t really watching this happen to our son. I kept thinking he would turn around at any moment and shock everyone again with an amazing recovery. We simply could not comprehend how it had all come down to this moment. Finally, Dr Anderson, or John approached us as we sat and watched the events unfolding before us. John said, with tears in his eyes, “I’m sorry, there’s just nothing else I can do for Benjamin.” He asked if we would like to hold Benjamin, and we jumped at the chance. Dr. Anderson gave Benjamin one last dose of medication to keep him comfortable and relaxed. They removed the life support systems and handed him to us in a hand made afghan blanket and hat. It was such a good feeling to finally hold our precious baby boy. We held him close, kissed his forehead and cheeks. Angela and I marveled at his little hands and toes one last time as we took turns holding him. Emotion overwhelmed us from the time Benjamin was handed to us to the time Benjamin died. We prayed harder and longer than we had ever thought possible. We begged God to take Benjamin into his arms and hold him tightly! I believe at that very moment Benjamin’s strong heart beat its last beat. We continued to hold Benjamin until Dr. Anderson returned to the empty room and checked for any sign of life in Benjamin’s small helpless body. At about 8am, the good Dr. listened to Benjamin’s chest and could find no heart beat. Benjamin Bryan Wadleigh had passed. We have never, and hope to never again, cry as hard as we did that Monday morning. I don’t recall walking back to Angela’s room, but my next memory was eating a little breakfast and trying to figure out what to do next. What do you do after holding your newborn son in your arms while he dies?

Soon Lori was by the room on her way to work. She knew there was bad news because the nurses were not allowing visitors without asking us first. We told Lorri Benjamin had passed and we all hugged and cried together. As we got our senses back, we decided I should tell the rest of the family in person, so Lorri stayed with Angela while I went home terrible news. As I drove down Northern, I could see Dad outside watering the grass next to the new driveway. I pulled in a got out, as I approached him he asked how I was doing? I said I’ve had better Mondays, then told him that we lost Benjamin this morning. “Just like that” he said, “Just like that” I said, as we hugged each other and cried in disbelief. Soon Mom saw us and joined us on the driveway where all three of us hugged and cried for Benjamin. We made our way inside, soon the whole family knew of our loss.
Benjamin never left God's side he just briefly reached down to hold our hands.