Accepting Our Reality


It’s been almost three weeks since our hearts were shattered.  It does not feel like it’s been that long.  I still feel like the first week, from the time I found out until we laid her to rest, felt like one really long day.  I don’t remember much about that week.  I just know that it was one awful thing after another.  I was trapped in the most excruciatingly painful time of my life, with no escape in sight. However, some time has passed now and our new reality is setting in.  

PICKING OUT A HEADSTONE: 

When we originally went to the funeral home, we did not make a decision about her stone.  We chose to come back and make that decision once we were in a better mind frame.  Thankfully, I was so sedated, I don’t really remember even being there.  I am glad we chose to wait on making this decision but last week I had to go pick out our daughter’s stone for her grave.  Austin was back at work so I asked a friend to come with me to help me pick out a couple for Austin to look at so we could decide together.  I had NO idea what I was doing.  I had no clue how I was supposed to pick something out for Ava Rae when I never got to meet her.  Before I got out of my car, I prayed.  I asked God and Ava to help me make these decisions since she left me too soon to know the perfect stone that would represent her tiny grave.  As we were looking at the granite, I was already overwhelmed.  It all started looking the same and did I mention that I was looking for a piece of stone for my DAUGHTER’S GRAVE!?  Overwhelmed is an understatement! Anyhow, when I was almost ready to just throw my hands up about it, I saw one piece of granite in a different light.  I saw pinks and greys and it was beautiful.  It became so clear that God and Ava guided me to that piece of granite because it would remind me of her nursery.  It was awesome.  They were there!  It was such a since of relief and confidence that I wasn’t alone.   Now on to the next few decisions (fonts, a symbol or picture, and what we wanted it to say). We have not decided 100% on it but we are almost there.  I know it’s just a materialistic thing but if this is the only physical thing we can give her, we want it to be perfect. 

PANIC ATTACKS FROM HELL

Some of you know the full story of what actually happened on January 11th, but others don’t.  This part of our story literally haunts me.  I think about this everyday.  Multiple times a day.  Sometimes for hours and hours at a time. Just replaying it in my head.  So, here is what happened: the night of January 10th, I noticed she hadn’t been as active that day.  By this time, her kicks and crazy movements just became so normal I didn’t always think about it.  I of course told Austin that I would go get checked out if I still didn’t feel her in the morning but I was certain she was fine.  The next morning, I still couldn’t get her to give me one of her crazy kicks so I called my sister and she had me try a few other things to get some movement. Still nothing.  Shockingly, I was still completely calm and convinced all was fine.  I decided to go to the hospital just for a peace of mind.  I told Austin to stay at work, I was sure all was fine and not to tell anyone because I didn’t want people to worry. I get myself up to Labor and Delivery and checked in.  This whole time I am, of course, texting Jeni and Austin letting them know exactly what is going on.  I get called back to the emergency area of L&D.  Wendy is my nurse and she tells me she is going to look for the heartbeat with the Doppler.  She looks for at least a minute but nothing.  I’m kind of confused and Wendy tells me not to panic, sometimes it’s hard to get the heartbeat if they are in a weird position.  She called for an ultra sound.  While she was out of the room, I got scared. I text Austin that I needed him to come because I was scared.  He was on his way.  Jeni called because I text her that the heartbeat was not found with the Doppler.  I heard panic in her voice and she just said, “I’m on my way.”  We hung up.  Wendy grabbed my phone and called Austin because I told her i could not tell Austin this about the heart beat.  I just could not tell my husband this.  He told her he would be there in 10 minutes. (For the record, she just told him that they had concerns for the baby and thought he should be here)  Before I knew it, my doctor and her entire team of nurses, who have been with me every step of the way of this pregnancy, are surrounding me.  Dr. Schmidt was not waiting for the US lady to get there.  She found her own machine and came in and began the ultra sound.  I was surrounded by a circle of women who were holding my hand, holding my leg, holding on to me wherever they could because they knew.  And when Dr. Schmidt turned around and said, “I can’t find it.  I can’t find her heartbeat” I needed all of them.  I just screamed and cried.  I was so confused and I just couldn’t stop screaming and sobbing. There are truly no words that I can write that would explain this feeling. It’s literally unimaginable.   As I am screaming and sobbing, somehow, I’m being taken to an actual room.  As I am roled up in a wheelchair to the hospital bed, Austin comes running in.  Wendy did not have a chance to tell him.  So I had to tell my loving husband that his daughter had died.  He dropped to his knees with his arms around my waist and we cried.  This was easily the worst moment of my life.  Later, Austin told me that he didn’t even check in with the L&D front desk because he just heard me screaming crying and he chased after me until I was in his arms.  This is what haunts me.  This is the moment that keeps me up at night.  This is what spins me into a panic attack that I can snap out of.  That is the moment and sequence of events that changed the course of our lives.  It changed us.  It changed everything. 

TIME OUT FROM LIFE! 

After too many days of feeling like complete and utter crap, Austin and I decided to call an official TIME OUT!  We are very fortunate that Austin’s family has a cozy cabin on Lake Limestone.  It’s away from everything and everyone.  And most importantly, our devastating reality.  It was time to pack up and get the heck away from it all.  This past weekend we just checked out of the world.  It was great.  We knew that all of our problems would be there when we got back so we tried to laugh, play with our crazy dog, fish, relax and just be immature and runaway from our problems, temporarily.  It was amazing.  

OFF TO TRY COUNSELING: 

 We are finally caught up most of the events! Counseling was actually tonight.  We went together and we both really liked the therapist.  She was extremely sweet, kind and we could feel her compassion towards us.  She is a mother of two, so of course, our story caused her to tear up more than a couple of times.  For us, this made her seem real.  She understood the depth of our pain.  We decided to do a couple session once a week and then a session  with me once a week.  We are hoping that therapy can help us continue to communicate and navigate our way through all of this.  

MY LOVING HUSBAND

Once again, I just reiterate how incredible this man is.  I mean, he is everything.  The other day, I was crying and said, “I just want to hold her!” Austin came over to me and said, “Me too, babe.  But since we can’t, I’m just going to hold you.”  How does he know the things I need without me even asking him?  He reassures me that God has something amazing in store for us.  Knowing that my partner believes that and is moving us forward to our brighter days gives me so much security and hope.  Even when I can’t move forward at his pace, he is doing everything he can to clear the path ahead of me.  I love this man.  I love everything about him.  

Thank you all for reading our story, encouraging us to stay strong in our faith, sending us food, sending us cards and flowers, texting us, and more than anything, PRAYING FOR US.  I know everyone has tons of stuff going on in their own lives so taking time out to read about ours means a lot.  

So far what Austin and I agree we have learned through all of this is that we want so badly to be parents.  We have so much love to give.  We also realized how grateful for one another we are.  We were very unlucky to lose our Ava Rae but we are so lucky to have been given this additional love to share between the two of us.  Ava’s life gave our marriage an unbreakable love super power.  The pain is unimaginable but this love we share, thanks to Ava, is just as unimaginable. 

22 thoughts on “Accepting Our Reality”

  1. Kelli, I am so moved by your transparency and your willingness to share your pain and recovery with all of us. I pray that you and Austin continue to grow closer to God and to each other through the loss of your beautiful Ava Rae. You are always in my prayers..much love always๐Ÿ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Kelli you are an amazingly strong person. Your story shatters my heart, so I imagine yours is completely broken. Life can be hard, but you will somehow find your happy again๐Ÿ’• I just know you will! I will continue to send your family my prayer for comfort and strength๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Tawni. I don’t know that it’s strength, it’s just the alternative of not healing is not an option for us. Thank you for your uplifting words and prayers. ๐Ÿ’—

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  2. Your post moves my heart. Ava Rae would be delighted to hear it…speak to her as you journey through your grief. I pray that you and Austin continue to heal and that God will comfort you daily. ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Kelli,

    I went to junior high and high school with Austin.
    I pray for you both every morning that god gives you both peace and comfort. You sound like such a god fearing woman! Your strength, courage and faith absolutely amazes me!! We don’t understand why god does what he does and it’s easy to lose faith in moments of pain and suffering. I have no doubt that your story is going to impact so many people without you even knowing. You’ve touched me and I’ve never even been remotely close to what you are going through! There aren’t any words or actions that can take away your pain. Please keep your faith and know you have so many people praying for you! God bless you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Goodness…I couldn’t imagine!! I wish I could find the right words to make it better but I know there aren’t enough words for that. Your story made me cry. I can’t even imagine what you guys are going through. I cried for you guys the day you announced on FB and I still think about you guys and the unfortunate circumstances. I’ve said many prayers and I know God will guide you two in the right direction. I believe he needed Ava as a beautiful Angel for you guys! She will always be by your side no matter what! Stay strong and keep your head up, I know it’s hard but you can do it! The Lord and Ava will never leave your side. Lots of Love and Prayers for you two.

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  5. I am very greatful that you wrote this. I will continue to pray for yall everyday. I am great full that you took the time out to relive that day and inform us how yall felt. Prayers that it gets easier everyday. Just know that beautiful baby girl is looking down and saying those are my wonderful parents. Those are the ones that created me. Both of yall are truly amazing. I love yall

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  6. Kelli,
    I couldn’t imagine what you are going through, every time I read anything you post it makes me tear up! I pray for you and Austin and know that God and Ava are going to take care of y’all! They are going to bless you guys more then you can imagine, you just wait! I know it’s hard to stay strong but your doing a very good job if your sharing your story. I’m going to continue to pray for strength for the 2 of you!

    God bless

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kelli and Austin,
    Your story is definitely unimaginable and sends tears down my cheeks, but the bond you two have created over this traumatic event makes my heart happy. The love you two share for one another is unbreakable! Your faith will no doubt give you strength to fight through. We are praying for you everyday that God gives you strength, comfort, and peace. Love you both and thanks for being brave enough to share your story! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kelli and Austin,

    Your story is truly unimaginable! I have been praying so hard for you 3 and will continue to each day! I can say that following your story and seeing the Faith and Love and Grace he has bestowed upon you guys is Amazing! You sharing your story will not only help you guys during this journey called life, but others as well. I know that our Lord has a plan for you guys and it will be Perfect! Always keep him as your foundation and you two will get through this together and Stronger as you said above. Holding you both close to my thoughts and prayers daily. God Bless
    ~Brad & Kiah Kamman

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kelli, I grew up with your Mom. First of all you and Austin are continually in my prayers. Your strength is amazing. I can’t even imagine what a devastating loss this has been. Just know that there are so many people lifting you both up to the Lord for healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was in Jeni’s pledge class at TX State and knew Austin through another friend. I am so sorry for your loss I know that God is watching over you and your sweet girl and as you mentioned…something big is planned for you! I have been praying since I saw on facebook and will continue to do so for your healing, strength and perseverance through this unimaginable time.

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  11. Kelli and Austin,

    You don’t know me but I do know your mom and dad. We lost Harrison in 1996, he was born sick (most likely from a virus I contracted that caused the bike ducts in his liver not to form). Harrison lived for 59 days and I checkout out of life for those 59 NICU days and for sometime after we lost him. I remember the same screams and they are haunting. So glad you are doing the hard work that grief brings with an expert who will help you….even those of us who believe need a safe place to speak of things no one else can understand. Everyone says call if need something and make sure to take advantage of those ears….if they run out call me!! I understand and will be praying for both.

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  12. I sat in my bed this morning sobbing for you both. Your faith, love and leaning on each other make you get stronger everyday. What you have expierenced is unimaginable. You are amazing and so strong to share your story.
    I hated that I hadn’t seen you in so long and the first time to hug your neck was at Ava’s memorial. So much love in that room for sweet Ava. She is sitting on Gods lap looking down on you both…. I continue to keep you in my prayers. I love you,Kelli!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kelli, please know that you have the prayers and positive thoughts of so many. There is strength in numbers, so let this
    strength get you through this difficult time. The friends your mom made at the schools she was on staff are keeping you in their thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for sharing your story. You have been on my mind more than you know.
    I am glad to hear that you are getting help. You are not alone.
    I will continue to pray for you and God’s plan for your family.
    I have 3 families at my school that have lost a child. All of them are currently pregnant and accepting the fact that it is a different pregnancy and different child.
    You are surrounded by people who love and care about you.

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