Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"I'll Love You Forever, I'll Like you For Always...." **PHOTOS**

On November 28, 2000, we filed into a medium sized room at Olinger Magnolia Funeral Home. I was dressed in black from head to toe, my husband was wearing a suit with a tie. I vaguely remember the day, I vaguely remember the drive to the funeral home. When we arrived, the wonderful Funeral Home Director escorted us to our viewing location for Hunter. The flowers that were sent were already displayed but I was told that I could move them anywhere I would like. To the left and behind Hunter's tiny open casket was a ficus tree my OB/GYN had personally sent in Hunter's memory. There were air-brushed carnations, a Peace Lily from my favorite Aunt-in-law and a little pot with a variety of plants from my husband's employers. When I went to kneel down beside Hunter's casket, I took a deep breath in. No one had told me that the mortician was unable to embalm Hunter's tiny body so they had to wrap his precious little body in cotton dipped in Formaldehyde. Hunter's face was also wrapped in some kind of paper like substance that had been touched up with peach make-up. Hunter's chin was the only feature I could distinguish and it shocked me. With that deep breath, I nearly passed out. For an hour and half, I sat next to Hunter's casket. I was talking to him in a voice just above a whisper, describing each item I was including with him in his casket. I could hear the funeral home trying to get the music we had chosen set up and it kept skipping. After about the fifth time, I stood and walked to the sound room. We managed to get it settled. Our pastor finally arrived and asked us to take our seats. I honestly can't remember who was at the funeral but I do know that a friend of mine had to leave mid-service because it was too much for her to bear. I sat there, once again disconnected from this body. I could hear the pastor speaking but all I could focus on was Hunter's tiny blue and white checkered casket and the shape of his tiny, perfect head poking out of the top. At one point, my husband grabbed my hand and said the pastor wanted us to stand up and say what we would say to Hunter if he were still here. My husband walked me up to the podium, put my hands on it, reminded me of the paper I was holding that I had stayed up for nearly two nights writing and told me to go ahead. At some point, I will post that letter here but not for now. I remember being unsteady on my feet and my husband holding onto me as if I would blow away like a dead, crunchy leaf in October floats to the furthest limits in the sky if he let go. I was not eating at that point, I wasn't really hydrating. I didn't WANT to be here. I didn't WANT to eat. Food did nothing for me, I could hear the noise on t.v.'s and radio stations but it was in a language I couldn't understand, the screens were blank. As blank and hollow as my heart, just like my dreams and hopes for the future. Just like all of the plans for my baby who was now laying in a beautiful casket, just a little larger than he. When everyone had spoken and the pastor finished his sermon, we all stood and I was motioned to Hunter's casket. You see, I had asked beforehand if I could carry my precious boy to the limo waiting outside. I approached Hunter's final crib, gently closed the lid after kissing his head and lifted the tiny tomb my baby would forever rest in. My husband was there, he made sure I was steady before he let me out of arm's reach. Everyone filed behind us, my husband on my right and my best friend on my left, as we exited the funeral home through the back doors to the limo waiting outside. As we exited the life celebration room, my pastor began to pray, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil..". As he continued, I was thinking about what I was going to do next. I was going to commit my precious baby, my perfect baby in the perfect blue and white checkered casket to the ground. I almost fell and nearly dropped Hunter. My husband and best friend grabbed each arm, supporting Hunter as we walked to the limo just outside the doors. The black limo, dark as night when the moon is switched off and there are no clouds to illuminate your way. It was sort of appropriate I suppose. My heart was now as black as that dark limo waiting to carry me in the last ride I would ever share with my baby. Steering me toward Hunter's new home, for eternity. On the way to the cemetery, my husband, my best friend and I were seated in the furthest cushioned leather bunch seat in the back of the limo. In the middle was Hunter. I kept my hand on his tiny casket, a casket that shouldn't exist in this size, a casket that now held a baby who NEVER should have died, the entire ride. I recall that our driver was an elderly man who, I think with Hunter's gentle guidance, brought the three of us to sudden, ridiculous laughter with his INCREDIBLY slow driving. I remember thinking after the laughter vanished and maddening silence returned that I must be going mad. How else could a mother who is about to bury her child POSSIBLY laugh. Especially now, as I held on to what I could of Hunter as we drove to the plot we had chosen for him in the 'Baby Land' section of the cemetery just off Tower Road, next to the train tracks where the only frequent guests are broken hearts and small wildlife. When we reached Baby Land, I exited the limo and asked to carry Hunter to his final resting place. Just feet away Mary stood with her arms outstretched in a gesture to comfort the now childless, fractured, hopeless shell of parents who encountered her. My request was denied, I can now assume the gentle denial was because of the very near miss at the funeral home. I wasn't in the mood to argue and I didn't have the strength or will anymore so I watched as the Funeral Director picked my adorable cherub baby up and carried him to the green tent surrounding the spot we had chosen for Hunter. I was instructed to sit in the first row of strategically aligned chairs, just across from the unit my baby would be laid on just before he was lowered into the cold, frozen, crisp ground. The November air was so crisp that it burned your lungs as you drew a breath. I sat there, motionless and without a sound as the graveside memorial begin. Halfway through the service, as planned, I stood, walked to Hunter and sat down. I read aloud, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." No one else was there and I was still watching myself from afar, perhaps from a branch on the large, crooked Oak Tree next to Mary. The entire service, all I could think about was how I wanted to climb in with my son, my cherished baby boy and leave this painful, barren existence. I was slapped out of my day dreams of ending this pain by the pastor saying, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...". I remained still and quiet as others came up to hug me, tell me how sorry they were, to call if I needed anything, kiss my forehead or hand and tell me they had to get back to work. When everyone was gone, I remained seated and said I wanted to stay as my baby was committed to the earth forever. Once again, my demand was denied. We were escorted to our waiting limo and told we could come back in an hour and half. As we drove around the half circle to the exit, past Mary with her beckoning arms and the bronze statue of the Bible, I never took my eyes off of Hunter's 'spot'. I knew I would be back soon and in no time at all, I would join my baby boy. I kept my eyes fixed to the spot where Hunter remains today as if I were trying to memorize the last image that would ever be burned into my crying, swollen eyes until long after we drove down the road that held my former future from me like a mean spirited child playing keep-away. The road that would forever hold the shreds of what my life as a Mom could have been until I couldn't see Hunter's plot any more. As I watched Hunter and Baby Land disappear, with the last grain I had to fight, I whispered to him under my breath, "I love you baby! I'll be with you soon".

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We are amazed!

Hi friends! When I woke up this morning, our most popular blog post had two Google + recommendations. Right now, 10:17 p.m., we have 40,835 shares of our blog post on Google!!! We are getting our story out, little by little! <3 I thank God for all of the amazing people sharing our links!!! <3 If you would like to help us in our journey, please visit our website at ** ** We sell high quality, custom made items that are SLS & Petrochemical FREE and are also Kosher! Our products are so gentle, they are used on those with Eczema and other skin conditions. One Mom, whose 2 year old has moderate Atopic Dermatitis, reports that her little girl's skin was IMPROVED by our bath and body products when the medicated creams from her daughter's doctor we failing. Below are the before and after pictures of this precious little one! Proceeds from sales at Knotty Wicks Candle & Soap Co. are credited to our surgical fund! You are also welcome to join us on Facebook at ** **

I'm In The Arms of Jesus 
Daddy, please don't look so sad, Mama please don't cry~
"Cause I am in the arms of Jesus and He sings me lullabies."
Please, try not to question God, Don't think he is unkind
Don't think He sent me to you, and then He changed his mind.
You see, I am a special child, and I'm needed up above
I'm the special gift you gave Him, the product of your love.
I'll always be there with you and watch the sky at night,
Find the brightest star that's gleaming, That's my halo's brilliant light.
You'll see me in the morning frost, that mists your window pane.
That's me in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain.
When you feel a little breeze, from a gentle wind that blows
That's me, I'll be there, planting a kiss on your nose.
When you see a child playing, and your heart feels a little tug,
That's me, I'll be there, giving your heart a hug.
So Daddy, please don't look so sad, Mama don't your cry.
I'm in the arms of Jesus and He sings me lullabies.

Claudette T. Allen

Monday, May 27, 2013

Renewed Hope....and the Fall Down.

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Thank you all SO much for the support and prayers! You are irreplaceable! <3

Our Twins Journey to Heaven
In September, I learned we were expecting again. This time, I was intent on making sure our babies made it here safe and sound. Despite a decent amount of stress at the time, I managed to hold it together...for a little while anyway. I was working...A LOT and quite tired. It wasn't long before problems started to appear. My blood pressure was steadily increasing, I kept having contractions, was in and out of the hospital. All the while, I refused to believe that these babies, later named Seann Williem and Gianna Bella, would be born anything but healthy and happy. Apparently, there were other plans that I wasn't aware of. I wound up having some heart problems, the blood pressure climbed and one attempt to stop pre-term labor evolved into what seemed like one long act of prevention. As I write this, I can feel that pain in my chest, the knot in my stomach that reminds me that my babies are not here with me. Oddly though, I feel a bit disconnected. I think I have shoved these feelings down so long, I'm not sure if I remember how to feel them. I don't need reminding and, just like Hunter, if I close my eyes hard enough, I can see both of my precious babies. My heart wants to see them laughing and playing but my eyes only see them deep in eternal sleep. I wish there was a way to fool my brain into making it show me images of my babies dancing and singing, playing tag and hopscotch. Just when I think my mind might lead me there, I'm jolted back to my senses....shoved into my harsh, painful reality. I have now learned to live with this reality.

After almost four months of doctor's visits, hospital stays, shots and I.V.'s, on December 16, my beautiful babies, Seann and Gianna, entered this world. Just moments apart. Once again, there was no long string of friends to Congratulate me. There were no flowers or balloons. Just silence chipped into fractions by the words, "I'm so sorry" and "God wanted them home". At the time, I wanted to scream in their faces that I didn't CARE what God wanted! I wanted my babies! I even had some of things they needed sitting at home. Over time, i came to accept that God had a master plan but it was not immediately. At 18 weeks, my precious babies came into the world. At 18 weeks, I had to say goodbye. Even though I knew my babies were in the more than capable and loving hands of Jesus now, I bargained once again. I promised to be a better person, I begged to turn the clock back and re-do this so my babies could be here with me. All of my bargaining just couldn't make my babies come back to matter how hard I cried or prayed or yelled.

I vaguely remember eventually leaving the hospital. A pit in my stomach, biting my lip until it nearly bled hoping it would take the pain from my heart and now empty belly.

I went home and just sat and stared. I didn't know what else to do. What DO you do when the world you were planning on is suddenly stolen, taken despite your best efforts to hold on to it with every fiber you have in you? How do you convince yourself it isn't your fault, that there was nothing else you could have done? How do you avoid turning on yourself? How can you stop wondering why something other women do with such ease is such a chore for your faulty, degenerate body to handle? Is it something you did long ago to someone else that you can't remember that you deserve to feel this crushing pain and maddening failure? Is it that you aren't meant to be a mother that causes your body to become defective and just a shell of a woman?  How do you tell yourself that it isn't your fault when you couldn't save your babies, one of the most important roles of a good mother, of a protector, from death?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hunter's Path to Heaven ~~~ **PHOTOS**

Hello again! We have three precious babies with Angel wings. After a mild collision with infertility, we learned we were expecting on August 31, 2000. I was SO happy, I couldn't contain myself. We didn't have very long with the adorable baby we later named Hunter. My first child, Frederick Hunter (first name after my maternal grandfather), was born sleeping on November 22, 2000 due to Cord Entanglement following a fall at work on Nov. 20. I called my OB that day and explained what had taken place. He asked if I was bleeding or gushing fluid. I told him I wasn't so he told me to take some Tylenol for the discomfort, to go home and rest. The next morning, a Tuesday, when I got to work, I couldn't walk from my office to my supervisor's office. I called my OB again. He told me "Pain let's us know we are alive. Go home, rest."

At around 3:30pm, I went to the nearest E.R. against my OB's advice. I was made to sit in the waiting room for four hours, in pain, following a fall, while my baby boy, Hunter, died. They took me to ultrasound, tested urine and put me in a semi-private room in the E.R. with a curtain separating me and another patient. When I was wheeled to ultrasound, I could see that something wasn't right in the technician's eyes...he wouldn't look me in the face. He left the room and came back with a larger transducer, he said, to make it easier to see my baby. I kept trying to see the reflection of the ultrasound screen in his eyeglasses but couldn't get a clear picture. After taking several images, he wheeled me into the hall, touched my shoulder and told me "Good Luck." I was finally taken back to my E.R. room, where my husband had now arrived and was seated. I told him to call my mother, that I thought something might be a little wrong and maybe I would have to be on bed rest or some other minor issue. He called my mother and she arrived within just a few minutes before the doctor came in. The E.R. doctor came in with a nurse, laughing and smiling. He said they were waiting on the results of my urine and when they got the results back, they'd know a little more. He took two steps closer, looked me dead in the eyes and said "Oh, and your baby died.". I looked at him, stunned. I giggled then said "WHAT??". I dont think it hit me right away. I tried to explain to him that seconds before I went to ultrasound, a nurse had been in and found my baby's heart rate at 146 beats per minute. I remember her searching with the doppler, then moving it a bit, then saying, "143, 144, 146 beats a minute" as she smiled and wiped the jelly off the doppler. The doctor just kept saying the same thing over and over but it made NO sense. I didn't come in to the E.R. with my dead baby in my belly. I came in with a happy, healthy baby who was just fine on the Thursday before. I vaguely remember rocking back and just repeating the word 'no' over and over and over. I think I thought that if I said no enough, I could make this horrible nightmare go away. I could wake up back in my warm, safe bed at home with my precious, happy baby growing like a weed in my belly. Except I wasn't at home....and this wasn't a nightmare. This was real and no matter how much a bargained with God, He wasn't going to bring my baby back.

The E.R. doctor said I needed to go home and let "nature take it's course" when asked by my husband what the plan was. My husband instantly responded, a response that seemed more like a knee jerk reaction than a carefully planned thought. He said, "You can't let her go home like this and expect her to deliver our baby at home!! She won't make it! She can't take this, she WILL take her own life!" I remember sitting there, I remember everyone in the room, I remember the smells. I know I was in that room and everyone was talking about me as if I weren't there, right beside them, trying to make sense of all of this but my body wasn't connected to my brain any more. It literally felt like I was floating above my body, just watching all of this as if it were a movie. I knew it wasn't a movie but I was no longer attached to anything happening in that room. I was jerked back to my sense when I saw several security guards coming toward my now private hospital room. The E.R. doctor had called my OB and my OB said there was no need for him to come to hospital. Apparently, that really pissed my husband off, he got a little loud and room had I don't even know how many guards outside. After a short time, the guards spread out until they were gone altogether...or maybe they were still there and they had faded into the background....just like my hopes, my dreams, my plans for my baby. My baby, who I would later have to pick out a casket for and commit his body to the ground. My baby, who I knew I couldn't live without.

At about 10pm, I was wheeled up to the Labor and Delivery unit. I was given Pitocin to induce labor/contractions and told to rest if I could. In this dark, solemn room there was a baby incubator for newborn babies. After a short time, I could hear the other Mom's babies crying. I could hear them crying to be fed, crying to be held. I would give ANYTHING to hear my baby cry. In room L&D 11, Iit was quiet...other than the sounds of the other babies crying. No one came to bring flowers or congratulate us on the arrival of our new baby. Instead, the room remained still and swallowed me in the depth of it's sorrow. Around 5am, I felt something I had never felt before. I called my mother over, she looked underneath my blanket, then ran to get a nurse. No doctor showed up and I had delivered Hunter before my mother returned with the nurse. Amidst the sweet cooing and crying of over newborn babies, I begged God. "PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE, just let my baby cry! I'll do anything you want. PLEASE just let my baby cry!" There was no sound. There was no coo. There was no cry. Just dark, empty, enveloping silence. Silence that felt like it would swallow you whole, that lasted a lifetime.
When the doctor arrived, he delivered the placenta, told the nurse not to show my baby to me and left the room. He told me that my doctor couldn't come back now, not at 5:15am so he would deliver my baby. My baby was already here. The doctor left the room with few words, the nurse was right behind him with my baby Hunter. I was not allowed to see Hunter for almost three hours. No one told me what to expect. No one told me there was nothing physically wrong with my baby. I was terrified to look at him when they brought him into the room, wrapped in a hospital blanket from head to toe and laid him on the incubator table. They left Hunter there and said to look at him when I was ready. After having my mother and husband look at Hunter so they could prepare me, I walked slowly, over to the incubator. There lay the most beautiful creature my eyes had ever seen. Lying in the incubator was my cherished baby boy, Hunter. He was 9 inches long and weighed just over 9 ounces. He was absolutely perfect with ten fingers, ten toes, long little legs and great big strong thighs. His tiny lips pursed as if he was begging for a kiss. Hunter was an Angel who had been living in my belly for 24 short weeks and was now back in God's garden playing with the other Angels.

On Nov. 28, we laid Hunter to rest. We had a small memorial service followed by interment at a cemetery just moments from our home. I spent the next few months during my work break lunches eating at the cemetery, reading, talking to Hunter, begging Hunter to come back. I would stare at the sky from Hunter's burial plot and try to bargain with God to bring my baby home. About the beginning of February, I was at the cemetery, as I had been every other day before, many times, on one of the multiple visits per day. I didn't have work that day so I was in a t-shirt and sweet pants. I was there, talking to Hunter, thinking of things to tell him so I wouldn't have to leave when the grounds caretaker drove by and stopped his truck with a horrified look on his face. This man knew me very well. I had met him when we were choosing a cemetery to place Hunter in, this man had prepared my baby's final resting place, he even put sod down, in November, when I asked if the grass would still be green after Hunter's funeral. You see, it didn't register that the grass wasn't green. I wanted my baby to have green grass. I didn't consider that the ground was frozen solid and there was snow covering the now brown, wilted, sleeping grass. This is the same man who told one of the funeral coordinators to call me a day or two after Hunter's funeral because I looked like I "wanted to climb in that grave with him", he told her. Steve was his name. Steve stared at me for a moment with eyes wide in shock. I stood, looked down at myself and realized I was soaking wet and covered in snow. Steve's face painted with bewilderment and sorrow was caused by his discovery of me, laying in five inches of snow in a t-shirt and sweat pants with no coat in February. Steve politely asked if I was ok, smiled, tipped his baseball hat and drove on. I can't describe the look on Steve's face but it was enough to make me realize I needed help. It was what I needed to finally see that I couldn't handle losing my baby on my own. I needed help to realize it wasn't my fault that Hunter died, to realize that my careless behavior with my health, well-being and sanity had to end. I realized that if I didn't change things drastically and quickly, I wouldn't survive.

Our efforts to raise funds for Baby Cantrell.

We have been doing a few things to earn the funds we need for this surgery. Below are links to our article in a Colorado newspaper, our website and our Facebook pages. ;)

We were featured in a local newspaper.

Our Knotty Wicks Website. Proceeds from sales are credited to our surgical fund.

The Cantrell Family Facebook Page

Our Business Facebook Page.

How did we get here?

Hi all! My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for four years now. The issue is that the tube is so narrowed, it is damaging my eggs, resulting in miscarriage and stillborn twins. We want very few things more than to add to our wonderful family! We have found a Dr. who can & will perform the surgery with up to a 70% success rate. We are trying to save the funds for the surgery and travel. Insurance does not cover it and we have to travel to North Carolina for this specialty clinic. We need your help! We are saving EVERY penny and have even opened a home business to contribute to the cost of this surgery. You can find our site here: We sell MUCH more than candles and ALL proceeds are deposited into our surgical fund. We simply can't afford IVF. We are both college graduates, have secure careers, are healthy and drug & alcohol free. We are reaching out now as we realize we can't do this alone. We thank you SO much for opening your heart and any help you can provide to help us reach our goal and expand our awesome little family! Love and many blessings to all of you, George & Khrysti Cantrell