Thursday, April 24, 2008

The events of yesterday and today

Hi all. I said I'd write more about yesterday and so here the book goes. I think it was the hardest waking up yesterday knowing that we may need to make a decision and knowing we really didn't want to but also wanting to do the best thing for our sweet girl. We got up to the hospital at 7 a.m. again to spend some time with Emma. This time though they had decided not to take her off sedation since they were going to be doing an echo on her and they wanted to keep her comfortable. It was still a sweet time with her...talking to her and telling her that we loved her so much. You could tell that she could hear us because every once in a while her eyes would blink or move even though they were still closed. The neurologist came in to talk with us about the results of the EEG. They were unchanged from the day before...there looked to be some brain damage, although they couldn't be absolutely certain that it wouldn't change and that over time it could heal. But they were pretty sure that she would have damage that would affect her the rest of her life. Well, we could deal with that...but then they came in to do the echo on her heart. Doctor after doctor came in to study the screen. Jon and I have seen enough of these tests done that even we knew what we were looking at. You could tell that her left side wasn't working at all and then you could just see all these blood clots swirling around in her heart (in her right chamber). It was almost painful to watch. After they were done her pediatric cardiologist came over to talk to us. Dr. Allison (who we like so much and trust so much) told us that there wasn't a miraculous improvement but in fact her heart had gotten much worse. They had done all that they could do. We had prayed the night before that we would have a definite answer as to what we needed to do because we knew this would be the hardest decision that we'd ever have to or want to make and we needed to know that we would never have any regrets as to what decision we made. So...we got our answer. God answered our prayer even though it wasn't what we were hoping for it was still an answer. Emmalee was being called Home. We talked to them about what was going to happen next. We really wanted to hold our baby girl before they took her off the ECMO machine, which they don't like to do since there are so many tubes and wires and the risk of them coming out is quite high. They also don't like the idea of just turning off the machine...usually they take out the caniuls that go into her main arteries which means that she would be dying on the table and we wouldn't be able to be with her since they treat that like major surgery. Well after talking to one of our nurses she told us that she was going to do all she could to let us hold Emmalee as she passed away. So we gathered all the family and she gathered some nurses and then they placed Emmalee into my arms first. What a great feeling to be able to hold your daughter! We just sat there and rocked for a bit and talked and just looked at her pretty little face. Then they help transfer her over to Jon's arms. It's amazing to see your husband be able to hold his little girl for only the second time in his life. We read to her the book we had picked out for her (which we think is her favorite!)'s called "God Gave Us You" was such a special time for us and our whole family. After that we let everyone come around and give her kisses and say good-bye. Our doctor came in to talk to us and make sure we knew what was happening and what was decided. We just had this peace about letting her go. Even though we wanted to hold her more we both looked at each other and said it was time. We also didn't want to take too long because we knew those blood clots were there and we didn't want one of them to break off and go somewhere and cause her any pain...I don't know if I had mentioned it before but her little arms/hands and feet were starting to get a little purple and they said that those were probable bits of clots that had broken off and gone there...we knew we could see those and just think of all the places that they probably had gone and we couldn't see. So while Jon was holding his baby girl they turned off the machine and she was gone...gone up to her Heavenly Father who was waiting for her with open arms. I guess I didn't know that it would happen so fast but Jon felt her go right when they turned off the machine and she did squeeze both of our fingers as almost to say good-bye to us. It brings us comfort that it did happen so fast...we know that it was the machine doing all the work for her...her little heart couldn't do the work it needed to to keep her body alive. After that they took her from us and we went to the waiting room to breath a little and wait for them to sew her up and clean her up. Then they came and got us and when we walked into the room the nurse was holding her all wrapped up and she placed her in my arms. No wires...just Emma. We sat and rocked and kissed her little face. We cried. And we thanked God for the 13 days that we got to spend with her. It was so nice to finally see her the way she was suppose to be. After Jon and I both held her we let everyone else come back in and hold her for the first and last time. It was so special. I just wish they could have held her more...she just fit so right in your arms...perfect. But we needed to let go and say good-bye...when Jon and I were done we left her in the arms of one of her favorite nurses, Lori, who then held her for us until they came to pick her up and take her to the mortuary. It was so comforting knowing that she would be held until then. We then went and packed our stuff up at the Ronald McDonald House and headed home. It was a tough day...long and oh to short all at the same time. Many tears were shed and yet we were comforted by the fact that she is in Heaven and she had her perfect body and perfect heart! And she gets to meet Jesus before we do! When we got home we went up to Valley Grove Church and decided that that's where she'll be buried. We also watched the sun go down and just thanked God for the time we got to have with Emma. Today we went and made some of her funeral arrangements at Kohl's Funeral Home in Faribault. One of my client's husband owns it and we knew he'd do a great job at taking care of our baby girl. After that we went down to Bloom and ordered her flowers...after we told them what we wanted and who it was for they told us that they couldn't let us pay for it...that they would just take care of it. I couldn't believe it! What a blessing! We then picked out her outfit and tried not to cry as I looked at all the pretty clothes that I won't be able to dress her in. I think it hit me harder's not going to be easy but God will get us through. Today was the first day that I didn't get to see my baby...that was hard...I almost wanted to ask to go downstairs (or wherever she was) just to see her. I think that's the hardest part...not seeing her. She was so perfect. And then I think about this summer and how many things we had planned already and how it's going to be different now...but we can already see how much God has blessed us. He blessed us by giving us Emmalee for 13 days...He's blessed us by giving us each other...He's blessed us by knowing that Emmalee blessed so many people in her short life, more people than we will ever know about (until we get to Heaven). We have heard time after time in this short period how lives have been touched just by our little girl. This blog alone has touched us by all the messages you guys have left for us. We said it throughout Emmalee's journey...God is good all the time and we cling to that and know it's true. We will be able to get through this with His help and we are so grateful that He gave us so many wonderful memories of Emma that we will always hold close in our hearts. Emmalee is healed now and we miss her but we know we have the assurance that we will be able to see her again and hold her again because we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and He promises us that we will live in Heaven with Him someday if we confess our sins and give our lives over to Him. I am so thankful for that and I am thankful for all of you who helped us pray for our little sweet girl. Thank you for all you did for us and for all the kind words you had for us. You will never know how much they truly meant. Emmalee's service will be at Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Lakeville, MN (10685 210th Street West). We will have a visitation from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. and a service at 5 p.m. There will be refreshments from 2:30 - 4:30. And then we will have her internment at 7 p.m. down at Valley Grove Cemetery (right outside of Nerstrand). Please continue to pray for us as we face these next few days, weeks, and months ahead of us. We know they won't be easy but God is good all the time and we will get through this. This won't be the last blog update...we'll keep you up to date on what's going on and how we are doing. Thanks so much for caring about us! For those of you who would like to attend Emma's service but can't we are going to try to post clips of her service on here so be looking for that. Also they had a professional photographer come and take some pictures of Emma her last day and so when we get those we'll share some with you all. Again thank you all so much. Emma is Home and we rejoice in her healing. We love you all!
Jon, Ali and Emmalee

P.S. Make sure you all hug and kiss your kids tonight! And enjoy every minute with them!


Anonymous said...

Ali & Jon,
We just want to thank you for allowing us to be with you and Emmalee yesterday. Matt and I have talked about how very special the day was. We will never forget the time we spent with your sweet girl. Although Emma was only here for 13 days, she has left an imprint on our hearts that will last forever. We love you both and we are so thankful that we have the assurance that your sweet girl received her miracle and is now fully healed, living in Heaven.
Matt and Chris

Anonymous said...

I'm crying with you and will continue to keep you all in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Emmalee's life with us through this journal. I know I'm forever touched by her. Love, Sheri

Anonymous said...

Jon & Ali,

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I wish we could be there to hug you and cry with you in person. You've been in my thoughts and prayers all day. Kevin and I will be sending flowers to the church since we can't be there in person. You're blog is Emmalee's legacy. The ladies at our church, Heritage Christian Fellowship, wanted me to let you know that they have been praying for you and will continue to do so. Your little girl has touched so many people. We love you.

Kevin & Candie Evavold

Jonathan, Amanda & Luke said...

Ali and Jon,
I wanted to share with you my devotions from today out of "Our Daily Bread." I couldn't believe how much it reminded me of Emmalee. It was so encouraging to read and think of your precious daughter. The Scripture was from 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 and then the text included a description of dying by Henry van Dyke which says, "I am standing at the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud, just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other....And just at the moment when someone at my side says: 'There, she is gone!' there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: 'Here she comes!' And that is dying." I couldn't help but cry as I read that, picturing those of us here on earth weeping and saying, "There Emmalee goes, she's gone", while the angels in heaven are rejoicing saying, "She's here! She's here!" I want nothing more than to be there on Saturday. It breaks my heart that I cannot be. Know that both Jonathan and I will be praying for you not only for the coming days, but the weeks, months, and years that follow.

Anonymous said...

I lift up your family in prayer to our Lord and ask that He put his comforting arms around you both. The word picture you paint of the last moments with Emmalee is both heartwrenching and uplifting all at once....I am constantly amazed at your courage through it all. I love the thought of Emmalee running in Heaven and am sure that she will be a shining star in the night sky to you. Here in Bartlesville, OK we want you to know our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you in the difficult days ahead.
Blessings, Tricia Richards

Angie said...

Im sitting here crying along with you guys. Thank you for being so faithful to God, it speaks volumes to your character and to the character of God. I love you guys so much, and I am hurting so much for you guys. I can't wait to hug you guys in person. Love you.

Anonymous said...

My dearest Jon and Ali...Our thoughts and prayers have continually been with you through this journey...and will continue in the days ahead. My prayer these last days has been that you would experience the same "peace that passes all understanding" as we did when our Elana went to be with Jesus....and through your posting, it is evident that He was faithful in giving you this gift of peace...and it is because He possesses your hearts. I know my mom and dad will enjoy getting to know their great granddaughter...and Elana will take her swinging! We love you and will be here for you in the days ahead. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 Love, Uncle Doug and Aunt Suzi

Jennifer Dowdy (Sharp) said...

Ali and Jon,
It's amazing how close I feel to you and baby Emmalee. You're right when you say Emmalee has touched so many lives already. It's amazing how God can use everyone! Even baby Emmalee! You have a beautiful story you've been sharing with us. I read what you write over and over while I pray for you. You are amazing parents. Remember God always promised he would never give us more than we could bear. I really wish I could be there with you tomorrow and give you a big hug and cry with you. It's been a long time since we've seen each other :)Just remember, God will bless you again someday because of your faith and strength you've found in him. The other day my little one was staring at the ceiling at church smiling, as if he could see someone there. I've decided that babies can see angels, and the angels they see are the other little babies that are going to Heaven. Mason wasn't crying, he was smiling because he knows how great it is to live with Jesus before he came to Earth. I even bet our little ones knew eachother :)It's fun to think about anyway. Emmalee is so happy right now even though you're hurting. Try to remember when our babies are happy, we should be happy too :) Love you both! I'll be praying for you tomorrow as you face the day.

In Him,
Jennifer Dowdy (Sharp)

Anonymous said...

Ali and Jon,

I'm sitting here at my desk at work crying my eyes out as I read of your faithfulness and your love for your sweet girl. I know I shared with you how your faithfulness has impacted Philip and I, but know that our army we had praying for your family has also been so impacted. We've shed many tears, on your behalf, with people who have never met you. They love you and will continue to pray for you. Ali I want so much to hug you and cry with you and tell you it's all going to be okay. I love you. We wish we could be at the funeral...our thoughts and prayers will be with you. We love you two! We celebrated Emma being in heaven with the sunset that night. It was beautiful out here. It had rained all day and was completely cloudy I didn't know if we would see the sunset. God opened the clouds and painted Emma a beautiful picture. We'll get you those pictures as soon as possible.


The Harris' said...

Jon & Ali,
We just wanted to thank you for sharing little Emmalee with us all through this site. We are so amazed by your witness of faith and wish for you the peace that your precious little one is feeling now in the arms of our Lord. Oh the warmth and love of being wrapped in those arms. Just know that we are all still praying for you and loving you. If you need anything at all please don't hesitate to come knocking on our door. (Day or Night, anytime) We know that you have family right here in town, but we want to be here for you too.
In Christ,
John, Amy, and Jolee

Anonymous said...

Jon & Ali,
Oh, how my heart goes out to you. We are all heavy hearted today. You have demonstrated what it takes to be great parents. Having faith, strength and love are all a part of it. Here is a verse of a poem that made me think of you:

When tomorrow starts without me, Don't think we're far apart. For every time you think of me, I'm right here, in your heart.

Jon, Ali & Emmalee, you are in our thoughts and prayers for the days and months to come.

Steve, Juellia, Marissa & Rylee

Anonymous said...

Jon and Ali,
As I sit here at my computer crying, my little Kathryn started to cry too, like she could feel the pain of losing your precious sweetie. She was truly beautiful, as are both of you. I can't help but think of how many people you have witnessed to through this ordeal and how many you have brought (or brought back) to Jesus through your tremendous trust in him. When I stopped crying and went out to the kitchen, the first song I heard when I turned on the radio was FFH's Ready to Fly--"I'm ready to fly,ready to soar, ready to spread my wings into the sky. I think it's time, I'm ready to fly." I thought of Emma soaring to heaven to the arms of her Eternal Father. She was a beautiful blessing and will always be with you. Thank you for sharing her life with all of us. She was a gift. I continue to hold you both in my prayers through the days to come.
God bless you always!

Anne Fredrickson

Carrie Hansen said...

I don't know you guys, but I was friends with Brittney Watts back in college and found out about your little girl from her blog. I can't say how much your story has impacted me and my faith. It's so encouraging to see you two trust in the Lord amidst such a difficult time for you and your family, and that you know that your baby is in His arms and is perfect and happy forever now. Thank you for sharing your story with the world and like you said, Emma's life of only 13 short days has and will affect so many people that you don't even know about. May God bless you for your faith in Him and continue to bring you peace and joy knowing that He is good and in control of all. :) I will be praying for you and your family.
-Carrie from Northfield, MN

Anonymous said...

Oh Ali and Jon,
Thank you for letting us know about what is happening in your lives right now. Here are some things I know - life isn't fair. As soon as a couple finds out they are expecting, they make plans, share dreams and think of life after baby. I was touched to read that in the grief only you can share right now with each other, you realize that you will not only grieve for the loss of your sweet little Emma but also all the dreams and thoughts and plans you had for your baby's life. It is so good that you have so many friends and such deep relationships - people who will come along side and walk a while with you. This blog of yours, printed on paper, will become priceless to you and it journals your Emma's life. And God has already used your faith and her little life to touch countless of us. I love you so much - know that you are in my prayers and will be constantly tomorrow while I feel so badly not being able to come give you a hug. Hold on dear friends - hold on the the hand of the One who loves you the most and has provided a way for you and Emma to reunite one day.
muce love always, mary g

Karen & Chad said...

As I am reading your last post I am wearing the Wild Posse IWU sweatshirt and snotting all over the sleeve. I am sending it your way, girl (after I wash it of course).
Know that tomorrow Jennie, Kellie, Danielle and I are right there with you...praying for you both!
I love you!

J & D Freed said...

Ali & Jon
That was beautiful. What a meaningful and sweet goodbye to your little miss. I can't wait to see more pictures and see just how beautiful I'm sure she are amazing and loving parents to Emmalee and faithfully strong children to our Lord! I'm so proud of you and so overwhelmed for you. You are wonderful parents. John and I and the rest of the Wild posse and MANY other friends we know are praying for you and touched by your faithfulness.
You're wonderful.
Our prayers are all over you as you celebrate Emmalees short life..sweet baby girl...
Love you so

Anonymous said...

Jon and Ali,

I think it seems like even the skies above are crying for you. It is a time to draw close to each other and be surrounded by those that love you.
You will always have your little angel.
Carrie, Charlie and Parker

Anonymous said...

Jon and Ali,
You dont know me, but i go to Trinity Evangelical Free Church and Pastor Don told us about Emma's story. It truly touched me. Our whole congergation prayedfor your family. I will continue to pray for your family and may God give you strength in the coming days, weeks months and years. God bless you and be with you.
In Christ
Alyssa McGinley