This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.

From this point forward, I’m going to be sharing the text of posts as they were written at the time. Some will come from this blog; others, from our CaringBridge site. I may from time to time write my own reflections after re-reading, but mostly I will just be sharing words as they were written. So much of this journey for me is revisiting what happened, and realizing just how difficult the journey was for us. And now, seeing how far we’ve come since that time.

I really want to catch up with the dates on the calendar, but to do that means I need to double-up my posts even more than I already have. So bear with me as I will post twice a day for a while, in an attempt to get better caught-up. Thanks for your patience. 

From CaringBridge on June 22, written by Travis:

Today has been one of those, well, emotional days for Steph and I. Happy then sad. Numb, then at peace. Up and down. While we know that Sammy has the best gift ever right around the corner, eternal life with Jesus, it is so hard to see her decline each day. It is still hard mourning the “what might have been” thoughts. In light of this, I find my self turning to the Words of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,? declares the LORD, ?plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Odd I know. Big surprise, right, after all its me, Travis! But all kidding aside, God does know His plans for us. And His plan, His will is that each and every one of us will be kept safe and secure in the loving arms of Jesus for all eternity. While our journey in this world will never be perfect, after all, it is a fallen world, we know that the plans that God has in store for us through our Risen and Living Savior Jesus Christ cannot, will not, ever compare to what this world has to offer.

As life seems to fall apart around us at times, losing a second child, or whatever we may be dealing with, it is in these times we become closer to Jesus. It is in these times that we see the power, grace, and mercy of God. In these times we know the meaning and message of Job as he declares that he knows his Redeemer lives and that he (Job) would see Him! We will see Him! It is in the harshness, struggles, and trials of life when we see more plainly, so beautifully the plans of God….life eternal, perfect, in everlasting joy, peace, and worship in Heaven at the feet of Jesus!

So, it has been a hard day. The nurse came today and Sammy continues to get worse; but she is a fighter! We keep telling her its ok, ok to see Jesus; ok to see Jonah her brother. Sammy’s head is very soft due to increased amounts of fluid, swelling, and bone movement. Within those soft spots, are even softer spots forming that could eventually lead to leaks of fluid out of her head. Although the nurse says that it probably will not come to that. At this point as her breathing weakens and pain increases her brain stem will eventually be suppressed and she will fall asleep. With this increased pain, fluid, pressure, and difficulty breathing the hospice doctor is increasing her morphine and beginning regular use of Ativan to keep her more comfortable. Comfortable is good. As that is a blessing to her, our precious Sammy!

Our prayers continue to be, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” It is odd how when Sammy was first born we used to get up and worry that she may not be breathing. Now, we find ourselves waking up and checking to see if her final victory and crown of life in Jesus has come. While we are glad for each moment, memory, and minute we have with Samantha, we look forward to the day she is out of the bonds of this fallen human world into the final plan and victory of Jesus….life eternal, perfect, and beyond all human comprehension with Jesus in Heaven! God bless you all! Thanks for walking this journey with us! You are a blessing to us!

My blog post from June 22, originally titled, “Plugging along”:

Exhaustion is getting thick around here these days. When we sit down at night to write updates on caring bridge, we’re usually asking each other, “what happened today?” Not because nothing happened, but because we are so tired we just can’t remember the events of the previous 12 hours. I’ve gotten messages from people on facebook or email that I’ve basically ignored because I just don’t have the energy to respond. So if you’ve written to me, that’s why I haven’t gotten back to you. I do apologize. I’ve also skipped doing birthday greetings on facebook and commenting on posts, even when I have something to say. I just want to focus on Samantha these days.

I have found myself wishing that I had some talent for writing poetry lately, mostly because I’ve been contemplating some metaphors for this experience. One is related to the mobile that Samantha has on her crib. It’s one she loved at the hospital so much that we bought one for her. It has a wheel that turns with three dangling animals and little sliders that turn around and around while music plays. Whenever we lay her in the crib and start it, I listen to the music until it stops, and I find myself thinking that it is a small picture of our lives right now – I am listening for the music to silence, the light to turn off, the wheel to stop turning. And when it comes, there is an emptiness in the quiet and dark that is palpable.

The other metaphor came when I woke to rain last night. For those of you who live along the Missouri or Mississippi I realize rain would be a dreaded thing, but for us here in Texas, in the midst of a horrible drought, it is beyond welcome. As I heard the rain on the roof, I wondered if today would also be the day that our other waiting would be done. The relief of rain, the relief of heaven paralleled in my mind and I prayed once again for God to rescue our little girl.

I can go a few days without thinking about the reality of our situation in depth, and then all at once it hits me. I went to do a return at Target this weekend, exchanging a baby gift for something we can use long-term*. Because I didn’t have a receipt, the return was more complicated and they told me I could exchange for something in the same department. I teared up as I explained that our baby was dying and we didn’t need anything in the baby department. It was awful.

I never used to be one of those folks who got upset when I saw other people with kids, back in the days when we didn’t think we could get pregnant. Now I see pregnant women and it makes me sad, because they can feel hopeful about their pregnancies. I spent mine with Samantha worrying that I’d lose her in utero, only to now lose her as an infant.

* I struggle a bit with guilt about returning some of the baby gifts to the store for other things. Should we instead return them to the folks who gave them to us? Neither one seems right, but I remember reading in an advice column once that when a gift is given, the recipient can do what they like with it. So I’m going to thank people for the gifts and in the meantime those that are returnable I’ve just taken back (or had my parents do it for me). And the stuff that we’ve used but cannot any longer, or the stuff from my sister that she never got to use has all gotten put into the garage to be dealt with at a later time when I can handle tripping over it and crying over it. Right now I just need to spend time with Samantha.

Next post coming tomorrow.