About Me

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Kirkland, Washington, United States
I am a child of God. I am a follower of Jesus. I am a wife, momma, daughter, sister and friend. I love good conversation and hearty laughter. A good cup of coffee is always appreciated. Most of all, I desire to bring others into an experience with Jesus. One that will shape their lives and rock their souls for Him. Geoff is my best friend and amazing husband. Parker is my handsome boy who lives in Heaven. Norah is my bright star and bringer of joy. Tori is my overcomer and peaceful warrior. I live to show Jesus' love to each person He places in my path. I pray this blog strengthens you, comforts you and encourages you and that it MOST OF ALL causes you to want to get to know Jesus in a deeper level.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blessed and Thankful

Where do I begin this blog. I'll start off with talking about my son. Parker Geofferson Harmon was born at 7:15pm on Monday the 15th of September at Mercy Medical Center in Nampa, ID. He weighed in at 6lbs 3oz and 20 1/2 inches long. Mind you he was only 35 weeks along. He was going to be a large baby :). He had a full head of dark hair and a beautiful little mouth. He had a button nose like his daddy and long feet and fingers like his mommy. He was beautiful and perfect in every way. Geoff and I were and are very thankful for that.

We are also thankful for our nurses at Mercy. From the moment we walked into labor and delivery at 6:00pm on Sunday night the 14th we were assisted by some of the best nurses. Deborah and Nicole were the ones who had the unpleasant task of being present when Geoff and I received our devastating news that Parker's heart wasn't beating. However, they were both Christian women who informed us that they would be praying for us throughout this time. Our night nurses were Ingrid and Jane. Jane was very soft spoken and pleasant and Ingrid had a very warm and caring personality that showed itself in a smile every time she walked in (which, let me tell you, helped TONS during that night). Monday morning brought the most stellar nurse of them all, Carrie. We were her only patients that day. We found out that not only had she herself experienced what Geoff and I were going through (she had had stillborn twins), but that her mother had just died back in March and we were her first distress case since her mother's death. I believe that she was an answer to pray and was brought to us by God. She was so helpful, answering questions about what Parker may look like when he was born, how we can start the healing process, and what options were available in terms of support groups. Carrie's shift started at 7am on Monday the 15th and ended 12 hours later; however, she didn't leave our sides until 9pm that night (she had an hour commute back to Nyssa that night as well). She was an amazing nurse for us and a real answer to prayer. Our night nurse was Julie who was very caring and helpful. As my mom put it, she helped to tuck us all in for the night, bringing in an extra cot for Geoff and more blankets and pillows for mom, dad and Geoff. She was wonderful. The other Carrie was our morning nurse for Tuesday the 16th. She brought us a delicious meal provided by the hospital and helped get us ready to check out. All in all, the nurses that assisted us, Deborah, Nicole, Ingrid, Jane, Carrie P., Julie and Carrie were all wonderful women. Geoff and I will be forever thankful to that staff of nurses at Mercy.

Dr. Rudeen is my OB/GYN. He is a very soft spoken, gentle doctor, I guess that kind of helps in his line of work :). He has been so amazing during this entire pregnancy. He has answered all of our questions with patience, seeing as how I worried about everything. He has simply been wonderful during my entire pregnancy. However, I believe I truly saw how amazing Dr. Rudeen was when my son was born. On Sunday, they called Dr. Rudeen in to come and run an ultrasound because Deborah and Nicole couldn't bring up Parker's heartbeat on the monitor. Dr. Rudeen came in in shorts and his crocs and got right to work. He moved the ultrasound around my belly and stopped. He then delivered the most devastating news in the most gentle way possible. He informed me that all four chambers of Parker's heart were not moving. In other words, our son had passed sometime in the past couple of days. His heart broke just as mine and Geoff's hearts were breaking. He then came, sat on the side of my bed and informed me of my choices. We decided on starting the induction process that night. After we talked, Dr. Rudeen squeezed my hand and told me we can still have healthy babies, that stillbirths are very rare. He then gave me a hug and told me he'd be praying for Geoff and I. I was floored at the warmth and kindness that came through Dr. Rudeen. My heart was moved and blessed.

The next day, Monday, Dr. Rudeen showed up at 8:30am to check and see how we were doing both in terms of my labor and my mental health (as well as Geoff's). He told us that he would be in and out checking on us throughout the day to see how my progress was developing. At about 4pm Monday, Dr. Rudeen came in and we got to pushing. He was in and out during the 3 hours that I was pushing. When the time came to deliver Parker, he was right there. He gently laid Parker on my chest as everyone in the room cried. He finished his work and then stayed for a bit afterward. He told me I did a great job (which was, in all it's weirdness, very comforting). He then told me that after looking at the umbilical cord and placenta that it was his cord that appeared to have failed Parker. Not only was it not tightly wound, but it was bright red showing that a hemorrhage had occurred sometime in the past couple of days. Also, the cord was short, which is a common trait amongst stillborn babies. All of these things would never have showed up on an ultrasound. When Dr. Rudeen informed us of these things, he followed it up quickly by saying that we can have healthy babies and as soon as we are ready we can sit down and talk with him. Geoff and I are so thankful for Dr. Rudeen, he will ALWAYS be my OB/GYN as long as he is still in practice.

Our families were present with us during this entire process from that awful Sunday night; when my mother-in-law Vanessa showed up right after we received our devastating news, to Thursday the 18th when we laid our son to rest at Kohlerlawn in Nampa. Our family has been by our side this entire time, through each tear and depressed moment. As I said before, Vanessa came to the hospital as soon as Geoff and I found out the awful news. Later that evening, she picked up Mark and brought him to our room. Grady and my cousin Mandy showed up at about 7 or 8 that night. They all stayed until my parents arrived at 12:30am that Monday morning (Mandy didn't actually leave until about 1 or 1:30am). Mom, dad, Mark, Vanessa, Grady and Mandy were present during each hour of those two and a half days that we were at Mercy. They offered laughter and diverting conversation as well as arms to hug and shoulders to cry on. Our moms were then present for Parker's birth. They assisted in holding up my legs and encouraging Geoff and I every step of the way during those three hours of pushing. They helped make that experience as joyful as they possibly could. My dad describes walking past my delivery room and hearing laughter during the delivery. That is exactly how our moms helped during that process. Geoff and I are forever thankful for our moms, dads, Grady and Mandy for walking each step with us during those awful two and a half days.

Our siblings came into town as fast as they could. Robby (my older brother), Keri and the girls showed up Monday night late. Brad, Sarah (my older sister) and D.O.G. (their dog) showed up Tuesday evening. Greg (Geoff's older brother) showed up Wednesday late evening at about 11 from Phoenix, AZ. Robby, Keri, Sarah and Brad plus my Aunt Claudia, Mandy, my parents, Geoff's parents, Greg and Grady were our support system that we leaned on hard, and continue to lean on during this process. They were the ones that we surrounded ourselves with from Sunday the 14th all the way through Thursday the 18th. They prayed with us, hugged us and laughed with us. They offered their wisdom and advice when needed. They listen to us and assisted with our grieving. They have all been amazing in every way.

One of the most amazing ways that my family helped Geoff and I was to make my birthday one that I'll never forget. They simply made me feel normal that day. My sister Sarah and cousin Mandy took me out to get my hair done. We took pictures in the salon and laughed the entire time, such good therapy. My mom prepared cinnamon rolls for my birthday breakfast and we relaxed at home for much of the day. Robby helped Geoff unwind on my birthday by playing video games with him. They battled it out, but Geoff won 6 games to 1. It was a great day. That evening, my family took me out to the Olive Garden where our waiters brought out two full cakes for my birthday dessert. We laughed and talked and attempted truly to be the loudest table in the restaurant. It was an amazing birthday evening. Geoff and I are so thankful for the family that God has blessed us with.

Ever since Sunday night, when Geoff and I discovered we had lost our son Parker, the warmth and love from our out of town family (east coast and west coast aunts, uncles and cousins), friends, fellow church members and co-workers has been pouring in like we could never have imagined. Our cell phones and house phone have been ringing off the hook with encouraging texts and voicemail. Our house, currently, is overflowing with flowers and cards offering sympathy, support and prayer. We are forever thankful for these people and all their thoughts and prayers.

Finally, and most important of all, there is no way that Geoff and I could have gotten through those days from Sunday the 14th through Thursday the 18th without our faith in God. We have had to live and learn what it means for God to be strong in our weakness. We have experienced the calming presence of the Holy Spirit and the overpowering strength of God. We know what it means to lean on his everlasting arms.

Sunday, at church, I had this nagging feeling to go to the altar and pray for Parker. I asked the Lord to reassure me that everything would be OK. Later that evening, as we walked from triage in labor and delivery to our delivery room I felt a calmness come over me, a peace that transcended all understanding. My heart rate went back to normal and my mind was cleared by this calming presence that I can only identify as the Holy Spirit. At that moment, God offered that calming reassurance that I had asked for earlier at church and He has continued to offer it. Each and every morning Geoff and I have asked for God's strength to guide us through the day and each and every day He has provided that for us. It is only because of God's strength that we have made it this far and will continue to heal and grow from this.

God is good, and He has proved that to us time again during this past week. Geoff and I can honestly say, that not once during this entire process have we questioned our faith. Not once, during this entire past week have we questioned God's abilities. My uncle Jim put it best when he talked with my mom last week. He said, this is shit and Jesus is deep in the shit with us.

God has not abandoned us, He has not forsaken us or forgotten about us. He is walking every step of the way with us and through this. God is good and because of that I will lean on Him forever and depend on his unending strength forever. Praise the Lord for all that He has done and all that He will do for Geoff and I. We are eternally grateful for all He has done for us and all He will do.

6 comments:

Claudia said...

Rachel, I am so moved by your words today. Thank you for being such a witness to us all. I love you and will be praying for you and Geoff and the rest of us that hurt right along with you. Aunt Claudia

Jess said...

Rachel, I once again find myself crying, heart hurting with your pain. We were so looking forward to meeting Parker, and we're so sorry that we never got that chance. I can't imagine how deeply you both must hurt right now, but I'm so glad to hear that God is providing that strength to help you through this. We don't know what you say to you or how to help, so please, please tell me if I get things wrong. We only want to support you both through all this. We love you, and are praying for you as always. If you need anything at all, you only have to ask.

Heather said...

Rachel, I am Jess' SIL and read about your story on her blog and then found your link. I am so, so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I am praying for you & Geoff and the rest of your family. Thank you for sharing your story with the blogging world. I am confident that God will use your faith to bless & reach others.

My college friend Mar lost one of her twin daughters almost a year ago. She and her husband created a foundation after their experience. Their story may be a comfort to you during this time (or later on). You can find out about them at www.actsofgracefoundation.com

May God continue to bring you peace and comfort.

kendra said...

Rachel, you are amazing. As soon as I found out, the tears started flowing hard...first for your incredible loss, but then for your incredible faith and witness. It is obvious that you are filled with the Holy Spirit throughout this process. What an awesome God we serve! even when we don't understand, He provides peace and even joy. Know that God's not done with you yet, and my prayers are constant for you in this time. Love you guys.

Lara said...

Rachel,
I have never in my life been so overcome with emotion as I am right now. I am crying for you and Geoff and wish I could be there to hug you both. I know we haven't seen each other in forever, but please know I care about you both so much and you are in my prayers. Please let me know if there is anything you need. And send me your phone number when you get the chance as I would love to keep in touch! LaraChilcote@clearwire.net
Lots of love,
Lara

Dawn said...

Rachel, Thank you so much for your blog. I have been thinking of you since I heard the news. I was so looking forward to meeting Parker at the family Christmas. I am glad you got to hold him and say your good byes. My heart hurts for all of you. I knew you would have wonderful support from family and the Lord. Hold on to each other tight and know our love and prayers are with you.