The story of Olivia Hope

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When I look back...

This has been quite a week for us! We have celebrated the birth AND the going home of our dear little girl. Today is actually day Olivia went to be with Jesus but, to be honest with you, I haven't really thought about it too much. We have a GREAT support team (all of our friends and family) and they have really encouraged us and carried us through.
I mentioned in the last post that I would write at a later time about our "festivities" that we had planned for O's birthday. We had the honor of celebrating her birthday with an intimate group of people this past Saturday. I had tossed around the idea several months ago about having a first birthday party but didn't know if I really wanted to and how it would be viewed. I was encourage to "go for it" and so on Saturday we had a birthday party with cake, gifts and the whole nine yards! Yes, I said gifts! Instead of bringing a traditional gift for a one year old, we asked people to make a donation of any kind to a charity or ministry of their choice-something that was "near and dear" to their hearts and in honor of Olivia Hope Fretz. If they didn't have something in mind they could bring a donation of diapers, clothes, money, etc to the party to be later donated to the NICU at CHOP. We asked everyone to wrap the "gifts" up as they would a present and we opened them at the party and shared aloud what each family had chosen to do! We had quite a remarkable turn out of donations and I pretty much bawled the whole time as I thought about all the thought and love that was put into each gift! It was truly a precious time and gave me much happiness to have everyone be together and honor our little girl they way they did! Thank you everyone for making that evening so special!
So while this week could really be a bummer of a time for me, it truly is the opposite! I have much peace and contentment about where we are right now and the things that I have seen in the last year when I look back! I NEVER thought I could get through anything like this but I can, have and will continue to do so because God's promises are real! I see that everyday! Like I've said, there are still hard times and probably always will be. No new baby can replace my love and desire to have Olivia in my arms. I want her and nothing will ever change that but time does have a way of changing your perspective and I know that without going through this terrible ordeal I would not be the person I am today and the woman I am continually being formed to be. Just who that is is to be determined but I know I am changing more and more all the time into the woman He wants me to be.
And BTW, if some of you didn't catch the memo, we ARE expecting our number three sometime late August! I am 17 weeks and gettin' fat and sassy! As exciting as this news is it still brings a lot of mixed emotions for me so that's why the announcement is a bit late. Just pray for me as I do my best to keep my mind focused on the happy and positive of this pregnancy and away from the "what if's". We have no reason to fear but I will until this baby is safe in my arms! I have my ultrasound scheduled for April 12th. That will be the usual 20 week ultrasound that will show us the general health and well being of the baby. This is the same appointment that first showed us something wasn't right with Olivia and changed my life forever so as you can imagine I am anxious to get in, get out and have a clean bill of health! Oh, and YES we will find out the sex!
The picture above is me surrounded by some very special women. I first have to say that ALL of my friends have been tremendous to me in supporting me and just being there for me. I have heavily relied on a few of you and can't thank you or express my love enough. The woman in the picture have all lost children similarly to our loss and it has been such a blessing to get to know them and to have them in my life. They truly know the emotions and fears that I have and, although I hate HOW we met, I can't imagine not knowing them and not having them in my life. I love you Kerry, Jenn, and Michele!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Birthday My Precious Daughter!

We celebrated Olivia's first birthday this past Wednesday. It was the 16th. I can not believe it's already been a year since she was born here at home, right on the living room floor!! If you haven't read THAT story and want to hear more check it out here! It's a good one! But Anyway it's really mind blowing to me to think of all the things that have happened and how our life has completely changed in the last year! There have been some hard times but honestly I wouldn't take any of it back! Yes there's been a lot of pain that I care to never experience again and I know some of it will continue, but our precious bundle, as short as her life was, brought to us a very special gift! The Lord used her to teach us more about Him, ourselves and the people that surround us than we could ever have imagined! We are forever changed!
We didn't do much on her actual birthday. We will be having festivities at a later time but we wanted to keep things small and intimate on Wednesday. We took Gwen out to the grave and left some pansies and a birthday balloon. Gwen wanted to sing so we choked out the words to happy birthday and talked a little about Olivia being "there" and the other little babies; mostly baby Owen who is right beside Olivia. I know she doesn't quite understand but I am comforted in knowing that, despite her young age, we do everything we can to keep her reminded of her sister and the situation to the best ability that a 3 year old can understand. Yes, she is now 3! Just on the 9th, in fact!
After the grave we went out to lunch since we would normally do that for a birthday! It was nothing special but at least it's something we can carry on and our family will always acknowledge Olivia's birthday the same way we do with everyone else. I also want to keep the birthday cake tradition going but I didn't have to bake a cake this year! My "sister's", Jenn and Michele, surprised Gwen and me with a beautiful birthday cake with Olivia's picture on it the last time we were together! They even had a "one" candle and all the kids (all 11 of them) sang happy birthday and gave me homemade cards and pictures that they had made for her. Talk about a misty moment! I love those girls! I had plenty of cake to bring home and share with Andy!

More later but I'm pooped and need to get my beauty sleep!