Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Sweet Eli

To my precious little man,
I love you so much.  It was one week ago today that I held  you in my arms and gave you to Jesus.  It feels like minutes ago, it feels like years ago.  I can still smell you.  I close my eyes and I can feel you in my arms and see you beautiful little face. I can still hear your grunts.  I am comforted by all of these things.  You taught me how to be brave and to fight.  I will forever be greatful and cherish your time here with us.  You were a miracle in so many ways.  God chose your daddy and I to love you, to cherish you, to hold you, to carry you.  I will forever carry you in my heart and in my memory.  I thank God for the gift of having you to love.  When you left us last sunday night, it was a moment of peace filled wonder for me.  I was not sure how I would handle giving you up.  How could I handle it? You are my baby.  But you left us with angels... You have touched  so many.  Who knew that a life so small, so short, could be so huge?
This week has been so bittersweet and painful for those you left behind.  My arms ache so badly to hold you.  I miss not sleeping to rock you and feed you.  I miss not being able to bath you and dress you.  I miss being a proud mama and showing you off to others.  I so badly want to kiss you toes and spend hours gazing upon you face.  I want to sing to you, to rub your back or pat your little bottom. I miss the tiny little cry of a baby.  I know that you are healed and whole and I would never want for you to know the pain of life here.  That is where my comfort lies.  You are with your creator, in a place of perfect peace and rest.  A place of perfect love...  My arms will ache for you until the day that you can fill them again.  My heart will have a part missing until my aching arms are filled. 
You are one amazing little boy!  I would take nothing for having had you in my belly for 32 weeks and in my arms for minutes.  That time with you was complete joy.  It was with wonder we felt you move and kick and cause a stir in my belly.  I loved every second God gave us with  you.  My favorite time of day was at night when I would get to sit with your daddy and he  would place his hand on you and rub.  You knew your daddy's hand.  Daddy and I would get up early every morning just so we could spend time with you.  Sometimes you would be too sleepy to wiggle for him, but he understood.  Your brothers and sister loved to feel you kick and even when you wouldn't kick them, they still wanted to rub you and tell  you they loved you.  They miss you too! 
Oh, when your daddy placed you in my arms for the first time.  That moment I will carry with me and never forget...I was so nervous, so scared, so thrilled...It was like I had been waiting all my life for that moment.  Even though you were too tired to open you eyes for me, I knew what a tough little boy you were.  You showed the world how to fight.  I am so proud of you.  I am honored to have the blessing of calling you son. Your daddy and I could not have asked any more of you than what you gave us last Sunday night.
You had such a birthday party.  So many people came to welcome you.  Everyone wanted to hold you and show you how much they love you. 
I believe that you have complete understanding of how much you are loved and missed.  I also believe that you have complete understanding of your purpose here on earth.  You know why God chose to make your time here so brief...I do not understand and because of my lack of understanding I have such grief.  I know you were a miracle.  I know that God's grace will carry us through this valley. 
I love you sweet little man!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I do not even know where to begin this morning, so I will just jump right in.
While I am at complete peace that my precious Eli is cradled in Jesus' arms right now, mine ache so bad to hold him just one more time.  But I know one more time would never be enough.  I am hurting in a way right now that I never thought possible.  Even though I hurt, I know that my Eli is whole and even smiling right now.  He was a miracle in so many different ways. He was so beautiful! Even at 32 weeks he weighed 4 pounds and 7 ounces.  Michelle, you were right about that "fullness" you kept seeing on that ultrasound screen! He was 17 inches long.  He had just tons of dark curly hair.  I loved touching the downy softness of it.  He smelled like baby heaven.  He filled the crook of my arm perfectly. He had his daddy's handsome face.  What a blessing right? His feet were even bigger than Jay's, and that is saying alot. His little toes were built just like his daddy's also.  He fought like no one I have ever seen! He was a tough little boy. He cried when he was first born.  I missed this because I had to be asleep for his birth, but his daddy got to hear him. He had a birthday like none other.  God planned his birthday and when I tell you that it was perfect I truely mean it was perfect. 
Every single thing about his special day fell into place like you would not believe.  If you do not believe in the mighty power of God, just listen to this retell of Sunday and there is no way that you could not still believe.

Jamie and I have worried and tried to plan for Eli's birthday for so long now.  We wanted everything to be in place so that it would go smoothly. We had stressed out about where to deliver Montgomery v/s Birmingham.  We both really wanted our doctor, Dr. Kouri to deliver Eli.  We also knew that if God was going to leave him with us for a while he would do better at children's.  This has been a constant worry of ours. Dr. Kouri was the doctor that delivered all of my children and I have used him for almost ten years.  He is the best, of that I am sure.  He has been absolutely wonderful through this journey.  I was worried about having a c-section and really did not want to.  We wanted all of our family and friends to be able to attend his birth.  We had so many things to think about, it is almost overwhelming to look back on. We had contacted Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep to take pictures for us.  A wonderful lady name Judy was lined up. 
I had not idea that I was in labor with Eli.  I felt bad Friday and Saturday but thought that pregnancy in general was wearing on me.  Sunday afternoon while we were cleaning up from lunch at my grandmothers I began to feel strange.  I went to the bathroom and rushed downstairs to tell Jamie that we had to go to the ER now because I thought Eli was on his way. We were able to leave without worry of the kids because other family was there.  We were extremely close to the ER and were able to get there in maybe two or three minutes.  The Troy ER staff were amazing.  They quickly jumped into action and had me in a room in no time. I was examined by a doctor and found to be dialated and to have a cord prolapse.  He called my doctor, who just happened to be on call this weekend (accident, I don't think so). The ambulance was there in record time and I was on my way to Montgomery before I knew it.  The EMTs were wonderful and we even stopped on 231 to pick up a doctor to ride with us, just in case Eli decided to come on the way.  This entire time, we were able to monitor Eli's heart rate and it was good everytime.  We made it to Jacksons in record time, did I mention that the EMTs were wonderful. The driver told Jamie that it was very rare for traffic to cooperate the way they did Sunday. I was wisked to Labor and Delivery where Dr. Kouri met us and did an ultasound.  He was very surprised to find Eli's heartbeat, but there it was just fluttering away. I was blessed with the same nurse that helped deliver Cooper.  I was immediately taken to OR and prepped for surgery.  I had to be put to sleep because I did not have time for an epidural and sitting up would have put pressure on Eli's cord. Eli was sideways and by this time it was very obvious that he was not coming out naturally. I was put to sleep and by 4:47 my precious Eli was in this world.  This all began around 2:00 or 2:30.
In the meantime my wonderful sister, who I love dearly, was coordinating a million different things as well as taking care of my children and trying to make it to the hospital to be with us.  She came to my house, got everything for Eli, dressed my children, contacted the photographer to learn she was out of town, contacted Lisa Smith, who dropped everything to be there for us as well as her partner whom I can not remember, called friends for me, and made it before Eli was born.  Rachel, you are an amazing, amazing, amazing person!  
Eli was wisked away to be evaluated and Jamie went with him.  I was taken to recovery and those nurses were wonderful.  They got me to my room as fast as they could all the while assuring me that Eli was fighting.  Dr. Kouri, who was blown away by the number of people present for Eli's birthday, held a news conference to let everyone know what was going on.  He told them that he was surprised to deliver Eli alive due to the cord prolapse alone, but that he was fighting.  Jamie had to make some really tough decisions alone because of the situation, but I am proud of everyone he made.  They were the right ones and God lead him every step.
The wonderful nursery nurses finally called to say that it was time for Mama to hold her Angel.  Jamie got to bring him to me.  He was the most beautiful, amazing,  little wonder that  my eyes have ever beheld. The nurses had dressed him and wrapped him in a beautiful blanked (thank you for that blanket, I am not sure where it came from, but is is a treasure).  My arms have never felt as good as they did the moment Jamie put my Eli in them.  Eli lived but a few minutes in my arms, but those minutes were heaven on earth for me. He grunted a couple of time, and I knew the moment he went into Jesus' arms. It was complete peace! My little fighter waited for me and that means more that anything to me.  I truely believe God allowed him to hold on so that I could see him, hold him, kiss him and tell him I loved him while he lived. His daddy and I were with him, loving on him when he went home to get some rest.  He was so tired...The nurse came in to listen and could not find a heartbeat, then she prayed with us the sweetest prayer my I have ever heard.
He was... I can't find words to describe the rest of that night. Maybe another day....
We have long prayed for a miracle.  By we, I mean everyone who has prayed. Sunday was a miracle.  Eli was a miracle.  It is not the miracle of sustained life for Eli, but it was a greater miracle.  A miracle story that I will hold in my heart until I go home to be with Eli.  Although, I am sad and hurt so badly now,  I will always hold near and dear to Eli's story and will take comfort in it.  He is home with my Lord.  He is whole now.  He knows no pain which he would have had he lived long enough. He has met brothers or sisters, cousins, uncles, grandparents and friends that we long to see.  But, greatest of all, he met Jesus first.  I can imagine the smile on his face the moment Jesus welcomed him home. 

Much Love,

Eli's service will be Saturday at Dillard's Funeral Home.  There will be a vistitation from 1:00 until 2:00.  The services will be in the chapel at 2:00 followed by a private family graveside service.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Elijah Griffin Hill ~ February 21, 2010

Elijah Griffin Hill was born Sunday, February 21, 2010 around 4:45 p.m. Approximately 2 hours later, Eli left the loving arms of his mother and father to be held forever in the arms of Jesus. Please continue to pray for Jennifer, Jamie, Jay, Cooper, Lucie Rose & all of the family.  The days ahead will be long and difficult, but we know that God will meet each need by His amazing grace.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What is your fear factor?

So, what did you fear most as a child?  My fears consisted of the dark and thunderstorms.  Oh yea, and the bald headed peeping tom I thought I saw looking in my window one night.  I grew up out in the "country" and there was not even a security light outside of our house.  Talk about dark.  It was great for star gazing, but not so great for a child afraid of the dark.  Then throw in the occasional thunderstorm... I could really get myself in a tizzy back then.  When I was scared,  I would always casually ask my parents questions about, you know the boogy man lurking in the dark, or the deafening claps of thunder (the thunder is always worse than the lightening).  I say casually because I couldn't let on that I was actually scared of these things.  Do you think they ever caught on? They always quieted my concerns and calmed my fears with their words or actions.  Come to think of it, they never failed to make me comfortable when I was anxious or scared. I can also remember praying about these fears, even as a child.  I particularly remember pulling my covers over my head during thunderstorms and asking God to please keep us safe.  He always did.  Now, I actually like the dark sometimes and even enjoy an occasional thunderstorm. I'm pretty sure Cooper inherited my fear of thunder.  I'll save those stories for another day.

As I grew my fears changed.  I could go through tons of silly teenage fears that I bought into  had. They were not so silly at the time, of that I am sure.  I believe these are also labeled insecurities.  Some of these I took to my parents, many I took to God,  and some I shared with friends.     

Until a few months ago, if you had asked me what was I scared of, I would have answered not too much.  Now, I have a long list of things that I am afraid of. 
  1. I get so anxious when Eli does not move for a while. There is a 30 - 40 percent chance that Eli will have a cord incedent due to the absence of fluid and also just cherish his activity so very much.
  2. I get scared and sometimes downright panicky when I think about how fast time is going by. It has been 12 weeks since we found out about Eli and it seems like yesterday.  I only have about six weeks left to carry him. 
  3. I am so scared of how my children will react to Eli's birthday. 
  4. I am scared of having a c-section. Eli is transverse breech with his feet presenting first and is not expected to move due to the absence of amniotic fluid. 
  5. I am scared of not being able to be a mommy to Eli.  Eli's kidneys have no function and I never really realized how important fluid is for babies en utero.  Eli is my fourth child and I have learned so much this time due to Eli's condition.  Not only does the fluid act as a cushion for babies and make room for them.  It also is ingested by babies to facilitate lung development. The fluid passes through the baby's body and the kidneys act as a sponge.  The fluid is then passed back into the sack to make room for growth and development.  It is a continuous cycle unless the baby's kidneys do not work.  Which is the case with Eli.
  6. I am scared of possibly having only a short time to say everything it should take a lifetime to say to Eli. Really a lifetime is not long enough sometimes is it?
  7. I am scared of empty arms...
I am scared all of the time...God knows that I am scared because believe you me I have told him.  And guess what, He has answered me.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled , neither let is be afraid. John 14:27

I must admit that I have to renew myself in His assurance quite often.  But, God has been patient with me.  He is such an awesome Father, isn't he?  I know that if one of my fears does happen to come to be, God will not leave me then either.  This is a difficult pill to swallow and where faith comes in.  God is most definitely still working in my life on that one.  I do not understand any of this and why God has chosen Jamie and I for this journey.  But he did, and we have to do the best we can to make our response pleasing to God.  I know that Eli is a gift from God.  I fully believe that every moment I get to spend with him is a moment of wonder. 

Pray with me tonight that God would calm our fears and give us unending peace.

I would also like to ask for prayer tonight for one of our church family members.  Baby Preston Hughes was born in November and has stuggled since birth with eating, breathing and muscle issues.  He has spend much time in Children's Hospital in Birmingham.  He had to be rushed back today due to some difficulties.  I am not sure of specifics right now, but please remember baby Preston and his family in your prayers.  He is such a beautiful little man!
Much love,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our fiesty little wiggle worm

I just wanted to post an update of our dr. visit today.  We got to see our little miracle through ultrasound again today.  It is so amazing to watch him wiggle while I feel the movement.  I can tell exactly what part is moving and watch as Eli squirms.  He just cut up for us today.  Jamie and I noticed a couple of weeks ago that he has a sweet spot on my left side when Jamie rubs my ever growing belly.  We found out today that spot is his little bottom.  It must be ticklish! We found out today that he has grown tremendously in the last two weeks.  He now weighs 3 lbs 11 oz.  I thought that he had turned more upright because I have been so short of breath the last few days.  The shortness of breath is from his growth.  That is almost a pound in two weeks.  He is one growing boy!  He has not turned any like I really want him to.  We really need him to move his feet and slide his bottom down to avoid the c-section.  Pray that he does! We go back to see Dr. Kouri March 2nd and to Birmingham on March 4th.  When we go to B-Ham we will meet with the team of drs. This will be a very important meeting.  It is then that we make a decision about where to deliver.  I really want Dr. Kouri to deliver him, but if B-ham is the best option that is what we will do.  Please pray for God's guidence for us and the doctors.
Please continue to pray for a miracle for Eli!  He is so very loved! I also ask that you pray for one of Dr. Kouri's nurses, Mrs. Jeri.  She has hurt her knee pretty badly.  She is such a blessing to be around, as are all of  Dr. Kouri's staff.  I know that God sent me to Dr. Kouri.  He works everything for the good!

And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

 Much Love,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love is...

I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.  Song of Solomon 6:3

What a profession of love that is!  The Song of Solomon is such a beautiful love story.  I know that God puts husbands and wives together with great purpose.  Jamie and I met more than 13 years ago and we both knew pretty quickly that God meant for us to be together.  I promise you, we have done MUCH growing since then. I know that my love for him grows everyday.  My heart is full!  We have normal everyday growing pains that all relationships have, but we always come out with deeper understanding of one another.  God has blessed us tremendously!  At least I know he has blessed me!

God knew when he put us together what we would face 13 years down the road.  He knew all of the bumps that we would go over on the way to help strengthen us.  God knew that Jamie would be just the person I needed to walk with on this journey.  Jamie has been so amazing these last few months.  He just knows when I need his arms, a hand, or his shoulder.  I do not have to ask or seek these things.  Jamie is scared and has his moments and days just like me.  He has been so selfless and supportive.  I could not imagine life without him. 
Happy Valentines Day! 

 Just the two of us!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.   Psalm 30 :10

There are so many wonderful, faithful people praying for my sweet Eli.  I am so blessed by the number of people that tell me that they are praying.  Each and every prayer that is offered to God means so very much to me.  The day that we learned of Eli's problems, my daddy told me this.  He said, "God laid it on my heart to pray specifically for Eli this morning.  He led me to pray that no matter what we found out at today's ultrasound, we would give it to God."  This past week my cousin Beverly told me that God had led her to begin praying for Eli a couple of months before we found out about his kidneys. I know personally, I felt God leading me in a different direction with this pregnancy than he has the other three.  I will not say that I sensed there was a problem, just my prayers were different.  I can not really expain it.  Also, as I have mentioned before, God began preparing Jamie and me for this a long time ago.  All of these things just speak to me so loudly.  It is almost as if God is saying to me, "Know that I am here and that I am in control.  Have faith that I have always known about Eli and I will not remove my hand from him."  Jamie and I have given Eli to God.  We want God to recieve all of the glory and praise for this precious baby he has placed in my belly.  Although I worry and cry and have a hard time understanding, I know that there is a plan.  Tina, Jamie's sister has said to me that Eli has already caused so many people to fall on their knees praying and that is where God wants us.  That is so very true.  I will tell you that he also has allowed some very precious women to unite the faculty where I teach in sweet prayer.   All of this said,  I just can not say thank you enough for EVERY prayer, whether public or private, that is spoken to God for my Eli and our family. 

On a lighter note,  I am going to post some pictures in this post of the incredible snow that God sent to us today ( it has been since 1993 that we last saw this).  He allowed us to slow down during this busy tax season and have some family time today.  I have secretly prayed that while Eli is with us, God would give us a snow day.  He answered my prayer today and I give thanks to Him.

Today was more than I could have imagined.  We had such a wonderful time together as a family out playing in the snow.  My sister and her husband came over and it was just amazing.  Aunt Rachel, who picks on all my kiddos, got her play time with Eli today.  She got to get him with a snow ball.  Fear not, it was gentle and mama was well padded with clothing. The boys got him a couple of times gently as well.  I think we needed the togetherness today and I include Rachel and Josh in that.  Enjoy the pictures.

Love you all,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Treasures New and Not So New

We celebrated my grandmother's 80th birthday this past weekend.  She was given a beautiful birthday party and I think she had a good time.  I had a good time also.  We got to take a trip down memory lane Saturday.  My Aunt Beth and Cousin Beverly compiled over 400 pictures and put them on a digital frame.  We got to spend some time talking about Ray (my granddaddy) who is home with the Lord, Ray Wilkes (my brother) who went home to be with the Lord at 16, and Mitch (my cousin) who went home at 24. There were photos of things long forgotten and of things we wished we could forget.  It was wonderful!  Happy birthday Grandma!

My Grandma and Lucie Rose

I got to spend some time talking to my Uncle David Saturday.  He is Mitch's dad and also the pastor of Marvin Parkway Baptist Church.  The thoughts that I am going to share in this post were shared with me by him.  

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

I have heard that verse time and time again throughout my life and sang the song based on the verse over and over.  Never once have I REALLY understood it until Saturday.  When you look at it do you think, like me, "Well we should just rejoice because God has given us this day." I do not feel like rejoicing at this particular time in my life! I feel like crying, screaming, anything but rejoicing.  Do not get me wrong, I do rejoice when I feel Eli wiggle around.  I rejoice when I think of the prospect of holding him in my arms.  Then my rejoicing turns to "Why Lord?, Why Eli? Why my family? Why have you chosen this trial for me?".  My Uncle David gave me a new perspective where that verse is concerned.  He said that he also, in the midst of grief, did not feel like rejoicing at one point in his life and God spoke to him and told him that he did not understand that verse as it is written.  He said God told him that verse does not say we are rejoicing right now, but that we WILL rejoice. Hmm....
If God does choose perform a miracle with my precious Eli, I will rejoice and the burden of these last few months will be lifted.  And to be honest with you, today, I cannot let my mind go elsewhere.  The thought of empty arms is too much...
Please pray with me for God to heal our baby. 
Love you much, 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Be Still My Soul

02 Be Still My Soul-What a Friend We Have in Jesus

I posted this song on my facebook maybe a few days before we found out about Eli.  I love this song. I can't tell you the number of times I have asked the Lord to Be still my soul. The group singing this is Selah.  They have such powerful voices and they use them for God.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Glimpse of Love

We went to see Dr. Kouri today and had an ultrasound.  I love the ultrasounds.  It is just amazing to watch Eli for a few minutes.  Michelle does such a great job giving us a peek into what our little man is doing.  Today we got to see his eyes moving around, his mouth moving, him being a wiggle worm and so much more.  Yes, Jamie insisted we take another peek to see if it really is a boy.  We are still pretty sure it is.  We found out he has turned some.  Just not in the right direction.  He is almost head up now.  He is double feet down, which Dr. Kouri does not like.  He says that if he stays in that position that would most certainly mean a c-section, which I DO NOT want.  He is not expected to move much more due to the lack of amniotic fluid.  He was doing what we thought to be practice breathing today.  His chest was moving.  Michelle said that is something that they look for in development.  He now weighs 2lbs 15oz.  That puts him in the 43rd percentile for size.  I love every second I get to spend gazing at our sweet Eli.  Thanks to Michelle for making it such a meaningful experience.  She is just fantastic! According to Dr. Kouri, we are just playing the waiting game now to determine where we will deliver.  We go back to Birmingham the first week in March, at that time we will meet with a team of doctors.  He wants to see what exactly those doctors have to say.  I had somewhat of a scare yesterday.  I developed a UTI and began having some contractions.  We went in and they put me on antibiotics.  Things seem to be better.  I have not had anymore contractions.  I am not ready to have my little man yet and I thank God for allowing things to work out like they did.  I wished that I could just carry him with me forever. 

Thank you all for every prayer that is said!  Thank you for all of the support you show.  Please continue to pray for God's healing hand on Eli.  Also, please keep Jamie in your prayers.  Tax season is so very busy for him. Pray for strength and safety as he travels to and from Montgomery everyday.  We are taking one day at a time and praying as we go.  To God be the glory!