Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sweet Friends, Family, and Prayer Warriors,

We wanted to take this time to thank everyone so much for their amazing support. The outpouring of love and prayers has been tremendous and so comforting to us both. We have received countless calls, texts, posts, emails, etc and we just feel so overwhelmed by your graciousness. Thanks to many of you who so sweetly donated to the American Heart Association in memory and honor of our little girl, Rebecca Reese Martin. Thank you to all that have brought food, have sent flowers, planted plants, you are all precious to us. We are beyond grateful for all your kindness. Most of all, thank you so much for all your prayers and for your continued prayers for us, we needed them last week, yesterday, today and we will need them in the days, weeks and months ahead.
We took this past week after delivery to get away for a bit. We had had a vacation planned Wednesday of this past week but moved it up after last weekend and with Doctor's permission. No vacation can soothe our hurting hearts though, but it was nice to get away for a bit and have some time to ourselves to talk, process, completely unplug and pray. The literally constant stream of texts, posts, calls, emails have been what helps keep us going because each time a phone went off, we knew someone was praying for us. We haven't been able to muster up enough to respond to them, and unplugging some this week was good, but we want you to know every text, email, call, post has been read and appreciated more than you can possibly know. This blog, to us, was our best resource to respond to the hundreds of outreaches to us.
My sister has done the last blog updates and kept you all posted the day we delivered sweet Reese. Those are her sweet words below and we are grateful to her for those.
Sadly, I knew I needed to face this screen as well and continue to share our hearts since you so graciously opened yours to us on this journey....
We knew she wasn't well from our 12 week mark, but we had faith that she could be healed and mountains would move. We prayed and prayed. We know you all prayed and prayed. We know our prayers were not in vain. They were heard, as hard as that is to say right now, we do know they were and still are heard.
Last Friday after our apppointment (you can read about below) I was pretty uneasy and it was a long appointment. We were to return on Monday and they had monitored us for hours. Saturday morning I woke up early and for 3 hours didn't feel our sweet girl move. I knew something was wrong. We called our OB and she sent us straight to the Women's Center at Kennestone, and she met us there. I knew before we walked in, that something was not right. Jimmy was so sweet and was trying to be reassuring but we both were devestated, completely devestated when the ultrasound revealed what I had feared most, our little girl's heart had stopped. Her heart was not well, and we knew that but we were trying our best to get her here so she could have surgery. Despite a poor prognosis back in January with a cystic hygroma (that did resolve but still leaves you with a poor prognosis) we really felt we were in the positive side. We had so many people praying. We had faith. We had some positive appointments and were in our third trimester. We never missed an appointment. We were thinking cautiously optimistic. We cried as our Doctor had to confirm our worst fears. She hugged us and cried with us and before we could utter a word told us all we had done for this child was amazing. No matter what she said, we still felt we had let Reese down. I certainly did. I had avoided even the "crazy" things such as hair color, caffeine, deli meat, everything that I remotely heard could be bad, I avoided at all costs and it still wasn't good enough. That broke my heart. Our parents arrived just as Dr Shin had left the room and they were as devestated and heartbroken as the rest of us. We all had so much hope. Shortly after, more family arrived and so did our pastor to pray with us. We were then moved to a delivery room to start the delivery process.
From that afternoon, our room was filled with family and of course nurses, who were the sweetest they could be. I told them this had to be the hardest part of their job. They agreed. We were also told that there were 3 of us on the hall that night. A family at 26 weeks, one at 27 weeks and us at 28 weeks. My heart broken even more, we prayed for those families as well. The medicine started that afternoon to allow my body to start labor, and we were told it would be a long process and that it could even be days. Jimmy was amazing the entire time and we talked a lot about how we felt some peace, or at least we were convincing ourselves that she was well, not struggling and though we'd see her tiny body soon, we knew she was already in the arms of Jesus. And let me tell you, we KNOW that. Fourteen times in scripture Jesus mentions children and states in Matthew 19:14~ "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. " Do these things make it any easier? To be honest, barely. But let me say that is the one thing we haven't questioned this week, we know where Reese is. We felt the peace as we talked about that but we were still so utterly heartbroken.
We prayed it would not be "days" of labor as we were told and that it would be as quick and painfree as possible. The medicine continued throughout the evening and into the early morning with contractions starting shortly, and of course gradually increasing overnight. By 4am I was in a good bit of pain and was given my epidural. By 8am I was ready to deliver, this was a blessing, that things had progressed so quickly from the night before. It all moved so fast from what we had been told to expect. Never once were we stressed or scared, there was a peace in that room. There was sadness of course but we had an overwhelming sense of peace as we started the delivery process. With Jimmy by my side and helping me every step, we delivered our firstborn. Miss Rebecca Reese Martin at 8:47am. She was precious to us, absolutely beautiful. All 1 lbs and 12 ounces of her. She had big feet like both of us and a gorgeous angelic face. We knew she was no longer in pain and hear heart was wholly healed. We held her, loved on her and we kept telling one another "she's not here" in hopes to help us remember where she truly was. We wrapped her in a blanket made by my mom and the family came in after we had had some time with her alone time to just let it all out. Our parents and siblings were there as well as Father Walsh. We had her baptized right there in the delivery room, wrapped in a blanket, and a sweet hat as we held her in our arms. We said prayers for her soul as everyone held her and rejoiced in the fact that we will see her again. Tears were aplenty and our hearts were so hurt. No sugarcoating any of that, it was certainly the hardest day of our lives. After the baptism and prayers, Jimmy & I had more time alone with her and said our goodbyes and prayed over her tiny and precious body as her parents. We thanked God for the opportunity to be her parents. She is ours, and will always be our firstborn, and we love her more than we can express. We had such high hopes of having her here, and that is the hardest part. The moving on, the day by day process. Oh, how I hate the word process. We had this week to reflect, pray and start the grieving process. We are sad beyond words can express, we are disappointed, we are hurt, and we have questioned "why" more times than one can count, but despite all of this and the pain we bear, hear us clear, we feel the prayers. We feel them all. Each and every one. We must, because there is no way to get through this if we didn't. We ask, downright beg of you, to not stop praying for us. There are even harder days ahead and this week has downright been excruciatingly hard, but we know that the Father will see us through. Some ask how we can still have faith, and you know what we do. We absolutely do, we still whole heartedly believe. We have peace that Reese is with the best caretaker of all. As selfishly how much we want her so so badly here on earth with us, we rest in the fact that she will know no earthly fear, sting, evil or pain. I lost a grandmother in October and a grandfather in December and I know she is with them both as well as contless other relatives that have gone before us.
We have had some tough, tough days, hard to get out of bed days, and it's not going to be easy but with each of you and the One that says he will never foresake us, we can face tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. Will it be easy? No, the hardest thing we've ever done. So we again ask for prayer, and your patience and love as we and our families grieve this precious loss. Our sweet little girl forever touched our lives, our marriage and our souls in the wonderful 28 weeks we were able to have, feel and love on her. Thank you dear ones for the most amazing outpouring of Christian love we have ever seen. We are blessed to be surrounded by such Godly people doing such loving and generous acts on our behalf. Bless you all.
And bless you, bless you for opening your hearts into our lives, all three of them. We love you all.

With Much Love, Hope & Faith,
Jennifer & Jimmy


Susan said...

Jennifer & Jimmy--Thank you so much for sharing your journey through this blog. I know your hearts are broken, along with those of all of us who love you and loved Little Reese, even if we never got to meet her. I know her beauty will not be forgotten by you. It's amazing how such a small person can have such a huge impact on so many people.

Through these days of grief and healing, you are an inspiration as you cling to your faith and to the One who understands everything we don't.

You are loved.
Brian, Susan, Abby, & Samantha

Steven said...

It was in 2002 that we walked along a very familiar road much like yours. We went into the doctor for a routine visit when we were told our little boy's heart of 32 weeks was not longer beating. Following much tears and sadness, we went to the hospital and delivered a perfectly formed little boy that weighed 4lbs 2ozs. Even as we held him, we knew he was playing in a garden somewhere in heaven. Now, nearly 10 years later, we have three wonderful boys that daily make us smile.

The road is long, but I remember the words of Job 42:2 - "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.". God has a purpose for your family.

Steven & Dawn Ford

Michelle said...

Jennifer and Jimmy - Jay and I have been praying for your family since the first blog post. Even though Reece is peaceful in heaven, we are so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your journey. It takes so much strength to open your hearts to everyone. We are praying for healing.

Jay and Michelle

lesley foster said...

Jimmy and Jennifer - It really has been a beautiful testimony to Reese's life that you have written here. We of course have been praying for her and you and Jimmy as well for a long time, I have even woken up in the middle of the night a few times and just felt that God must have wanted me to pray for you all (because I NEVER wake up in the middle of the night). This week there has not been an hour that has gone by that I have not prayed for you and Jimmy, you both weigh heavily on my heart. I sooo wanted to meet my sweet little great niece, little Princess Reese, and I understand that we will never fully understand why she did not get to meet us face to face here on earth. But one thing that I am sure of is that what a mother wants to do most is to protect her child from ANY pain whether it is physical pain or emotional pain. I know you already felt this way. It hurts worse to see your child's heart break or to get hurt than if it happened to you. Of course, here on earth, we can't protect our children from pain. Reese will never have to know any pain, just the love and beauty of living in heaven with Jesus. She already knew what love was because she could feel yours and Jimmy's love by just the way she was prayed for and cared for. Of course, our hearts are heavy and tears will continue to be shed because we wanted so much to watch her grow up and experience life with her. God must have loved her so much that he wanted her to bypass any of the pain she would have here on earth and took her straight to heaven where there is no pain, no tears. We look forward to meeting Princess Rebecca Reese Martin one day - until then she will be thought of daily by all of us.

We love you all soo much!
Aunt Mesley, Uncle Goose, Morgan, Zach and Tate

coolercorner said...

Jennifer and Jimmy,

My heart aches for you! Thank you for sharing your journey. Your faith, even during sad and very hard times, has been strong. Please know that I am here for you if you need anything, or need someone to scream at, cry with or share stories together. I love you girl!


Monica said...

Jennifer & Jimmy - I don't have any words to fully express how deeply sorry I am for your loss. But I truly believe that God will will continue to give you the strength to get your through this. Take time to grieve and heal. Always lean to one another.

Monica Dean

HappyascanB said...

I've read this precious letter so many times. There are just no words that adequately describe the hurting of our hearts for you. You, Jennifer, continue to amaze me with your beautiful, unwaivering faith. I praise God for that! Know we love you dearly and are always praying for you.

Molly said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to your daughter - our prayers are with you and we are so sorry for your loss.

Anne Tully said...

Wow. I am speechless, yet my heart feels like it is about to burst. I’m grateful you took the time to write about your experience and have chosen to share your story. It is with a grief that is mixed with gratitude stirring in me that I write this... truly heartbroken, yet thankful the Lord continues to use Reese and you two to minister to others.