Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Peekaboo


Yesterday was hard. No other reason than missing Reese, and I have been holding back tears for over a week (which I don't like to do). Life just gets busy, but ahh...what a good cry can do. It wears me out and leaves me exhausted. Crying out to GOD softens my heart and cleanses my soul. It clears my view and lets me take a deep breath.

I'm struggling with all the emotions that rage in my heart...wishing Reese was here, taking care of Zach (which I love!), and being joyful over our new little son. I'm a mom to three precious children but just feel all over the place in "mothering" them. I may share more of this later, but now I have to praise Jesus for again displaying to me His sweet presence in my upside down life. I desperately needed to hear Him.

Jason came home from work last night with a silly smile on his face, and before I could ask him what it was about he held out a local magazine Peekaboo. This month's issue is highlighting non profit organizations including Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Lisa McSpadden (our photographer from NILMDTS) took pictures of Reese with us in the hospital, and I often share them with you. She asked me to write Reese's story to be included along with information about NILMDTS for the March issue.

The article is titled "Remembering Reese", and I am one proud mama to see Reese's picture in a magazine. ; ) Thrills my heart to its core. Reese is remembered. Loved. Her life matters. GOD knew I needed something to grasp onto at this point in our journey. Some reassurance that He won't leave me in this despair. It was like He whispered, "Katie, I am working. I'm still here."

Reese's article is not posted online, but the Peekaboo magazines are easy to find in NWA if you would like to read it. The article includes pictures of Reese along with our story and NILMDTS information.

Below is what I wrote (a very condensed version of our story) if you are interested. ; ) Thank you for continuing to uphold us in prayer. GOD shows His never-ending faithfulness through our family and friends who love us and are patient with us.

Remembering Reese

Reese Catherine Rowe swept into our lives August 11, 2009, and passed away in our arms August 13, 2009. Our beautiful daughter lived barely fifty-one sweet hours, yet she changed our lives forever. She was 6 lbs. 6 oz., 18 3/4 inches long and looked just like her daddy. In our eyes, she was and will always be perfect.

Reese was born with a fully formed body and healthy internal organs but very little brain activity. Several doctors have linked the cause of her brain damage to my being diagnosed with viral encephalitis when I was six months pregnant. Her brain showed no signs of infection, however my placenta did. Throughout the last three months Reese was in utero, my placenta slowly calcified and her body reached a point where she was not getting all she needed to survive.

Her oxygen supply became inadequate when I was 37 ½ weeks pregnant causing damage to her brain. When I noticed a significant change in her movements, I went to the hospital to hear her heartbeat and ease my mind. Reese’s heartrate was a steady, nonvariable 160 beats per minute, so the physician on call knew she was in some kind of distress. An emergency C-section was performed, but the doctors who oversaw Reese gave us very little hope shortly after she was born. My husband Jason and I were shocked and heartbroken. The illness we had overcome earlier in victory ultimately led to her death.

For two days we along with our families spent as much time as we could with her and sorted through decisions no parent should ever have to make. Our last moments with Reese were captured by an amazing photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Volunteer photographers from this organization give of their time and talents to take pictures of families with their babies during their final moments.

From the minute Lisa McSpadden walked into my hospital room the morning of August 13th, I felt a comfortable and reassuring connection with her. She took pictures of Reese with us that morning while she was still connected to life support. Lisa came back that evening to capture photos of our family with Reese after the feeding tubes, stickers, and life support were taken off her little body.

In a very devastating situation, Lisa was gentle, professional and compassionate. She took pictures of Reese from every angle, including invaluable details of her hands, feet, hair, face and profile. Lisa was with us the moment Reese went to Heaven. Only someone with a special gift would be able to handle a family’s last moments with their baby on this earth. Because of NILMDTS and Lisa’s talent, we have many pictures of our daughter’s life we will cherish forever.

Jason and I have made it through each day with the loving support and prayers of our families, friends and church. Our two-year-old son Zach also fills our home with joy and laughter. Our faith in GOD keeps us going because through Him we know we will spend eternity with Reese. We grieve with hope. The LORD has also blessed us with another baby due July 28th. This day is one month before Reese’s due date last year August 28th. GOD’s grace is abundant.

Our laughter and smiles remain bittersweet six months after Reese’s passing. Jason and I have grown closer than ever before as we have felt the extreme loss of our baby girl. Reese taught us many things during her short life. We are more relaxed. We cherish our time with Zach even more. We love deeper. Heaven has never been so real.

Our family will always wish Reese was with us on earth. Knowing she is not makes us homesick for Heaven. We are so thankful GOD gave her to us. She never made a sound, but in GOD’s wisdom she did not have to. Reese was a gift meant to pass through this earth as a messenger of His unfailing presence.

Our daughter will always live in our hearts. Now because of Lisa and this incredible organization NILMDTS, Reese lives on through tangible photographs. Priceless treasures. No value can ever be placed on such captured sacred moments.

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:13

83 comments:

Shari said...

awwww What an honor to be in the magazine and to share Reece's story!

Thanks so much for sharing!

Sarah said...

Hi Katie,

I heard about Lisa on NPR a few weeks ago and actually thought about you, Jason and Reese. I didn't know who had done your photos - but am so glad to know it was her.

The story left me in tears - as do your sweet words. I know God meets us in our darkest hour and I see God working through Lisa as she meets families in such a hard place.

Peace & Blessings,
Sarah

ashley said...

Beautiful my friend - your words, your faith, your daughter... I'm thrilled to see God's glimpses of hope and restoration in your life. You told your story (and Reese's story) perfectly and beautifully. What an honor to be a witness to what God is doing. I love you.

Lauren Hope said...

Katie,

What a beautiful article! It literally brought tears to my eyes reading about your precious baby girl and the time you were able to spend with her. What an incredible blessing to have someone take such amazing pictures ... something y'all will cherish forever.

Can I ask for your prayers for our baby girl, Reagan? I am 22 weeks today and my water broke at 13 weeks. We had an appointment yesterday that didn't go very well ... and have been given the option of doing an amnioinfusion to try and help Reagan's lungs develop and to help her precious body be able to move around (right now she is literally being squished). This procedure is very risky ... yet I can't imagine not doing it and always wondering "what if??" I am begging for your prayers on behalf of our baby girl, Reagan Grace.

Thank you for your openness on this blog and for sharing your trials and victories with us. You are truly a blessing to so many people ...

Kelli said...

Exquisitely told!! I know that you never tire of speaking or hearing about Reese! How blessed we are that you have shared her with us!

Larry and Kara Wright said...

Wow! That is so sweet! I L.O.V.E. those pictures and the article.

The Ormons said...

Beautiful story.. I am Laurie's sister n law and I have followed you since you said you were pregnant with Reese, we were both due in Aug and with this being my first child I was intersted in how other pregnant women were doing. Reese and my son Reid were born on the same day and I have looked at him many times and thought about Reese and because of Reese I have loved him more deeply. I pray for you often as you cross my mind quite a bit.

Mandy said...

B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L!!!!! I knew the moment they asked you to write that article that it would be perfect and it is. I love it and I love Reese. You are "mothering" all 3 of your children just fine. I don't know anyone who could do it better. I love you so.

Sara said...

Katie -

They have the magazines at daycare so I will be sure to grab one.

The article was so beautiful as were the pictures. Reese is so beautiful and perfect!

Thanks for sharing this point of your journey. I am always so inspired by your strength and courage.

God Bless

Mary said...

Thank you, thank you, Katie for always sharing your heart! I believe God brought me to your blog a few months ago and I am so thankful! I know I don't know you but I have cried many tears "with you!" I am learning to slow down and treasure life a little bit more. Thank you!! ~Hugs!~

~Mrs. Guru~ said...

Awe, so sweet. Sometimes it is great to just cry and let God know how we feel.

Mel Tales said...

Beautiful! Hugs!

Rebekah said...

such a beautifully written article, Katie, and such an amazing ministry.

Sallie said...

Sweet Katie,
You wrote that so beautifully! What a lucky little girl Reese was to have you for her Mommy...a beautiful woman of God who is so willing to share her story... how such tragedy brought and is still bringing such glory to God! Think of you often, and so grateful to you for sharing how God is healing your heart.
Congratulations on another baby BOY! I also have two boys at home...you will have a blast watching them love eachother :)BLESSINGS to you and your sweet family!

M.O.T.B said...

I should not read your posts while I am at work. So touching, beautifully written. Incredibly vulnerable but also real....emotion invoking. You make complete strangers miss Reese...

Thomas and Jamie said...

Not sure what else to say except I love you, I'm hurting for you, I'm elated for you, but most importantly, I'm praying for you!

tiffany said...

Holding you close in prayer, sweet Katie.

Kylie and crew. said...

Katie - WOW!! What beautiful words you wrote...words of clarity about the situation and POWERFUL words proclaiming the beuty that God brought to the situation. Jesus was honored in your writing...I know that people will be impacted by this story! Reese continues to impact the Kingdom of God!! A short life but a life that I'm sure has changed many.

~Bekah said...

Thank you for sharing Reese's story w/ us. I live in SW Arkansas so we don't get Peekaboo here but what a lovely thing to have and cherish. Reese is truly a gift from God and a warrior for His kingdom. Every time I see the name Reese or hear it, I think of you and pray for you immediately. I am soo excited about your new arrival! I am soo thankful that God is a giver of love and comfort and peace as well as assurance!

Karen said...

That was so beautiful, Katie. So very beautiful! My heart is in my throat right now, but know I am praying for you, sweet friend!

Marisa said...

Sweet Katie,

What a beautiful job you did of sharing Reese's story in Peekaboo. I think every time you share your journey, more of Reese's purpose is living out here--in your words that speak of God's unconditional love & faithfulness in the sorrow & in the joy. I think God and Reese are smiling at that.

NILMDTS is such a special organization--one we would have never known about if I hadn't stumbled upon their link on Angie's blog one day. I never imagined needing to use their services for OUR family just a few weeks later as we lost our daughter, Maggie. In such a devastating, blurry time, those pictures we have of our Maggie Girl are SUCH A GIFT. Everyday.

Thank you for sharing, Katie. And CONGRTULATIONS on that sweet, new baby boy growing in your tummy. What a blessing. Praying for you all, sweet girl.

Love,
Mis

(www.miskamiller.blogspot.com)

Nicole said...

Oh my gosh, katie...I am totally drying at this. YOu wrote it so well. You always have such a way with words. I am sorry you've been holding back tears! We will keep you guys in our prayers and am so happy to be your friend during this time. Let me know if you ever need anything or just a "play date"!!! :)

Sara said...

Thank you for sharing. What a touching article you wrote! You are a beautiful mother to all 3 of your babies!

Brittany said...

That is just so cool!

Your article was beautiful and inspiring! You don't know how I needed to read some inspirational words today! Thank you for posting this! You are so good at posting reminders that God is always with us, and though we may not understand, there is a reason for everything! It is easy for me to tell myself that, but hard for me to always remember that. Reading your words helps me remember.

Tristan said...

Thanks for sharing your sweet baby girl with us.
I just love seeing pictures of her!

Kaz and Amy said...

What an honor for Reese to be in the article! I know this is an everyday struggle for you BUT I see the Lord doing tremendous things in and through your life as a result of this loss.It doesn't make it any easier but know that Reese is in the best place he could ever be! I'm praying for you and I cried as I read your post....To Him be the glory!

amy
www.theprikazskys.com

Lauren said...

Katie,
I have been reading your blog for awhile now and like everyone else what you have written really takes my breath away. It is very touching and I am sure that it will mean so much to so many.
Thank you for sharing.

Sara said...

Amazing! Like always, your writing have a way of making the reader feel like we are sitting across the table from you, hearing the story straight from you. The pictures you have shared of Reese are precious and I know they are a treasure to you. Thank you for openly sharing the photos and the story with us.

Tracychele @ The Week-Ender said...

What a beautifully written piece! I know that any magazine would be happy to publish that and any Photography company would be honored to have you write about them. I am sure they love it. I do. You told the story so wonderfully. There were some small pieces I did not know until just now. I am sure that was hard to write and possibly a little therapeutic also. I know this..they could NOT have picked a better person to write for them. But I am sure they know that, too! Keep your sweet head up! ;)

jenrumley said...

I love you sweet friend and I am so thrilled for you to get to tell Reese's story. I was also glad to hear of your sweet little blessing within and to see the Lord taking us once again to a place of dependence on Him as we carry our little boys together. Looking forward to connecting soon ; )

Jen

Mary said...

Beautiful.

Lindsay said...

That is clearly the most beautiful thing I have ever read! Your words are always so pure, I love reading your blog. And while my heart aches for you, I get such a peaceful feeling. I know I have said that before, but it's so true I thought I'd say it again! :)May God continue to bless you and your family!

Melissa said...

What a wonderful testimony of your faith and a beautiful way to honor Reese. You are such an amazing woman Katie.

Heather said...

Katie- Sweet friend...you did a wonderful job and are a fantastic writer! I loved reading this, even though my heart hurts so much for you and Jason and Zach...and even your sweet baby boy who will miss his big sister. You are such an encouragement to so many....I am proud to call you "Friend" even though we haven't met in person....yet. :)
You should definitely keep writing...you have a gift!

Becky said...

What a beautiful article. I would love to be a volunteer with NILMDTS. What a wonderful ministry. I will be praying for you Katie.

Brandi said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. What a blessing Reese was and still is.

Sara said...

Thanks for that post. I am a photographer and considering volunteering for NILMDTS -- being a mother of two young children, I am so conflicted, wondering if I can handle it. But reading your story really motivates me and I am going to give it a try in Reese's honor.

Sara

Lauren said...

Beautifully written. I smiled so big at the beginning when you said how excited you were that Reese was in a magazine. =)

KatieB. said...

No matter how many times I read Reese's story, it brings me to tears. Your strength is unimaginable and I can see God working through every word you write.

Wendy said...

Wow. Beautiful!!!

Mommarazzi said...

Beautifully written! Your strength is an inspiration.

Sarah said...

I'm so glad Reese's sweet life will be honored in another way! I heard of NILMDTS a while ago and spent about an hour looking through(and yes,crying at some points!)the pictures on their website. They do such wonderful work!

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

thanks for opening your heart to us. it's beautiful to see how God is healing it.

Rikki said...

Can I just tell you how INCREDIBLY significant this story is for me this very day!??? I know I have shared with you several times that I am the social worker for women's services at a hospital nearby where I live - including labor and delivery. We are trying to get a "contract" or agreement or something where I or other staff members can actually call NILMDTS and ask them to come to the hospital or actually give the families their information because at this point, I am told that I cannot give them any information about their services because of conflict of interest. I am compiling stories from patients that have used them and letting our "staff of importance" read them to let them know how influential and important this service is and how it impacts the families forever. We have had families contact them on their own but if they don't already know about them, I can't give them information at this time and I want so badly to get this changed and I am hoping that your story can help me do this. Reese is still changing lives, Katie!!!! What a precious gift! Precious....thanks for sharing

Crystal said...

The piece you wrote is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for continuing to share your story, even though it is so sensitive and personal. I am praying for your family and that precious new life growing inside of you!

Angie said...

How awesome that Reese is featured in a magazine!! Oh my is her name & legacy reaching SO many and what a blessing that is! Your words were just beautiful - way to go!!

Thanks for sharing - love ya girl!!

Taylor said...

All I can say is....I have goosebumps!! So awesome and such an amazing testimony!!

Ann said...

Dear Katie,

God has given you such a gift with words! Thank you for writing.

I'm praying for you, mostly in Psalms, today 57, "I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me."

May your soul continue to take refuge in him.

much love,
Ms. B.

Alex and Jill said...

You have a gift with words, Katie.

Beautiful.

Life with my sweeties said...

Katie,

Your words are always so touching! I often wondered who did your pictures with Reese. She did such a great job. I think it is such a wonderful ministry to hurting families. It should be offered at every hospital! (I work at one in N. Little Rock and I am going to ask about this tomorrow.) God has used you and your sweet baby Reese in such amazing ways!!!
Thinking of you often!!
Melissa

Mindy said...

I am speechless. Your words are amazing.

I am praying for you!

Kimberly said...

Katie- your article was AMAZING! You should write a book one day! Reese's photographer and Co seem like such an amazing service that I had no idea existed. Wow! I loved seeing the Reese picture that we took on the beach in your last post. Reese and your name is always on our lips as Chloe and I say our prayers each night. Hoping and praying that tomorrow is a day filled with love, laughter and smiles.xoxo

Summer said...

That is Awesome you are in a magazine to share Reese's story! What an honor!

I am now wiping off the water works....your story always makes me sob....I heart you my friend and my heart always aches for you when I read your story! Reese is sooo beautiful! It's o.k. to get upset....you need to do that....

I am sooo happy your pregnancy is going well and I can't wait to here what name Jason has picked for your precious little boy!
Z is a doll as always
Have a Happy Thursday
Summer ;0)

Janie said...

Beautiful, sweetheart, just beautiful! Thank you for sharing your sweet memories with us. I know you are so proud of your daughter and all that God is doing through her short life. Because He is still working through her and always will! Love to you all.

Sharon said...

Thanks for your post. I never knew this organization existed. So wonderful that you have these photos which are beautiful. When I read your story it makes me appreciate my son's health and my time with him. Thank you for sharing!

Kara and the Oosterhous Boys said...

Beautiful, heartfelt and God-inspired. An amazing family with a heart for the Lord. Praying for you and your precious family.

Kathy said...

What a beautiful article, it left me in tears.

As always I am inspired by your faith.

Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring me.

Sabrina said...

The words you wrote are so beautiful and touching. Your testimony and Reece's life have strengthened my faith and brought me closer to the Lord. You could have reacted so many different ways to what happened but you chose to trust in God and His tender mercies.
You are an inspiration to me and perfect little Reece is leaving an amazing legacy!!!

Joanna Asbill said...

You did a beautiful job writing the story. After reading your posts about Reese and what her life brought to you and your family, I automatically think "beautiful" when I hear or see Reese's name. I would love to see the article. I may be visiting a friend who just had a new baby girl in Bentonville next week, so I'll look for the magazine if I make it up there.

Courtney said...

Katie,

What a blessing it was that God gave you Reese and what a story he was able to give you tell others so that they might not be afraid to speek about the children that they have lost. You are a strong and beautiful person.

Beth said...

What an amazing testimony! Thank you for continuing to share your story. It is obvious that God is working in and through you. I stand in awe of Him. I continue to pray for and think of you!

Blessings & hugs to you, my friend.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

Beautiful words to go along with precious pictures. Thank You Katie for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

Tears are rolling down my face!! What a beautiful remembrance of your sweet baby girl and a wonderful testiment to your photographer. Praying for you today from Indy!

Robin said...

Katie-
Even though I have known the story, I cried through reading your words about Reese, and I am in awe of how you have chosen to see the grace of God in your journey. You and your family are beautiful in EVERY sense of the word!!

Robin
themosts@cox.net

Sugar said...

This is amazing, Katie.
Wow, a great mom, obviously a wonderful friend to many, a loving wife, AND a gifted writer.
Thanks for sharing with us in the blog world.

Beth Priest said...

You wrote a great article! Yalls family is so sweet. I am praying for you!

Jill said...

Every time I read your story, it brings tears to my eyes with the strength that God has given to you and your family.

run26.2mom said...

Powerful words. "Crying out to GOD softens my heart and cleanses my soul." Thank you for your honesty. That statement alone is amazing.
Peace.

Momofgirls said...

Beautiful.

Dave and Tara Harris said...

Wow, Katie, I found your blog through Joanna Jones-McCord and have fallen in love with Reece. I, too, went to Baylor and graduated nursing school in Dec. '03...as well as my husband, David Harris, from business school in '03. I know you look very familiar and I must have known you from Baylor, but I started reading your blog just the other night while I was at work (I work in the newborn nursery), and I couldn't stop crying, some happy tears and some "reality" tears. I have a 2 year old little girl, but just the though of what yall have gone through makes me in awe of you and your husband. And the truth of it all is how much you trust and lean on God for your strength. It is truly remarkable. Reece IS a beautiful baby....just gorgeous! I am praying for you and just love getting to read about your life and the trials and triumphs. I am sorry for your loss, but also rejoice for the fact that Heaven has another beautiful little angel. And I just know that Jesus is up there with Reece wrapped in His arms in perfect peace, never needing to know what sadness and fear is.

Marci @ All Things Wonderful said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing with us. My heart aches for you. I am blessed as you share your strong faith in our God.

Jen said...

Beautiful! Your article was so well written... it included all of the struggles and sadness but was equally balanced with God's unfailing love, comfort, and support. What a special and precious way to honor Reese and bring glory to God.

I'm praying for you... I ask Mandy for updates about you all the time! Sending you hugs.

Ava said...

Katie,
I enjoy reading your blog and was so excited to read the article this month. How special to share Reese's legacy with others!
Jenny

Fabiola said...

Katie, this article is beautifully written.
Every time I feel I fell of the wagon I remember you and even though you never met, you give me strength.

Thanks!!!

Shady Lady! said...

That is precious Katie!

Kelly said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Carissa said...

therapistHey Katie! I'm not sure if you remember me, but I was in internship class with you one semester! So sorry to hear about the loss of sweet baby Reese. We lost our baby Avery Mae on July 14. She lived 62 days at Arkansas Children's Hospitl. I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you as you heal...there are no perfect words so just know that you have someone else walking by your side as you learn how to live without Reese. Congrts on your new arrival! Email me anytime if there is anything I can do...

carissakeirsey@hotmail.com

Thoughts and prayers always!

Carissa

Design Apprentice said...

Katie, your account of this non profit and your experience brought me chills. You remain in my prayers and I am so looking forward to Zach's new play mate. These two little boys will be able to grow together, while forever cherishing their sister, and that is beautiful.

Beth said...

a beautiful story and testiment..

Renay said...

I stumbled upon your blog from Kelly's Korner and have been reading since Reece's birth. I just got online for the first time today since losing my daughter 1 week ago. She was born at 32 weeks with Trisomy 13. We used NILMDTS also and have wonderful pictures and memories! I am inspired by you and your family that we will have happy times again. Thank you for sharing so much with others!

Lea said...

Katie - I came across your blog from Beth at Safe in this House and have begun to read your story. I am so truly sorry for the loss of your precious daughter. Our stories are similar... we were told very late in our pregnancy with our son, Nicholas that his brain hadn't formed properly (even though we had many u/s, etc that were fine). I had to have emergency surgery at 20 weeks for a large cyst on my ovary... it was removed, baby seemed fine. The only explanation is the loss of blood that I had during/after surgery. That must have compromised his blood and oxygen supply..... so, so hard.

xx

Lea said...

PS. your photos of Reese are stunning.

~Nicole~ said...

I just was able to read this post and it's hard to type thru the tears in my eyes. I found out about NILMDTS after the birth and passing of our son, and I wish I had known of them before. We knew our son would not survive when he was born - and I did not take a camera to the hospital. It was a thought that never crossed my mind when I went into labor. The hospital took one picture, which is framed by my bed. Having no pictures except that one of our sweet boy is one of my biggest regrets. Thank you for sharing. And I love the pictures of Zach and Reese in the big frames in your later post.

 
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