Many people ask me how Farrah and Bella are doing (since Hallie). Thank you for asking! I thought I'd write and tell you that they are doing well. And, this gives me a chance to post a couple of pictures of them with Hallie.
Bella is doing great. The morning after Hallie died (and can I say that that word is hard to say... but "passed" doesn't feel right either... I don't know when I'll get used to saying either of those words)... anyway... the next morning, Bella came bouncing in our room as usual and looked in the bed between Chris and I for Hallie. She asked, "Where is Hallie?" Once I told her that Hallie had died, she said, "Already?" (She knew from previous talks that this would happen.) Chris said, "Yes baby, but she's with God." and almost before he could finish that statement, Bella says "I know!" sweetly but also matter-of-fact and bounced right back out of the room. She's since asked a few questions, but overall her heart has been protected from much of it. She knows it's ok to see us sad and she feels comfortable asking questions. But mainly, Bella and Farrah are just great medicine for her parents!
Bella was so sweet with Hallie. She's always been a "little mommy." She asked to hold her and feed her so often. I wish she could have done it more, really. But she was always around. She watched with curiosity as Chris and I listened with a stethoscope to make sure her feeding tube was in her tummy. Then we'd fill up the bottle and hold it up, or let Bella hold it, to let Hallie be fed through the tube. Chris even brought home the girls their own yellow stethoscopes.
This picture is the morning of the 23rd. The only "morning" we had at home with Hallie. It was a pretty calm morning compared to the night before. Almost like a normal morning here in the house, except with a precious addition to the family. Bella was holding Hallie with my mom beside her. I asked her if she wanted to sing to her. She sang "Jesus loves me" in the sweetest, softest voice. (a different version of the song that has "hallelujah" in it...perfect.)
Farrah knows Hallie's picture and I encourage her to say her name as much as possible. I don't think she'll remember Hallie really, but I do want her to know her name and be comfortable asking questions when she is ready.
When we arrived home from the hospital Thursday night, it was a little crazy at the house. Well, maybe not, but it felt like it. We drove home at rush hour in a torrential downpour AND through Christmas mall traffic. At the first cry that Hallie let out... I was holding her. Yes, I held her all the way home. There was no way I was going to let her be in distress and not able to breathe good ... and I couldn't sufficiently comfort her with my c-section by leaning over the carseat. She was so small in there I couldn't get to her. So I held her. And it was great. (I told you she was held her entire life!!) :) Not to worry, traffic was literally NOT MOVING. It was pouring out and Chris and I rode almost in silence the whole way home. It was VERY hard to leave the hospital with the nurses that had become like family. To hug all of their necks as each of their shifts ended. To be putting Hallie in a carseat knowing it would probably be the only time I would get to do so. It was such a whirlwind of a day/night (or really, 5 days!) But we didn't know what the future held - we were still in awe that we were getting to bring her home! It is what I ultimately really wanted and I was thankful for that, even though I was really sad, too. Crazy how I could feel such big and different emotions simultaneously!
When we arrived home, we surprised the girls who were with GG. They didn't know we were coming home yet (or that Santa was going to be coming that night, either!) We quickly had to jump in and learn how to use our oxygen machine from the hospice equipment guy that was there. Then it was time for another feeding.
During a quiet moment after that, Farrah walked up and gave Hallie a little doll. Such a quick but sweet moment.
... there will always be a sister missing. We love you and miss you, Hallie!