Saturday, December 1, 2012

I’ve Held an Angel :: Hazel’s Birth Story

I apologize for the choppiness of this post.  It’s been hard to write much less edit.

Since I was admitted on Sunday I had been having ultrasounds each shift to keep a check on everyone.  I was hooked to a contraction monitor 24/7.  I was NOT being examined because they didn’t want to disturb my cervix and/or cause an infection.  

It was Thursday.  Day 4 of being on bedrest.  I would have laid there for 4 years if it meant saving my babies.  I was still super emotional (who wouldn’t be).   Kristen had brought Ava up to visit.  (I loved that everyone made sure Ava made it to the hospital every day to see me.  It did us both good.)  I was talking to Kristen about some cramping that I was having but there was nothing showing up on the monitor so we just chalked it up to the laxative :( they made me take the day before.  I mentioned it to the nurse a couple of times.  She would adjust the monitor but still nothing ever really would pick up.  By early afternoon the cramping was worse and I again mentioned it to the nurse. She called my doctor.  This is where my heart broke.  My doctor came in to check me.  I honestly don’t know how far I was dialated.  I just remember her asking the nurse to get Kristen (she stepped out with the girls and praise God there were some awesome nurses who stayed with the girls until other family members arrived). My heart sank.  Moments later she was telling me that Hazel was in the birth canal and would be born soon.  After that it was all a blur.  We got in touch with Matt.  I remember Dr. G trying to comfort me.  A family friend was on shift that day but wasn’t my nurse.  She came in and stayed with me.  (Sidenote:  this same nurse was there for Hazel and Hew’s birth and came to the hospital on her off day when Hollyn was born to be with me.)  We waited for Matt to arrive and there was commotion going on as they prepped everything for her entirely too early arrival.  I was in a fog.  One of the first words out of my mouth when Dr. G said she would be born soon was would she make it.  After I heard her answer I pretty much shut down.  I was shaking and crying and all I could do was pray.  For God to intervene.  For peace.  For our family.

Hazel was born a year ago today.  

I put my thumb intentionally next to her foot for sizing purposes.  She was so tiny.
After she was born, the NICU doctor examined her and confirmed that she was just too tiny to make it.  We had about 20 minutes with our sweet, precious second born daughter before God called her home. We held an angel that day.  She was perfect.  10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes.  I couldn’t get over how beautiful she was and how much like Ava she looked.  We spent some much needed time with her and then Matt went and got Ava from the waiting room.  Explaining to a 5 year old that Jesus was coming to get her sister was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.  She was in awe of her little sister.  She held her, hugged her, kissed her.  Seeing Ava love on her baby sister will forever be etched in my mind and on my heart.  Y’all, the faith of a 5 year old is amazing.  We were blessed to have so many of our family members there.   Once we spent some time together we invited everyone in.  They all got to love on our sweet girl.  The nurse came in and said that we could have as much time with her as we wanted but explained to us that whenever we were ready she would come back and take her.  THAT was the hardest thing we’ve ever done.  To decide when to give our daughter over to someone and know we would never see her again on this side of heaven.  We did our best to memorize everything about her.  Kristen was gracious enough to take pictures for us so that we could always have a physical reminder of her beauty.  I will forever be indebted to her for doing one of the hardest things she has had to do.

 Some of the pictures that Kristen took.

Losing Hazel was one of the hardest days of our lives.  I never could have made it through that day (and to today) without Matt and God’s loving hands holding us up.  We knew that God had a plan and that we had to trust that plan.  This was the hardest thing ever.  I had something so precious and dear ripped from me.  But I knew God would see me through.  

Hazel changed me. And God changed my heart through her.   I strive to be a better Mommy because of her.  A better person because of her.  I've learned to praise God in the good times and the bad times.  We aren’t promised tomorrow and I don’t want to take anything for granted.  I praise God for the time I did have with her.  For allowing me to be the Mommy and Matt the Daddy of a little girl who changed so many hearts and lives.  

We had a beautiful Celebration of Life ceremony for her after the holidays.  Planning this service was so hard for us.  We wanted it to be perfect.  It was.  Matt said a few words about her and her short life.  They were beautiful words and I love him so much for speaking during such a difficult time.  Our pastor spoke briefly and a very talented lady from our church sang Steven Curtis Chapman’s With Hope.  (This is where the blog name comes from.) At the end every one sang Jesus Loves Me.  It was a beautiful service full of love. 
Now, here I am a year later and I can talk about Hazel with ease (and I love to talk about her, to share her story and the impact she had on us).  Some days are hard.  Certain situations make my heart ache.  Words hurt sometimes.  But I know that Hazel is in Heaven.  Healed and whole.  My momma heart is eased knowing that she didn’t know pain.  Physical pain.  Emotional pain.  None of it.  I miss her every day but I know she is thriving in heaven with her Maker.   I wonder what she would be like today.  What her personality would be like.  What she would look like.  I will see her again one day.  Until then, I will forever talk of the day I held an angel.

 We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

-excerpt from With Hope

Happy birthday sweet girl!  We love you to the moon and back!

Notice this story doesn’t involve Hew and Hollyn.  Dr. G was giving them the best chance at survival and did everything in her power to prevent their delivery.  I was started on magnesium sulfate and the waiting game started all over again…this time with a piece of my heart missing. 


  1. It was an honor to take the photos for you. I am so glad that you allowed me to stay in the room with you, thank you. I can't find the words to say it any other way. Thank you for allowing me to be by your side. Thank you for letting me love on her, it meant the world to me! You are an amazing woman and I love you so much!

  2. Oh Karmen my heart breaks as I read this. You are an amazing woman and I know will use this experience to touch many lives.

  3. You my Sweet Child, I love you so so much. Your are so Beautiful and Amazing. You have taught me so much. I love you Faith your Love Everything about you. God granted me the privilage to be your Mom and I am so Blessed by you and you Beautiful Sister. God has also Blessed with Matt, Zac, Ava, Amelia, Hazel, Hew and Hollyn. Thank you for sharing yours,Matt and Ava's time with Hazel with us. She is a Beautiful Angel. also etched my Heart and Mind.
    I love you all

  4. You know I don't think I have ever meet a Man as strong as Matt my son in law. He is a wonderful husband and father. I love you

  5. Karmen and Matt,
    My prayers have been and will be with y'all. You both have shown strength and faith that very few possess. Not many can understand what this season of your lives was like, thank God for that. I thank God that you have each other and that you so obviously put God first! Without that, this story could have taken so many different turns. God bless y'all and your family!

    Love y'all!
    Amy McCarty

  6. Oh Karmen, I cried reading this beautiful post. Sharing what you learned and what you gained while losing your precious baby girl.... Thank you for trusting us with your story. (Kristen, beautiful pics. They capture the love and will be precious to your family forever)

  7. I read your comments to Ashleed on Instagram, and them I came here. I am writing from Italy so there's a big distance between us...but my heart is so close to you. Your words are so full of light and hope. My prayers go to you and your family. Love. xxx

  8. My heart is breaking and the tears are streaming, but you are right. You held an angel and will one day see her beautiful face again! Thanks for sharing. Hope you can feel the prayers sent up for you.