Friday, April 26, 2013

Joy's headstone

This is a post that I wrote a month ago shortly after her headstone was placed. I needed to let a good cry out so I dropped the younger two off at my moms and went up and sat with her. I couldnt even sit on the bench at first. I had been so used to sitting on the ground that the bench seemed so far away. I read conference talks and scripture then decided to get my feelings out in a post. Not many people see this side of me so it is good to get it all out there and written so I can remember the tender feelings I had :-) Justin called me and heard my silent plea and brought lunch up to the cemetery. I was not able to finish because I devoted my attention to him. 

It has been a wonderful week. Joy's headstone has been placed and it is beautiful. So much more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you so much for making it possible for us to have such a beautiful place to go.
It has been an interesting flood of emotions that have come with having her headstone placed on our one year mark from when our world was shattered with the most devastating news that we would have to bury a child. I have felt so strong up to this point. I fear that I will forget her but there is so much around me that I think about her every day. So I haven't needed to worry about that. Basically I don't know what is tormenting me. I feel so much gratitude in my life for her and the chance that I had to be with her. I never feel any anger towards my Father or my Savior for having to live my life without one of my children because I understand and see the reasons why. I actually feel deeply honored to be chosen to have an angel as a daughter. But I still miss her. I miss her so deeply that sometimes it is hard to breathe. I wish I could see her and hold her and feel her sweet little hands and skin again. I am just sad. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to love my sweet baby girl so deeply. How amazing our bodies are to be able to feel this kind of emotion. Such undeniable gratitude and joy combined with heart wrenching sadness. 

My heart still longs for my sweet baby more than I ever imagined, but each day is filled with beautiful reminders that our Father truly is aware of us and blesses us with sweet tender mercies. What a blessing it is that we will one day be able to be with Him again with our entire posterity. That thought truly warms my heart.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

6 Months

Six months... It has been an amazing journey so far. I do not miss her any less than I did the day I laid her to rest. My heart still aches to have my sweet daughter in my life and to feel her spirit near more often and to watch her smile after she took a breath, like she knew she would be with us for at least another minute. I am somewhat grateful for these milestones so that I have time to reflect and have an excuse to go through a box of tissues. I know that the Lord has been mindful of me. I can't imagine going through this without Him. He has eased my burden and helped me find joy to be had every day. I cannot imagine going through this without the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for it and for the temple. My family means everything to me. So grateful for a sweet husband who is taking me to lunch today and my sweet boys that could sense my feelings and responded with tenderness. I told Jace I was writing about Joy and he just stood here by me and kissed my arm. They know their mom has a tender spot for their sister and I love that they do too.
Happy six months to my sweet sweet Joy. We love you and miss you more than even we can comprehend.
 Jenston just wanted to be close to her. He loves her so much. And Jaxon is behind Jenston getting squished and I am sure Jace is right there by Jaden. They were all her constant onlookers. 
It will be a wonderful day when I get to see Justin gaze upon his daughter again.
Thank you to my brother and his beautiful wife for the precious pictures.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

letter for a friend

One of my dear friends asked if I could write a letter for her sister for a young women lesson about the atonement and the talk Finding Joy in the Journey. It was a really good experience for me since I have not written on the blog for a while. I was able to take a couple hours without the boys and think and cry and write. My heart hurts that I am not writing more often, but it is hard to be able to keep my train of thought with two little monkeys running around during the day and evenings are over in a snap. My children are my most important priority so I am not here as often but also that is why I continue to write, so that they can read their mothers testimony as well as hear it. One super fun thing that happened this week, for the first time in 10 1/2 years I am not changing diapers on a daily basis. :) I never really did mind changing diapers but I am so proud of Jenston! On to a new chapter in our lives.
The letter is not really relevant to anyone who has been reading the blog for a while :) but now it is recorded for my boys. How I love all of my children.

My dear sisters,

I hope by the end of this letter that you can feel of my love for our Savior and the gratitude I have for His gift that he has given to us. In a years short time my testimony of the love our Savior has for us and the tender mercies from a loving Heavenly Father has grown more than I could ever imagine it would have.
A year ago from today I was the most sick I have ever been. It was definitely a different pregnancy from my other ones, but I didn’t know if I was sick because of the extra responsibilities of taking care of four little boys or if there was a possibility this was a girl. I have learned after the birth of my second son with whom the doctors told us had a 1% chance of making it through the night when he was three days old, but he lived through the night and is now a healthy 8 year old, that birth in itself is an amazing miracle. I was just so happy to have been able to have the four children that I did and at the time be pregnant with another sweet baby. For medical reasons I have had csections with all of my children.
At 13 weeks we went in for a routine check up and my doctor did an ultrasound. She saw something a little different by the head but told me that it was nothing to worry about and that she would recheck again at 16 weeks. The Friday before my appointment I finally felt the sickness leave, almost completely in one day. I had more energy and finally felt like I could handle everything on my plate at the time. This was one of the many sweet and tender mercies that Heavenly Father granted me. That Sunday I was called into the primary presidency but they didn’t know when they would be able to fill my callings I was currently serving in, scouts and nursery, so they asked that I fill all three callings through the summer. Then that following Tuesday on April 24th my life was shattered and the hopes and dreams I had for this little baby were swept away. We went in for our check up and found out that our little baby had a condition called Anencephaly. A condition incompatible with life. We also found out that this was in fact our first little girl. In those first few days I learned that my little girl would most likely not make it to birth, and that if she did, would survive only minutes if she survived the birthing process. I learned that if she passed away between 23 and 32 weeks that I would put my own life at risk because of my previous csections and even if I made it through that my chances of having future children would be very slim if not eliminated. Our hearts were broken, all of our boys had been wanting a little sister and were so excited for this new little life with our family. How do we tell them? What do we do? What is the future for this sweet baby girl, and why is this happening to us? We have always been faithful, why do we need to go through this? These were just a few questions that were going through our minds. We had 4 weeks to decide whether or not we were going full term. I know that my husband and I have never prayed harder in our lives. We had multiple priesthood blessings and sought council from our bishop and started attending the temple weekly or more if we could. Our ward and families fasted for us and we knew that the Lord would help us with our decision. I don’t remember having a revelation or being struck by lightening, but Justin and I knew that this baby girl was a part of our family and that we wanted her to stay with us as long as she could and her mission allowed. We decided to name her Joy and found a talk by President Monson called, Finding Joy in the Journey that became our family motto. We knew we wanted our time with our girl to be filled with joy, so we simplified our lives and filled the summer with things that our family loves to do together so we had the chance to do them with her. We continued to attend the temple weekly and thanked our Heavenly Father each day that Joy made it closer to her due date. Justin made her casket and I made her burial dress, blankets to wrap her in, and started learning to crochet so I could make her hats for her sweet head. The summer was filled with tender mercies, and many humbling experiences. So many generous donations were received to relieve the burden of the medical bills and funeral costs, friends stopping by with flowers and kind notes, and lots of hugs and prayers.
Finally the day for the birth of our baby girl came. We were filled with so much gratitude that we had made it this far and were so excited to finally be able to see her. But it was a time of great sorrow. Everything that we had been hoping and praying for, for longer than 9 months was about to come to an end. Our little girls’ mission had been fulfilled and it was her time to return to our Father in Heaven. To say that driving to the hospital that morning was hard would be an understatement. Justin and I clung together with our faith that we would be able to make it through. W had grown to love and look forward to every movement that she made and in a short few hours she would be gone. We didn’t know if she would survive birth but we had faith that our Father in Heaven would do what was best for our family and our situation at that time. He had been there for us the entire time and would not leave us now. My husband wrote the sweetest note to his little girl the night before and it was a sweet tribute to her and everything that she had taught us. There is a question that is often asked, “Why do we come to earth?” The primary answer is to get our body. But Joy taught us that we come to earth, to gain our body, find joy in the journey every step of the way no matter how hard it may be, and return with our families to our Father in Heaven. We could not do that without our Savior who has experience every sorrow and pain and rose from the grave in glory and immortality. My life without my Joy is incomplete, but through my Savior it is made whole. He has filled that gap so that I can raise my daughter in the eternities and her brothers can love on her there as well. The promise that if we live righteously that we will see our daughter and sister again is what gets us through each and every day. We live with Joy in our hearts finding joy in the journey every day. Just as I am sure she is doing, serving the Lord on the other side and as a family we are made whole through the atonement of the Savior. There is nothing more important in this life than getting my family back to my Father in Heaven. No soccer practice more important than scriptures and family prayer, no activity more important than FHE. Find ways to make it happen. I bear you my testimony that our Savior is real, and that He died for us. That our Father is so loving and willing to help us if we only ask Him, although it may not be how we think. I never thought that I would be asked to bury one of my children, but my heart is so full knowing that through our Savior and the gospel of Jesus Christ that I can hold that baby in my arms again. The scriptures are true and we have a living Prophet of God on earth today whose words can comfort and lift us up. I bear you this testimony of our Saviors love for us through the atonement, in His name, Jesus Christ Amen.
Our sweet daughter was born on Sept, 20, 2012. She lived for 5 miraculous hours. She was wide awake, until the time she passed, talking to her parents and her brothers, holding our hands and our hearts. We kissed on her and held her as tightly as we could. My heart will never be closer to heaven than it was on that day and my life will never be the same because of my children.
With love,  Breanne  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sharing Joy's video

As I sit here at the computer my heart is so full it is hard to express in words. I often see sweet cute cubby cheeked babies and wonder what Joy would look like and what it would be like to smother my face in her chubby little cheeks once more, and my heart aches so badly. I saw the cutest chubby cheeked little probably 18 month old tonight while I was waiting for pizza. She walked right up by me and stood by my side, smiling ear to ear as we chatted about her cute shoes and how pretty she was. She must have known I needed to talk to her and feel that somehow I was saying the same things to my own daughter. After I left my emotions were on the surface and then overflowed as I sat here on the computer reading comments people left on facebook after I shared her video early today. As much as somedays are so painful, I am so grateful to a loving Father in Heaven for allowing me to experience such a sacred time with my family. My testimony now of the restored gospel, my loving Savior Jesus Christ, and a sweet and loving Father has been strengthened immensely and although there are somedays when I just wish I could love on her like a mother should on her baby, I would not trade our experience with Joy. Every moment was so precious, and now seems so perfect. She was more beautiful to us without her hat than with. Her mortal body may have had limitations but her spirit overcame them and made her more beautiful than anything I have ever seen. I have a dear friend who shared recently a post that largely sums up my feelings.
She says "Even though we were broken hearted to know our time with Caleb would likely be limited, we knew that Caleb was an eternally significant part of our family.  We knew that Caleb’s special body was an important part of his mission.  His physical challenges and his celestial spirit were entertwined.  To wish away his challenges would have also been wishing away the opportunity to have heaven in our home." 
Thank you sweet April for being such an amazing friend.
I am so blessed for the opportunity to have heaven in my home and the opportunity to receive all of the wonderful sweet comments that buoy me up and help me remember how truly blessed I am. We have made such wonderful dear friends and grown so much closer to family through this process who have all sacrificed so much for us. So many kind actions have been performed and now gives me a constant goal of doing good for others. If I start crying when I am around you it is not a sad cry, just tears of overwhelming gratitude. To say that I have felt inadequate of the task since the day we first found out about Joy would be and understatement. But through your thoughts and prayers and love, the constant love and encouragement from the most amazing companion, and the constant guidance from a loving Father and His Son, it has been and will be one of the most amazing experiences that I will have the privilege of living through.
To my dear sweet Joy. Thank you and I love you always.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hide n seek

Joy wanted to play hide and seek today :-) She was hiding really good too!! Jaxon and Jenston came with me today and even they had a hard time finding her after I did. Once we all found her we made snow angels with her. Jaxon is sick so he didn't make one but Jenston and I did. We gave her a kiss and her butterfly a kiss and said see ya later. Love our Joy!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Talking to strangers about Joy

So just a random post... I called today to make a hospital (last one :-)!!!!) payment over the phone today and since it was a labor and delivery the lady kindly asked how old my baby was. I know a lot of people have had a hard time with this question for a lot of reasons. You don't want to make the person feel bad for asking and it does give your heart a painful little twinge. I have heard a lot of people just answer with how old their baby would be or quickly saying that the baby passed away. My mind raced a little with where I wanted to go. I always have a hard time not talking about Joy. She is still a huge part of my life and I love talking about her!! I replied "oh she passed away she was 5 hours old.. Pause.. We knew she was going to pass away, she had a condition called anencephaly and we were just so happy she made it to term and spent 5 hours with us." I am so grateful for the ladies response! She said "I am so sorry. I am so happy you were able to have her for that long. What a neat experience." It was!! I am so grateful everyday for that experience with my sweet Joy!! We talked for just a second more and in a choked voice the lady told me thank you for sharing. If only she knew how much I appreciated her answer. All of the time people mean well and I know that just one word can affect the way a condolence is received dramatically. Had she said that I should be grateful for the time I had with her it would have been a totally different conversation. But she just simply said she was happy we were able to have that time and expressed a genuine "sorry". She didn't say much but it was more than just "sorry, now what is your card number :-)" I don't think I have ever been offended by something someone has said, I am sure unfortunately the time will come where it just hits me off guard. I know I have been very lucky because a lot of my friends have had some pretty silly things said to them. Even having lost a baby, everyones experience is so different, I still don't know what to say. I am so grateful for this lady's example for me today, I know how good it felt to talk about my Joy and feel good about it afterwards. Now my heart is full and I can have a happy cry :-)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our Birth Story {little cry}

I am really hoping this works :) I know a lot of you that came to Joy's funeral wanted to see her video again. Justins awesome brother pulled an all nighter to make this for us the night before the funeral and we are so grateful he did. For a long time I wasn't ready to share it with the world on my blog. These moments are so precious and priceless to me and I was very nervous to post it. But now that I have got to that point in her story I figured there wouldn't be a better time. Happy 4 months Joy!

Alright I had a second to get it up on youtube. Can't figure out how to put a large video on the blog yet sorry :)
HERE is the link.. hope it works for everyone

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas talent

I know Christmas is over but I thought it would be fun to share our Christmas talent. You can see what goofs we are. Every year our families have talent shows so this is the movie we put together and yes the poor grammer was intentional. I told Justin that I was the cameraman but he wrote it and I had to go with the flow. It was a lot of fun to do with the kids and we did a lot of laughing. Hope you all enjoy.

Click HERE

PS Jenston's part "your a beautiful person but your talent stinks" :) We practiced for a whole week

PSS Happy Anniversary Justin!! I love you more than I ever thought I could. Thank you for truly helping me find Joy in the Journey.