Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
First off Brook and I wanted to publicly thank everyone for the huge outpouring of love and support that we have felt from our family, ward, and community. We appreciate all of it and love you all. Brook and I wanted to try and say something today because we knew that the program would be recorded. We both figured this would be the best way to permanently record our feelings and emotions about all of this. Of course being a father of two daughters I was overly excited to find out Brook was having a boy. Sometimes I denied that and said I didn’t really care one way or the other but I admit that was a lie. As the pregnancy progressed and he became more and more active inside of Brook I was able to experience him more often. Actually I felt him most at night when he would start his aerobics like Brook said. He did not like it when Brook’s belly touched my back in bed. It is interesting and sometimes a little disconcerting to feel someone kick you in the back when you are lying in bed at night.
As the 9 months started to draw to a close Brook of course became more and more uncomfortable and I started to get antsy for her to have the baby. I told her once that life kind of runs in stages and I was ready for the pregnancy stage to come to an end and for the new baby stage to begin. When we went to the hospital on the Tuesday before he was born I think we were both expecting to have the baby that day. I was a little disappointed and Brook was a lot disappointed that we were told to go home for another week of contractions and misery. Of course now we know Emmett was not going to follow the doctor’s recommendation and decided that Friday was as long as he could wait to get here. When we went to the hospital on Friday we were both convinced that this really was it. And it was within an hour or so that Dr Leavitt (Brook’s OBGYN) gave the go-ahead for the c-section. Since we had Elena by c-section and I had been in there for her birth I was not as worried this time about the whole procedure. I guess I thought this would be pretty much the same as last time. Now some of you may know this about me already but I actually enjoy watching the c-section. It is fascinating to me and I think my brother-in-law Mark Cook feels the same way about his kids’ births. I like to see my kids the instant they come out. That’s also when they get their first portrait. Emmett was held up just for an instant so Brook could see him and I could take a picture and then he was handed through the half-door into the NICU.
Before he even left the OR I heard him starting to cry so I knew he had a decent set of lungs on him. That was a relief. And then as they sewed Brook back up occasionally they would open the door into the NICU and I could hear him in their still crying. Before they even wheeled Brook out of the OR into recovery I went with Dr. Leavitt into the NICU to see my son. He was in an oxygen tent and was wiggling all over the place and crying. The nurse said that he was really working at breathing and as I watched his little chest rise and fall I could see that was true. Other than that he looked perfect and occasionally opened his eyes to look at me. I took a couple of pictures of him and a short video of him just moving and crying. Now I know I will be eternally grateful that I shot that video and spent the few minutes with him I did. The nurse told me that I could touch him so I opened one of the port holes into his tent and rubbed his forehead right between his eyes. That always helped to calm down my girls when they were infants. Emmett was no different than his sisters and his crying and wiggling seemed to calm a bit as I my hand was on his head. After a few minutes I went back to recovery and sat with Brook. It was only about 5 minutes later that Dr. Leavitt came back in to tell us that he had been on his way home when a nurse from the NICU had stopped him to tell him that Emmett was not doing as good anymore. I went with Dr. Leavitt straight back to the NICU and there met a team of nurses and specialists crowded around my son’s bed working to keep his little heart beating. After a while the doctors said there was nothing left they could do and they wrapped him in a blanket and gave him to me to take to Brook. But as I walked down the hall to her room he kept wrinkling his nose and wiggling in my arms. I turned to the doctors by me and said that he was not gone yet. It seemed to me that he was still fighting and did not want to leave his parents yet.
The doctors took him back into the NICU and began working on him again. He sustained a weak pulse and was breathing with help as the doctors gave him medicine and blood to try and get his heart to pick up again. Sometime during the 45 minutes or so that they worked on him the second time Dr. Leavitt anointed his little head with oil and then assisted me in giving him the only blessing he would receive in this life. I do not know what I said now in the blessing. But I do remember that I started out thinking he might still recover. I think that by the end of the blessing Emmett’s and Heavenly Father’s and my spirits were finally connecting because the spirit in that room despite all the activity around Emmett and I was tangible. The only thing I distinctly remember from that blessing was at the end when I told him that all he needed to know was that his parents loved him dearly and that we had anxiously awaited his arrival here but that we would accept the will of our Father in Heaven no matter what it would be. Shortly after I gave him the blessing I consulted with the neonatologist and the pediatrician and decided that they could stop working on him. The nurses plugged up some of the lines into him and wrapped him in a blanket and handed him to me. When they pulled the monitors off him he still had a faint heartbeat. He wiggled a bit as I walked down the hall with him just like before but this time he and I knew what was meant to happen.
Luckily for Brook Emmett was able to keep his little heart beating just long enough to be held by his earthly mother for a few minutes before he was finally called back home after only 3 hours here on earth to his heavenly parents. Brook and I were able to spend as much time in the room with him as we wanted. The rest of that evening Brook, myself, and all the others that visited that night just enjoyed holding him and feeling his spirit. I know that his spirit left his body around 8:30 that night but I also know that Emmett stayed close to us all throughout the rest of the weekend. Brook gave him a bath on her bed and a wonderful photographer from the hospital took lots of pictures for us. Those are what you saw in the slide show and on the table. Sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. we finally gave little Emmett up to Sister Johnson (our bishop’s wife) so that preparations could begin to be made for the funeral today.
One of the many visitors we received in the hospital was Shane, one of Brook’s bosses. On one of his visits he said something to the fact that there are no coincidences in life just bumps in the road. And this was a big bump for us. I agree with Shane. There are no coincidences in life and we are meant to learn something from the experiences we have in this life. I have pondered that thought over the last two days and wondered what the Lord wanted me to learn from all of this. As the days since Friday have gone on I have had lots of thoughts clattering about in my brain. To be honest I don’t think I have learned much new information but rather I have been reminded of things I already knew. I know that Emmett is a very special spirit to our Heavenly Father. Emmett had to come and get a body and then return for a purpose that I do not know but Heavenly Father needed him back quickly. I think you have to be someone extra special if even Heavenly Father does not want you to have to endure this life. I know where Emmett is right now. And I know that Brook and I will get to raise him in the next life. Emmett is still my son and always will be because he was born under the covenant that Brook and I made 6 years ago with our Heavenly Father. But I am not worried in the least about him. I know that he is in the company of his grandparents and other family members that have passed on. On Saturday as I was driving home to change clothes and grab some things my mind was mostly blank. Out of nowhere a strong feeling entered my mind and heart that there is another son waiting on the other side. As I pondered that impression I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of Emmett sitting with a group of children. They were asking him all kinds of questions. Two of the things they asked him over and over again were what was earth life like and what were mom and dad like. Emmett is with his other siblings right now helping to prepare them for their turn to come to our family and that thought is comforting. I love my Father in Heaven even more after this experience than I think I did before. Heavenly Father and Mother are real. They are there and they are aware of all of us. There is a plan for each one of us. I know that as much as I know that I am standing here. I am thankful for my temple covenants. It is because of them that I will get to see my son when I leave this life. Emmett has reminded me of how vitally important it is that I stay close to the spirit and try to keep myself pure and unspotted so that when I do move on there will be no doubt in my mind that he will be waiting there for me to pick him up and hug him again. And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Monday, December 7, 2009
MEMORIES OF EMMETT MICHAEL CEDERSTROM
By His Mother Brook Ann Cederstrom
It was an early spring day around 8 months ago when I found out that I was expecting a new baby. After nine months of trying to get pregnant, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I took my pregnancy test. The next few months were the hardest that I have had being pregnant I was constantly nauseous and I got really dehydrated. For some reason I didn’t tell hardly anyone I was pregnant for a long time. For some reason the whole thing didn’t seem quite real. We drug our feet telling people we were pregnant but when we did this is what we posted on the blog.
We are excited to announce that we are expecting Baby #3 in late December 2009. I was 14 weeks on Monday, and why I decided to wait to wait this long to DECLARE IT TO THE WORLD I don't exactly know except due to scheduling errors at the doctor's office (as I grumble expletives under my breath) I was not able to get in until today. For some reason, even though I have been puking my guts up for almost a month and a half now, it didn't seem real until I went to the doctor… (WARNING: now that the news is officially "out" on the blog you might get bombarded with posts about me whining about pregnancy symptoms! Be prepared to filter through all blog posts for the next 6 months!)
The most exciting news we received this entire pregnancy was that we were having a boy. I went into the ultrasound by myself because David was at work. He was going to take his break when I called, but he did not get my message. The ultrasound technician was going a long when all of sudden she said out nowhere that we were having a boy. When she found out that I only had girls she screamed with excitement along with me. I drove straight to Target after the appointment and showed David the ultrasound pictures. You should have seen the smile on his face. If you want to know what a happy daddy looks like than you need a freeze frame of that moment. Along with ultrasound pictures this is what we posted on our blog.
For those of you who haven't heard... (which is most everyone) After having our two beautiful GIRLS we found out yesterday that we are (finally) having a BOY!!! David is sooooo excited!!! It has sure been a lot of fun to get to look at BLUE things.
As the pregnancy continued the kids became more and more interested in Baby Emmett. Ella constantly asked me “what’s baby Emmett doing?” and I would tell her he is dancing, or he sleeping or he’s rolling over. Ella loved to feel my belly, and even though Emmett hardly ever actually kicked her, she always thought he did. Occasionally she would get talking to him. “Baby Emmett” she would say, “What are you doing?” She was so excited to have a little brother.
Being the little sister she was Elena would copy everything that Ella said. I really don’t think that she understood about baby Emmett, but she would talk about him anyway. The only thing that Elena picked up on herself was calling my belly button the “Baby button.” She always wanted to see the baby and beep my “Baby button.”
“Remember the “Kicking times” with joy for the life that was there.” Emmett was always a very active boy in the womb. Although I didn’t notice him near as much during the day, he did his nightly aerobics right when I laid down for bed at night. One night I laid down and could not feel him moving. He just laid there. It took me over thirty minutes of bugging and poking him for him to finally move. Because of this night I went to the hospital to have him monitored. From the second they put on the traps until the last minute before I could no longer feel him kick, he never took a break again.
The last few weeks, I can’t deny, have been a struggle for me. Between my belly growing bigger, the baby kicking, and small contractions I have been very uncomfortable. Tuesday night after a day and a half of having contractions at home we went to the hospital to be monitored. Before we left I was having contractions two to three minutes apart, but I was not dilating. In order to keep the baby in as long as possible I went home to wait. Although I had contractions Wednesday and Thursday, it was Friday when I was at work that my contractions got unbearable. Again we came to the hospital and within an hour they let us know that we would be doing the C-section that day.
The day had finally come, we were so excited. Not long after going into surgery they pulled out our beautiful baby boy and showed him to us and then handed him into the NICU. While I was in recovery they came and told me that the baby was doing great, but he needed some oxygen. It was then that David took pictures of our baby. It was not five minutes after David came back that they came with the report that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. The wonderful staff of the EIRMC NICU worked as hard as they could doing everything imaginable to save little Emmett. I will never be able to express how grateful we are for the amazing knowledge and courage that these doctors and nurses showed trying to save our baby boy.
There came a point that there was no longer anything that the doctors could do. The baby was not going to make it. It was then that we got to bring him to our room. No one will ever know how grateful I am that I got to hold my precious baby at that time. He was so beautiful! A member of “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” came and took some amazing pictures that we will cherish forever. We got pictures of people holding the baby, bathing the baby, and even the baby on his own. Oh how marvelous are the volunteers from this organization. I will never forget all the things they did for us.
As we have gone through this experience my thoughts have constantly fallen back to a few thoughts and or experiences that have happened the last few hours. The hospital staff has helped in these situations enough they knew what we would need and helped us gather so many things that will remind us of Emmett forever. These treasures were not only to remember the short time we were living, but also the times that we got to spend with him after he had passed.
Even though situations like this are always hard, we have all learned a lesson or two from this experience. Two of the best lessons that I have learned came from the mouths of small children. The first was from my nephew who had been surrounded by people saying prayers for our precious Emmett. After he heard that Emmett had died he told his mom “It is a good thing that that baby got enough love while he was here.” Even though the doctors, the nurses, or we as his family could not save him, we could love him and that is what we did.
Another lesson I learned was from my sweet Ella Jean. Ella has had a really hard time, so when we told her that Emmett was going to be buried with Grandpa Gene she asked “But when do get to come out on the grass so we can see them.” We should all look forward to the day when we can stand with those we love that have passed on and see them again. By doing this we will strive to be the best we can and then we will be together again.