Friday, January 30, 2009

Washington

A few days after Magdalena's passing Noah and I decided to take a trip together. After contemplating many places, we decided on Washington, D.C. We wanted to be able to go somewhere that we could do fun things together but relax without having a schedule. Thanks to the help of others we were able to take this trip. Yes, we are here in Washington now while I am blogging. We wanted to go ahead and write because we realized after hearing a few voicemails and reading a few emails that we had not told anyone! Please forgive us for not keeping better in touch.
I forgot my coat as we were leaving for the airport, but thanks to my mom she made it to the airport with it JUST as we were loading the plane! Good job, Mom! You can tell by the pictures what the consequence would have been! We are having so much fun! We sleep until we wake up, and then, we walk to a museum that we chose the night before. We leisurely eat, walk, and visit a few sights. This trip has been emotional in more ways that just the learning to grieve part of it. Before taking a tour of the Capitol building, we watched a video about the importance of the place, and it took all I had not to cry. Many of the important acts that have been signed received signatures there, and people found ways to improve the lives of so many of the citizens. This is emotional to me because they found ways to help almost everyone but the unborn who don't have voices. How can you have so many protection laws, and then, think that it is ok to kill? It saddens me, and the entire time I could only think about Magdalena and babies like her. They are so special, and their life does matter!
Also, after eating dinner tonight we spotted a table with an obviously newborn baby. I couldn't help but stare. She was about as big as Magdalena got after five months of living! And she had that sweet face. I really wanted to snuggle with her, but I didn't want the family to think that I would kidnap their child. So I was just the weird stranger staring at the table. As we were leaving we stopped and spoke a little to the father who was holding the baby attempthing to calm her. At that time I almost asked to hold her so that he could eat, but before I could he said something about her being hungry, and I knew, for obvious reasons, that I would be unable to help. The new father asked if we had any children. I almost couldn't hold in the tears because it was the first time we had been asked this since Magdalena left us. Noah had to speak for both of us at that point and lightly explained the situation. Encouragingly the man tried to speak of future children for us, but I could hardly listen trying to keep things inside until we got back to the hotel. We realized that we didn't have a business card to give him, so Noah gave him one of his pictures of her and wrote the blog on the back.
Noah and I have strong days and days where we can hardly stand it we miss her. There will never be a day that passes where we won't miss her, but I am glad that we can talk about her and share her. I love talking about her. I may tear up a bit, but please just know that I would rather talk about her than ignore all that has happened. She remains still our little miracle.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unseen Home Videos - Take 1

My oldest sister, Lori, also known as Loli on this blog because that is what Magdalena called her, thought about alot of ways for us to capture Magdalena's life even before she was born. For months before and after her birth she let us keep her video camera so that we could capture every new thing that Magdalena experienced. Once the holidays began we knew that Lori would need it to capture memories from her own family. This is when Noah and I considered getting a video camera, and with much investigation we chose a camera. However, when shopping we learned of other features we liked and disliked. And on Thanksgiving Day we purchased our video camera. We learned how to record, but we had not downloaded the videos onto our computer until making Magdalena's video. (The camera records on to its hard drive.) I knew that was one of my favorite videos of hers. Now that I have them I wanted to share some sweet moments with you. It definitely brought tears to my eyes, but mostly I smiled just thinking about how much fun it was to have her in our lives. Maybe one day I will share some of the beginning moments that are currently on small tapes, but for now I will gradually share a little at a time of how wonderful it was to be the parents of such a special girl.

Grieving is different for everyone, and I am thankful that I had the months to prepare for this loss instead of it happening quickly. Last spring I used to spend a lot of time holding my belly and crying. There were so many unknowns that I feared. I grieved last spring about not watching Magdalena grow older as I thought she would and hit so many of the milestones that parents look forward to, so now I don't think of Magdalena when I see an older child. I will always think of her as my sweet baby. I just miss her sweet smile, her big blue eyes, and tiny hands. She required 100% attention, so now it is hard because I am not quite sure what to do with all of my energy. It belonged to her. I am not mad at God, but so glad that I got to have her. She is my child, my first born. I am just struggling because I am a mother with empty arms.
This video was recorded when we discovered that Magdalena responded to her tickle spots. We were SO excited.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Peaceful

Not since I was young has someone in my family passed away, and even then it was not a close relative, so I have never truly grieved over someone. I have never seen a body after the soul has left it. This is something that I dreaded because there were so many unknowns. I just didn't think that I would be able to handle seeing Magdalena is this condition. Once in the hospital and once after a few days of being home Magdalena scared me thinking that her time was up here on earth. As I wrote in previous posts, it was a scary moment. She turned so blue, and her eyes were open looking at me as I beat her heavily on the back. During those times I felt helpless, and it was even more emotional because she was suffering trying to breathe. I did not want to see her pass in this way.

Many of you wrote how surprised you were when hearing that Magdalena had gone to be with Jesus, and honestly I was surprised too....to a certain extent. I knew that she was getting sicker and her cheeks were not so rosy as they once were, but I thought that we had more time. Yet, when I look back at pictures and think on all that was happening it seems so obvious now that it was coming. Monday night (Jan. 12) I lied down to go to bed I prayed that God would give us just one more good day and that Magdalena would not suffer. I told Lori this before falling asleep, and when thinking on it later God granted me both. He had granted me one more day the Friday before when I thought that Magdalena was doing better we went to Lori's house for a movie night where Caroline and Emma were able to spend time with her for the last time. Noah had planned to wake me up at 2am for my shift but Magdalena had not been coughing or crying so he rested next to her until her alarm went off saying that her heart rate was dropping. This was a little after 5am. He called to me to come even then not knowing that it was time. After tripping and falling completely over the trunk that sits close to our bed I ran downstairs. We both just knew. We tried giving her a fighting chance but as her heart rate and breathing slowed down even more we turned the machine off just to enjoy her. She wasn't fighting because she knew that she would rather be playing in the arms of Jesus. It was so peaceful. She did not suffer. Noah and I were both there with her. God had mercy on our family and allowed her to come peacefully to Him.

Noah and I sat together holding her for awhile before calling Magdalena's sweet nurse. Even when she came she sat with us, helped us make two more molds of her hand (one finger pointed up as always) and foot. We gave our family a chance to come and say their goodbyes. We continued to hold her while the family went upstairs and began to email and contact people. Then, we looked at her but she was no longer there. It was obvious.

I thought that it would be so hard to give her body away to the funeral director. It was hard because I wanted so badly to keep her, but again I realized when I looked at the body it was only her outer shell and she was no longer there. The peaceful passing and realization that it was only a shell showed God's extreme mercy on Noah, Magdalena, and me. I won't write that it was easy because the human part of me still saw Magdalena when I saw her body, but my heart knew that it wasn't.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Answered Prayers

Thank you so much for all of the encouraging words that you have sent to me and prayers that you have said on behalf of my family. So many have been answered. I made it through the visitation and celebration of life. What I mean is that I was able to fully participate in both and truly celebrate having had her with us. God gave Rev. Ken the exact words to be said to glorify him through Magdalena's life. I feared that I would be so overwhelmed with grief that keeping the chapel from flooding from my tears would be an accomplishment. God gave me peace. It was the perfect peace to watch the video and smile thinking of all of the memories and to truly listen to Ken's words. Thank you, Ken, for praying for the words that you would say. Each one was sent by God. It was obvious.

I do want to share that with such a sad time for Noah and me all of the ways that God has truly blessed us, but for now please know that your prayers have been answered. God gave us so much time with our sweet daughter. I never expected to have it, and only God could give it.

Thank you for all of the pictures that you sent to me honoring Magdalena's life by wearing pink. You sent pictures from all over the world and you shared your lives with me. Thank you. Every word was read and adored because of all of the time that was given to take your picture, email, and write a letter truly sharing your hearts. In such a fast paced world I was amazed at how Magdalena's life caused so many people to reflect on so many different things. Thank you for loving Magdalena. Thank you for allowing her into your heart so that God could change you through her life. Thank you.

Please pray that the silence within our walls will not be too much for Noah and me to bear. Pray that we have the ability to sit in the stillness and silence and not let grief overwhelm us. Tears are good, normal, and healthy, but pray that we do not wallow in our grief but grieve in a way that draws us closer to God.

Also, I would like to create a video to share on the blog of all of you who sent me pictures in your pink. I won't give names only locations. If this invades your privacy in any way, please, send me an email so that I can keep your picture to myself in Magdalena's scrapbook. I appreciate so much all of the pictures that were sent to me that I would not want to abuse the confidence. Also, if you haven't sent your pics yet it isn't too late! I enjoy hearing from all of you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Celebration Video


Before you begin to play the video, page down to the bottom to pause the music. Then play the video and enjoy the pictures of beautiful Magdalena.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If you are in pink....

Wow!!! Looks like a lot of people around the world will be in pink in honour of MGR tomorrow!!! So, let's add another twist to show how far the love for her reaches around the world. If you would, please take a picture and email it to Julie and Noah at the address below. You can be as creative as you would like to be. For instance, if you are in San Antonio and close to the Alamo, take a picture there. We would like to post these pictures on the blog to show everyone how large a foot print Magdalena has made!!


Stephen

Pink

In honor or a sweet girly girl please wear something pink to Magdalena's Celebration of Life on Thursday. No worries if you don't have something pink! But wear colors to celebrate all that she has done while she was here with us and all the love that she allowed us to give her. She was an amazing miracle!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Arrangements for Magdalena

Thank you for all of your prayers and support during this time. I know both Julie and Noah are encouraged by your prayers and comments that you have left. Here are the arrangements that I have so far. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 14th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Here is the link for information on the funeral home:
http://www.lakewoodfuneralhomes.com/

The funeral will be held in the chapel on Thursday, January 15th at 11:00 am with a brief visitation at 10:00am.

In lieu of flowers, Julie and Noah have requested that donations be made to one of the following charities that have meant so much to them.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/products/nilmdts_donation/
You may note in the comment section at check out that "This donation is in memory of Magdalena Grace Roberts".


March of Dimes (this is not the gadget on the blog. Julie would prefer it to be sent in memory of Magdalena Grace Roberts.)
https://www.marchofdimes.com/howtohelp/donation_in_memory.asp

If you would like to send an acknowledge card for this donation, please send to the following address:



Stephen

Magdalena Grace Roberts

This morning Magdalena left this world to be with Jesus. There really isn't too much else I can say but to please pray for Julie and Noah. For now, they do not want any calls, emails or visits. I will you keep you updated on the arrangements.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reminders of Reality

When Magdalena had a good, fun day on Friday I thought that we were on the road to recovery. The next day and night would prove us otherwise. Not only did it sound as though Magdalena's cough had worsened, but her heart monitor continued to go off because of her low heart rate. And every cough was followed by crying. Between the three a good night's rest did not exist. Not only because of the noise, but also, because of the fear of what this truly means. Questions ran through our mind all day. Is this it? Is this the cough that tells us her heart is doing worse? Noah was told today that low heart rate could be associated with the coughing. This eased our minds a little, but we are still concerned. Her temperature rises a little, but it always goes back down. We have had to continue to keep check.

Those big blues eyes have gone into hiding today, or if Magdalena chooses to share them with us, they come with loud cries. She does not feel well. Times like this are so tough for us because we are scared. It is so easy to think again that maybe, just maybe Magdalena will be one of the 5% of T18 babies who will make it to their first year when she has so many good days in a row. It is when she is sick that I am reminded that I won't be able to keep her, and when her work is done she will have to go home. I think that I was ready months ago, or as ready as I could have been for such a thing as this, but as time passes I am becoming more attached. I love her more and more that my heart bursts even when I am away from her for moments. When she spends time with my mom I still smell her sweet baby scent, and I can't wait to have those eyes look at me again.

Although these times are hard, I need a wake up call. A reminder not to take a moment for granted. It hurts so much to watch my baby not feel well, and we want to make her feel better, but all we can do is try to comfort her as she goes through this.

Pray that Magdalena will feel comfortable soon, and that in the meantime Noah and I will be patient with each other and the rest of the world as we live on so little sleep.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Movie Night

Although Magdalena returned to feeling yucky today, yesterday she was a little more upbeat. Loli, Caroline, and Emma had a movie night and invited us to come! Magdalena enjoyed watching a bit of Horton Hears A Who, but then, just being in Loli's house made her realize a good snuggle time was coming! You can see that Emma was trying to help by patting Magdalena's heinie.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Rest...Ahhhh

After many nights of little sleep and waking up at 3 in the morning to begin the day, Mimi took Magdalena to spend the afternoon with her. Noah and I took turns to rest yesterday. Noah took a good nap yesterday afternoon, so last night I went to bed early. Although I have been awake since about 4:30, I feel like a new person. Magdalena and I slept through the next (this excludes normal night things to wake her up briefly like a diaper change). I am hoping that today I will see some more of her blue eyes and hear less cries, but we will see!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Coughing and more

I have failed to write long posts lately because of all the lack of sleep happening in our house right now. Magdalena and I both have the crud, and if I am not coughing, she is. Poor Noah is awoken by one of us making noises. It upsets Magdalena so much when she coughs, and I am sure that she is sore too! Noah is taking preventative cold medicine because if he gets sick this whole family is going to break down. He is taking Hebrew II as a winter course which is everyday from 9 am - 12 am, so he needs his brain in top functioning mode!

I do have to share that I am so excited that yesterday Magdalena got her car seat/stroller delivered. I never had any showers and very few gifts were given prior to Magdalena's birth because of the so many unknowns. With some generous financial gifts given to us Noah and I went Magdalena shopping. We had so much fun! We got teething stuff, humidifier, bibs, baby bag, and we picked out a stroller. Because a stroller is such a commitment I didn't want to buy one before researching it, and afterwards we ordered one that we felt would best fit our needs. It was cheaper to order it online and with a free shipping promotion we decided that waiting a week to get it would be worth it. We even had Magdalena test it out in the store, and she loved it! I felt like the stroller was for me because I was so excited! Being able to have to problem to need these things was such a blessing for us. I had wanted so badly to get a few things for Magdalena before she was born, but I didn't want them to sit around the house if the worst case scenerio should occur.

Look at that face! You can tell that she wants to go home with this car seat! But she had to wait a week to get it!

Caroline went with us to subway, and she wanted a picture of her, Magdalena, and Max, the monkey. What a sweet picture! This is really one of my favorites!

March for Babies T-Shirt

Thanks to a very generous donation by our t-shirt maker/ we have gorgeous shirts for our walk, and 100% of the money given for the shirts goes to March of Dimes. We want to get the order in early so you can wear them with pride for awareness or to walk in. They cost $15 for adult sizes. (But you can give a larger amount since all money goes to MOD!!) You can order a child's size for $10, but be aware the format is not smaller on child sizes! If you would like one mailed to you I will need to check on shipping prices....I am thinking that it would cost about $3 per a shirt but we can always try to send it with someone who is heading in your direction! Email me if you are interested!








Monday, January 05, 2009

The Birth

Getting the pictures posted from the birth was all that I could do last time because it brings back all of the emotions that Noah and I felt that day, but I realized that I never shared what happened once we arrived at the hospital. Stephen and Lori did a great job at posting updates for all of you who were praying for Magdalena. Not only did they work the blog, but they sent and answered emails for us. They kept us from having to separate our attention from Magdalena.

I prayed that God would give me a girl, but knowing his sense of humor I thought that I might just end up with a boy. My middle sister, Jennifer, had the first boy in the family in April 2008, so I knew NOTHING about boys. Also, I had what I believed to be the perfect girl name, Magdalena Grace. Noah and I didn't have to think or discuss names. I learned of the name years before I met Noah, and when I mentioned it to him we both knew that is what we would name our daughter.

I feel very strongly about abortion, and I never wanted there to be an emergency in the delivery room where there would be any doubt of my wishes. Although Noah would know it would be my desire, I didn't want him to have any weight put on his shoulders. I don't mean it morbid to think of these things, but I wanted to be prepared. On the day I found out our baby was a girl, Dr. C told me that I would need to see a lawyer about our wishes, which Noah and I would soon be doing. After the sonogram is when Dr. C told us of "marks" that he saw, and he referred us to see a high risk doctor.

The next visit would be when Dr. C, knowing my strong feelings about my baby, would have to say that the doctors would focus more on my health than my baby's. He would not encourage us to seek out a lawyer because of Magdalena's Trisomy 18. He said this is in a way for both Noah and me to know that he cared for the baby, but we had to view this pregnancy differently. He did not push us to end the pregnancy like so many doctors do to mothers of T18 babies.

Over the months we discussed every possibility, and when our last check-up before Magdalena's arrival came I was obviously nervous. As usual I cried because Magdalena was still breach which meant that a C-section would be necessary. It wasn't the operation that made me nervous, but that I would not be able to hold my daughter immediately. I had read that most of these babies live for such a short time...what if I was too sedated to remember her?...would I ever be able to hold her?...etc. Dr. Crews assured me that if the situation looked grim he would let me meet her and touch her. (You don't normally do this in a C-section because of infection possibilities and to keep everything sterile.)

The morning of August 6th came and after showering, Noah handed me a box that contained a necklace that had Magdalena's name on it. We cried together. We were so scared. As you can tell by so many of my posts, my family is very close, so they arrived at the hospital at 6am just like I did. They hooked me up to an IV, had me sign all of the papers, introduced me to Magdalena's nurse (it would only be later that I would really realize how incredible Dianne is), and had me prepped for surgery. Dr. C came in one last time to do a sonogram to see if Magdalena was breach, and she no longer was! It was a prayer answered! Then, we had to make a decision. An induction could be futile because I wasn't even slightly dilated. I could go home and wait, but in the mean time she could flip around again. She had been constantly moving around because there was a lot of fluid and she weighed so little. Or we could go ahead with the C-Section. Of course, I was crying not knowing what would be the best decision for Magdalena. I thought waiting would give her more time to grow, but I was already prepped for surgery, and I couldn't imagine the stress of returning home after trying to be ready for this day. Of course I was crying, and Noah began talking with Dr. C to see what he would do. He said that he had been afraid we would ask this question, but he told us what he would tell his wife if she was in this exact situation. He prayed with us and left for Noah and me to say "goodbyes".

My heart was racing, I heard the nurse saying this, but I asked for no more sedation. I don't know who it was but she rubbed my head and spoke soothingly to calm me. I needed to calm down. I just knew that I wanted to remember this moment. When they showed Magdalena to me for the first time I barely touched her foot. I thought she was dead, and that they just hadn't told me yet. I really began to cry. They took her to give her oxygen, and I could finally hear her crying. Andrea kept assuring me "Julie, her color looks good" "She is crying" while trying to take pictures at the same time. I had wanted Noah to remain with Magdalena the entire time. Then, they brought her swaddled to me to meet for the first time. Oh, my heart was in love. I succumbed to the sedation shortly after that while Noah took Magdalena to meet the rest of her family and all those waiting to meet her.

I would later learn that she hadn't been breathing well when I had met her that first time. Noah and I had decided early on that we didn't want any drastic life saving measures done for her. We only wanted comfort measures taken so that she could enjoy whatever time she had on earth. We knew the statistics and the problems she would likely have. Oxygen is one of those comforts. I didn't want a machine to do the work for her. Every family must make the decision that is best for them, but for us that was it. I knew that if we did everything in our power to fight knowing her syndrome it would be for selfish reasons to keep her with us, not for her comfort.

Gradually she would be taken off of the oxygen, and today she breathes on her own. She is a little fighter. A fighter that has lived 159 days when she is "incompatible with life". She has done more in those days than I have done with mine. She has changed more hearts, and has pointed more to Jesus than I have in mine. She is not an accident. She is fulfilling her life's purpose, which is not things that we as people put emphasis on, but what God ordains as important.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Our Miracle

Please enjoy these pictures taken by Andrea in association with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
Just looking at these pictures makes me cry because it is a reminder of all the emotions that Noah and I felt at the time. Nervous and scared of so many unknowns, and then, the joy of meeting our first child. God was there in that room with us. Each person there was hand chosen by Him to assist in the care, and some of them still read this blog because they love Magdalena too. Thank you. Thank you for loving her. Thank you for answering the call to become in the health care profession. All of you will always be in our hearts and remembered forever because you allowed God to use you so that we could meet our child, our baby. We love you.