Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Little Friendly Fun

Last week was full of fun. Mostly because my best friend, Jane, and her family were visiting unexpectedly. 

B was in heaven to see Jack again. And the weather has been so unusually warm that we got to hang at the park on Tuesday. 

The next day was Wednesday. I try and do an hour-long run while B is at school and always make sure I stop and visit my girl. 
I have felt a shift recently in my soul about how I am feeling about life without her here physically. 

Today was the first time I didn't cry at her graveside. 

It's also almost time to get her a permanent headstone. Something I wish I didn't have to do, but we'll figure it out. 

I got to take B to the Spongebob Movie too. 
Oh. My. Gosh. 
We were the only ones in the theater and he kept telling me "thank you", and "you're the best mom ever".

Thursday I spent some time with Jane and our friends before she heads back to Kansas. 
We basically act like we are 80. Eating, playing scrabble, putting clay on our faces that pulsates ....:)
Our faces were so tight, it hurt to smile or laugh. But it felt like a baby's butt afterward. 

Friday night, Bill took me up to Salt Lake overnight. Dinner at Flemings and a hotel stay=perfect. 
The next morning I had a fitness workshop to go to, and finally met my coach Brooke (who I completely forgot to get a pic with 😕). She is just as amazing as I thought she'd be. 

And the workshop was awesome. It left me feeling super motivated about my fitness goals, and also helped me to find what else I'm passionate about, like organ donation, adoption, and working with kids in general.

 I'd love to become an advocate for organ donation. How healing would it be to know that sharing Dru's story may be the reason another child doesn't have to wait so long for a donor?!?

I also met many other wonderful women at the workshop. Some of them have been heroes of mine on Instagram for a long time. 

This girl, Jenny, is a new fave because we have so much in common. She was relatively older when she got serious about fitness. 37 like me. Her boys are the same ages as my boys. And she's an adoptive mom. Not to mention, she looks great. (Shows me my potential ;))

While I was doing my thing, Trey had a practice game in Salt Lake too conveniently, so that's where Bill hung out. It's a new team for Trey and in a highly competitive league. It will be a great opportunity for him. 

His other team, the Tribe, got their uniforms Friday night. They are dedicating their season to Dru, and had a patch made for the sleeves. It's so perfect. 
We finished our week with the Annual Hooper Wii Bowling Tournament at my mom's. This year we added in a little fun dinner creativity a la "Chopped". Each group had 4 ingredients. We made the appetizer, another group made dinner, and a third made dessert. It was a hit. 
Unfortunately Bill stayed home with B because he had a sore throat. 

So this week is starting off with no school for Brevin, and the doctor telling us he has a mild case of RSV. 

So pajamas, movies and video games are all we do. ALL DAY. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Moving Forward

The last 3 months of our lives have been interesting. 

The holidays have come and gone. 

We've celebrated Dru's gotcha day in our own way. 

We've begun a new year. 

We've worked, gone to school. Carried on. 

We've been OK. Probably more OK than I expected us to be without our girl. 

We have cried and missed her and talked about her everyday. 

I think I hit my personal rock bottom on New Year's Eve. But looking back, it was necessary to be able to move forward. 

We have been shown many tender mercies along the way to help us heal. 

Among these tender mercies was a Remebrance Run for Dru that was organized for our family yesterday. This event tipped the scales for me into being better than OK--

Yesterday's run was a celebration of Dru and honestly I didn't know what to expect going into this. But it was amazing and ...HAPPY...and just what I needed. 

I woke up this morning with a feeling of peace that I haven't had since we knew how sick Dru was. It's like I've realized that I can miss her and mourn her, but be joyful at the same time. 

I'm actually grateful for the depth of my lows because my highs are the highest. And there are so many highs in my life--they far outnumber the lows!!!!

I want to move forward appreciating every little thing and soaking up every minute I get with those I love.

 That's what Dru taught me. 

Don't ever feel bad for loving too much, or feeling too much--there's no such thing.  

Friday, November 28, 2014


You know it's really not fair that I have my baby's death certificate before her birth certificate. (Still waiting on the arrival from PA since our adoption finalization). 

Monday, November 24, 2014


Bill and I had to make a lot of choices last week. 

We had to choose our baby's casket, where she would be buried, what she would wear, who would speak and pray,  and the flowers that would make it all beautiful. 

Everyone involved made the whole process as easy as possible, which I will forever be grateful for. 

Next we had to choose the music for the service and pictures for a DVD. 

I will say that all the planning and decision-making made the days fly by without a lot of dwelling on the fact that Dru is gone. 

It's the nights that are hard.

 Bill especially misses her in the evenings, I think because that's when he would spend the most time with her. 

I'm not sleeping that great. I don't think Bill is either. Dru never was a great sleeper so I think we are still on her schedule. And once I'm awake I just replay her last day in my mind over and over. I hope it plays itself out soon. 

One choice we made last week that we were adamant about is that her service was not a funeral. It was a celebration. We refuse to mourn her life. 

She is amazing

She is love

She is an angel

She changed our lives

Those are the things I want to focus on. 

My brother made a DVD with some of our favorite pictures of her and some happy songs that always remind me of her. 
Here are some of the cousins watching it:
We wrapped her in a beautiful blanket made for her by her cousin Addie and our immediate family each placed a memento in her casket with her. My little B gave her a Minnie Mouse and my big boy, Trey, wrote a message only he knows on a baseball. Both so appropriate. 

Then we moved to the chapel for the tribute part of the celebration. Both grandpas did a fantastic job with their talks. 

Bill's niece, Amy, sang Amazing Grace, and it was beautiful. 

Then my best friend, Jane, read Dru a letter from me.

Everyone we loved was here. Including our liver team, some of our favorite nurses and techs, and our social worker from the adoption agency, Hope, who has become such a dear friend. 

Now it was time for the graveside ceremony. I really did not want this part to be sad. I know in my heart that Dru was not in that casket so I didn't want to get all dramatic about her being in the cemetery. 

That's not where she is. So we made the choice to send messages to heaven. 
Everyone who was there got to write a message and attach it to a balloon. Once the grave was dedicated, we released the balloons. 
I loved it. 

Now we have new choices to make. We have to choose how to go on without her  

We will never really be without her. She will always be with us. 

All through this adventure, I have said that we have made a conscious effort to look on the bright side of things. 

We are CHOOSING to still do this. It's hard, yes. But so worth it. 

Being sad or mad and angry does none of us any good. And I feel that emotions like that are not very welcoming to the angel I want to visit often. 

So I choose happy. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Letter From Mom

Dear Dru,

I hope you know how loved you are. It's so easy for me to look back and see how God was preparing us to welcome you into our family. The timing was perfect, the wait was worth it, and the first time your dad and I held you--there was no question that you were our girl. And our life has never been the same since. 

From the very first, you have captured the heart of everyone who saw you. Your smile lights up a room. 

You saved your biggest smiles for your brothers. In fact, Trey was the only one you'd smile for in the beginning. And even on our toughest days, you would still light up when he walked in the room. You didn't miss any of his baseball games if you could help it. 

You loved to watch Brevin play. It didn't matter what he was doing, you kept your eye on him. He would say "Hey Baby Girl" in his cute little voice, and you'd giggle. Your laugh is one of my favorite things. 

But it's your dad that you had wrapped around your finger from the first time he laid eyes on you. And there were tears in his eyes the first time he held you. He likes to tell people that you are his personal angel, that you taught him how to love everyone, that you made him a better person. Silly Boy doesn't realize how great he was to begin with, but loving you brings out the best in all of us and you make it easier for us to show it. You are so blessed to have him for your dad. 

Baby Girl, I miss you so bad, but I have no regrets. I learned so much from you. I've learned to appreciate every little thing and to find joy in my life-no matter what. I love being your mom. I love knowing that it was me who could comfort you and that I got to carry you, and rock you and smother you with love Every. Single. Day. You and I have so many moments together to fill a lifetime, and there are more to come. 

You are the light Baby Girl, and I will look for you in the stars at night and feel you in the sunlight everyday. You will forever be our Little Miss Magic, and because of you, our simple things have become magical. We've learned to take nothing for granted and to not wait on our dreams. 

Your dad and I are often told how lucky you are to have us. Just the opposite is true. We are lucky to have you. YOU have blessed us. You were our gift. 

I am beyond grateful for a Father in Heaven that loved me enough to let me be your mom. I am grateful that He loves me enough to let me be your mom forever. 

We will see you again. In the meantime, keep an eye on us. Help us to keep a smile on our faces just like you did. 

A smile that changed our world. 

Love you forever,

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dru Earns Her Wings

In less than 48 hours we will lay our baby girl to rest. 

I keep reliving her final moments and I don't want to. That's not how I want to remember her. 

I'm hoping that after putting these words out into the universe, that I can focus on our happier times. 

Our last day together was rough. 

It wasn't pretty. 

It wasn't gentle. 

It was so far from what I wanted. 

My first clue that something was wrong was that Dru slept through the night. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that happened in her whole life. She was so tired and her breathing was getting faster and more shallow. 

Dr. Todd was worried too and was checking on her all night. 

By the time morning came, I could see Dru's chest sink in with every breath. The decision was made to move her to PICU to help her breathe. 

We got to ICU and there were so many people in the room. I stood to the side to be out of the way. 

The respiratory therapist tried to put a mask on Dru's face and she screamed and fought it. So they decided to try a bigger canula for her nose that would force more air into her lungs. When they placed it in her nose, her nose started bleeding. I made my way to her to wipe the blood and it didn't seem to help. 

About this time, Bill texted me to say he was at the hospital. He was planning on staying the night so I could go home. He wanted  me to meet him in the cafeteria for lunch. I told him to come up to PICU because I didn't want to leave her. I remember feeling like this wasn't like the last time. This time I'm scared. 

2 minutes later, I saw Bill outside her room. I went to him and cried. Still, the only worry at the moment was her breathing. 

When Bill and I were still outside the room they decided to try to sedate her so they could intubate her. 

Before they could even sedate her, we heard "I need a pulse check" and then the code blue. 

We've been in the hospital for 40 days. We know what a code blue means. 

We were pushed to the side as nurses and doctors came running. 

Running to my baby's room. I've never been so scared in my life. What in the world is happening?!? We were only here to help her breathe easier. 

One of the doctors would walk over every minute or so to keep us updated. Apparently Dru was bleeding from an unknown source and it was coming out of her mouth and nose. They were performing CPR on my baby. The mental image of that is too much to bear. 

Our social worker, Barbie, and nurse coordinator, Holly, came running within 5 minutes after Dru coded. Barbie was by our side and Holly was right in the thick of it. 

They gave her blood, they kept doing chest compressions, I kept thinking she'll pull through. Every 2 minutes they'd stop everything and do a pulse check. It was there, but weak. 

After about 20 minutes, another doctor came over to update us. I heard the words "we're not getting her back"

I lost it. 

Bill lost it. 

It was our own personal hell. 

I couldn't believe that she was gone. All of this fight? To have it end when we were so hopeful. I HATE this disease. 

Dru's heart was still beating slowly when they wrapped her in her own blanket and placed her in my arms. I was blessed to be holding her when her heart beat its last. She was so calm and more comfortable than I'd seen her in weeks. She had her hand curled up against her cheek like she was sleeping.

 Bill and I have never cried so hard  in our whole lives. 

We spent the next hour taking turns holding her. Inspecting her fingers and toes. Her curls. 

Barbie was kind enough to call both our moms so we knew family, our boys, were coming soon. It was time to clean her up.   

Bill and I, as painful as it was, bathed our baby girl and washed her hair. I could never forgive myself if I didn't do this for her. I wanted to wash away all evidence of the traumatic exit she experienced. I wanted so badly to make her pretty for her brothers. 

While we were bathing and dressing her, different members of our liver team came to pay their respects.

 She was so loved. Painful and beautiful all at once. I consider so many people at this hospital as members of our family. 

My parents were the first to come, followed by Bill's mom and dad, who brought our boys. Ouch. 

I told Brevin that Dru was gone to heaven and Trey broke down. He doesn't cry often, but my big strong boy broke down and I love him for it. 

Never has a sister been more loved by her brothers. I ache for my boys. 

We held Dru and loved on her for the next few hours. My sister and brothers came. All had their time to say goodbye. 

It was painful. 

It was awful. 

I hated every minute of it. 

I hated that I could feel her little body getting colder, and I knew it was time to leave her. I kissed her forehead one more time and Bill did the same. Then I laid her  in Barbie's arms and we walked away. 
Ouch again. So so painful. My heart literally aches. How can I go on?

How can I not?

I was blessed (am blessed) to be the mother to the brightest light I have ever witnessed. My girl's smile changed all who knew her. My girl changed Bill from a good man, to the best damn guy I know. My life and attitude are forever changed because of the love I give and the love I receive from this most magical angel. Fly high baby girl. Please come and visit me often ❤️❤️❤️