This week has brought healing, tears, heartache and everything in between. As life unfolds after the excruciatingly painful loss of our sweet Caleb, humanity and love has been felt every step of the way. This week I wrote Caleb’s obituary. I put this off until the last second knowing it would be hard. I’ve decided to stop thinking of these things in such a “final” light. We are determined to keep his memory alive, there is no need to feel as though we have lost him forever. It’s not easy, and part of healing means many tears are shed. Putting away things that were intended for him, or for twins, is painful. It causes reflection on what would have been and what will never be. We have to remember that faith doesn’t necessarily remove pain or hurt, sometimes faith says, “I’ll sit with you in it”. God has sat with me many times as tears have fallen in these raw, undeniable moments. I am reminded of a scripture that has always stuck with me…
How precious are our tears to our Heavenly Father?! Our heartache doesn’t go unnoticed. Instead of suppressing it, or living in denial, letting those waves of emotion wash over you is ultimately cleansing for the soul. There is healing in those moments.
I have been reminded multiple times throughout the past couple of weeks of the ripple effect of this experience. I have had the pure honor of reading and hearing of how much Caleb, the doctors, nurses, or experiences that we have shared here have made an impact on others. Hearing that some of the very things that changed our lives forever has changed the lives of others has brought tears of joy to my soul. Sharing the journey that God has brought us to and continues to bring us through has touched us in so many ways. What a light in the darkness.
To view Caleb’s Obituary, click on the photo below…
I have been wanting to share something with you that has blown us away since coming home from Levine Children’s Hospital. Right after finding out we would have to let Caleb go, Child Life came in and created keepsakes for us. Flora, a Child Life Specialist, came and helped us figure out how to speak to Aaron about this. It was a worry of mine of how we would need to handle this with a little boy who was so used to saying, “Two babies in mommy’s belly”, “Caleb and Gabriel”, and “My brothers”. She also brought a bag of things for him when he came to see the boys in the hospital. These were items like coloring books, crayons, Water WOW books, trucks, etc. She stayed with him while we were all together to help with the art and to just be with him as he experienced this with us. She was so kind, so gentle. She also brought canvases for family handprint art, as well as plaster kits for creating castings of both Gabriel and Caleb’s feet together. The wonderful team along with nurses creating additional castings of Caleb’s hands, as well as small canvas hand and footprint art the night before our family came. I can’t express how touched we are to have these priceless keepsakes. They are 3D representations of the small hands and fingers we held while we prayed, the little feet and toes we rubbed while staring at this tiny fighter each day of his short life. When you are in the thralls of grief and tears, you are not in the frame of mind to think of what you would like to do to capture the moment, to create keepsakes. The Music Therapy team recorded Caleb’s heartbeat for the tiny EKG prints and for us to listen to as well! The Bereavement Team, Child Life Team, and the Music Therapy Team came in such a loving, gentle way to help us and to give us lasting memories. What a true blessing they were and are to so many families!
I truly appreciate everyone who submitted their address for the Candles for Caleb we are mailing out for his Celebration of Life memorial. We are holding this private memorial on Saturday, March 13th. If you would like a candle or forgot to include your address with your message, please include that information below! We hope everyone will light their heart candle on this day and tag us in a picture to spread Light and Love in Caleb’s memory and to spread awareness for CHD and HLHS.
Gabriel has been doing so well and on Monday, February 15th he was transferred to the 6th floor- the Intermediate Neonatal floor! He has gone up on how much he is taking by bottle. He is now taking 70% of his feedings by bottle, and if he does this for another 24 hours, he will move into an “Ad Lib” period. This means that for 24-48 hours he will need to meet a minimum amount of breastmilk (approx. 35 mL) every 3 hours but he can have more if he wants. If he does this he can come home! The social worker said that this could be this coming Monday!!! We are praying that he gets to come home if not Monday, then this coming week. We would appreciate prayers for great feeds this weekend and for a smooth transition home! We need this precious boy home with us. There is nothing like those sweet baby snuggles. It is going to do so much for our healing as a family.
I have to share with you about a couple who is next to us in the large open room we are all in on the 6th floor. They are first time parents who are so sweet and have a little boy born at 32 weeks. He has just reached 4 lbs. and we have gotten to know them this week. It has touched me to see them join hands and pray over their child every single time they are about to leave him in the hands of the caring nurses. They pray out loud quietly with hands on their little baby and it just warms my heart knowing that this child will grow up hearing the sound of his praying parents. Today they laid a bible on the rolling cart at the end of his bassinet, open to the book of Psalms. There are some images that stick in your mind and this will be one of them. This mother is battling Postpartum Anxiety and she shared her fears and worries with me. I told her of the gripping Postpartum Anxiety I had after Aaron was born. It was an honor to share my experience with her and see her open up after hearing my battle with it and share her plan for tackling it head on. You never know when you are going to be able to help someone else just by being willing to share your story. I am adding them to my prayers, for her baby to continue to grow without complications, and for her to overcome her anxiety with the help that she is getting for it. I would love for you to join me in praying for this family.