Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Karinne Claire

Today I'm excited to share another spotlight with you!  It's a beautiful blog written by Kara in honor of her sweet angel Karinne Claire.

Below is part of Kara's story of Karinne. 
To view the full story (and I really think you should) click on the link to Karinne's Story
(I'm sorry for the strange layout of the story but I could not get it fixed no matter what I tried!)

Karinne's Story

 How does one tell the story of their beloved child gone to heaven at birth in just a few paragraphs? It seems that would be impossible. But I will try to tell her story as briefly and yet beautifully as possible so that newcomers can get to know her.

My husband Curtis and I found out in October 2009 that we were pregnant with our 4th child. At the time, our older children were a 7 year old daughter DaNae, a 4 year old son Noah and a 2 year old son Ian. We were so excited to hopefully complete our family with another daughter. And we were naive enough to believe that nothing could possibly go wrong with that dream. We shared with family a few weeks later that "One More Makes Four - Coming June 11th 2010!!" We had so much to look forward to. 

Our doctor recommended a sonogram at 12 weeks, which was earlier than we had ever had before. The following night after this sonogram, our doctor called to tell us that there appeared to be fluid on the baby's brain and that we needed to have another sonogram with a maternal fetal specialist. We were very scared and the week up until the 2nd sono was very difficult. But we still didn't have any idea JUST HOW serious things were and didn't even tell most of our family because we didn't want to worry them until we knew something for sure.

On December 9th, we traveled four hours on snow packed roads for our sonogram with the specialist in Wichita, KS.  That was the day that our world surrounding this precious new life came crashing down as we first heard the word - Acrania. We were in such a state of shock as we were told the words "fatal" and "incompatible with life" and as we were told and shown that the top portion of our baby's skull had not formed properly, leaving her brain tissue open and exposed to the amniotic fluid.  It was FAR WORSE news than we ever could have imagined.  We were devastated!

As they showed us these findings on the sonogram screen, we decided to ask if they could tell the baby's gender.  They told us - "It's a Girl!"  And we instantly broke down sobbing in each other's arms.  The reality hit us - we were going to have another daughter that we had prayed for and dreamed of - our precious Karinne Claire.  BUT she was NOT going to LIVE.

The doctor was kind and compassionate as she gently explained our options.  I am SO THANKFUL to this day that she did not deceive us with ugly stories and push us toward termination as so many parents are falsely directed by their doctors.  As  Christians and as her parents - who loved her unconditionally and deeply desired to hold her in our arms - we decided without hesitation to continue the pregnancy. And we hoped and prayed with all our hearts that we would be blessed to have precious moments with her after she was born. 

At first, one might expect that the following months would have passed by so very slowly and agonizingly.  But when you consider that the remainder of the pregnancy was our daughter's LIFETIME - you'll understand that the time passed by FAR TOO QUICKLY.  

We told our 2 older children at the end of January about Karinne's diagnosis.  We had dreaded sharing the news with them, especially with as much as they were hoping for a baby sister.  We slowly and carefully explained that the bones in the baby's head had not grown right and because of this, the baby wouldn't be able to live very long after birth.  As the words sunk in, DaNae just buried her head in Curt's lap and cried.  And  Noah asked many good questions including "Will the baby go straight to heaven?"  

We were truly blessed to be put in touch with a perinatal hospice group called Choices Medical Clinic in Wichita, Kansas. Part of their mission was to help families who had been given a poor prenatal diagnosis.  They offered counseling, support, someone to make difficult phone calls and arrangements, and best of all - free 4D sonograms as often as we could get there.  Throughout the pregnancy, we were able to have 3 of these sonograms.  It was SO amazing to be able to see so many aspects of Karinne and to get to know her while she was still in the womb.  We began to call Karinne our little dancing girl after seeing her beautiful little feet appearing to dance around. 

In the early morning hours of May 10th - at 35 1/2 weeks - I was waking up every hour to go to the bathroom and realized that the contractions that I had been having were not going away during the night as usual.  I woke my husband, called my doctor (who was out of town and wouldn't be able to make it back in time) and we left for the hospital around 5:30 am.  We called our parents on the way to the hospital and put them on alert. At the hospital, we soon discovered that I was truly in labor and was dilated to at least 6 with the bag of water bulging. Karinne was coming whether we were ready or not. We knew we still wanted to do the c section to give Karinne the best chance and to give ourselves the most peace of mind. Fortunately the doctor who was planning to be the primary surgeon was available.  He said – “9 or 9:30 surgery – can your families, friends and photographer be here by then?” So we made the calls and got everyone on their way. As scared and as sad as we were, an amazing peace began to come over us, knowing that today was HER day.

They prepped me for surgery, we said some prayers, we shared some hugs and tears with family and friends who had arrived, and we listened to Karinne’s heartbeat with the older children one last time. We had held off as long as possible – time to go in for surgery. I felt Karinne’s sweet kicks as well as the contractions for the last time before the epidural took effect. Someone came in and told us that our parents had arrived. And it wasn’t too long before they told us it was time and they lowered the curtain so we could see her birth.

Soon Karinne was gently lifted from my womb and entered the world here on earth. We watched and listened as the nurses tried to get her to cry or take a breath. We saw her legs and arms move, but could tell that we wouldn’t have long. They brought her to us and we marveled at her tiny and special beauty. She squeezed our fingers and I pray she saw the love on our faces as her heart took its final beats for about 10 minutes. I remember thinking as she lay in my arms the line from the song – Come to Jesus – “Fly to Jesus - - - Fly to Jesus - - - Fly to Je-sus – and LIVE!!” And shortly thereafter – she did just that – she “danced” peacefully on to meet Jesus.

We spent the most beautiful, sorrowful, and yet peace-filled day marveling at the beauty of our precious daughter. I know the Lord’s presence was in those rooms as we shared Karinne with our other children, then our parents, my sisters and brothers (in-law), our closest friends, our beloved babysitter, and my nieces and nephew. Brooke and our friend Rhonda took such amazing photos of the day that poignantly tell the entire story. Our children were such a blessing to us throughout that day, each in their own special way. And when the time came, nearly 12 hours after her birth, to let Karinne go – we were still filled with a heavenly peace as the sweet man from the funeral home carried her off in a beautiful bassinet. Other than to have had more time with Karinne alive and to have had my sister Krista there that day, I couldn’t hardly have asked for a more special and loving day to have spent with Karinne on the day of her birth.

Our precious Karinne Claire danced, kicked and wiggled her way through 35 1/2 weeks in her mommy's tummy until her birth by c section on May 10th, 2010 at 10:20 in the morning.  She spent 10 precious minutes in our arms before she "danced peacefully on to meet Jesus."  She weighed a tiny 3 lbs. 3.7 ounces and was just 15 1/2 inches long.  Karinne will forever be a precious part of our family and although her life was far too brief, she made an eternal impact upon our hearts.  We look forward to holding her again in heaven for all eternity.

Kara also gives back to other families by doing these beautiful impressions for other families that have lost a baby.  I know that this means so much to these families!  (I so wish I would have done this for Devon!  I just didn't even think about it, my mind was a mess)  This is what Kara has to say about Karinne's Lasting Impressions...

I wanted to share today about a special opportunity I had last week to help another family who recently lost a baby.  Over the summer, I began thinking about meaningful ways to carry on a legacy in Karinne's honor.  What could I provide to other families that was unique and that may be overlooked in the shock and devastation of a sudden loss?  I thought about the special mementos that we were blessed to be able to gather since we knew ahead of time that Karinne would not be able to be with us for long.  Those special items mean so much to me now that she is gone.   But for so many families - the loss is unexpected - and the time to gather memories is SO fleeting!  So, back in August I came up with the idea that I wanted to offer to make 3D hand and foot moldings and impressions for bereaved families.  We were so blessed when Karinne was born to have a kit for this from String of Pearls and also to have our friends from Choices Medical Clinic come and create these mementos for us.  So, I ordered the supplies and discussed the idea with a few people including Brooke, the NILMDTS photographer who took photos of Karinne.  And then - I hoped and prayed that no one would need me - but if they did - that I would be "prepared" and "able" to make it happen.

Last week, through Brooke, I had the opportunity to do just that.  I don't think it's necessary or appropriate to share details of the sweet baby boy who went to heaven last week.  But I just wanted to share that I am so glad that I followed my heart and the direction that God has been leading me in starting this ministry.  My dear friend Rhonda and I were able to go and make the 3D moldings and impressions and everything came out looking great - despite our nerves, our emotions, and our lack of experience.  It is my sincere prayer that these precious impressions will bring some measure of comfort to this baby boy's family.  And that through these tiny mementos, Karinne's life and her story will continue to make a lasting impression as well.  

Please remember this family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of their tiny, beautiful son!
Kara made a beautiful garden for Karinne.  I just love it!  As I said yesterday, this is something I so want to do.  What a great idea to have people bring perennials to the funeral to plant in a garden.  I just love that idea!

Karinne's Garden

In writing Karinne's obituary, we came up with the idea of asking people for perennial and annual flowers that could be planted in a garden in memory of Karinne.  We wanted a special place that we could go to reflect, relax, and remember Karinne.  The idea took on a life of its own as MANY friends and family donated live flowers and plants.  Following the funeral, our porch began to look a bit like a greenhouse nursery!  It was so beautiful.



Kara, Thank you so very much for sharing your beautiful blog and tribute to Karinne.  I am so touched by what you have done, and are doing to honor your beautiful angel!


Holly said...

Thank you Kara for sharing!! Much love to you and Karinne!

Monica said...

Sorry about the crazy linked within throughout the post. I have no idea why it's doing that!

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