Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a due date.

it doesn't mean a whole lot when you are pregnant. not many people actually have their baby on their due date.

it's a date that sticks with you though.

when i'm pregnant i use that date as a marker. if i see a commercial on tv and it's advertising a movie that comes after that date i think "wow. we will have our baby by then!" "our life will be completely different by that date."

today has been a date i've been dreading.

it reminds me of how much more time we "should" have had together.

james and i were talking the other day. guys are so different from girls, in case you didn't know. i asked him if he still thinks about delia all the time. he said it's been happening less and less. i shouldn't be surprised by that. when i was pregnant with eliza i asked him "do you think about the baby all the time? or the fact that i'm pregnant?" he didn't really. i was surprised since that is ALL i could think about all day long, but i've learned. they are just different and that is okay. that's what makes this whole thing work.

delia is still all i think about. she's on my mind all day. the last few weeks i kept thinking "i should still be pregnant." "i should still feel her." "she should be here."

i felt so empty. we were supposed to have more time.

it's not fair.

yet once again, God reminds me of life in her death.

the date of that ultrasound? my brother's 30th birthday.

my due date? my sister's (in law if you want to be technical) birthday.

that is what i will try to focus on when these two dates roll around. life.

delia does have life in her death. a new life. one far better than these on earth.

and she reminds us in every rainbow she paints. (she's still painting by the way!)

trying. trying to remember that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

now i lay me down to sleep.

if you know me. you know i love pictures. i take pictures. a lot. mostly of eliza.

at delia's funeral i was anxious to finally be able to take my own pictures of her. i could not stop snapping. it was my chance to photograph my bean.

at the hospital my camera barely came out. i was in the moment and didn't even think of it. that's where i was supposed to be, but i do regret not thinking to video her baptism. or her little cry. or take pictures of our short time with her.

thankfully, someone was there. solely to take pics. (well, i think it starts as that, but she was there for support to as we've become friends) to capture all the little moments.

my ma first told me about now i lay me down to sleep when we were still in korea. i waited until we got back to the states to contact them. i figured we had plenty of time.

little did i know delia would make her debut before we were even able to get our bump pictures.

our photographer friend lisa was on call and drove an hour over to the hospital at 10:00pm. she had a nursing 3 week old girl at home so she was limited on her time she could stay. she told us she could be there until 4am. hopefully delia would come before then.

well, she made it just in time...3:21am.

we are so thankful for all of the pics she took. it's nice to see those moments through another's eyes.

our family was thankful for her too. she sat with them in the waiting room, and they all just went on and on about how wonderful she was. she is!

lisa came back again the next day and took some more posed shots of delia. they are all so beautiful.

i woke up this morning and had an email with a link to a slideshow. it's perfect and something to cherish.

thank God for organizations like 'now i lay me down to sleep' for the photographers who devote their time to preserving memories for strangers friends. what a blessing they are!

go here if you want to see it. you might need some tissues.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

kite theme 2nd birthday.

i'm going to backdate this, but the truth is, it took me almost 6 months to get this posted. :) hey, i have a two year and half year old to chase!

in these few years that eliza doesn't have an opinion on themes i'm taking full advantage.

i thought this year kites would be fun!

i made postcard invites to set the stage and to save on postage!

i sewed the kites on one pieces of cardstock.

for the back i printed off the info. then i stitched the two together.

i started planning in august and one thing that kept me busy while anticipating delia's birth was this kite tail garland.

i got a jelly roll. trimmed the strips down and then tied, tied, tied.

i did a little each night while watching tv. tied them around hemp and let them be just loose enough that they could slide around for adjustments.

i hung it up at home the night before so she would have a fun surprise when she woke up. it was a nice backdrop for some birthday photos!

then we used it to decorate with at the actual party.

i also got the idea for the balloon strand from young house love. i sewed through the end of the balloon though. i thought it would be easier than tying. i should have waited and done this when we got there because they were a bit of a jumbled mess from being in the trunk.

most of the table decorations i got from target. we also had two galvanized buckets for pop and water and lemonade in a glass dispenser.

one other crafty touch i did was a mini bunting cake topper. the bakery at kroger was surprised i just wanted a plain white cake, but i had a vision. :)

i used leftover paper from her invites to tie it all together.

one other thing that jump started the kite theme was handkites i saw on etsy. i thought they would be fun favors and eliza still plays with hers! i had to make a few adjustments to the final product. i dropped them in miniature paper bags with candy and they were a fun gift for her little guests.

the craftiness didn't stop at the party. my mom taught us to send out thank you cards and i want to make sure i pass that onto eliza. last year i gave her a few sheets of cardstock and crayons. she colored then i cute them up into tiny cards.

this year i thought we'd do some postcards. she is much more into coloring so they turned out real fun!

i grabbed a sheet from her easel that she already colored. used some spray glue and mounted cardstock cut and stamped into postcards. (i found the postcard stamp at hobby lobby!)

then i trimmed, removed stickers, and scrawled a quick note!

it was a great birthday! even with how crazy/sad and trying our life was at that moment (and still is) i wanted it to be special. there were a lot more things i would have liked to of done, we wanted it at our house, but the place we found was nice. there was a shelter outside, it was a beautiful day for september, and a big open grassy area that we used for opening presents.

it was a small party, just family, but it was perfect for her!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

her birth story. how i remember it. :)

extremely long, and personal. once you give birth though, nothing is off limits. you've been warned. :)

so my contractions started sunday night. i timed them and they were pretty irregular but between 4-9 minutes apart. with eliza my water broke and we went to the hospital so this was a whole new thing!

james asked me if was going to be able to sleep and i just shrugged my shoulders.

after soaking in the tub and decorating delia i decided to try to sleep.

i slept pretty well and only woke up a couple times from a few painful contractions.

they were still happening monday morning so i called the doc and they said to keep timing them and if they get closer or to the point that i can't talk or walk to come in. otherwise it was probably false labor and they would check me at my appointment on wednesday. we were scheduled to have an in depth ultrasound and get my fluid levels checked. i had gotten real big in just a couple weeks, my stomach was so tight and we thought i might have too much fluid. it's a common occurrence with anencephaly.

i continued to time them, james went to work for a little bit, our parents got word and they all flipped out and started to drive down. i still swore that we weren't going to end up at the hospital and was annoyed that they all came down before we were at the hospital or knew anything more.

they got here and we just sat around timing contractions all day. i used an app on my phone and at one point i was laying on the couch with my phone on my belly. ma thought the app could feel my contractions and said "it KNOWS when you're having a contraction?!" yes, if i push the start and stop button! :)

around 5:00 i told james i think it was time to go to the hospital to get checked out. the contractions were closer between 3-6 minutes (sometimes 2, rarely 7) they still weren't painful though. with eliza, even though my water broke at home, they never got painful until they gave me pitocin. we looked at the guide on the app and judging by the times i was nearing "phase 2" (keep that in mind)

so we get directions to the hospital (had never been there before) and i'm sure we looked like a couple of dummies walking in. i told the lady at the front desk that i thought i was in labor, and apparently we were supposed enter near the birthing center. we had no clue where that was, and she looked at us like "yea, sure you're in labor."

made it to the birthing center and james tells the nurse "dr. google says we're in phase 2 of labor!" (that was one of my favorite parts. i'm sure they get people in like that, but we were still laughing and in good spirits)

when we walked in james said he thought he saw dr. reed. she was the doc we saw the week before at our first appointment since returning from korea. the doctor that we fought to get tricare to let us see. she had told us there are 5 other docs that could be on call when we go to the hospital. since i was 34 weeks i knew i probably wouldn't have enough appointments before she came to meet all the other doctors. i was super bummed, but somehow it worked out and she was the one there that night. (thanks God!)

they got me into a room to see if i actually was in labor. the tech wanted to hook up a heart monitor but i told her we talked to the doc and we weren't going to have that at all during labor. (it'd be too stressful watching her heart rate and knowing that it could stop at any time) she insisted and tried, but delia kept kicking it and swimming around so she gave up. then the dr. reed came in and said it wasn't necessary anyway.

she checked me and i was 4-5cm. so i was staying. even though i felt i was ready to stay. that was hard to hear. the end was beginning.

august 22nd. that was my grandpa's birthday. i thought "what a good present he will get, a great grandbaby to hold up in heaven." that day just felt right. i was at peace. i was tired, uncomfortable, hurting. even though i knew i was going to lose her i was still excited to meet her. to hold her. to see her. to kiss her. there still came a point the the pregnancy that i was ready.

she asked if i had gotten in to my appointment that week. we were having an ultrasound to check positioning and fluids at that visit. i was bummed i didn't make it to wednesday because they were going to give us lots of pics and a cd of it all. we hadn't really gotten the best pics with any of the ultrasounds.

she pulled in a ultrasound machine and we got to see her once again. she was head down and dr. reed couldn't believe how much fluid i had and how much she was just floating around. she gave us a couple of pics, but it was a crappy machine. she said they'd keep the machine outside my room and we could see her anytime we wanted.

by then it was 7:00pm and time for a nurse change. my sister-in-law's cousin was starting her shift. i know her pretty well (for her being my sister-in-law's cousin) and they asked if i would want her to be my nurse. they said she is willing to, if i want her. thought it would be nice to have a friend by my side, so morgan got to be my nurse and she is/was amazing!

got settled into my room (which happened to be right next door to the friends we are renting our garage apartment from. neighbors at home, neighbors at the hospital. they were there for the birth of their baby girl that morning. small town, that's for sure!) and they opened up a room for all of our family to use as a waiting room. they went above and beyond in so many ways. we couldn't have asked for a better hospital/staff. definitely eased a lot of my worries. it was a very relaxed situation. i didn't have to be hooked up to anything but the contraction monitor. the freedom was nice.

so i sat and visited with people (every single family and friend that were there came into our room. i had no time to relax!) while waiting for things to progress. every time the doc checked me i was still sitting at 5cm.

one time she checked i felt a leak and she said "darn it, i broke one bag" (they wanted to keep my water in tact for as long as possible because it would help dilate since her head wouldn't be able to.) i was confused about "one bag" but she said it was basically one layer. my fluids were so high i had many layers to my sac. we guess it's your body's way of keeping your water from prematurely breaking?

she talked about starting me on pitocin, but she knew i didn't want that. someone asked if i'd consider a c-section. it might give us more time with delia, but i didn't want to go through that. we wanted it all to happen naturally. mostly i didn't want to add more pain to recovery than the emotional pain that was about to come.

after getting checked again, and still no progress, doc stripped my membranes. (holy ow!) it was probably after midnight now? i really have no idea of the times.

i got an epidural at some point and it was amazing. i never got to enjoy mine with eliza! her birth happened too fast. (darn pitocin!)

and because i'm sharing everything i will tell you this funny story. james was in the chair sitting next to me and i gasped and said "something just happened!" he got all worried that something was wrong and asked if needed to call the nurse. i said "i think i just farted." yes, it was THAT good of an epidural. :)

probably around 3am doc came back and said she wanted to break my water, it might help move things along. we were confused since she said she wanted to keep it intact, but i didn't argue. i figured anything is better than pitocin and she knows what she is doing. james wasn't in the room, but i so wish he was for what happened next!

she broke my water and there were (at least) 4 large gushes. it was the weirdest thing. she said there were so many layers to my sac. it felt like my water broke over and over. i watched my belly totally deflate. it was so strange. then the doc told morgan "the bed is overflowing!" seriously, there was so. much. fluid.

i was at a 6 before she broke it, and instantly went to a 7.

a few minutes later morgan said "let me know if you start to feel any pressure" she walked out the door and i turned to james and said "yea, i'm feeling it. can you look? something is happening." i didn't really believe it, since they just broke my water. thought it was still going to take awhile. he looked and said he thought she was close. so we called morgan back in. she checked and called the doc in it was time to push! talk about fast.

pushed twice and she slipped right out at 3:21am. they tossed her up on me and we thought she had already passed. she wasn't moving or making any noise. so still. so tiny. so warm and squishy.

pastor was in there and we asked him to baptize her asap. before the cord was cut, before the placenta, first thing. he stood there and james said he was thinking "do it now!"

he came over, baptized her, and all of a sudden she let out a cry. it was the craziest thing! it had been a few minutes and everyone in the room (as far as i know) thought she was born still. the emotion in the room at that moment, for our little girl was overwhelming. it was by far the best moment of my life. i will never forget the feeling when she cried.

she never opened her eyes, but let out a few more gasps/squeaks. it was so hard to see her like that. getting weaker. i wanted her to hold on, but at the same time i knew the inevitable and i didn't want her to suffer. it was okay to let go. to go home.

our family all came in while i held her and got to peek before she was cleaned up. there were so many of them there. the room was filled with love. all for delia.

the death certificate said she was alive for over an hour, but in reality it was probably less than 20min. we are guessing she passed when everyone was there. the staff was great they just let me hold her, and didn't verify it until they were cleaning her up and measuring her. (for the record she was 2lbs 15oz and 14.5in)

james and i got to dress her after she was cleaned and got her ready for everyone to come in and hold her. she was the tiniest thing and felt so fragile. i had to check her out while we dressed her. look over every part of her. study her. see that butt that brought me so much pain in my ribs. squeeze it. kiss her feet. kiss her all over.

everyone came back in and got their chance with her and it was so bittersweet.

we held her all night, passed her around. the next morning we thought once she left the room that they were going to take her away. we were exhausted from being up for over 24 hours that we said our goodbyes. that was the hardest thing ever. i couldn't let her go. i couldn't have done any of this without james. we held each other up.

turns out she was in the nursery all day until the funeral home came. i felt so bad knowing we could be holding her, but we couldn't bare to say goodbye again. that is a big regret. i'd give anything to hold her now.

the nurses took pics, the photographer came back, and we were reassured that she was being held and not forgotten in the nursery. that was my biggest worry. they changed her into different outfits for pics and our friends that went back there said she had her own little space and was taken care of.

we stayed at the hospital until the funeral home took her and then we were discharged that afternoon. i told james later that i wished she could just stay with the nurses. i knew they would take care of her. i didn't want her to be in a funeral home alone. it's not right. none of it is.

it shouldn't be this way...but it is.

Monday, September 12, 2011


almost forgot to do this. kept track each month until her first birthday. they are fun to look back on.

(how are her lips always that perfect shade of pink?)

things she likes...
yogurt raisins.
enola. or "wowa" as she says.
baths and showers.
blue's clues.
playing outside.
cake. a big change from last year.
throwing fits while getting in her car seat.
saying "thank you." over and over and over.
riding her bike.
blanket and bunny. still.

it was a good birthday. time with friends (ours and hers) pics hopefully soon.

for now, her with her cupcake. she blew both of the candles out and was so proud. (i was too!)

one. two. at seven eleven.

happy birthday eliza june!

i was hoping to use the same clock, but alas it's in our hhg shipment.

also say some extra prayers if you could. my gram passed away yesterday. it was expected and a long time coming. she had been waiting to dance with Jesus. held on long enough to meet delia and now they get to spend eternity together. it's never easy for those left behind though, and i'm not ready to go through the whole funeral thing again so soon.

life can slow down at any time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

her song.

wanted to share this video my aunt made for delia. we wanted to include "her song" in the service, and this was a nice way to share it.

1 john 4:18 says "there is no fear in love."

we were definitely scared when we got the news, but once we made the decision to carry on, it was mostly filled with love. sure we had our fears about the future, but we (and everyone else) showed her as much love as we could. there was no other way.

she will always be our little girl.

delia jean. from michele rockhill on Vimeo.

password is newbean
song thanks to jack johnson.

i also created a new header and it has one of my favorite pics of delia. wanted to give you a heads up if you use google reader or some other feed.

i am so overwhelmed with the love that has been shown for our sweet delia. it's amazing to think of the impact she had in her short life. thank you for sharing stories, emails, comments, notes...we are blessed by you all.

hopefully soon i will be able to share her birth story and some more pics. she had the best cheeks. so kissable.

one day at a time.

Friday, September 2, 2011


there was a time in my pregnancy with delia that eliza couldn't get enough of her. she kissed her. said "baybee" over and over and just loved on her...most of the time.

then she just stopped. she'd completely ignore us if we talked about the baby. if we asked her where baby sister was she would turn and look the other way. no kisses or even slaps. it was weird, and sort of sad.

but the week leading up to delia's birth eliza melted my heart on three different occasions. (and others in between when she started kissing her again) of course we didn't know that it would be our last few moments with delia here, but it felt like God was telling eliza to do these things. to soak up this time with her sister.

1. she was coloring and put a crayon and piece of paper on my belly while i was laying on the floor. she set it down and said "baybee!"

2. she lifted my shirt and covered my belly in stickers. i was a human sticker book. then she turned and put some on james' belly too. :)

3. she set a teacup on my belly, said "baybee" in that sweet voice. then she climbed up and had a little party.

and my heart exploded.

the night before we went to the hospital i also had a bit of fun with delia. i was in the tub, wishing my doc would just put me on bathrest (is there such a thing? there should be.) james and eliza had dinner together and i just soaked in there and decorated my belly with water drops.

sitting and thinking. completely unaware of what tomorrow would bring. the pain it would bring.

oh, i'm thankful for those little moments though. memories forever.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

bringing home delia.

as soon as we got to st. louis we got the call that delia was ready to be picked up. i hate saying that. she should just be with us.

that was one of the hardest talks/decisions through all of this. neither one of us wanted to have her cremated, but i couldn't stand the thought of her not being home with us.

babies need to be with their mama's. mama's need their babies.

i need to hold her. i need to know she is close.

if only we were bringing her home in a carseat. home to baby toys, a finished nursery, and a jealous big sister.

man i only wish we could have the sibling battles. a gassy baby. the sleepless nights. the pain of nursing.

i'd give anything for all of that.

at least after today our family will be together again. there is no separating us.

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