Monday, July 20, 2009

Jillian's Story

Jillian Grace Lansink was born on July 14, 2009 at 9:40am. I heard the nurses say "she's out" and the next sound was one of the best sounds I have ever heard-----she cried! Not a lot, but she let out a few good cries, I knew she was still with us. The nurses got her cleaned up and handed her to Adam, then he showed me our beautiful daughter. It was love at first sight. She looked so cute, and tiny. We had Father and our parents waiting in the hallway to have her baptized right away. We also had Dr. Veltri get the girls for us right away, as we weren't sure how much time we had---but at this point, we knew she was still with us, and wanted to make sure Ellie and Malia got to meet their new little sister. They held her and gave her lots of kisses---she fit perfectly into our little family.

After I was ready, they placed Jillian in my arms and wheeled us to our room, where all of our family was patiently waiting to meet little Jillian as well. She was greeted by all of her great-grandparents, aunts and uncles--what a lucky little girl to be surrounded by so much love. I was also getting quite anxious to know her weight, so the nurses gave her a quick bath, and weighed her, she weighed in at 4 pounds 15 ounces! I was happy---we were expecting 5 pounds, so you really can't get much closer of an estimate! It was hard for me at this point, as I couldn't sit up, so I really couldn't help with her bath or get her dressed, but knew she was in good hands. They put on her little pink and green Jillian layette with her matching hat with the pretty bow---she looked beautiful---and so stylish of course. :)

Jillian spent the next hours in the arms of everyone that loved her----she wasn't put down the entire time she was with us. We never got to see her eyes, I kept hoping she would take a peek at us just once, and she tried, but never got a chance to see them. She also had a FULL head of black hair. It is so funny, as I always say how I give birth to my kids, but they never look like me, and I think little Jillian did look like me. Long black hair---it was so cute. Knowing she had Anencephaly, there are a lot of unknowns, and the extent of her defect was one we would not know until she was born, and we were so happy to learn that her head was completely covered with skin and dark hair, there was only a small opening in the back of her head that was open, so not as severe as it could have been I guess. She also made some "cooing" sounds and was a little yawner! She was constantly having big yawns! A few hours after she was born, we also decided to try feeding her with a syringe. She struggled with it at first, but after a couple times, she was taking some and swallowing it. We were pretty excited about that. I didn't want my baby to be hungry!

As night approached, a lot of our family had left, I was exhausted from being sick all day, and not getting any sleep, and so was Adam. My dad said he would stay for awhile so Adam and I could try to get a little sleep. Adam was able to get a little nap in, but as much as I tried, I just couldn't fall asleep. I was too scared if I did, I would wake up and she would be gone. So I told dad I would take her, so Jillian and I got to spend all night together. When Adam woke up about 3 or so, he fed her one last time, she was struggling a lot more this time. We had the nurse come and check her heart rate and lungs again, and her heart was still strong at 120(which is what it had been all day) and her lungs were clear. Adam and spent the next couple hours sitting together holding her, watching her make her little funny faces, and watching her big yawns! She also had started to throw up a couple times in the night, so we thought we better stop the feeding for a bit to see if it continued.

Sometime around maybe 6 am---she started to make some really cute sounds, some we hadn't heard before, she was blowing little bubbles, and then she let out a couple big cries...something we had not heard since the minute she was born. And I happened to get all of this on video---as we thought it was so cute to hear her and watch her blowing her bubbles.

At about 7:15 am, Adam was holding Jillian in the chair right next to my bed, and the nurse came in to check me and to take my catheter out, and Adam said Jillian wasn't moving anymore. The nurse immediately took Jillian over to the couch and checked her heart...she said it was barely there and we only had a few minutes left with her. We were so upset, knowing this was coming, but we weren't ready to let her go. She handed her to me and I held her close giving lots and hugs and kisses. Adam called our parents right away and told them to get to the hospital as soon as possible....we especially wanted Ellie and Malia there before Jillian was gone. The nurse came back and check again, Jillian was still with us, but her heart was very faint. My mom got the girls to the hospital, they got to hug and kiss her one last time and the nurse said she was gone. We knew this moment was coming----but NOTHING can prepare you for how much it hurts to hear it. So at 7:35am----22 hours after she entered this world, she was in Heaven.

We would never have expected that we would get that much time with her, so we are so blessed that we got almost an entire day with our precious little girl. All she knew was love, wrapped in every one's arms all day...and that is exactly what we wanted.

A side note----While in the hospital, my mom ran into someone (that I know too) that asked her what she was doing at the hospital---she went on to tell this woman that we had Jillian, and that she had passed on....the response from this person was "Well, I always wanted to know why they continued with the pregnancy knowing the outcome" Obviously, my mom was shocked this woman would say this, and say it to the face of a grieving grandma-----and when I was told she said this I was at first very angry---that some people are that heartless? But to answer her question---why did we continue with the pregnancy? How could we not?????? She is our little girl in every way, and just because she had a defect that was not going to allow her to be with us for long, why on Earth would we have chosen anything different? Yes, the last 6 months have been tough, knowing the outcome, but I am so blessed we did know.....we had time to plan everything, I got to enjoy the last 6 months of feeling her kicks, and hiccups---and loved every minute of it!!!! I would not have changed anything. We got 22 wonderful hours with our little girl, I know it isn't long, but to us, it is something we will never forget, we got to meet her, love her, kiss her, hug her, see her cute little face, toes, fingers---and we got to share her with our family----so I guess I am just still shocked someone asked that, but I guess we made the right choice for us, and do not care what anyone else thinks-----we are blessed, and even thought our hearts are breaking right now, and I wish I was sitting her holding her instead of typing this, it is our story, and wouldn't change anything.

.....More of the story to continue later, that is enough for one day.....


Sheryl said...

She was a beautiful little girl - I wish she could've been with you longer; but I am happy for you and your whole family that you were able to spend 22 hours with her. I know you made the right choice!!
Take care and know that there are lots of people sending prayers and good wishes your way -

Connie said...

Speaking from experience people will say ignorant things that you just shake your head at, but know that you are an inspiration to me and many other mothers out there. You are a strong person and your courage is something that I admire. Jillian is a part of your family and your life will be forever changed because of her. Noah's death was so unexpected and so sudden, but I feel so blessed to have had him for 7 weeks than to never have had him at all. God chose you to be her mommy because He knew you would love her with all your heart. You are a great mommy and I pray that I can be half as good of a mother to Maya and Jadyn as you are with your three girls.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Misty said...

I am still baffled at people and the words that flow from their mouths. One thing I know for sure is, no one will ever understand if they have not been through it. They don't have the blessing of meeting a perfect soul who is perfect and mighty and indescribable in every way. Isaac truly showed up, at his birth, himself and with an army of angels. Nothing, at that moment, could have been more perfect, and I will never, for as long as I live, regret the decision to give life to my boy. Forget the others that try to tell you different.

Christi said...

Wow, some people!! God chose you to have Jillian, for a reason, every child is a GIFT from God. Why some don't get it?!? I am so happy you chose to share her story and pictures with all of us. Both the maternity pictures and pictures of Jillian are wonderful. I am very excited to hear that all of your family was able to meet her, what an beautiful gift! I am beyond words when it comes to how amazing you have been through this journey. *HUGS* and *LOVE*!

Josie said...

I know who you're talking about and I'm embarrassed and saddened. I hope you know that this is no reflection on my thoughts.

Trisha Larson said...

Thank you for this update. I've been prayin' for your family and wondering how you are doing.

I loved the pics of Jillian last week. She is so cute! I didn't have time to prepare for Nate's death. He had a long road but a 90% survival rate. I wish that I knew that his death was imminent so that I could have enjoyed every moment like you did. I think that part is a gift. I hope that you do too.

Hugs and prayers from CA.


ps please feel free to email me if you ever need to vent or want to talk. I WILL be there for you without judgement.

Chris, Abby, Ayden, Elliott & Ashley said...

Oh, how we miss that dear sweet baby! We are so happy and overjoyed that we got to spend that time loving her while she was in our arms! Some people are ignorant and their is unfortunatly nothing we can do...we know and believe you did the right thing! We love you!

Amy said...

I can't believe some people! You did the right thing becoming a Mommy and Daddy to Jillian. Even though she was taken so soon - she is still and will always be your baby and you'll always be her Mommy and Daddy and to chose to not to be would have been awful but what you and Adam did was amazing. You two really are the strongest people I know. Jillian was absolutely beautiful! I'm so glad you got so many wonderful pictures of her to remember her by always.
Still praying and thinking of you every minute.

Much Love~

Holly said...

Thank you so much for sharing some of Jillian's story. I loved reading it. I felt like I was almost there. I could feel the love through your words. I am so, so happy that you got 22 wonderful hours with her. It just makes my heart smile that you got to hear her cry and coo and even see her blow bubbles. I'm glad Ellie and Malia got to see Jillian before she left his earth.

It sounds like she had soo much hair!! :) Wow, that's so rare to have that much skin and hair but I'm glad that it was. I'm sure that would be easier to see than a larger opening.

I am so sorry for the things that people say. How very inconsiderate!!! Always remember that there are those of us out here that know exactly why you carried Jillian and we support you 100%! Our babies are so very special and very much wanted and loved!


Andrew & Lisa said...

Jillian was absolutely beautiful! We miss her, so I can't even imagine what you're feeling... You are so strong and an inspiration, just remember it's okay to have rough moments and feel sad. You have so many who love you and we are here for support, but even that can't take away the pain. The day was absolutely perfect, and we are honored you let everyone share in the precious moments with your little angel. I'm sure she knows how many people showered her with love.

Candi Ladwig said...

I loved reading her story! Thank you for sharing. I hope you aren't letting that person effect you. You had a perfect day with Jillian, which is more than many... you are blessed to be her mommy!

Andi said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! I am so happy for you to have had 22 hours with your sweet girl!