Heavy title, I know. But the story is so very much worthy of sharing.
Before the story, I would like to introduce each of you to the newest member of The Domestic Four. We, the Krafts, welcomed our newest addition just two weeks ago. Charlotte came to join us on June 23rd, just a day past having to share a birthday with her older brother. Everything went swimmingly, and we came home to adjust to our new life as a family of four. It’s been a wonderful ride so far. And 100% honest, it is this type of event I am so thankful that I married a fellow teacher and he is along for this ride.
Charlotte, to be called Charlie, has been such a sweet addition to our family and is a super sleeper. She also enjoys eating, according to her doctor’s appointment this morning…she’s gained a pound in her 2 weeks of life. We are loving everything about being a family of four. Even the 2:30 feedings. 🙂
Back to the heavy title…
I love that both times I have been expecting, I have had at least 2 other people I know and love be expecting as well. They “were in the trenches” with me, so to speak. With Brandt it was not one, but TWO of the sisters, a colleague, and my best, Joanna. This time around, Joanna (again!!! 🙂 ) and Laurel.
Laurel is the Norwex consultant that I have mentioned in the envirocloth review here, as well as a dear, sweet friend from my college days. Laurel has 2 girls and this time around expecting a boy. A few months into her pregnancy, she and her husband were informed that there proved to be some complications with the baby. Her pregnancy was labeled as “high risk” and they were sent to another hospital where she and the baby could receive targeted care while tests were run and the pregnancy was monitored. It was during this time she started a Facebook group called Baby Patton Updates.
Laurel and her husband would post updates in the group, as well as specific prayer requests. It was a great way to keep everyone up-to-date. At 29 weeks she began having contractions. They traveled to their local hospital where she was given a shot to stop them. The shot worked…for 24 hours. After additional time at home, and attempts to stop the contractions to no avail, she and her hubby headed back to the hospital. After a call to the other hospital, it was decided that it best to get her there, in the event the contractions don’t come to an end, they would be where the best doctors were.
June 15th, their little one decided to make his grand entrance; at 30 weeks. Her husband posted in the group that he arrived, and looking at him you could see something was wrong, but that he was a “cute little bugger”. And boy, oh boy, was he!! The “something wrong” was determined to be hydrops, caused by something else that further testing would hopefully reveal. Little man was pretty swollen and very much a premie. Over the next few days, tests were run and prayer requests from the family were posted. The group went from “private” to “public” and increased by nearly 600 followers. For the next two weeks, praises and updates were posted (pictures too!!), as well as continued prayer requests.
June 28th they were informed that he was not peeing, and he needed to do that. He could only go a couple of days without peeing before it became fatal. After some additional tests, it was determined that because of a blockage in his heart, at some point, the lower half of his body was not getting blood…therefore his kidneys had shut down. Heartbreaking. That is the only word to describe the situation.
I can remember the night of June 29th, when they posted that he HAD to pee in the next 24 hours or he would pass, Charlotte was up crying for some reason. And though exhausted, I could not get upset with her. Instead, I sat and sobbed because I felt horrible for even thinking about becoming frustrated when my sweet friend was at her son’s bedside pleading for him to pee. I rocked “little girl”, kissed her forehead a ton, cried a bunch, and in the midst of standing in the gap for my friend and her husband, thanked the Lord for the sweet little one I was holding.
Elias did not pee, and sweet Laurel and her hubby decided to let him go. July 1, 2015…Elias passed from this earth, but woke up in the arms of a Heavenly Father. Needless to say, I was a bit of a mess. Just completely heartbroken for Laurel.
That same day I received a Facebook message from her. I was shocked. As I clicked on the message I waited with bated breath. As I began to read the message, tears streamed from my eyes. In the midst of everything that was going on in her world, she found the strength to message me and ask me if I would like the over 200 ounces of milk she had pumped for her little one. You see, I have always given her a hard time because her girls were exclusively nursed and always so rolly-polly-olly. I remember after the birth of her firstborn, she and her mom calculated her milk and found that it was nearly 25% fat. The girl has the “good stuff”…and well, this momma does not. Both of my littles were/are formula fed. Needless to say I messaged right back. I first told her that I love her and the family, that they were/are on my mind and heart, and I was praying for their peace in their time of loss. I then asked how in the heck she could even think of me at a time like this. Her very simple response… “I want to offer it to someone I love, only asking to love on your little one in return.” Again, tears.
Friday night, the 3rd, Laurel came to my house (40 minutes away) to deliver over 200 ounces of milk. “It would be good for my heart to see you and Charlie.” I prayed all day Friday for strength. It was going to be very hard to see my friend, just 2 days after losing her son. What would I say or do? And how in the heck did she have the ability to even think of something like that? Oye! My prayer became me just asking that the visit be a sweet time for her and that in some way I could be a blessing. And, once again – my heart was blessed and touched. Laurel spent 2.5 hours with us, loving on Charlie and retelling me the story of the last 16 days of her life. Her strength was ridiculous – not a tear. Believe me, she has shed some tears, and still does – but the girl is a rock. Her faith is that rock.
The peace that she and her hubby have displayed is such an inspiration and I only hope to have that much grace in a time of tragedy. Not to mention selflessness.
Over the last three weeks I have had a lesson in what really matters in life and my faith has grown by leaps and bounds. So often we find ourselves debating and disagreeing with things that, in the grand scheme of life, aren’t going to mean a hill of beans tomorrow. And while we do this, others are facing what seems to be the worst thing they will ever face in their life. It really is in these moments, as we walk through them ourselves or alongside someone near and dear, that we come to understand what is most important. Laurel and her family have been a living example of that for anyone who has followed their story. For that, I am forever grateful.
We have been doing a hybrid of Laurel’s donated milk and formula for Charlie. I have one healthy, happy baby. Together, Laurel and I found ways to ensure that there is hardly a chance of CMV (immediately put into a deep freeze and then flash-heated before consumption), and we have been rolling with it since. Each bottle I feed “little one” I can’t help but think of Laurel and her family, their loss and complete selflessness in the midst of an unfathomable tragedy.
Beauty for ashes…
If you would like to read through the story on Facebook, please take a look at the group page here. (I’ve gotten Laurel’s permission to share with each of you.) You can also see some pretty amazing photos of their last moments with their boy here. A photographer donated her time and talents to be sure the family had some wonderful memories of the final day with their son, before he went to his forever home. I warn you…have tissues handy.
I wish you a wonderful Wednesday and hope you found some positivity in a story riddled with tragedy, grace, and peace.
Until next time…