Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chloe's "New Room"

Chloe has turned the closet in our spare room into her new room.  She has moved in her favorite toys, books, pj's, sleeping bag and a few other random things.  She has been playing in there for two days now and even refers to the closet as her room.  She told us that she wanted to sleep in there last night, but that lasted all of 5 minutes because it was too dark.  (To fill you in on her outfit, we had just come inside from playing in the snow and this is what she changed into.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Best Friends

The other day, Chloe and Abby's best friends Bentley and Vienna came over for a play date. Even though both families have moved farther away from each other, every time we get together the kids act like they just saw each other yesterday. It is always so much fun to play with them and there never seems to be enough time to play before one of us has to go home. I also get the added bonus of loving their mom, so it is as much of a treat for me to have them come over.

Vienna brought a birthday present for Abby...a matching shirt. :) We immediately had to try in on, and the girls looked so cute in their matching shirts. We of course had to take pictures of the girls, too. Thanks again!

Best friends

 Love these girls!

I tried to get a shot of Chloe and Bentley, too, but the cutest one was blurry...bummer! Oh well, this one will have to do.

Look Who's Five!

I can hardly believe that Chloe is already five! That means that she is going to start kindergarten this year...crazy! It is amazing how fast time flies. Chloe is a smarty pants and is a little mommy to Abby. She constantly refers to herself as Mommy when playing house with Abby. She is going to make a good mom someday. :) At five, Chloe loves to color, dance, rock out to music, play games and play with her dolls.

For her birthday, we started out by going to Build-A-Bear with Grandma Searle and then got some ice cream afterwards. When we got home, Chloe helped me make rainbow cupcakes for her party that night. She loves to help me in the kitchen...if I had made her cupcakes without her she would have been so mad at me.

This year we had a family party and had everyone go out to dinner with us to celebrate. Chloe had a great time running around with her cousins and got to eat one of her favorite foods: pizza. It was the best way to throw a party because all the mess wasn't at our house. :)

Think she likes the ice cream?

The big 5 year old!

Chloe's new bear

All Chloe wanted from us was a pair of skinny jeans, which of course she got and looked so cute in! She looked so grown up in them. We of course got her some other things as well and she also loved all her presents from family.

As per tradition, I did Chloe's birthday questionnaire and here are her answers for this year. Amazingly enough, some of the answers stayed the same from last year (you can read her other answers in a January 2012  post).

How old are you? 5
What is your favorite color? Red
What is your favorite food? Candy
What is your favorite movie? Princess and the Frog
What is your favorite TV show? SpongeBob
What is your favorite activity? Coloring
Who is your best friend? Bentley
If you had $100 what would you buy? A rocket ship
If you could go anywhere where would you go? To the moon
How are you like mommy? We eat alike
How are you like daddy? We both get mad :)
When you grow up what do you want to be? A doctor

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Families Can Be Together Forever

We laid Max to rest on Saturday, December 29th in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery next to his great grandparents and great uncle. We had a small graveside service with mostly just our immediate family present. Although it was only 15 degrees outside, the sun was shining and my heart was full of warmth. Our bishop shared some lovely thoughts and then Aaron said a few words. I loved everything he said and wanted to share some of it with you.

Aaron talked about how Max wasn't supposed to make it past the initial 48 hours after my water broke at 19 weeks, but he held on for 4 more weeks. Aaron told us how proud he was of his son for being physically strong enough to hold on for as long as he did in my womb despite the problems, all so his mom and dad could meet him even if but for a short time. What a strong little guy he was. Aaron also told us how proud of Max he was because of his spiritual strength. To explain, Aaron then read a quote from the prophet Joseph Smith that has given us a lot of hope, strength and joy during this time and something we truly feel applies to Max. It reads:

"We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us. The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these: This world is a very wicked world; and it grows more wicked and corrupt. The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.

"The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope."

He also pointed out that we both felt the Spirit's comfort so strongly when we read this that we know our little Max was simply too pure and too lovely to live on this earth. We know that Max only needed a body and not the mortal tests the rest of us must experience on Earth. We know that it was our Heavenly Father's plan to take our little Max away before experiencing the wickedness of this world. We feel it was Heavenly Father's plan for him to not spend any time here beyond that 19 week mark when my water broke, but us as a result of prayer the Lord blessed us that he survived in my womb long enough for him to be able to spend a brief couple hours with us in this world. The Lord knew we needed to hold him, to see him and to feel of his sweet spirit while he was alive. We cherish those hours we had with him and even though we wish we could have more time, we feel blessed to have any time at all.

We are so grateful for our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness and Salvation and the knowledge that we will be an eternal family. We know without a doubt that we have the opportunity to be with Max again and he with us. It is now our duty to live up to his standard and example so that we will be worthy of that blessing.

Rest in peace our sweet baby Max.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Max Robert Searle

Everything was going well with my pregnancy. I was feeling the baby move pretty regularly and we were getting excited to find out if the baby was a boy or girl in just another week. However, November 24th was a day that everything changed. It started off as a normal Saturday, but took a turn for the worse when my water broke. While this would normally be an exciting thing, I was, of course, only 19 weeks along. At first, I hoped that I had just somehow peed my pants -- not likely, but a girl can hope. Aaron finally convinced me to call the doctor. After talking to him, I decided to run over to the hospital.

After some tests, the doctor came in and told me that we would more than likely miscarry within the next 48 hours and he sent me home with instructions on when I should come back to the hospital. Well, 48 hours came and went with no miscarriage. Later that week we went into the doctor and to our amazement -- and the doctors' -- our little baby still had a strong heartbeat and was hanging in there. The doctors still didn’t give us much hope because in order for this baby to even have a chance at survival, I would at least have to make it to 24 weeks and that was a long five weeks away. However, they told us to come in for weekly appointments and put me on moderate bed rest.

To be honest, at this point I really didn't think that the baby would make it and literally broke down in tears on a daily basis. We had friends and family come as often as possible to help with the girls and to also just help keep my mind off of things. Then when Aaron would come home from work, he would tell me to rest and would do everything else. He cleaned, cooked, did laundry, changed diapers, grocery shopped, bathed the kids, etc. (he is such an amazing husband and I am so lucky to have him, I couldn't have gotten through this without him).

As the weeks went by, I continued to leak amniotic fluid and we continued to go to the doctor. To the doctors' surprise each time we could hear a good, strong heart beat from our little one. We got into a comfortable routine at home and just took it day by day. Despite the fact that we knew there was a real risk that the baby would not make it, we couldn't help but get our hopes up after weeks of everything seemingly being OK. By the time 23 weeks hit, the doctors were talking about putting me in the hospital the following week on full bed rest and keeping me there until the baby came. At this point, I was really beginning to think that our little one was going to make it and for the first time the doctors seemed somewhat hopeful too.

However, that all changed on Christmas, at which point I was 23 weeks and three days along. The morning started off just like any other Christmas morning. We opened our presents, played with our new toys and went go Grandma’s house for brunch and more presents. At around 2 p.m. I felt something and thought it was just amniotic fluid. So, I went to the restroom and was shocked to see A LOT of blood. This had happened once before and I was able to get it to stop by lying down. So that’s what I did. I laid down for a good two hours, but the bleeding wouldn't stop. We felt we needed to go to the hospital to see what was going on. I was still hopeful, however, that the bleeding would stop as it had done before.

When we got to the hospital, we found out that I was dilated to a one and that the baby was breech, which wasn't necessarily surprising. They told us they wanted me to stay overnight for observation due to the amount of blood. Aaron asked if the progression stopped if I would be able to go home the next day. They said that might be possible. However, then they started asking question about delivery options and whatnot, something they had not done up until this point. They said that if I went ahead with a vaginal birth the baby's already small chances of survival would be reduced to almost nothing and if by some miracle the baby did survive, he would most certainly have neurological issues due to the breach birth. However, if I had a c-section the survival rate was better. Of course, they still didn’t know what condition the baby's lungs would be in. We knew that we wanted to give the baby every chance possible so we opted for a c-section, still thinking that would be weeks away.

A few hours passed and I started cramping. At first, the nurse told us that it could just be due to the bleeding. However, they went from noticeable to annoying to uncomfortable to painful. The doctor instructed the nurse to physically check me again. That's when she said it: "You're dilated to a three and I feel baby." We were pretty startled by those words. Then she said, "Things are going to get really crazy around here, but know that it's organized chaos." And that’s exactly what it was. Within minutes they had me ready for the c-section and were wheeling me into the operating room. I have never been so scared in my life. I had no idea what was going to happen with our baby and the thought of being cut open freaked me out.

The whole surgery only took a few minutes and then they rushed our tiny baby boy to the NICU. With the surgery successful and me doing OK, Aaron was able to go with him and watch everything that was happening. For 45 minutes they worked on him to get his lungs to expand. They ended up putting six different breathing tubes down his throat to ensure proper placement. Eventually, with the respirator operating on its highest pressure setting and 100 percent oxygen, the realization came that his little lungs were just too small to do what they needed to do. We were told that they could keep him alive with the ventilator for a few more hours or potentially a day or two, but at the pressure they were having to use it would destroy what lungs he did have in the process. At that point they took the tubes out of his little throat, wrapped him in a warm blanket and handed him to us to let his short time on this Earth be as peaceful as possible.

Not knowing how much time he would have, Aaron asked one of the nurses, who we knew was LDS, to find someone on the staff who was also LDS and could help Aaron give our son a name and blessing before he left this world. The blessing was beautiful and everyone in the room -- doctors, nurses and us, of course -- were in tears by the time Aaron was finished. Seemingly within minutes of the blessing ending, Max's heart stopped beating while I held him in my arms and he returned to his Heavenly Father.

We named him Max Robert Searle. Max was one of the names we have always liked (it's Aaron's grandpa's name and his dad's middle name). He weighed one pound, five ounces and was 11.6 inches long. He was born at 11:21 p.m. on Christmas Day and lived for 2 hours and 4 minutes, passing away on December 26th. He was definitely a Searle baby, with Devon's nose and Aaron's eyebrows. We feel so blessed to have had him for even the short time we did and miss him terribly. However, we know we will see him again and that he will be part of our family forever.