Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day . . .the WAVE OF LIGHT is at 7:00 pm, October 15, in every time zone all over the world, so that a continuous wave will go all around the world.

Tonight we lit 3 candles . . .one for Brian, one for Sawyer, and one for all their angel friends. All loved, all missed so much.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I have decided to start writing more again . . .don't know if anyone actually is following anymore, but the blog started as a way to keep Jim's family involved and updated with our lives, so I'd like to at least write for their benefit.

I also would love to print out every blog I've written and write my novel someday soon. I think it would be therapeutic to me, and hopefully helpful to others who have been through something similar. It might even help people who are insensitive or don't understand the fact that this is a LIFELONG process to somehow open their eyes . . .or maybe at least soften their hearts a little.

I have felt recently some annoyance at times from people who seem to think that since Amelie is here and healthy, we aren't supposed to miss/think about/love the boys. We are SO blessed with Amelie. She is our first daughter, and our love for her is pure and unique TO her. Missing the boys doesn't lessen our love for her. Loving her doesn't lessen our love for the boys. I even miss and love Brian and Sawyer in different ways. Each of our children is special and important to us, and we will always love them.

Amelie is really changing so much every day now . . .it is just amazing to watch her learn and grow. She is babbling all the time, laughing at silly things, and really starting to relate to the world around her. It's hard to remember life without her, and I just pray every day that we are able to spend many years here on earth together.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Brian's Birthday Balloons

We got a letter in the mail today. Brian's story continues to touch people's lives, 3 years after his death, and 500 miles away. Here is the letter we received:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Rennies,

Your memory balloons were found at Indian Mountain State Park in Jellico, Tennessee on Sunday, July 12, 2009. They were found near a playground there in the park.

We were in Jellico attending a family and community reunion.

Our first granddaughter was born on July 11, 1977. We thought this was a strange coincidence.

Our granddaughter was a preemie weighing 2 pounds. She is now 32 years old, in the Air Force, stationed just a few miles from where we live. Also, she has two children of her own.

My husband actually saw the balloons and went to investigate when we found notes on each balloon and the enclosed message.

We wish God's blessings on all of you and know that little Brian William is safe in God's hands.


Wayne and Georgia Todd
Bukburnett, Texas

We were so moved by the story of their own granddaughter, and the fact that they took the time to discover the balloons and send this letter back to us. Happy Birthday, Brian!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

For Brian

On your third birthday, we want you to know how much we miss you . . .how deep our love is for you . . .and how proud we are that you are our firstborn.

from First Lesson by Philip Booth

As you float now, where I held you and let go,
remember when fear cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year stars,
lie back, and the sea will hold you.

You are forever ours. Happy Birthday, sweet prince.

Brian's Memorial Website

Light a Candle for Brian

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One of my facebook friends wrote this on their page, and I decided to post it here, because I really, REALLY like what he had to say!

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." The next time you find yourself wanting to complain or blame, bless instead. Find a way to bless the situation. The light that you share will change that situation into something completely different. You will have lit a candle instead of cursing the dark you perceived. You are the light!

Monday, May 25, 2009

This is for Jim. With all the hurts inflicted by people in the world, you are the one person . . .well, it is just fitting. Perfect.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Long-Felt Desires

by Louise Labé

Long-felt desires, hopes as long as vain—

sad sighs—slow tears accustomed to run sad

into as many rivers as two eyes can add,

pouring like fountains, endless as the rain—

cruelty beyond humanity, a pain

so hard it makes compassionate stars go mad

with pity: these are the first passions I’ve had.

Do you think love could root in my soul again?

If it arched the great bow back again at me,

licked me again with fire, and stabbed me deep

with the violent worst, as awful as before,

the wounds that cut me everywhere would keep

me shielded, so there would be no place free

for love. It covers me. It will pierce no more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

To Jim and Amelie

I love you both . . .

New Morning
By Bob Dylan

Can't you hear that rooster crowing ?

Rabbit running down across the road

Underneath the bridge where the water flows through

So happy just to see you smile

Underneath the sky of blue

On this new morning, new morning

On this new morning with you.

Can't you hear that motor turning

Automobile coming into style

Coming down the road for a country mile or two ?

So happy just to see you smile

Underneath the sky of blue

On this new morning, new morning

On this new morning with you.

The night passed away so quickly

It always does when you're with me.

Can't you feel that sun a-shinning ?

Ground hog running by the country stream

This must be the day when all of my dreams come true

So happy just to be alive

Underneath the sky of blue

On this new morning, new morning

On this new morning with you.

So happy just to be alive

Underneath the sky of blue

On this new morning, new morning

On this new morning with you

New morning ...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Jim and I with Amelie and our nieces, Kyleigh and Ella.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Birth of Amelie Jane Rennie

Our daughter was born Monday, April 13, at 6:55 AM. Despite being 3 weeks early, she was 9 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. We were so amazed at her beauty from the moment we first saw her, and remain so now.

Her first 24 hours were a little scary, especially for former NICU parents. She went to the nursery, as all newborns do, but while she was being assessed, they realized her oxygen saturation was quite low, and she was breathing about twice as fast as she should have been. This was because she was born with fluid in her lungs, a fairly common result of C-section births. Because c-section babies don't go through the labor and delivery process, a lot of fluid doesn't get "squeezed out." She also had low blood sugar when she was born, so they started an IV. They tested for infection, but had to wait 48 hours on cultures to be sure, so they also gave her antibiotics. Since I was recovering from surgery, of course I couldn't see her or know what was going on. It was very frightening and frustrating, to say the least. For the first day, I was miserable, because my pain was fine, yet they wouldn't let me out of bed to go to her. I never got to hold her until the next morning at about 4 AM.

When they took me down, they were frustrated because she was on oxygen through the air around her (she was in an isolette with a hood), but as soon as they would turn it down, she'd desat. They let me hold her (JUST while they changed her bedding, mind you). It was supposed to be a "quick switch" kind of thing. But . . .it was a miracle. When I held her against my skin and started talking to her, she immediately woke up. She looked at me with the most incredible look in her eyes--like, "I KNOW YOU!" She looked incredibly happy and suddenly interested in the world around her. From that moment on, her sats were great. She was off oxygen within a couple of hours, which was purely protocol for her protection. She never really needed it again. By later that day, they started turning down the bed temp to wean her off of it, and by the next morning she was in a regular bed. They continued to keep her on monitors and watch her for the next 24 hours. During that time, Daddy got to give her her first bath! We taped the whole thing--it was really fun. We also found out she didn't have an infection, and her blood sugars had been good, so they removed the IV.

However, by the time she was ready to come to our room, she was quite jaundiced. So we were told we could either go home later that night (Thursday) or early Friday morning, depending on her blood draws to do Bilirubin counts. She got to come to our room, but we had to leave her under the Bili lights. Sawyer's NICU nurse, Emma, came to visit. It was a nice surprise to see her, and she said they'd posted Amelie's pictures at the St. Francis NICU break room. We were so moved that they still remembered us and were so happy for us.

Thursday night her jaundice levels peaked, and she was allowed out from under the lights, but we had to wait until the next morning to have her final blood drawn. We were told we could leave after her 6:30 draw (about an hour later). My doctor discharged me at 3 am, so we were just waiting on her. We waited. And waited. And waited. In the end, we managed to get home around 2:00. Everyone in town knew, as my parents had posted an announcement at the bank. It was really cool to see "Welcome Home Amelie Jane!" as we came into town.

Apart from these minor blips along the road to home, it was quite a nice hospital stay . . .if you HAVE to stay somewhere, you might as well try and enjoy it, right? The staff was great, and we were especially fond of the nursery nurses Stacey and Tricia. Tricia is actually the wife of one of my old college friends, Josh! It was so cool that she was working there!

I am holding her in my arms as I type this, and part of me still just can't believe she's really here, and she's really ours. Jim and I both cried as we came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. It was an amazing feeling for us, being able to walk out the hospital doors with our baby. I realized how happy I am knowing that from now on, wherever we go, she goes with us. We often sing to soothe her, and her theme song has become "You Are My Sunshine." And she really, really is.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Well . . .here we go! I have mild toxemia. Possibly. I had been noticing some serious swelling in my feet, but chalked it up to normal pregnancy issues. Then yesterday, my feet and ankles got HUGE, and I mean huge. My hands and fingers started to swell, as well as my face. I had some pain on my right side under the ribs. I looked this up online and saw that it could be toxemia (also known as preeclampsia). So I had Jim take my blood pressure, and it was pretty high for me--the top number was like 144. I called Dr. H and he told me to go to Methodist, where I will be delivering, and have them check everything out. They took several blood pressures, which were all high. However, my labs were normal and my urine was normal. The doctor said it was a "matter of time" before the labs and urine would start to be affected. They spoke to Dr. H again and he said I could go home. The doctor at Methodist told me to come back in the morning at 10:00 to see Dr. H, who would be the doctor on duty.

Last night, Jim took my blood pressure a couple more times after I'd rested, and it was picture perfect. So we started wondering if I really was toxemic or not. This morning, he took it again before I got up, and it was perfect. When we got to the hopsital, they took several readings over the course of an hour, and all were perfect. The baby was healthy on the NST, so they sent me home. I need to go back to see Dr. H on Monday.

I have a feeling that, if anything, this is a mild case. The doctor last night painted a very grave picture about how quickly it could get "bad." However, I read online that mild toxemia can be controlled with rest, and seeing as how after rest my bp readings were great . . .well, I'm not a doctor, but I did speak to several of the nurses at Methodist today about it, and they thought I could still make it to the C-section date of 38 weeks if I take it easy between now and then. They said the doctor who happened to be there last night was a very serious doctor who took everything to its most extreme. Which is FINE with me. I'd rather that than they miss something or send me home and something goes wrong.

So now I am not supposed to work, and I'm supposed to be resting 16 of every 24 hours. If I am up, I should still be sitting down. If I do go somewhere, like say out to dinner or to WalMart, it should be for a short period, and then I need to lay down when I get home. The only place I really plan to go is to the doctor and to my baby shower, and even then, I plan to sit with my feet up the whole time! I want to make sure we get Amelie as far as we can before her arrival--but I am actually feeling pretty positive because at this point, she will be okay even if she is born tomorrow. She may have a few minor issues, but they can be dealt with and she will make it. Either way, sometime within the next 3 weeks, we will get to meet our baby girl! We would appreciate your prayers, just to be sure that this toxemia thing doesn't turn into something more serious and my blood pressure stays under control.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mother Teresa's Final Analysis

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you; be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others may destroy overnight; create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous; be happy anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten; do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it may never be enough; give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well, baby girl is kicking like the next karate kid lately. I love it! It's so much fun now . . .you can actually see my entire belly move when she does! She is so big . . she measures about 3-4 weeks ahead on sonograms, and about 6 weeks ahead with the uterus measurements. I just hope she fits into all the newborn clothes I bought for her! But I am glad she is big and growing well. The next few weeks are going to go sloooow! I am loving the weather, though. That will make the wait a little bit easier. We are happy to wait--obviously we want her to go full term--but we also are very excited to meet her, so we want the remaining time to move by quickly (as if)!

Please keep my friend April and her baby Emmeliese in your prayers. Emmeliese was born last Tuesday (the 10th). She was born full term, but had some problems with oxygen saturation and a rapid heartbeat. She also was born with an infection. She is currently in the level 2 NICU nursery with a PICC line for antibiotic treatment. She was jaundiced, but recently came off the bili lights. Overall she is doing really well. She is having some trouble with nursing, but other than that, seems to be progressing quite nicely towards coming home soon! Just keep them in your prayers. It is hard for any parent to have to leave their child in the hospital. We are just rejoicing that it won't be long before little Emmeliese will be able to join her family at home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Feeling is your sixth sense. Called clairsentient (clear feeling), your inner voice is one that touches on your empathetic nature. What does this mean? Well, you're probably the most emotional of your friends and you are very in touch with the feelings of others. As a clairsentient, you often know something is wrong because you experience an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach (or the opposite for good things). It might be that your friend has had a bad day--but hasn't told anyone--and somehow you just know what's going on. Often this type of intuitive knowledge cannot be explained. We bet you've got a bunch of friends, and who wouldn't want a friend that just knows without being told...especially on those bad days.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Holding Space for Others: Being A Container

We have all been called upon at one time or another to help a loved one through a difficult time. When the help required consists of concrete actions, such as running errands or making phone calls, we know what to do. But sometimes we are called simply to hold space for the person as they go through whatever they need to go through. They may need to express anger or grief; they may need to talk or be silent. They may need us to hold their hand; they may need us to give them time alone. Whatever the case, when we hold space for someone, we offer ourselves up as a container for the overwhelming feelings they may be encountering due to their circumstances.

When we offer ourselves in this way, the more centered and grounded we are, the better. Our steadiness allows our companion to lean into us for support, as our presence provides an environment in which they can be free to move. We can also help by being responsive, allowing them to dictate the flow of action from talking to not talking, from anger to grief, and back again. By being aware and open, we can help them confront their feelings when that feels right, and back off from them when they need a break. Holding space requires humility, conscientiousness, and the ability to step out of the way, to honestly understand that this is not about us.

When we love someone in this way, we provide a space in which they can simply be. Able to feel what they need to feel without worrying about how they are being perceived. We can provide this offering in person, over the phone, or even from a distance, through meditation. However we do it, when we hold space for someone in need, we are offering a gift of the highest nature.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

C-Section is Scheduled!!!

April 21 at 7:30 in the morning at Methodist Medical Center. Hooray!!!

And, as a friend reminded me today . . .

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Choose Love

Tonight while we were watching the Academy Awards, something was said that struck both Jim and I . . .and I just wanted to post it, for others to see, yes, but also for me to remember. The man who won an award for best original song (from Slumdog Millionaire) said:

"I had a choice between hate and love. I chose love. And I am here."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Choose Happiness

Today I am 30 weeks pregnant. The "most pregnant" I made it to before today was 23 weeks 6 days with Sawyer. He was not quite "viable" (24 weeks) . . .and now, my daughter is over 3 lbs. and can breathe air, and . . .is a miracle. Truly a miracle. I'm still doing really well. Physically, my cervix is nearly 5 cm long and Amelie is measuring several weeks larger than the "norm." I couldn't be more excited to meet her, which is making these last few weeks go reaaaaaallllyyyy slowly. But it's worth it. I would do another 30 weeks if I had to, just to make sure she arrived safely. (Don't get me wrong, though--I am SUPER excited that it's only 8 more!)

Also, today I got a message from a really good friend of mine from college. She has cancer. She had a complete hysterectomy and has been going through chemo and radiation. She is a really spirited, positive person who has always made me feel good about myself. She lifts me up, she brings joy into my life, and she has always appreciated me for who I am (and vice versa). It really scared me and broke my heart for her when I found out she was "sick," but I KNEW she would beat it. If anyone in the world could beat cancer, it's her. She is such a strong person, and I admire her so much. Right now, she has gotten PET scan results that the cancer is gone. I continue to pray for her every day and am just waiting, as I told her today, until all of this is just a distant memory.

After all she's been through, this friend had written to tell me she would be honored to throw a shower for me and Amelie. I can't tell you what it meant to have her make this offer. She said it would be a lot of fun and can't wait to do it.

I'm so glad she reminded me of the good in my life. I have friends who love me, who bring light and joy into my life, and who are always there for me. I am lucky. Not everyone has the kind of friends I have, and I need to appreciate them and enjoy the time I have with them. Life is short, and I thank God for bringing such wonderful people into my life.

I have a family who is supportive, always there for me, and has loved my children and husband uncoditionally. They mean the world to me.

I am also blessed with the best husband in the world. He loves me unconditionally, is always there for me, and is truly the best person I have ever met in my life. He is an amazing person. He spends his days taking care of people who are on their way out of this world, and he does it with grace and compassion, giving them dignity in the most difficult time of their (and their family's) lives. I could not be more proud that he is not only my partner, but the father of my children.

And Amelie. What could be more important? I have a beautiful little girl on the way, who I love with all my heart, and who SO MANY people have prayed for, wished for, hoped for . . .and are ready with open arms to welcome into the world. Nothing is better than that.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

For those without Facebook or MySpace, here are some pictures of Amelie's nursery!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wow--it's been awhile since I blogged. Can I say, without it seeming totally insane, that it's because everything is . . .well . . .normal?

It is.

So far, my cervix has held "tight as a drum" (Dr. H's words last week) and has never been measured below 3.5. Sometimes it's almost 5. There has not been the slightest hint of a contraction. Nothing abnormal.

I am pretty much set on making it to the scheduled C-section without a hitch. Of course, I'm certainly not naive. I know what it's like to have lost my first two children. But this time, it's just different. Each week during my pregnancy with Sawyer, it seems like there was just more and more bad news, fear, and anxiety. This time, each week brings reassurance and joy.

But I must be honest here and I do want to talk about one thing. Mostly because I think other mothers who have lost a child will be able to benefit from hearing that it's OKAY to still mourn the loss of your other child(ren) when you are having another. I love Amelie with all my heart and soul. That will never change. I also loved Brian and Sawyer with all my heart and soul, and THAT will never change. She will be loved equally as much as her brothers, but she won't replace them. They will always be missed.

Which leads me to my point: every bit of happiness with this pregnancy is tinged with a bit of sorrow. Every time I get good news about how well things are going, I feel overjoyed . . .yet sometimes I go home and cry, because I wish with ALL MY HEART things could have been the same for our boys. Amelie deserves to have her brothers here as much as we deserve to have our sons with us. I miss them so much.

For awhile, I felt guilty about these feelings, but then I realized that it has nothing to do with Amelie. My feelings about her and her health and happiness are always there. Yet at the same time, so is my sorrow that my boys couldn't have that same health and happiness.

When I found out she was a girl, at first it shook me up! I had no preference (I never have cared either way) . . .but I had been in "boy mode" for years! I had boxes and closets full of boy clothes, toys, blankets, and boy stuff in general. All of a sudden, my whole world was turned upside down at the thought of having a girl. I felt guilt over this too, until I realized that, again, it had nothing to do with my love for Amelie, or my desire to meet and love and raise our little girl. It just meant that for a long, long time, my heart had been geared towards having a son. It was a refocusing for me. It also meant the realization that Brian and Sawyer were really . . .well, gone. I had to let go a little bit more, all over again. While I knew that no one would ever replace them, watching a little boy grow up was what I had dreamed of for them, so I guess part of me felt that it would be like seeing them "live on" through their brother. Now I feel like Amelie will have two of the bravest, strongest, sweetest big brothers watching over her from Heaven, and nothing could bring me more comfort than that. She will know how her brothers paved the way for her safe birth into this world . . .and she will always know THEIR love as well as ours.

I just want to reassure those other moms who will have their dream come true one day too . . .it is OKAY to go through any emotion you need to regarding your children who passed away. It doesn't mean you aren't happy for the birth of your next child, and it doesn't take anything away from the love you have for them. It is a strange and difficult thing to describe, especially to people who might not understand, but that's okay. I understand, and if you need to talk, you know where to find me.

And now, through it all, I am overwhelmed with love for this special, sweet baby girl. I cry when I imagine her birth . . .can't imagine what I'll actually be like on the day! I have longed for a child to fill these arms for so long, and she is our miracle. I thank God for her every single day, and for all He has done to bring her to us safely.

"For this child I have prayed."
~First Samuel, 1:27