School Girl charm

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Honoring Our Angels

Monica - a sweet angel mom - has spotlighted my blog on her own memorial blog today.  It turned out lovely and I greatly appreciate her interest in posting about Karinne and our journey with her.  You can see Monica's post by clicking on Honoring Our Angels.  It's all info that's already posted here, but feel free to browse the rest of her site.  She has great ideas for honoring our angels and has featured many other amazing families of little ones gone too soon!  Thanks Monica!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul

For some time now, I have thought about explaining some of the songs on my playlist - their specific meaning to me, stories behind when and where I first heard them, etc.  Last week, Holly shared a lovely post on her daughter's memorial blog about one of the songs on my blog list- It Is Well With My Soul.  I asked her if she wouldn't mind if I shared it here and she approved.

I'd heard the story about the origin of this song while I was pregnant with Karinne.  At her burial, our minister shared a shortened version of the song's history, then we passed out a copy of the words and everyone joined us as we sang it acappella.  It was hauntingly beautiful and oh-so-appropriate.

Saying Goodbye
When I was searching for songs to put on my blog's playlist, I was so pleased to find a beautiful instrumental version of this special hymn.   In fact, if you have your sound turned on, you should be hearing it right now.  There is also a more contemporary version of the song with vocals further down the list.

From Holly's blog, Caring For Carleigh:  The story behind this hymn - tragic, yet beautiful:

"This hymn was written by a Chicago lawyer, Horatio G. Spafford. You might think to write a worship song titled, 'It is well with my soul', you would indeed have to be a rich, successful Chicago lawyer. But the words, "When sorrows like sea billows roll ... It is well with my soul”, were not written during the happiest period of Spafford's life. On the contrary, they came from a man who had suffered almost unimaginable personal tragedy.

Horatio G. Spafford and his wife, Anna, were pretty well-known in 1860’s Chicago. And this was not just because of Horatio's legal career and business endeavors. The Spaffords were also prominent supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody, the famous preacher. In 1870, however, things started to go wrong. The Spaffords' only son was killed by scarlet fever at the age of four. A year later, it was fire rather than fever that struck. Horatio had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1871, every one of these holdings was wiped out by the great Chicago Fire.

Aware of the toll that these disasters had taken on the family, Horatio decided to take his wife and four daughters on a holiday to England. And, not only did they need the rest -- DL Moody needed the help. He was traveling around Britain on one of his great evangelistic campaigns. Horatio and Anna planned to join Moody in late 1873. And so, the Spaffords traveled to New York in November, from where they were to catch the French steamer 'Ville de Havre' across the Atlantic. Yet just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to delay. Not wanting to ruin the family holiday, Spafford persuaded his family to go as planned. He would follow on later. With this decided, Anna and her four daughters sailed East to Europe while Spafford returned West to Chicago. Just nine days later, Spafford received a telegram from his wife in Wales. It read: "Saved alone."

On November 2nd 1873, the 'Ville de Havre' had collided with 'The Lochearn', an English vessel. It sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. Anna Spafford had stood bravely on the deck, with her daughters Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta clinging desperately to her. Her last memory had been of her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters. Anna was only saved from the fate of her daughters by a plank which floated beneath her unconscious body and propped her up. When the survivors of the wreck had been rescued, Mrs. Spafford's first reaction was one of complete despair. Then she heard a voice speak to her, "You were spared for a purpose." And she immediately recalled the words of a friend, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God."

Upon hearing the terrible news, Horatio Spafford boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife. Bertha Spafford (the fifth daughter of Horatio and Anna born later) explained that during her father's voyage, the captain of the ship had called him to the bridge. "A careful reckoning has been made", he said, "and I believe we are now passing the place where the de Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep." Horatio then returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics of his great hymn."
Taken from here

Horatio and his wife later had 3 more children - 2 daughters and a son who died in infancy. They moved to Jerusalem and founded a mission that served the poor.

Can you imagine going through everything he went through and still saying, "It is well"?

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Am Supposed to Be Doing This

On Friday, I had the honor of holding the tiniest hands I have ever held.  Unfortunately, I held these precious hands as I was making "Lasting Impressions" of a sweet baby girl born far too soon at 23 weeks.  I also got to meet her parents and offer the hugs of a stranger who understands too well the difficult task of preparing arrangements funeral arrangements for their baby girl. 

For those of you who don't know or who might have forgotten, I started a ministry in October of using part of Karinne's memorial money to provide a gift for bereaved families that I have called - "Lasting Impressions."  This gift involves making 3D plaster castings and impressions in clay of their precious baby's hands and feet.  Sadly, since October, I have had the honor of holding the hands of 5 sweet babies gone too soon.  1 Boy and 4 Girls.  It doesn't seem appropriate for me to share photos of their impressions.  But so you will know what I mean - here are photos once again of some of Karinne's impressions:

I have writen the following in the letter I give to each family: 
"Our tiny babies gone to heaven too soon leave a lasting impression upon our hearts.  It is my sincere prayer that these “lasting impressions” of your child’s hands and feet will be a treasured memento of the impact they have made in their all too brief life.  I pray also that they will bring you some measure of comfort on the difficult journey you now find yourself traveling.
"Please accept these gifts in honor of our beloved daughter Karinne. She was diagnosed with a fatal anomaly called acrania in December, 2009 and was born and went to heaven on May 10th, 2010.  As part of Karinne’s legacy, and in an attempt for her life to continue to make a lasting impression, I have started this ministry of creating these special mementos for other families experiencing the sudden loss of a baby. 
"I consider it an honor to have been able to make these gifts for your family and to have held the precious hands and feet of your beautiful baby.  I continue to pray for your hearts as you mourn the loss of your precious child." 

I have connected with these families through Brooke - the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer who took photos of Karinne.  She has called me when she has taken photos for a bereaved family - and so far it has worked out each time for me to make impressions.  When she called me on Thursday, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to go.  This baby was 23 weeks.  Just 5 or 6 weeks older than the baby I am carrying.  Could I really do this?  Then - it seemed like nothing was falling into place to go.  My husband was too busy with work to watch the kids.  (We were out of school for spring break.)  So I would have to find a sitter.  And all of my friends who had gone with me previously to help were unavailable.  Plus - it was a 2 1/2 hour drive one way and we were supposed to leave for the weekend.  I was very close to saying - "I just can't make it work this time."  

But I prayed - "God, if I'm supposed to do this - please help things to fall into place."

I had impressions that I needed to deliver that I had made almost 2 months ago and that would be on the way.  So I texted the mother to see if she was available.  She wrote back:  

"Yes of course...I'm so excited to see them."

"Okay God - we can make this work. . . . " A friend was going to be able to watch the kids.  And I decided I would be able to do it on my own this time with the size of the baby.  So off I went.  And it was the most touching experience I've had yet while doing this ministry.

Always before, I have made the impressions at the funeral home while the mother was still in the hospital.  And then I have met the family later when I delivered the finished impressions.  But this time, they were there at the funeral home making arrangements.  And they wanted to meet me.  I was nervous about how difficult it would be.  But it was an amazing blessing - for them and for myself.  Emotional - but beautiful too.  Hugs....and tears....and sharing about Karinne....and more tears.  So heartbreaking to lose their first child in such a way. 

On my way back I received the following text message from this sweet baby girl's father.  It touched my heart in so many ways:

"I wanted to tell you thank you for what you did for us in regards to our daughter.  It was truly a blessing.  Thank you.  Your acts of kindness towards total strangers are what reminds me that there is still hope and love in this world.  May God bless you for your acts of kindness."

Sigh - - And Tears

"Yes - I am Supposed to be doing this.  Thank you God for this blessing."

Then I delivered the previously made impressions to a precious young momma who was so OVERJOYED to have them.  It was so moving to share them with her, to talk with her about her beautiful daughter, and give her heartfelt hugs.  My heart just broke for her and the sadness over the unexpected and perhaps preventable loss of her daughter.

Once again - complete and total reaffirmation that "Yes - I am Supposed to be doing this."  In Karinne's honor.  And for His Glory.

Please pray for these families!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rainbow Baby?

First of all - THANK YOU to all of you that have posted such sweet and supportive comments this week on the news of our new baby's great-looking sonogram.  We have continued to feel such joy and thankfulness that God has blessed us so abundantly.  It has been a pleasure to share this joy with all of you.   

Many of you that read my blog may have noticed the name "Rainbow Baby" above our little countdown to baby on the right side of the screen.  And some of you have probably wondered what it meant.  So I figured I should explain it here. 

I remember reading this term about a year ago when a mom on the ABFA forum (Anencephaly Blessings From Above) announced her new pregnancy.  And I remember wondering what she meant.  In simplest terms - in the baby loss world - the term "Rainbow Baby" refers to a subsequent pregnancy after a loss.   

I have borrowed the following from my sweet friend Melissa's blog to explain it more beautifully:

"Below is the best definition I could find...

The idea is that the baby is like a rainbow after a storm.  It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm.  When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath.  It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.  Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

Some cultures believe that a rainbow is a bridge between heaven and earth and of course you are familiar with the pots of gold found at the end!!!  For our family, the term rainbow baby acts as a reminder from our Lord of His covenant with us in the book of Genesis. God kept His promise to Noah and to us. "

A rainbow we saw from our backyard shortly after Karinne's birth. 

Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the flood waters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”
Genesis 9:12-17

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Official!!!!

Yay!!!! Praise the Lord!!!!  I just heard from my doctor that "EVERYTHING LOOKS GOOD!!!!!"   We are so overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness!!!  Thanks everyone for all of the prayers and support.  What a GREAT feeling!!!!!!!!

I was afraid to share the photos until I heard the official news.  But now I can share - Photos of Our Beautiful New Little Blessing......

LOVE that round little head!!!  And Cute Profile

I'll give some explanations for those not well-versed in the deciphering of sonogram images.

Here's a shot of all of Baby - Head in profile on the right with fingers up by face, torso in the middle, and legs curled up on the left.

A view from the top - Baby's arm and hand near body

Image of Baby's leg curled up tight - Kicking him/herself in the bottom   

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I just wanted to post a quick note about the sonogram today.  Everything LOOKS good from what we could tell.  Hopefully we will get official news tomorrow at some point once the images are read by the radiologist they have to send them off to.  But we are breathing at least a partial sigh of relief that things LOOKED good to us and to the sonogram technician.  We saw a very round looking skull and all of the organs were present and accounted for. 


Like I said - nothing is official yet.  But looked good so far.

Thank you to everyone for all of the prayers.  Please keep em coming!

I will post again when we hear the official news.  And I will try to put up pics from the sonogram soon too. 

Oh, and by the way - we did NOT find out the baby's gender - in case anyone is wondering.  Call us old fashioned, but we may not find out at all.  Or we may find out later - but not tell anyone.  Sorry folks!  Hope you can all handle the suspense!  =)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sonogram Tomorrow - Hopefully

I've been having trouble finding words to share this week.  But I've wanted to share these photo cards for a while - so today is the day.  These are the cards I sent out with our very late Christmas cards.  People actually received them on Valentine's day.

Karinne's card is actually like a VERY late birth announcement card.  I added the footprints and two more photos to the image at the top of the blog.  I have been meaning to get around and add her footprints to the blog image too, but haven't gotten it done yet.  Love those little footprints!!

The other card shows each of the kids on their birthdays this year.  The older 3 posing with their birthday cakes that I made them, although you can't really see the boys' in these photos.  I was just telling my mom the other day how I wish I had made a cake for Karinne's birthday - to have had at the hospital.  I would sure love to have a photo of her with a special birthday cake I made just for her.  

So let's see - I've had some rough moments this last week - not too many but a few.  I've been trying not to stress too much about our upcoming sonogram.  We are supposed to have it tomorrow.  If the snow doesn't prevent the traveling technician from getting here.  We have a snow day from school today because we have about 4 inches on the ground already and are forecasted to get 8 to 10 with wind.  So - I'm trying not to get my hopes - or nerves - up too much in case we get pushed back AGAIN.  

Tomorrow is March 9th - another sonogram on a "9th".  (It was December 9th, 09 when Karinne was diagnosed with acrania.)  I'm really trying not to let this freak me out too much.  And then the next day is the 10th - Karinne's 10 month mark.  So hard to believe her birthday is coming up so soon.  And we'll probably hear back from my doctor that day the official news from the sonogram - once she hears back from the radiologist. 

A couple of other things have happened this week that have shaken me a bit - which I'm not ready to share here yet.  (Sorry.)  But I would really appreciate your prayers for our sonogram tomorrow (hopefully) - that it would be ALL GOOD NEWS with our new little baby.  So that Curt and I, the kids, and all our loved ones can breathe a huge sigh of relief.  And begin to make plans for the future that hopefully include this new little one getting to come home with us to stay. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dr. Appointment

I just thought I would let everyone know that my doctor appointment went well today.  We got to hear Baby's heartbeat.  Strong and fast.  And my doctor said - "very wiggly!"  It was so GREAT to hear that beautiful sound!  I figured I would cry just to hear it - but I just smiled as I listened.  Ian came with me to have his ear checked, and his face lit up to hear it too.  

We have tentatively scheduled a sonogram for next Wednesday.  It's good to know when it will hopefully be.  A traveling sonogram tech comes to our small town hospital every Wednesday.  So I guess that's when we will be having it - unless something comes up.  I'm really hoping that it will be the same tech we had at the 9 week scan.  She was wonderfully friendly and open with us about what she saw.  That would be a huge blessing! 

I'm sure I will become more and more nervous as Wednesday draws near.  But it will be such a relief when we hopefully find out our baby looks healthy so far. 

Thanks for all the prayers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Snow Fun

All winter long, we have been planning to build a snowman and snow angels out at the cemetery for Karinne.  And all winter long, with each passing snowfall, for one reason or another we haven't gotten it done.  Well finally, on February 11th, my birthday, I decided I wanted to go out and do just that.  Here are some photos of how our afternoon turned out. 

We all took turns making snow angels and posing for photos.  I decided not to share the ones of Curt and I on the ground!  =)  It was a lovely day with the temps in the 40's.  The snow was almost too moist for snow angels.  But we got them done.

The warm weather made the snow PERFECT for snowman making.  Our little "Snow Girl" came together quite nicely with various decorative touches we brought from home.


Isn't She Cute!!

The snow was also PERFECT for snowball fights.  When we were finished with the snowgirl, we spent some time having a snowball fight and playing catch with the snow balls.  Once more, it was great to be the only grave in our area.  We were all over the place out there!

Before we left, we decided to make Karinne's name in the snow a few more times.  This next one is one DaNae made.


And this last one, Curt and I made with our boot tracks in the snow.  It was so big, Curt had to climb up on top of the blazer to take the photo.  And it was actually TWO photos that I photoshop-ed together.  Oh, how I love to see her name!

Oh, and - I finally have my doctor appointment tomorrow - Wednesday - that was rescheduled from 2 weeks ago.  Excited to hear that amazing heartbeat!!  And hopefully we will finally schedule a sonogram to check if everything looks okay with the baby.  I'm looking forward to those results with both excitement and nervousness - hopefulness and dread.  We would greatly appreciate your continued prayers.