today was a little harder than last year for me. i'm not quite sure why but it was. when i woke up this morning i began to pray for God's grace to pour out over the day. then my iphone let me know i had a text waiting. it was my sweet and very dear friend, allison. she started my day off with a sweet note remembering ollie's birthday. it means so very much to me when ollie is remembered. then throughout the day people wrote on my facebook remembering ollie. many of those people i thought had probably forgotten him.
many people over the last seven years have asked me what to do for a family who have had a child die. i say the same things every time. 1) be willing to cry with them 2) always call the child by name because a mom's biggest fear is that her child will be forgotten
tonight we celebrated ollie's little life with a family birthday party. ross even made a chocolate cake! once we put the kiddos to bed we began to look through the scrapbook i made of ollie's story.
the day he was born was a whirlwind to us. we talked tonight about how surreal it all seemed. because we weren't expecting to deliver him that evening we did not have our camera with us. ross had to run down to the gift shop to buy a disposable camera. unfortunately that means we did not get any good pictures from his time with us. oh how i am sad over that. i wish i had known about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (an organization of professional photographers who give their services to families like ours and they capture photos of the final moments or moments shortly after the death of a child for families who desire). tonight as we looked at the few pictures we have of our precious little guy i cried over not having a picture i could frame. if any of you know how to use photoshop well and want to take a crack at editing one of our pictures i would be grateful.
i did think that i would share with you my journaling from the scrapbook so you can share that day with us. so just as his little tombstone says "to God be the glory".
I would do it all again. In my 24th week of pregnancy Dr. Gore informed us that our son was suffering from Nonimmune Hydrops Fetalis. This meant that fluid was accumulating throughout his tiny body. At a follow-up appointment with a perinatalogist in Ft. Worth two weeks later we were told that Ollie was in distress and needed to be delivered by cesarean section immediately. As I lay on the operating table with tears in my eyes I told the Lord that Ollie was His gift to me and if it be His will then I would let him go. At 7:56pm, 25 minutes after he was born, Oliver Thomas met Jesus face to face. I have never felt such sadness and such peace in the same moment. Ollie stayed for only a short time but his memory in our hearts will stay for a lifetime.
Once the doctors had done all that they could do for ollie, we were able to finally hold him in our arms. His body was still warm and his fave was still pink. As we held him his little body twitched and when we asked if there was still a chance the nurse told us it was just his muscles starting to relax. the fluid that had been in him was beginning to drip from his sweet nose and mouth. Because of that Ross and I were able to do a parental chore that we never thought we would do for Ollie. We wiped his nose. I am so thankful to have been able to do that for him.
After a while of holding him we bathed him. What I do remember is leaning over and kissing his little hand. His skin was soft on my lips and his hair was strawberry blonde. His second toe was longer than the first and he had a cleft in his chin like me. He was beautiful!
The nurses at the hospital wanted to make a plaster mold of ollie's feet for us so they took him to the nursery for a short time. It was then that many of our friends came to be with us. When the nurse brought ollie back to us my friend Krissy did not walk away. She stood next to me and cried with me and touched his skin. Words cannot express what her actions meant to me that night.
When we had been told that ollie was going to be born that day we had called family immediately. My sister, Keesha, dropped everything to be by our side through whatever outcome we faced. At 11pm she walked in the doors of my hospital room and met her nephew that she had been praying for from the beginning. She held him in her arms like he was one of her own. After our friends had gone and i had been moved to a new room Keesha reminded us to take a picture of Ollie's precious feet. That is one of my most favorite pictures of him!
At 1am Ollie's skin was much cooler and his color had changed from pink to blue and we knew it was time to say goodbye. We each held him and then as the nurse came in to take him I kissed his precious fave one last time. I did not want to say goodbye but I pray that I never forget the way his skin felt on my lips in that moment.
Keesha stayed with us that night. There in that hospital room the three of us did a lot of crying and a lot of laughing! Praise God for laughter! Over the next few days Keesha took care of Henry and our home. She even helped Ross make the funeral arrangements. God sent Ross some angels during those days in the hospital and He sent me one in my sister.
Oliver Thomas Newman, infant son of Mandy and Ross Newman, died Tuesday, March 4, 2003. A graveside service will be at 2:30pm Saturday, March 8. Judd Rumley will officiate. Survivors include his parents; one brother, Henry Jacob Newman; grandparents, Lynda and Larry Newman and Julia and RW Ramey; and great grandparents, Claude Newman, Carol and Alan Robbins and Billie and Bill Windham. Mulkey Mason Jack Schmitz and Son Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
there you have it. there are many other written pieces in his scrapbook. emails i sent out when we first learned of his condition and prognosis, emails from family and friends who were praying for us and cards and letters of sympathy. this book is a treasure i am so very thankful to have and to share with those who have asked to see it. ollie's life has left a legacy farther reaching than what we thought 25 minutes would leave.
thank you, Lord for 27 weeks of carrying ollie and for the 25 minutes of life you gave him. we praise you for the work You have done and continue to do through his little life and we thank you for loving him. would you hold him in your arms until we can? to You be the glory! Amen