Thursday, May 31, 2012

Animals in Heaven

Dear Sophia,

Are there animals in Heaven? I believe there are. It always makes me happy when our kittens (which we got a day before we found out about your condition) climb up onto the bed with Daddy and I and cuddle with us while we sleep. We have three kittens and their mother, who we just call "Momma." Here are some photos of the kittens.

(From Left to Right) Penelope, Panda, and Killer (about 5 weeks old)
next to a care package with lots of chocolate from my good  friend,
Lesley Black! 
All three of them playing on the laundry while I'm folding it
(about 6 weeks.)

Penelope napping... kind of. (About 6 weeks old.)
Mommy with a napping Killer (about 7 weeks old.) She can sleep
in pretty much any position, and she's a super deep sleeper too!
Panda (about 7 weeks) sleeping on his back, like he likes to do. 
Panda (about 8 weeks) while he was playing with my leg.

Okay, so I know that's a lot of photos, but I can't help it! I love having cuteness all over my phone! Anyway, yes, I believe these little cuties have a place in Heaven. I can't imagine Heaven being a completely blank slate with only people walking around. I have to believe there are plants and animals, things to interact with and care for. I think it would be kinda like the Garden of Eden, where they didn't have to "toil" in the garden, but they co-exist. You would know better than I do about that, baby girl. I'm sure you still have the image of Heaven fresh in your mind.

You would be proud of Daddy, Sophia. He really does his best to take care of us. When I'm not feeling well, he does anything he can to help me. He is a very diligent worker, and always stands up for what he believes in. Several times, the company he works for has caused problems financially - not because Daddy did something wrong - because they failed to pay him for work he did. He was getting really upset about that, with good reason. He felt like it reflected that he couldn't provide for us. I had to keep assuring him that he had done all he could and it was their responsibility to make up for the difference which they'd neglected to pay us. That was what the blessing last Sunday hit on - that he would be able to provide for us. We were both so grateful. It's one thing when I tell Daddy everything will be alright, but it's another thing altogether when the Lord tells Daddy the same thing in a blessing.

Speaking of Daddy, he just got home! I'll write more either tonight or another day. I love you sweetie!


Monday, May 28, 2012

The Great Day

Dear Sophia,

You'll be glad to know that Mommy had a really great day yesterday. Two days ago, Daddy definitely felt you kick! We were laying on the bed and he had his hand over you. We sat there, tracking my pulse so we wouldn't confuse it with you, and all of the sudden you kicked! It wasn't a wimpy kick, either. We both felt it immediately. In fact, Daddy JUMPED and said "Oh!!" I couldn't stop laughing after that. All day yesterday, all I could do was tell people about it. He felt you again yesterday while we were in the car. I'm loving this.

Sacrament meeting was good. To be completely honest, I didn't pay a whole heck of a lot of attention. First, I was enjoying having taken the sacrament. Three weeks ago was the temple dedication (which you went to - inside of me, of course, but you were there!) so no sacrament. We must have taken it the week after that, but last week we were late, so no sacrament. In any case, I was just glad to be taking it again. Second, I was enjoying being with Daddy and knowing you were there with us. Also, during the meeting, we were sustained for our new callings: ward missionaries! Isn't that pretty neat? It's a little scary but I know if we have been called to do it, we will have what we need to fulfill our responsibilities. It helps that Daddy is really excited about it and when he was getting confirmed, his blessing answered something he had been worried about. I love it when things work out, especially when the Lord gives us answers to fervent prayers.

Relief Society was fun too. I sat next to my Visiting Teaching companion. At one point, we were giggling so much that Grandma looked back at us like we were crazy. I had so much fun! That morning, I had seen an ad from a member of the ward giving their six month-old Maltese/Yorkie puppy away. Grandma has always wanted a Yorkie, so I wanted to give it to her. During church, I let her know about the puppy (and that Daddy had felt you the night before, of course) and told her if she wanted it, she would have to get to the lady with the ad right away - she was sure to go fast. Turns out, yesterday was her anniversary and she said we should get it for her as an anniversary gift. After church, I talked to the sister and she said we could have her! An hour after church, we picked her up and took her to Grandma's house. She was SO HAPPY! It's cute seeing her carry this little puppy around everywhere. Haha. :)

That night was nice too. Daddy and I had been very hot because of the weather and an inadequate air conditioner. However, we rigged our air conditioner to blow right on us, and we slept like babies. It was soooo nice!

Today has been great as well! Last night, while we were taking a walk with Daddy's dogs, we thought it would be a good idea to invite Grandma to spend time with us if she didn't have anything better to do. This morning, we did just that. And she came - and took us to Liberty. We had yummy food, walked around a few stores, and really just had a great time. I was really enjoying being out with Daddy. I kept stepping a few steps away and then running up to him and hopping up just slightly so it would be kinda like I was jumping into his arms (without putting my weight on him.) I was really giggly. It's nice having such a good time. I don't know where this extreme joy is coming from, but I like it! I'm sure Daddy likes to see me so happy too. It's definitely helping that I'm feeling you more and more lately. I guess you could say you're the reason I'm in such a good mood. Nothing wrong with that!

We might go swimming later on tonight and I'm stoked! I've been wanting to go swimming for at least a month now. Woo! For now, sweetie, I love you. I'll feel you soon, I'm sure.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Letter From Daddy/Charles

Dear Sophia,

Your Daddy wanted to write you a letter. I'm not sure what he's gonna say, but I'm so excited that he's going to. Take it over, sweetheart!

"To my little angel. I know i don't say a lot but i do love you with all my heart. When i found out that your mother and i had conceived i was over joyed. I felt as though our father in heaven was giving me a second chance at raising a little princess the right way. I say that because i have a daughter, her name is Onnamaria Sophia. She was born July 6th 2010 from my first marriage. I do not get to see her and have not seen her for over a year.
 I was looking so forward to reading the scriptures to you, blessing you and giving you a name. I wanted to introduce you to my favorite cartoons. Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and many more. Waking up with you on Saturday, mornings having you on my lap watching the good cartoons. Being able dress you up like a little princess and have you call me daddy.
 The day we went to see your mothers OB I continued to tell your mommy that you were okay. As i sat there and looked at the sonogram and unfortunately i could see exactly what the doctor was talking about. Anencephaly, My jaw dropped with out dropping. as we walked out of his office i wanted to strike something as hard as i could. As we sat down in the car i lost it, i balled i tried so hard to stand strong for mommy whom i knew this was going to be hardest on.
 One thing I've continued to hear is that only a few select only need a body and then to return to our father in heaven. On 5/22/12 your mother and i went to the church to talk with Brother Maine, I knew kinda what for but was not sure. Before he extended callings to both of us we briefly talked about the situation. He said what i'd heard a few times " Only a few need only bodies and then need to go back to heaven. Those families who are sealed as we are will have the opportunity to raise that child. As Brother Maine said that it actually sunk in.
 Sophia, I want you to know that i have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ. The SAVIOR and REDEEMER! That through him we will have the opportunity to be an eternal family. I do know that the Book of Mormon is true as well as all the standard works. I know that we have a living prophet today Thomas S. Monson, This church is true. I love you my Princess thank you for sharing this wonderful time with us. I know i will see you in the next life. I promise with all of my being that i will do everything that i can to be there with mommy and the rest of our family.
 In the SACRED name of JESUS CHRIST AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Isn't that sweet, Sophia? I told you Daddy loves you. He's a keeper for sure. And yes, he says every exclamation point is completely necessary. Haha! I love him. And you. Keep on kickin'.

Mommy (and Daddy!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Guilt and Kicking Daddy

Dear Sophia,

I love you.

I've been thinking a lot lately. Mother's Day came to mind. I still love that I was given a little purple box of chocolates with pink flowers. Since you wouldn't be around to choose your favorite color, I had already decided I would use purple to represent you. After all, it is a nice, feminine color and it was my very first favorite color. I hope it's okay if we share. I still have the wrapper to that box, too. It'll be included in the memory box I'm going to make for you. I'm glad we'll have something tangible to hold and remember once you're off doing your important work in Heaven.

I felt a little guilty the other day. While in Walmart with Daddy and Grandma, we ran into a couple I'd known while in the Singles' Ward. In fact, the husband had given me rides to church frequently before I'd left for school and he got married. But I couldn't look at either of them. I had a feeling he was trying to catch my attention, but I refused to look. Why? He was carrying their fairly new baby. I guess this is an area where I'm still weak, Sophia. For some reason, I'm okay with dealing with the babies in our ward. After all, I've been around them before and experienced them even before I knew anything was happening with you. However, with other babies, it isn't the same. Often, while we're out, Daddy will suddenly go "Aww." I don't really have to look to know what he's doing that about. More often than not, it's a very new baby in a car seat or being held by one of their family members. I usually just look up, smile and look away. I remember right after we found out about your diagnosis we were walking through Walmart to get something and Daddy said "I wish they would just take the baby section out." Of course they're not going to do that, but I can sympathize with him. Hopefully that section will become enjoyable again in the future.

In this case, Daddy didn't really say anything. I don't know if he even noticed their baby at first. But I sure did. And really, I couldn't face them or their little bundle of joy. Not yet. I still have some growing up to do, sweetie. Mommy isn't perfect like you are.

A couple days ago, Daddy and I were called in to meet with a member of the Bishopric to receive callings. When we sat down, the counselor asked how we were and if there was anything new going on. Hesitantly, I asked if he knew about the baby - which he said he did. I was relieved. He went on to say something I'd said and people had told us for a while, but it hit Daddy like it was brand new: there are only so many spirits who are special enough to only need a body before they return to be with our Father in Heaven. I'm glad Daddy is finally starting to really internalize how special and precious you are.

On that note, you MAY have kicked him in the face last night. After Daddy got home, I'd told him I wanted to see if he could feel you. He said he'd been thinking the same exact thing. Later, I laid down and he put the side of his head against where you are. We're not sure, but he thinks you kicked him. For now, I'm okay with a "maybe." I know it'll be something more definite in the near future. I'm glad that me having an anterior placenta dampening your movements hasn't kept me (and maybe Daddy) from feeling you move - feeling your strength.

We've had so many great people taking care of us, baby. One of them is Grandma - my own mother. You would be proud of her. She has really been a blessing my entire life, but especially now. I'm an "adult" but I'll always be her daughter and I'm grateful she is so willing to support Daddy and I in any way that she can. (I also appreciate opportunities to help her, as does Daddy - which is why he jumps to help her whenever he is able. It's really very sweet how protective he is of her.) You may be our little angel, but I know there are angels working around us as well.

Again, I love you. It's a little early and I'm planning on going to spend some time with a friend later on, so I'm gonna go back to sleep. Feel free to kick away, if you so desire.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


Dear Sophia,

First of all, I love you. Second of all, could you kick Daddy in the face for me? Or maybe just his hand? He's not in trouble, I just want him to feel your little kicks! K-thanks.

It's SO hot up here in our room. Yesterday, when Daddy got home, I was really overheated and hadn't eaten much during the day. He immediately jumped into action, got me into a cool bath, and proceeded to sponge cool water over me to cool you and I down. Isn't that nice of him? There's no question whether Daddy loves us or not.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kicking Machine

Dear Sophia,

You're a kicking machine now! Daddy hasn't been able to feel you yet (believe me, he's tried) but he will soon! I'm actually getting to enjoy being pregnant with you again. It's kinda fun to watch my belly pooch out because you're getting so big. At my last visit, although I was only supposed to be about 19 weeks and 3 or 4 days, you were measuring anywhere from 19 weeks, 6 days to 20 weeks, 1 day. I'm so proud of you! Babies with your condition don't always grow well like they're supposed to, but you're chuggin' right along. I'd guess you're measuring about 21 weeks already. I already know you're going to be beautiful - you've got everything going for you. Sweetie, do you know if we're gonna have a little sister for you sometime in the future? Just curious. I was dreaming about the name Felicity. Wouldn't that be cute? Sophia and Felicity Lacey. I'm sure you'd be quite the pair. As it is, I'm pretty sure you're gonna have a little brother sometime. I'm not so great with boy names right now, though. I've got your sweet, angel self on the mind.

In other news, I had my first migraine accompanied by an aura last night. It was pretty scary! I got up to turn on the lights in the room, and a few minutes after I sat down, I started seeing what I described as a kaleidoscope of colors all over the right side of my vision and a little bit in the left. At the time, I was on the phone with Daddy but I didn't want him to freak out. I told him I was gonna let him go, and called Grandma. She listened patiently while I was explaining my situation. When I was finished, she said not to worry - that it was just a migraine aura. Nothing was wrong with my vision. I was so relieved! Afterward, I called Daddy back and talked to him for a few minutes before he got home. By the time we went to bed, my head hurt pretty badly and it still isn't awesome. But I'm okay! And so are you. You've been kicking all day.

I've been trying to plan something special for Daddy. Ideas? They would be much appreciated. 

I love you sweetie,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

Dear Sophia,

I'm not exactly sure what to say at this moment, but I really feel like I should say something. I've been thinking about you a lot the last couple of days. Today I had another appointment with my obstetrician, who is very ultrasound-happy by the way, and I got to see you. Although I know you won't survive due to the anencephaly, it's comforting to me to see how healthy you are otherwise. You are so strong. Your heart just keeps pumping along at a wonderful rate and all of your measurements are just right. In fact, you're measuring bigger than we expected, which is uncommon for a baby with your condition. You're doing so well and I am so proud of you. I think the doctor, Doctor Gjoni, is used to having mothers who are all excited and talkative during ultrasounds. I have always been quiet, just wanting to take you in. Today, he kept pointing out your hands - your perfect, tiny hands. It really comforts me to know you are so beautiful (although, in truth, there's no way I would think otherwise, no matter what you looked like.) I remember when we were at the hospital in Kansas City for the level II sonogram, the image which stood out to Daddy and I most was the image of one of your feet on the screen. We could see it so clearly, it was like we were looking at you outside of my womb. I really wish I had had the courage to ask for a copy of that image, but it is certainly a permanent fixture in my mind.

Mother's Day was this past Sunday. I had been doing fairly well during the whole meeting, but I lost it right after the prayer. The brother conducting the meeting asked all mothers, even expecting ones, to stand so they could receive a token of appreciation. I was in tears before I even stood up, and sobbing by the time I sat down. I have faith Sophia - faith that you are fulfilling the Lord's errand, that you are our special gift. You are our angel. In fact, whenever the word "angel" comes up, even if it has nothing to do with you, your daddy and I look at each other for support. We love you so much. I hope you know how special and unique you are. Today at my appointment, the doctor mentioned how, in the 35 years since he's been practicing as an obstetrician, you are only the second baby he has seen with anencephaly. I think that's kinda interesting as far as statistics go. He made a special effort before Grandma and I left to pat me on the shoulder and assure me that your brothers and/or sisters will be forthcoming and healthy. As far as that goes, I'm sure you know better than I do, but I hope he's right. I can't wait to tell them all about their amazing older sister who was so special all she needed was a body. I'll also be sure to tell them that you are watching out for them, as I'm sure you will be.

Last Saturday, Daddy, Grandma and I had the amazing opportunity to go do an endowment session at the newly-dedicated Kansas City temple. It was spectacular. At one point, I had the distinct impression that I could feel one of your siblings who is waiting to come down and join us. I'm sure you know them. I just hope they're as sweet as you are.

There is so much I could tell you Sophia. I hope I can find it in me to write to you more often, as you deserve. I love you more than I can express. Thank you for gracing us with your presence in this little family. Our reunion will be so sweet.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Letter from Auntie Stasia/Anastasia Browder

Dear Sophia,

I got this letter from my step-sister, Anastasia - your "Auntie Stasia." I thought it was sweet, and I wanted to share it with you and those who care about you. The first part was directed at me, then it goes to you. Here it is.

"So I finally got the guts to read your letter to baby girl, and it felt like a bad tummy ache that wouldn't go away. BUT THEN I started thinking, and decided to write to her too. :)

Hi there baby girl, I'm your Auntie Stasia. Your Mommy and I are sisters, or seastars as she would say. We may not share the same DNA, but family isn't titled by blood. Your my first niece, Sophia. I sqeeld when I leaned you were coming and I told everyone I knew. I was so happy for your Mommy, she's a born mother and the best you could ever have. I knew the second your Mommy told me she was getting married to your Daddy that you were only a matter of time. Although I have yet to physical met your Daddy, there is no doubt in my mind that you are the light in his eyes. 

I really wish I could meet you. I wish I could hold you and play with you, and watch you become an amazing woman just like your Mommy. I guess that there is a different time and place for us to achieve all that. With what little time you have been here your affect on our, your family has been life changing. Your going to be loved so much til the end of time. 

Wish you could stay longer, but the fact that you came at all is a wish granted. Love you, baby girl. Don't ever forget that.

Forever yours,
Auntie Stasia <3"

I don't know about you, but I thought it was awfully sweet of her. Just know you're loved, sweetie.