Saturday, September 10, 2011

Haynes Family Update

Hello out there from the Haynes Fam.  First, I just want to thank you so much to those who have tried to keep in touch with us despite the fact we have just moved a century backwards with technology.  We are without internet, house phone and are now using prepaid wireless.  You would be surprised how much money we are saving. 

Anyhow, we are doing okay.  We have moved into a season where there are more good days than bad, but our hearts will always wish we had our son here doing life with us.  I have to say that God is faithful.  In the begining of this journey I remember asking God why he was going to take my son from me.  He told me two things, no he promised me two things.  First, he promised me that he was going to use this loss to establish Destiny's faith in him more firmly.  Second, he promised he would resurrect a dead man from within my husband.  (Honey, I hope you don't mind me sharing this.)

I am begining to see the start of what he is doing in Destiny.  She has more questions about God and Faith than she ever has before.  She is still trying to understand why God would allow something like this to happen, but it is this very question that is leading her deeper into relationship with our God.  She has become more patient, and more giving of herself.  This is a miracle in itself, simply because she has now entered adolsence. 

If you are a parent of a middle schooler you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If you'd like to pray along with our family for Destiny and the work God is doing in her then we ask that you pray for her to have wisdom, and to stand up boldly for Christ no matter what pressures surround her.

The second promise is being answered as well.  I have seen my husband grow leeps and bounds in his faith, despite the struggle we are walking in the midst of great loss.  He is leading us in doing devotions together in the mornings and at night.  He is clinging to God and trying to gain more understanding of his own faith and his savior all at the same time.  God is moving mountains in his life, and all I can do is be greatful and watch the mighty work of our awesome God.

As for the rest of the crew.  Lexi is doing well, although she does have some anxiety for the safety of her siblings ever since David Allen passed.  She is not having nightmares anymore which is huge progress. 

Andrew is walking through the anxiety part of mourning as well.  It surprised me to see him greiving and mourning as much as he has been.  It is amazing how much a two year old can understand. 

Joshua, well, he is Joshua.  He was too young to understand any of what went on.  He is a force to be reconded with, but he doesn't know it yet.  He is kind of like one of those giant-sized dogs that thinks he is a chihuahua.

And mommy, how is the mommy.  The mommy is reaffirming her faith everyday.  I am so grieved by not having my son with me.  Yet, I see God's goodness and mercy and grace in it all.  Clinging to the promises of God, I breath in and out, and slowly put one foot in front of the other.  I know that his plan is better than anything I could have come up with.  With my broken heart in hand, I will follow him.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Death Changes Things

The death of someone we love, stops us in our tracks.
photo by: Jacqui Janetzko

It has caused me to question everything I thought I knew. It caused me to question my God, my personal faith, and everything around me.

Death is something that can test whether or not we really believe what we say we believe.

At times, it has even caused me to ask myself "What do I actually believe?" "Can I find a scripture to back that up?"
I like that it is causing me to delve deep into the Word of God, the research I am doing on Heaven is quite exhausting, but I am seeing the word more in depth.  I am clinging to God, and every promise I know to be true, and quite honestly I am looking for promises that I may have missed or do not yet know of.

I want to know what life is like now for David Allen.  I want to know if he knows how much I loved him and wanted him to stay.  I want to know if he knew how much this family wanted to do life with him.  Will he know that he changed my life forever? Will he know that he awoke so much passion for The Word in me?  Will God tell him?

photo by: Jacqui Janetzko

I don't have the answers to any of these questions.  If I find any of them I will be sure to share them all with the rest of you, don't worry.  One thing I do know is this.  God has known me from before the beginning of this life and he is constantly reminding me of that.

Since I was a little girl, as young as twelve maybe even younger, I have always wanted to be a wife and a mother.  When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up that is what I told them, until someone busted my bubble and informed me that the question was referring to what job I would like to do to make money.

Right along with knowing that I wanted to be a wife and a mother, I also knew my greatest fear was to lose a child.  I remember being very young and playing mommy with baby dolls and thinking of how sad it would be for a real mom to lose a real child.  That fear has plagued me for most of my days even long before I ever became a mother.  Then I did become a mother and the fear of losing a child gripped me in ways that I never understood.  The very thought of losing a child would bring me to tears in seconds.  I never knew anyone that experienced this kind of loss when I was young, so I have no idea where this fear ever came from, but I know that it has been very real all of my life.

I  thought about this for a long time two or three days ago.  As heartbroken that I am about David Allen, I do believe that God has given me a bolder faith since his death.  You see, David Allen is the second child that I lost.  Not many people are aware that our son Joshua had a twin.  We lost the other baby at seven weeks gestation.  Now I know that some people will not understand how a loss that early in pregnancy can affect a mother, but trust me it does.  There was another child, my child in the womb and I never got to meet her (I believe God revealed to me that it was a girl).  Of course there was more of a bond with David Allen because we did get to know him much more than the other child we lost, but it was still a loss.

As strange as all this is for me to say, I have two children that are dead.  Those words are so harsh but it is the truth. Two of my children are dead in this life.  Now I do believe that they are alive and with The Lord, but in this life I will know nothing else of them ever.  Yet, I am okay.  I don't mean that I don't mourn, oh Lord how I mourn.  I don't mean that I don't miss them, my empty arms ache for them.  My heart longs to know what would have been, and my human nature begs God to let me experience something of them while I wait to go home and be with them.  What I do mean is that I am okay mentally, I am not sinking into a deep sea of depression, I am not struggling with what is reality and what isn't.  Somehow in the midst of my grief I am still able to hear what the Lord is saying to me.  Somehow I know that his purpose is better than mine even if it hurts.

My faith is bolder now.  I feel like God took the biggest fear my heart and head have ever known and threw it into the depths of hell.  You see, if I could come through the loss of two of my children, then is there really anything that I can't do with my God?  The answer of course is no, and now I know that.  The irony in it all is haven't I known that all along?  I mean doesn't scripture say, "If God is for me then who can be against me" and "In God I trust and am not afraid, what can man do to me", and again God tells us "through Christ who strengthens me I can do ALL things."  Of course I have known these verses for years, but there is a difference between knowing something in your head and knowing something in your heart.  I believe it is the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge is the information and wisdom is what you do with it.  Wisdom for me looks like living more boldly for Christ.

Seriously, what can the enemy do to me.  What's the worst that he can do?  Death, isn't that the worst.  Death is his biggest weapon against us right?  And what is the result of death, Going to be with my sweet Jesus and meeting the child I never got to meet and holding my sweet baby David Allen again.  So again, I say with boldness, "God I trust in you and I will live more boldly for you everyday because WHAT CAN THE ENEMY DO TO ME?"  I AM YOURS!  

My dear sweet David Allen, it is because of you I am bolder in my faith.

photo by: Jacqui Janetzko

Please know your life had so much purpose.  Thank you for teaching me unconditional love, deeper faith, and how to stand strong in the face of Satan and say you can take anything from me in this life except my love for God, and my destination in eternity.  David Allen, I miss you and I will think of you everyday until I get to hold you again and thank you for helping me to feel deeper, laugh harder, enjoy more and drink of God more deeply.  I love you son.
photo by: Jacqui Janetzko

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sail Away

At David’s funeral I walked up to a microphone, looked down at what I was about to say and went into a surreal shock.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this”

My mind is not quit right, my heart skips a beat, the tears stream down my face - then dry up, but I am still whaling with the mute button on.
I can’t eat, can’t sleep…then all I want to do is just eat and sleep.

This earth, this world, this life – such a mystery to me.

Overwhelmed with emotions, then numb from head to toe.
Back and forth goes the boat as the waves flow.
So Beautiful, So Perfect

Today was amazing – then today hurt like hell. Hell is the last place I want to be. My focus is above.
Please Lord don’t let me fall, my oh my, how I miss my son.

I have so many reasons to count myself blessed. I truly am a BLESSED fellow. Here’s a few examples:

I never knew what lightning felt like, til the day I held the hand of the woman I now call my wife.

I always wanted a daughter – and God gave me two.

I longed for a son – I now crawl through our house with two little cowboys on my back.

I always wanted a big family – we now drive the swagger wagon (thanks Brittany) because standard size can’t hold us down.

I wanted to give my heart to a faith-based business – CEO of the Salt & Light, Co. 3 years strong.

I’m a home owner, I have a Saddie-dog, a car dubbed “The Tank” to get me from A to B, and an amazing family to greet me when I get home from a long day at work.

My son is in heaven at peace.

Yet, I can think of nothing – nothing else other then the day I held that 5 pound baby boy, with hair so curly. All I want to do is run back to that hospital and scoop him up again. I would rock him and explain to him what ESPN was, how a quarterback had 90,000 people read a bible verse on Saturdays just down the street, then I’d teach him how to pull back when you feel a tug on that fishing pole.
My son David Allen
Why, Lord is this such a painful mystery to me.

If I know that I know, he is with you, and I know that I know, you will get us through this time. Why God, can’t I see? My heart and soul cry out to you to please calm my sea.

Be my Prov 18:10, my 2 Samuel 22:3, my Rev 22:16, the John 6:48, you are the Rev 1:8, tattoo me with Jeremiah 29:11, be the Psalms 119:105, and give me Acts 1:8 and the boldness of 1 Sam 17:32, so that I may be the Matt 5:13-16. Oh father hear me now –
Psalms 51:10-12 (the message) 10 God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. 11 Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. 12 Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! In Jesus Name I pray, Amen, and Amen, and Amen

Through an amazing blessing from my coworkers and family at Charles Perry Partners (,
I get to take down the "post-it" note that sticks to our family’s white board – a goal/bucket list item.
I get to take my family to Disney for the 4th of July.

This weekend I’m looking for calming seas, and when I steer us home,
I will be praying for “a fresh wind in my sails.”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Heavy Coats

Grief is like a heavy coat.  You can take a coat off and put it on.  The heaviness of grief comes and goes.  Sometimes it comes on so strong that it physically feels like wearing a heavy floor length fur coat in ninety-eight degree weather.


Today is like that for me.  The lump in my throat has grown so big I can barely swallow, and my breathing is very calculated.  My heart is broken like I've never experienced, and while I know it's okay to cry, I have four children with me all day.  It hurts them to see their mommy cry and I can't just cry everyday all day.  If I really let go that's what I would do, at least for two or three days at a time.

This loss is overwhelming, and there are many aspects of this grieving process that continue to catch me off guard.  One thing that I really didn't expect was that I would constantly feel the need to check on my son. Then in the midst of wanting to peek in on him I realize that there is only an empty bassinet.  No baby, no crying, no need for a feeding or a diaper change, just the heaviness of loss and an empty bassinet are what we have to peek in on.

David's life here on earth fits into a photo album and two small boxes.  Two small boxes of the things that were his during his short stay with us.  It's almost too much to bare.

I called Shands today to see if we could get his ashes yet, and she said they weren't ready.  All I could think of was why are they taking so long to get my son to me.  I know it may seem ridiculous but I just want what's left of my son to be at home.  It's the only part of him I get to bring home from the hospital, and the thought of leaving my son there the day we were released has stabbed like a knife everyday since his birth and death
Initially this blog was to help us get our thoughts out and to let our friends and family stay updated on where we were at in this journey.  At some point later the purpose became to encourage others.  Today, this journal entry is completely selfish.  My heart is broken and I keep looking for relief from the heaviness of the coat that I am wearing.  I thought this might help me feel as though I have taken the coat of grief off, even if only for a minute.  The truth is though, that I know this will never be made right in this lifetime, and there will be no true relief until I get to see my son again.  How long this life has begun to seem.

My prayer for today is that God helps me to remember to breath despite the heavy feeling that is over me, and that he would give me the peace that surpasses all understanding.  That the peace would change the coat I am wearing from a heavy fur coat into a light windbreaker perfect to wear while feeling a heavenly breeze embrace me.  Lord, I know it's only another drop in the bucket for you but God please hear my cry, and tell my son I miss and love him.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Healing and Joy

It's 4:30am, the newspaper article just came out.
I'm reliving each memory, the sights and sounds of David's birth. I'm trying to experience Joy, but the pain is deep.  

I then read "You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy." John 16:20 (NLT)

And I realize how blessed I am - just to have been his Dad.  This is all fresh in my mind, because I got to celebrate Father's Day today.  My kids gathered around me at the table.  I opened my homemade card and unwrapped my new wallet with little photobooth pictures hidden inside.

This was epic.  Then it hit me.  I just want to be a great Dad.

No matter how long my "dash" is (1980-20XX) I want my kids to remember me by the unconditional love I give to them.  This is a tall order, but I am up for the challenge.

I started processing through how I can make a memory vault to showcase all of our great memories.  I thought of how much this blog has helped me.  So, I created a little site for my kids to go watch, read, and see not just "the good times with dear ole Dad", but to hopefully see growth in their Father as an individual, and as a Christ Follower.

Here's to you hard-working Dads everywhere, Happy Belated Father's Day.
Epic Life of a Dad

Saturday, June 25, 2011

David's Story

Jacqui's Video:
photo by: Jacqui Janetzko

We have had some members of the media follow our son's journey.  The above link is the story that was written in the Gainesville Sun about David.

"Lord, please let your light shine bright.  Allow people to see his beautiful life, and not focus on his death.
In Jesus' Mighty Name, Amen" My Daily Prayer - AH

Friday, June 24, 2011

Missing Pieces

Lexi (our 9 yr old) "he's like a piece to our puzzle that we are missing"

Our home is never a quiet place, but we still know when there are missing pieces.
This season is ending - no more belly painting, awesome nannies, or great photography.

Here's to you, extraordinary pieces - you will be missed.

The Haynes Fam

The Memory Montage

The next couple blogs are pages from my journal that I want to keep as a part of the journey to remember.

Today I came home from work, crash landed in blankets and pillows and pushed play.  This would mark the 27..hundredth time I watched his memorial video. At the end, I touched the triangle button again and a voice began to sing "It's like a storm..."

The memory montage plays in my head...
Heather: "We're Pregnant!...Again"
Doc: "Yep, He's all Boy." 
"There's his hands..."
Me: "Trisomy 18? So what does this mean?"
Heather: "Feel Him, He's coming toward your voice..."

The part when he's suppose to cry...

Me: "He's so beautiful" "You're so perfect"
Thoughts: "Come on breathe, baby, breathe..."
His Bath.
Our Prayer.
Saying Goodbye.

"Thank you all for coming to honor our son..."

Then I hear the song begin to end - I look up at the video just as I did when I snuck away from everyone at his funeral, to watch it again. My goodness.  He was "this close" Just 1 month, 4 days. ::knife blade::

Psalms 132:1 "1 Lord, remember David
      and all that he suffered."(NLT)

I just know I will fall asleep tonight with the comfort of Jeremiah 29:11 that's tattooed on my life.

The Celebration Service

I wanted to put this up so that when I look back through this blog of our journey I will have this with me, forever.  Also, for our dear friends who weren't able to attend.

Greetings: (I walked Heather to her seat, then to the podium. Wind came out of my sail. I couldn't speak-at all.) I looked down at my journal, tried to look up and greet everyone, but I couldn't find a soul to make eye contact with. ::long pause:: "whew, I cant believe I'm up here doing this." (big lump) I could not say one word.  Then I prayed "Lord, please get me through this.  I need your peace."

Okay, here we go "I want to thank each of you for coming today to honor the life of our son." My goodness that was hard.  That's a heck of a sentence to say.

I prayed over us and the service, then my brother Allen came up and sang a song he had written. Allen "I'm honored that Aaron and Heather wanted me to do this, because I don't sing, nor play the guitar very well."  It was perfect from where I was sitting.

Then I stepped back up "Trisomy 18: Chromosomes come in pairs, in the case of T-18 the 18th chromosome is a set of 3.  Many people are more familiar with Trisomy 21, more commonly called Down Syndrome."

"The education and awareness in the medical field, is today, where down syndrome was 30 years ago." "I am on a mission to speed up that learning curve."

"The percentages are very staggering of Trisomy 18 children that survive, which is why they dub the syndrome "incompatible with life".  Thirty years ago, when few knew what down syndrome was, a child was given the chance to live.  Today, somewhere out there that man works at a local grocery store.  None would say he was "incompatible with life".

So what happens to the children that do survive?
At this very moment there is a mother of a two and a half year old, who is speaking to state representatives about her child's disability qualifications.  This child qualifies because of his disability, but in the state of florida, if you are a hard working citizen, with a child that has a disability, this child may not qualify for social security or medicaid because "you earn too much money". The at-home nursing care that is needed for this child is only provided through medicaid."
So what can we do? Pray for the Trisomy Community, Pray for the families that go and speak to med students, pray for those that go before local government representatives. And always remember, a life is a life, is a life."

Then Heather introduced our son. Heather "He wanted to be acknowledged, he was very strong-willed, he loved to snuggle with his umbilical cord, he loved hearing mommy read stories and sing, he would have been a binky baby, he knew the sound of his daddy's voice and responded, he loved ice cream and cheesecake, he hated when mommy ate ice, he got hiccups at 9pm every night, he loved when daddy would paint mommy's belly, he loved it when his big brother Andrew would talk to him throughout the day, his mere presence in our lives brought joy, hope, a deeper faith, and a better understanding of unconditional love.   He taught us to believe in miracles.  Thank you God for allowing us to be his family for eight wonderful months."

Then our girls spoke about David.

Then I closed "David's story is not about a child that didn't make it into this world.  His story is a story of Hope no matter what the diagnosis.  David has certainly out lived his life.  He has shown me to never give up, to believe in miracles, treasure each moment, and make every day matter."

"All the sadness and pain comes from my selfishness. All the peace and comfort comes from the one who breathed life into this child.  David's story does not end today. Thank you"

After the service we had a dedicated balloon release.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Hardest Days Yet

The  days since our sons life celebration service have been the hardest.  These days have been harder than the days of our sons passing and the two weeks that followed.  It's the finality of it all that hurts I think.  We are trying to reconcile between holding on to whatever we can of our son, and the proof that he existed in this life, and continuing on in life ourselves.
I am so wrought with the guilt of not cramming every possible life experience that I wanted to have with my son during his short stay here on this earth that I could have.  I know that no matter how much I could have crammed into his eight months I would never feel it was enough.  Still I wish I could have done more.
My heart aches so much.  I am trying to discern the difference between extreme sadness and depression.  I am sure that at this point I am not experiencing depression, but I am having a hard time knowing the difference.  I am clinging to God with every fiber of my being.  I am asking that he shows me some significant miracle or heart change in me, my children, my husband, someone, somewhere! I need a miracle. 
I keep asking God everyday to allow me to have visions of my son in heaven, or at very least let me dream of it.  You see my only hope to ever see my son again, is to go to heaven, but I would like for God to remind me that he is there. 
As my body returns to it's prepregnant state, my heart breaks a little more.  It's as if the physical signs of Baby David's life are slowly fading away, and that is painful.  I miss my son, God I miss my son. 
As you all who are reading this think of my family, please pray for us.  We need it, and we need to see God in real tangilble ways as we process through the hardest thing we have ever faced.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Waiting for the Sunset

Heather and I keep taking turns being alone in our bedroom, looking at the photos of our beautiful son. The depths we have reached on both ends of sadness and peace, have been the most intense this week.

I am struggling right now to prepare the words I am to speak on Thursday.  I see myself standing there, but not being able to say a word, just staring at his photo.  Every time I see this image of myself, I close my eyes and pray for peace. 

I am also struggling because my video editing software has completely crashed.  I was going to prepare David's memorial video today and will not be able to do so now.

This is a big time hurt for me. It was going to be a therapeutic process.  Anytime I make a short film for clients, the emotions of their event comes over me like I'm there with them. So I just knew this was going to be a good thing for me.  I have to think that God was somehow taking this from me, for some reason I haven't figured out yet.   Nonetheless, very painful.

The only way I can describe what is happening to me right now, is to visualize the beach.  The waves are the pain as they come crashing in, then fade out into the sea.  It feels like that.  The beach itself is very calming.  The children around are laughing and playing.  And off in the distance I see the sun setting.  

Is this service closure? No. It's more like the sunset to a long, stormy day at the beach.  The next day I'll wake up again with an emptiness in my arms. A longing to hold him, just one more time. I'll pray for comfort and strength and then I'll smile when my kids say "are you okay".   And on that next day, I'll look up to the sky and hope for clear skies and a bright sunny day.  

My goodness how I miss him.  Preparing for his service is definitely a struggle.  Really hoping for the rapture to happen before Thursday. When did that guy predict for that again???


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Celebration Service is set

Today, I finally had to face what I had been putting off since week 19. This was when the doctor told us we should prepare for his death, even before we celebrated his life.  I just couldn't do that.
We got to celebrate his birth and now it was time for me to face this reality.

I was so emotional driving to this place.  I kept wanting to drive back home and not deal with these details.  However, when I arrived the staff at the funeral home treated me like family, and they truly made me feel like I was coming home.  They were so accommodating and compassionate.

As we began speaking about David, I said "Trisomy" and one of the associates eyes filled up.  You see, she shared with me that she had lost two children in 1999 and 2000 to Trisomy.  We immediately began discussing the medical field's knowledge of this lethal syndrome.  I prayed for this woman.
Another person's story of why Trisomy Awareness is so important.

As I was leaving we had hugs all around.  God again had his hand over this encounter.

We will be celebrating David on June 16th at 12:10pm, the time he was born to heaven.

In Lieu of Flowers we ask that you contact us on how you can donate to our dear friend's Trisomy Medical Care Expenses. Please read more about Trisomy expenses, if you are led.
click this link: 2 year old Sweet Baby Caleb

Tangible Hugs

Photo taken by: Lacy Basford! Divine Appointment! Bless you!!!
Last night we ventured out of the house for the first time since the hospital. We were blessed to have each one of our children create stuffed animals in memory of baby David.  What a tangible way to remember him and be comforted.  This was such a therapeutic time for our family.  

I present to you...our bear family:

Baby David's Bear
(with audio of David's Heartbeat at the touch of a paw)

Andrew's Gator Bear
(Heather picked this shirt our for David to wear home if he was too small.)

Joshua's (Reminds us of Allen)

Destiny's (she has a yellow belt in tae kwon do)

Lexi's (because he was pretty cool and had big feet)

 This healing moment was provided by the greatest company to work for in Gainesville!!! -
Charles Perry Partners, Inc.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Empty Arms

My "mommy's heart" is broken.  I have played every moment of the pregnancy and delivery over and over in my mind.  I know that it is not my fault that my son passed, yet I have overwhelming guilt as I try to figure out what I could have done differently or better.
I should have read to him in my tummy more, I should have sang to him more.  After his birth I should have held him longer.  I was afraid to because the signs of death were starting to worsen with each passing minute, but I should have held him longer.  I didn't kiss his face enough, I didn't take enough pregnancy pictures.  I let myself get sick, I took a bath that might have been too hot.
The truth is I know none of these things took my sons life or made it any shorter or would have made it any longer if done differently.  But I still can't help feeling like I failed him in some - or many ways.
I don't understand how God works, but I know that he has to bring some big miracles out of this or I will always feel like he took my son for no reason.  So God, I am shouting and begging of you to show me some great miracles that come from this.  Please God, please!

My arms are empty in a way that will never be filled, and my heart has been shattered beyond anything that I have ever felt before.  I am a Christ follower and I believe everything that is in the Bible.  I know that my son is in heaven because God gave me a vision of him being received by Maw-Maw and Jesus. I know that he is made whole and that his heavenly body is perfect, I know he didn't suffer, and I know I never saw him in pain or having to fight for his life.

While there is small comfort in these truths, it does not make it hurt any less, I will never get to hold my sons hand, and I will never feel his warm body on my chest as I sleep, and I will never get to rock him until he finally stops fighting sleep.  I will never hear his cry or know what color his eyes were.  My aching for David Allen will never go away or be completely healed in this life time.

No trite saying, or bible scripture is going to fix this broken place inside of me.  I know that day by day dealing with the reality of it all is suppose to get easier, but right now it all just hurts.  I will not cheer up to make others feel more comfortable being around me. I am walking through the worst experience of my life, and I am expecting that it is going to feel like it, and honestly I know that it's probably going to make it uncomfortable for some people to be around me.  I wish I could say that I am sorry about that, but the truth is what kind of mother would I be if I didn't grieve the life of my beautiful child.  So please have mercy and grace on my family as we walk through the biggest hurt we have ever faced.

To my dear David Allen,
Mommy loved you more than words could ever express.  Thank you for eight wonderful months of being your mother.  Please know I really did do everything I could and I was all for you.  My heart will be complete only when I get to heaven and get to embrace you.

To the God I love but will never fully understand,
Thank you so much for allowing me to see my son with so much life inside of him.  Thank you so much for choosing me to be David Allen Haynes mommy!  Occasionally please allow me glimpses of him with you in heaven.  Often please remind me of all the times I did have with him so I am not consumed by the grief of all I didn't get to share with him.  Please tell him everyday that I love him and miss him and would so rather be holding him instead of his empty blanket.  Please don't let me get lost in the grief.  God I love you and I trust you, and I need you now more than ever!  Please show up big!!


The Road Home

I knew all the statistics.  I read every diagnosis.  Every time, I walked out of that office - I prepared to bring my son home.  Ready for him to join the crowd.  

I prepared his space just days before.  He has a baby blue wall, his boxing gloves ready for the fight, and an empty frame that reads "Announcing..." 

It was so hard, so foreign, pulling the car up to the valet area on that very windy day.  
This time I didn't have to figure out another new car seat or seat belt configuration, I just picked up my wife.  

On the way home, I caught myself doubling back to make sure he was breathing, just as I did as a new nervous Dad every time before. But instead only hallow silence filled our car on that long road home.  

I didn't know what I would feel, walking into our room, as we arrived.  I put down her overnight bag, and his too, right by the bassinet's side.  I never knew I'd want to change a poopy diaper or wake up every two hours so bad in my life.  I would give up all my worldly possessions to see him open his eyes, to hear him say "dadda" for the first time, to take those first bold steps.

I am a man that has been blessed with many children. Each so beautiful and unique in my heart.  I will record their dances, their t-ball games, and graduation day.  I will tell them how wonderful they are to me and to their heavenly Father above. And David, oh my son David, how I can't wait to see you and your new perfect, little pure heart.

I had three sons just as my father did.  I'm proud to be my father's son, I'm one of three just as Andrew, Joshua and David.  I pray for my father, as I hope one day they will pray for me too.  This crazy road.

I have a child in heaven now.  What a beautiful sound.  I can't wait til this pain fades so I can clearly hear the beauty in that sound.  This road I'm on why is it here, why now?

I opened my bible tonight. The first time in about three months.  I opened it to read this: Psalms 25:4 "Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow.5. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you." A Psalm of David

I have shouted angry words at him.  I have petitioned for a miracle.  I have cried when he didn't answer my plea. He knows me. I don't understand why, nor begin to try to comprehend it. For "he has heard my cry for mercy." (28.6).  This road I'm traveling, isn't for me to understand, but to know he has a plan for me.

EMOTIONS: It wasn't three hours ago I hacked my sister's facebook and laughed out loud. The three of us laughed together on the couch. The two of us cried together in bed. The New Normal, as they say. I cry harder, I taste differently, I see deeper, I hear my girls laughter, and I think of you.  My life is changed forever.  

After we came to bed, Heather and I watched old home movies of our children.  They were dancing, singing, laughing in the tub.  All happy tears, thankful tears, but also tears for our precious baby David.

A Tangible Hug
My company has donated certificates for each of our children to go to an un-named bear store in the Oaks Mall, and build a stuffed animal in memory of their brother.  When Kateara told me this news, we were still in the hospital.  I was out in the hallway, whaling an echoing cry.  All I could think about was how our children needed that tangible something for them to hold on to. 

I have on my phone an audio recording of his heartbeat, that Heather sent me from the doctor visits I had to miss.  We will try to record his heartbeat and put it in the bears for them to hear him.  I'm thinking Heather and I may get one too, true story. This was an answered prayer.  

SIDE NOTE: We are also waiting on the cremation process to take place for the funeral.  They said 4-6 weeks.  As each day goes by, we keep thinking how we would like to do his Goodbye Celebration, a bit sooner.  Stay tuned....       

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Telling Our Children, Part Two

We opted to not have our kids with us to prevent any kind of traumatic memories for them. So after our time with David, we brought the kids up Destiny (12), Lexi (9), Andrew (2), Joshua (1).

On the way up the elevator I prayed for God to give me the answers to their questions before we arrived in the room to tell them.

Destiny: "Daddy has anyone seen baby David yet?"
"No hunny"

Lexi: "How does he look?"
"Lots of hair, He has lots of hair hunny."

The first time we told the girls what Trisomy was, I couldn't speak - Heather had to tell them.  This time it was my turn.  "Girls, baby David is with Jesus now." The hardest sentence I've ever had to say.

While the girls cried, Andrew said "They crying?" I dreaded this moment since seeing my son for the last time.

That night from our babysitters the girls texted us:
Destiny the verbal communicator: "Mommy I need Mecenzies (Best Friend) Phone Number. I'm Sad."
Lexi the journaling/art communicator: Mommy I drew a picture of David with Jesus tonight"

When we got home we asked the girls if they wanted to see their brother.  We didn't want to force them to see him. They both said yes.  It was good.  We got to show them his physical features, and compared his 3D images.

Time for some R&R.  The Haynes Family has "Gone Fishin" for awhile.

When Hello Means Goodbye

I want to start by saying this blog is first: a way for us to get our emotions out; second: a resource for families that look for others who feel the same feelings when going through a season such as this.  We looked at other families blogs during this season and it was very comforting to know it was okay to _____ and that it was a "normal" reaction.

The Morning Came
It was about 5:30am, Heather came and layed in our bed and told me she had a little concern and couldn't recall feeling David move that night.  I felt for him to have a reaction and within 5 minutes of this, she started having very strong contractions...only a minute apart.  I jumped up, gathered the kids and our things and we were out the 7:30 (we have 4 other kids). On the hour drive to the hospital we prayed, texted, called.  I grabbed a wheel chair when we got there and met Joy at the parking garage to take the kids.

I ran up to the 3rd floor, labor and delivery - I heard screams coming from behind the curtain "oh boy" I thought.  I must have had that expression on my face because I turned to the administrator and asked for my wife, she smiled and said "down at the end" Whew.

But when I got to my curtain Heather looked up at me and said "they can't find his heartbeat." "we're still okay" I thought, minutes later after only finding Heathers heartbeat, they did an ultrasound, first one doctor, then the next to confirm.  "I'm sorry" "what can we do for you" "we'll give you a minute". 8:10am, June 1st, 2011

The Mourning Came
Most painful feeling I've ever had. I had lost my child. We cried out for him.  Then I grabbed a hold of myself, because there were women in here that still had hope of giving birth this morning.  I wiped my face and went to ask for a private room.
The next four hours were kind of a blur, we wept, we talked to the staff about our plans, we wept, then we received news that our dear friends The Adamyk's were on their way to Shands with their son Caleb . "Anything Else Lord?" 

Our Son is Born
At 12:10pm I cut the umbilical cord and was handed my child. I was overwhelmed.  Sadness and Joy and Peace formed a stream down my face. I can only remember saying "Perfect" and "Beautiful".  I walked this beautiful baby into the other room and bathed him.  As I bathed him I kept waiting..."please son, open your eyes.  Breathe baby, breathe" "Lord let me hear him cry out to me, just one time" I pleaded.  But he didn't.  I prayed over him, then dressed him up for Mommy.  Cuddling him up against my chest, I walked him to her. Our eyes connected, and  the unsaid words, said it all.  This is our son, and he is beautiful.  He is at peace, and he is with our Lord. Mommy and baby spent some time together.  We took intimate photos with him. Then they weighed and measured him. 5 lbs 0.7oz 18 inches long.  I peaked around the corner into the next room at Heather "He is so Beautiful" again our hearts aligned and shattered.  I got to do his footprints and hold him some more.

It was time to say goodbye.  
After we said goodbye together, I walked him over to his cart.  I tried to put him down, but just couldn't let go of my son.  I pulled him close to me again, then laid him in his bed. As the nurse walked him out the door, my legs felt like jello.  I fell to my knees and couldn't be strong any longer. He was gone. 

My Father Showed Up In A Big Way
There is no doubt that my faith has been like a see-saw through this season, the hardest season of my life.  But moments after I had fallen to the floor.  I got up and walked over to my wife and held her - only because He was holding me first.  "Peace" "He's at Peace Now" He whispered to me. Thank you Father. 

He was a Champion Fighter
All though his earthly fight is over, his legacy lives on inside of us.  His life will always be remembered, and the pain will not go in vein. He kicked harder than any of our other children inside the womb, he liked cheesecake, ice cream and painting, and hated ice.  He loved being read and sang to by Momma, and he thought his umbilical cord was a snuggie.  His hands were clinched and he was always ready to fight the odds.  My son was large by Trisomy standards and made it just one month shy of his due date. 

His name is David Allen Haynes, and he will always be my little fighter.


RIP David Allen

My Brother Allen's Perspective

Monday, May 23, 2011

6 Weeks To Go

Hey it's me Aaron, Heather gives a horizontal shoutout.
The last few weeks have literally been a roller coaster - full of hope, heartache, joy, preparation, anger - in no particular order.

Let me explain - 

HOPE: I was invited to listen to our new friends, the Adamyk's, speak about their 2 year old son Caleb, to a fresh class of medical students at the Shands Cancer and Genetics Center.  I was given the VIP treatment by staff and the family.  Nervous to see how I would react in a public setting, hearing and speaking about what a glimps of what our new life might be like.  I think I did okay...until...I was asked to take a photo with beautiful Caleb.  I reached out to rub his little hand, just as I would to any little toddler.  As we smiled to take a photo, he wrapped his little hand around my finger.  Internally I lost it, and could barely get out a smile.  It hit me - "Wait, Caleb was born with clutched fists, right" I asked his mother.  

HOPE: Caleb had outgrown a "symptom" of T18.  Filled with joy and the most hope I have had this whole journey, I called Heather crying "He grabbed my finger and smiled at me".  "He outgrew a symptom...Do you know what this means." "This is huge!"  

The words they spoke that day I keep close to my heart, but it was the unspoken words of their little man that gave this Father strength to fight for more.  Thank you little man.  It was nice to finally meet you sir.

Caleb Adamyk and Me at Shands

HEARTACHE: I am one to put my feelings in a box and store that box way down deep to keep the business rolling.  This journey has been exceptionally hard for me to keep these emotions all stuffed in.  I knew that I had to face the realization of what might be.  So a couple weeks ago I did another Youtube search  for "Trisomy 18"  I found a couple who had allowed a Dallas News Reporter to be with them from birth to 5 days later (Choosing Thomas).  I forced myself to watch so I could somehow "prepare" myself to face a short term story of our son...The volcano erupted.  My wife came home and found me balled up at my desk.  I felt like I had just lived out that pain and yelled out "I can't do this!"  Our house is used to being loud, but not usually from the likes of me.  I yelped like a lost puppy and couldn't control myself.  The only way I could face this type of pain is with supernatural help.  

ANGER: This has been tough on our marriage. I know this can't be a biblical saying "God will only give you what you can handle." I call a BS.  I am wondering what I'm doing wrong/right.  My parents divorces after 35 years just a few short months ago, along with David's journey I am straining to find strength as a Husband, Father, Son.  Please don't take this wrong AT ALL- our marriage is not in trouble, just real emotions we are working through. (all the old school Christians just gasped. "You don't talk about problems in the marriage") Truth.

PREPARATION: The last couple of weekends I have become a professional handyman - business cards are on the way!  I have taken up the carpet out of our living room and Master Bedroom, laid down laminate flooring throughout, painted the entire home, had new french doors installed and I'm going to design one wall for David in our room.  The wall will be filled with Inspiration for him to grow and fight.  I'm going to unveil it to my family - Extreme Home Makeover style.  It's a very therapeutic time for me. 

JOY: We got to see our son in 3D for the last time.  He looks so much like our little Monster Truck son Joshua.  If this is any indication of who David will be - JOSHUA: born 10 lbs 5 oz in 2 hours, no meds.  Dubbed at the Hospital "Pouncey Squared" after the two twin-brother Gator Offensive Linemen.  He has lived up to the nickname. 

JOY, Part II: Belly Painting was great.  He kicked and kicked.  Our little fighter.  Plus, Heather did a surprise for me with the kids (I think they got to paint a picture too. TBD)

Our Little Fighter
MOTHER'S DAY TRIBUTE: Three pregnancies in three years, and look at her.  
Still Stunning.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE... Heather has been having contractions on and off for the last two weeks.  I may ask the doc for a crash course in delivering a baby.  This may go down at home.  I got this!  I can't wait to say "I'm not a doctor, but I play one at home." 

Lots of emotions, Lots to do, Lots of Love, Little Time, all for a Little Man.  We're in the Homestretch