Monday, October 31, 2011

Halle Berry Fairy

Happy Halloween from our Halle Berry that costume??  She has her Nana to thank!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Now I Lay me Down To Sleep

I would like to tell you about the extraordinary care we received at the hospital when I delivered Elliott.  My Doctor (Dr. K) was not on call that early morning, but....another of her associates (Dr. M) was there to meet us in Labor and Delivery Triage.  He was kind, informative and sensitive to our situation. We needed that.  I asked a lot of questions.....can I have an epidural?  I've never delivered a baby...what would this be like??  He explained that I was dilated to almost three and Elliott's little foot was already coming down.  We knew from our appointment at the University of Washington just two days earlier that our little Elliott was not viable.  They would not be able to use life-saving measures for him after he was delivered...we would have needed to wait until he was at least 23 ideally 24 weeks gestation....he was only 19 weeks.  For health reasons this was not an option for us.  Keeping my cervix open for four, possibly five weeks was just not going to happen.....the risk of infection was too great and with E's little foot coming down that would also cause many problems.  I think it was at the moment that I truly chose to cling to my Jesus.  A sense of calm came over me.  I knew that without my Jesus I could not do this. When I asked Dr. M how long this would take he thought I would deliver on Friday.  That was a FULL day away from where we were.  I didn't like that idea too much.  Waiting to deliver a baby who is full term that you will bring home with you is one thing...knowing you'll be waiting that long to deliver your baby that is moving on to heaven is another.  

We got all checked into our room and I had all the standard care....IV inserted, blood pressure taken -- let's talk about this.  Can I tell you how much I don't like those automatic blood pressure taker things??  I'm sure there's a technical term for them.  But, let me tell you when you are in the midst of labor and this thing is taking your blood pressure automatically every 15's not too fun.  It literally squeezes your arm so very tight and you have to remember to straighten your arm just so they can take it.  Crazy!  Anyhoo...My guess is at this time I was probably having contractions....just not feeling them.  The Dr.'s explained that when your uterus is this small you can't feel them and they don't register on their monitor. HMMM.  Aaron literally fell onto the extra "Daddy" sleeping bed and began lightly snoring.  I could not for the life of me sleep.  I know it was adrenaline and everything else going through my mind.  I prayed....laid still and felt Elliott still moving in me....I was thanking Jesus for Elliott and his life....I was praying for my husband.  He is such a sensitive, loving big Teddy Bear.  I knew this would crush him.  

This is where I will tell you about our nurses...Catharine & Lauren.  Such sweet, caring, kind women.  They were with me for the entire day.  They have 12 hour shifts so from 7am-7pm these two cared for me.  They answered more questions for me and explained what it would really be like to deliver our sweet Elliott.  I signed a consent form for an everything would be ready when the time came.  They encouraged us to celebrate Elliott's life, to hold him, take pictures and rejoice that we had a little boy.  They told us about "Now I Lay me Down to Sleep".  An organization that volunteers to come in and take pictures of babies that go on to live with our Jesus in heaven.  We didn't want to take pictures ourselves...that would have been just too hard.  But, to have someone else come in and professionally take pictures of our Elliott would be so special.  We would cherish those FOREVER.  Catharine & Lauren also explained that an organization called "Mary Madeline Project" makes gowns for babies from donated wedding dresses.....not only do they make gowns, but...blankets as well.  When Elliott is born, they would bathe him and put him in one of these gowns.  Precious.Perfect.Special WOW!  What an amazing gift. 

At 4:50pm on Thursday, October 13, 2011 I gave birth to our son Elliott Aamodt Benner.  He weighed 10.4 oz and was 9 1/2" long.  He was perfect.  He had all his fingers and toes, long legs and big feet....and the thing that will stick with me forever...his sweet button nose.  Even now I can picture it!  I'm so glad.  From day one this little guy was a huge surprise and he certainly didn't disappoint with his delivery.  Dr. K was in another room and Catharine knew I was getting close....she had run out to get my Dr. as I was bleeding a bit too much for their liking.  It was then that Elliott decided to make his appearance.  Catharine delivered Elliott.  Daddy and I cried and cried.  What a tremendous journey this had been.  It was at this point that I knew I could weep and rest in Jesus' loving arms with my husband.  I had done my job as a Mommy.  I had delivered my sweet boy.  Catharine, Lauren & Dr. K looked over Elliott, wrapped him up and presented him to me.  Aaron and I marveled at this little guy created by our Jesus.  Elliott was bathed and put in a gown with a sweet yellow and cream blanket wrapped around him.  The photographer came to take pictures of our sweet boy.  I can't wait to see those.  Amy Van, came to spend some time with me as Aaron took a breather and went to get us some real food.  Amy, thank you for loving on my sweet boy.  For not being afraid to help place that sweet hat upon his head.  That blessed me so much as Elliott's Mommy. 

I would be forgetting something if I did not also thank, Alisa my night nurse & Michelle who was with me the next day.  Incredible.  Thank you Pastor Kurt for coming to see us on this extraordinary day.  And our dear friend Sean Taylor for coming to support my husband.  We love you both so is sometimes not comfortable to be in a situation like this with people you love.  Kurt & Sean we will never forget what you did for us that day!

Phew...this is a marathon post.  If you are still with me....bless you!!  The video above tells just one story of a family touched by "Now I Lay me Down to Sleep".  As I watched this I can so identify with the photographer, Jessica.  Elliott was here.  I will never forget him.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


When Aaron picked me up from the hospital the day after giving birth to Elliott....I walked out of "Labor and Delivery" proudly carrying Elliott's memory box.  It is filled with lots of reminders of him.  His hand and footprints, a sweet, sweet card from the nurses, a small blue teddy bear and now it holds his ultrasound pictures and our hospital bracelets.  Lots and lots of memories in there.  I was thankful for our sweet nurse Michelle who lead us down the hallway and opened the door as we left.  I walked outside with my husband on that sunshiney day and got into our car.  Let me tell you about my husband.  He is a man of few words.  The words he says are profound and have much, much meaning. means the world to him.  Jesus first, his family and then definitely music.  He had prepared for this trip home by having Chris Tomlin's CD "All to Us" in the ready.  Oh does this CD minister.  If you don't have it...get it.  On our drive home the song above "Faithful" came on.  We both sat with tears streaming down our faces as we worshipped our King.  Thanking him for being so faithful to us even in this situation.  We knew without a shadow of a doubt that we needed to have this played at Elliott's service.  And we did.  Now, fast forward to a week later.  Halle and I are driving to a pick up my Mom to attend a volleyball game of our cousin....this CD is still playing in our car and I'm sure it will be for many more days to come.  "Faithful" comes on....Hal listens to about two bars and then says, "Mommy, we sing this at church"...."Yes, Sweet girl, we sang it at Elliott's you remember?  Uncle Joel played his guitar and Miss Becky sang?"....."Yes" she says, "Let's sing it again"....and so we did FIVE more times. Our girl also has passion for music like her Daddy.  She knows what she wants to listen to and will ALWAYS make that known.  What a healing moment this was for me.  Our sweet big sister singing the song that means so much to her Daddy and I.  I will gladly sing that song with her......ONE HUNDRED more times if that's what she wants. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

A jumbled mess....

That's me today.  a.big.jumbled.mess.  I'm happy one minute when my sweet Halle girl climbs in my lap while I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor and quietly says "I love you Mom"....I'm sad, so sad while I sit here smelling the beautiful flowers that were given to us upon Elliott's passing.  I can't quite keep it together.  I'm crabby when I remember someone telling me "Next time you just need a cerclage!" Seriously??  That would not fix that fact that I have had three previous miscarriages prior to 8 weeks.   I'm afraid I'm going to forget Elliott, I'm afraid we'll never again have enough money to adopt another child because frankly, I can not have this happen to me again.  There is only so much one can take both physically and emotionally.  I feel as though my body is broken because I have been unable to carry a baby to full term and my heart right now has a big tear in it....I did not ask to be a member of this club.  Who would want to??  No one.  I know my Jesus did not make this happen.  Because I know this He and I have been talking lately about this very thing.  Why would he allow me to get pregnant if this was to happen??  I'm really having a hard time wrapping my brain around this. I'm remembering how it felt to have Elliott moving in me and how happy I was to wear maternity clothes and talk to my friends about actually being pregnant for longer than 6 weeks.  I know this is so much to process in such a short time.  It's only been a little over a week.  But, again I'm that girl.  The one who likes to have a plan....likes to have the whole story.  Where do we go from here??  I'm looking to my Jesus to provide me with answers that I need.  I know, I know...I may never have a definite answer to some of my very hard questions.

We are overwhelmed in a very good way with all the love, support, prayers and encouragement we have been getting from all our friends and family.  Our church and friends have provided endless meals, goodies and even a bottle of wine (Thanks TenKley's!)....we have eaten more sugar over the last week than we did in over 5 months!  The Facebook messages I have received from friends have literally carried me through some rough patches.  I have connected with girls that had the very same thing happen to them.  And for that I am truly grateful.  Just typing this post is starting to make me feel better.  I need to process.  I have been reading Angie Smith's blog again...back to her old posts about her dear, sweet Audrey.  And I ordered her book from Amazon today.  I also ordered "Heaven is for Real" for kids.  I have read the one for adults and I thought this might be helpful for Halle.  She is asking all kinds of questions about heaven and her baby brother being there. She asked us on Friday before Elliott's service so matter of factly, "What is heaven?"  Aaron and I just looked at each other and did our very best to give her a few answers.  I told her we would tell her more when she was a little bit older.  So friends & family, this is how we're doing.  Good some days and bad on other's.  Please continue to pray for us.  We'll take all the prayers we can get!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My words....

This will be read at Elliott's service tomorrow, I wanted to share it with you all --

On July 8 I learned I was pregnant.  After three miscarriages, infertility treatments and the adoption of our sweet Halle girl, Jesus had blessed us once again…with a miracle.  Cautiously, Aaron and I entered into this new journey.  From day one our Elliott was always a child of Jesus.  Every time I would have a bump in the pregnancy I would pray, “Jesus, this is your baby.  Your gift you gave to us. YOU are in control”.  Countless times I prayed this very same prayer….when Satan was trying to steal my joy I was pressing into Jesus.  Aaron and I picked out names for our baby….each of us secretly praying that we would have a little boy to carry on the name’s of two very important people in our families who had gone on to be with Jesus.  Elliott Aamodt Benner.  What a strong, courageous name to give you.  One that is deep in tradition….one that your Grampie Davis carried as well as your Great-Grandpa Davis…the other that your Daddy was given, your cousin & your Great Grandpa Craner.  When we found out you were a boy your Daddy and I rejoiced!  We were so excited to see who you would look like…what color of hair you would have….would you have short legs like Daddy, or maybe longer like Mommy’s side of the family?  Our joy was short-lived as just three days later we got to meet you sweet Elliott…. Four months too soon. Now you are in heaven with Jesus, your Grampie & Great-Grandpa Craner.  We know they are taking such good care of you there!! 

I know many of you, like countless other’s I have talked with this past week, are wondering how I could do this.  How can a Mommy give birth to a son she will not see on this side of heaven?  My dear friends and family I will tell you.  The answer is simple….it’s one you should all know…Jesus.  He sustained me through Elliott’s delivery and is still doing the very same thing right now.  I’m not saying I don’t have rough days or moments.  I cry, Aaron comforts me and talks me through these moments.  We pray. We worship. We hug on our Halle girl.  And yes…we even eat ice cream and chocolate together.  But, we know without a shadow of a doubt this did not happen because of something Aaron, Halle or I did.  We know that our Jesus does not promise a world without trials and tribulations.  We know that only through HIM we can endure the loss of yet another child.  We know we will see our sweet Elliott again.  Jesus knows Elliott.  We know Jesus.  Elliott will always be a part of our lives.  We want to talk about him and tell you what he looked like with his tiny button nose & long legs and feet.  We want to share with others how Jesus gave Elliott to us as a precious gift. One that will never be taken for granted.  So friends and family this is not “good-bye”, but thankfully, “see you later”.  Until we meet Elliott in heaven one day!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One week

One week ago today I was still in bed, confined to bed rest with sweet Elliott still moving around in my belly.  I was anxious, sad and very unsure of what would happen to our sweet little boy.  The day before I had started bleeding and had once again made an appointment with my Dr. to check things out.  One ultrasound later I was sent home with progesterone and a very short (less than 1 cm) cervix....put on bed rest and awaiting an appointment at the University of Washington Medical Center with a Perinatologist.  I'm a girl who likes the WHOLE story, I don't want Doctor's to mince their words and make them sound good.  I wanted to know where we stood....what were the chances of this little boy making it to full term.  My sweet Doctor could only say she was very worried.  The news at the U of W was encouraging and my cervix showed it was longer (2.5 cm), placenta was almost touching my cervix...this most likely, was the cause for the bleeding.  I was sent home on pelvic rest and would be seen today, October 18 for a follow-up appointment at the U of W. Today instead, I'm home with a marginally flat belly, "Mommy" b**bs (as my dear sweet Dena calls them) and the promise that one day I will again see our sweet Elliott Aamodt in heaven.  We did not ask for this.  Jesus did not "make this happen" because of something Aaron, Halle or I had done.  We do not know why my cervix that was looking so promising decided to open up and dilate to three upon my admit to the hospital on early Thursday morning.  We only know that Jesus does not promise a world without trials and tribulations.  We know that only through HIM can we make it through the loss of another child.  We know where Elliott is.  We held him....we saw his sweet, sweet fingers and toes and the cutest button nose you have ever seen.  His life, though short lived is very precious indeed.  Jesus knows Elliott.  And we know Jesus.  Be patient with me as I pour out our experience on this blog.  I need this and I think you all do as well.  I pray that through Elliott's short life people will come to know our Jesus and the peace only He can bring.  Can I share with you a portion of scripture my husband handed to me this morning?  This really does sum up how we are feeling.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness.  We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.  That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us.  As it is, there's not much chance of that.  You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at.  We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.  What they did  to Jesus they do to us-trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us-he lives!  Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us.  While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best! 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (Message)