I have such vivid memories of different parts of Siena's journey with some parts being particularly clear. It was a day in fall and I remember seeing Heidi's update on FB or getting an email about the her ending up in the ER and all that medical things that were going on. It was a day that I didn't have to be at work (I teach part-time at my kids' school) so I picked up the phone and called my husband to fill him in on everything that I knew. Then, I told him I was going to call Heidi and see what we could do, if anything.
Funny thing about our relationship is that we could probably count on two hands the number of times that we have gotten together in person. We met randomly through a mutual friend and stayed in touch through multiple moves (for both of us) and via email and FB (mostly FB). I think of us as friends who don't need to see each other all the time to stay in touch and when we do get together, it's like we never left.
Anyway, I took a deep breath and called Heidi. She was as upbeat and chipper sounding as usual, although I knew she was likely in overdrive at that moment. I got the scoop on what was going on, or what was suspected to be going on and we chatted. During our conversation she said that even before all of the craziness started, she and Tim had wanted us (my husband and I) to be the Godparents. I instantly got tears in my eyes and said absolutely we would. After our conversation, I'm pretty sure I cried more. Tim and Heidi have been such a witness not only to life but also to being open to life in general. To be honest, I was pretty content with our family the way it was, not really sure we should add to our family because, let's face it, babies are a lot of work and well, we were comfortable.
Needless to say, I had some serious searching to do in my heart. Here Tim & Heidi have always been very open, and have experienced some of the most heart wrenching things any parent should have to go through, yet here they were, still open to life. I started to feel really guilty about my lack of trust in God and my own unwillingness to be open. Let's just say my heart was opened and we have since added to our family. I'm not sure we would have our little Theodore if it hadn't been for Tim & Heidi and little Siena.
Anyway, Heidi and I kept in touch, mostly via FB. I went over when the big MRI was scheduled to watch the kids (we had fun!) and I was hopeful they would get some good information so they could make a good plan for Siena. As the day went on, I started to feel more discouragement because there was so much waiting. I ended up having to leave (after being hopeful that anytime now they would be calling with news). I felt so bad having to drop the kids off at another friend's house in town.
The rest of the time between then and the delivery were pretty much a blur to me. Craig and I both traveled to Rochester to be with them on Siena's birthday. I vaguely remember Heidi asking if I would be in the room as a second support person and I remember wondering how in the world I was going to be able to do that. I know my thought was if Heidi thinks she needs me there, I will be there, yet still feeling very inadequate to do the job.
The morning of January 14, we dropped our kids off with their grandparents and continued on our way. I think I drove until we got closer so Craig could sleep. I was kind of nervous, but driving kept me occupied. The closer we got, the more nervous I got about everything. I was still hopeful that things would be ok but tried to prepare myself in case they weren't. We finally found where we were going and got upstairs and into the room with them. It was nice to just hang out and relax (I think we kind of relaxed?) before everything began. Hopefully we were able to provide a little relief that way. As it got closer to “go time”, we got serious. Craig got sent out to the waiting room to play with the kids (I'm sure he loved it too!) and I had to put on scrubs. I was really nervous then. My constant mental prayer was, “Holy Spirit, you need to help me be what Heidi needs. I need the words to say because I cannot do this on my own.” Tim, Father and I had to spend a long time (felt like forever) waiting to be called back and all I could do at that point was take a big breath and pray that I wouldn't pass out. We got situated in the room and things got underway pretty quickly.
I remember asking Heidi how she was doing and then just sitting patiently until Siena made her entrance. They brought her around and I didn't get a good glimpse (not even a picture!) because everything happened so fast. Tim jumped up and off they went. I scooted over to be closer to Heidi and again, my prayer was that the Holy Spirit would help me be what I was needed to be right then. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), I managed to find plenty to talk about (not my strong suit there). We talked about the “funny” sign in the room about what to do if something happened with step-by-step instructions. We chatted about how the gardens would go this summer and what would be planted. I don't even remember what else we talked about in there. At different times, a doctor or nurse would come in and update Heidi on what they were doing with Siena.
They had finished up with Heidi and were getting things ready to transfer her to a different bed. I saw one of the male nurses walk in and look to the nurse behind us. I briefly saw him shake his head the slightest bit and I knew. I had to look at the ceiling because shortly behind him was Tim. I got up and moved back because I knew at that moment that Heidi would be hearing the words she prayed she wouldn't have to hear, the words none of us wanted to hear that day. There was nothing more they could do for her.
Walking back to the room was a blur. Heidi tried so hard to keep it together. I told her it was ok to cry and the tears flowed. I slipped out of the room shortly after they brought Siena in to her, still connected to all her cords and wires. I found the family waiting room and I'm pretty sure Craig knew by my face what was happening. The kids were busy playing cards and doing various things so it was like talking in code. We waited with the kids while they each got to go in one by one to be with their sister and say hello and good-bye. Craig and I got to go in and hold her sweet little body and spend some time with Tim & Heidi. We watched while the nurse weighed her and we talked about little Siena. Leaving that day was hard because there was nothing we could do.
Craig and I stopped at Culvers and I cried. There were so many thoughts and emotions going through my head that day and that moment. We were so blessed to be able to be with them during such a difficult time. We are blessed to have a saint as a Goddaughter. We are blessed to have welcomed a 6th child into our family thanks to the beautiful witness of Tim & Heidi. We are blessed that they are our child's Godparents.
As much as our daily lives keep on moving, Siena is never far from it. She sends little reminders to me often. When I pull out Theodore's blanket, I remember her. Sometimes she hits me in the shower and brings tears to my eyes. Sometimes it's when I'm teaching and can share the story of how Siena came into this world and was loved immensely. Although it's sad that God had different plans for Siena, it does make me smile to think of her happy in Heaven and to look at all the wonderful things she did in her short life.
Love you Siena! Please pray for us.