Monday, November 28, 2011

Week in Review

What a week!  Where do I even begin? 

I guess I’ll start with last Sunday when we got two messages that rocked our world.  The first was to inform us that a teacher at our high school who was about 19 weeks pregnant had lost her baby boy.  The second was that Phil’s sister, Kelly (24 weeks pregnant with twins), was on her way to the hospital one day before her scheduled appointment because “something didn’t feel right”.  

She and her husband TJ were scheduled to go to the hospital on Monday so that the twins could be tested for Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  After a few complications in her pregnancy, the doctor had determined that this was the most probable case, and surgery would most likely be in order to try and correct the problem. 

But on Sunday, Kelly (we later found out) went in to premature labor and was fully dilated when she arrived at the hospital.  They told her the twins had zero chance of survival is she delivered naturally, and a small chance if she had a c-section.   Like any loving mother would, she chose the latter and was whisked away to an emergency c-section.  The babies were born…beautiful identical twin girls and passed away just as quickly in their father’s arms.  How devastating.  They named their beauties Josephine Angelina and Nadia Rose, and we celebrated their short lives at their funeral Mass on Saturday.   Our colleague's baby boy was buried on Friday, which we unfortunately had to miss. 

The funeral was in Maryland, where Phil’s family is from, and so we travelled down on Wednesday to be with Kelly and TJ and her family.  We were able to sit with them on Wednesday night and they told their whole story to us, and showed us professional pictures taken by a wonderful group called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, who offer their services for free when parents suffer an infant loss. 
Heartbreaking.  She and TJ are writing their story which I will publish later.

On Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving (and we really did try to be thankful despite the overwhelming grief). It's a sad reality that sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to realize how lucky and blessed we are.

Phil went out and started a pickup football game with some of the neighborhood kids:

I think Xander is a true Redskins fan since he already knows how hard he has to pray for a win!

Here he is with Aunt Erin

Phil's family starting from left:
His Mom, sister Diana, Phil, Uncle John, sister Erin, TJ, TJ's brother Brian, Kelly, and the back of Phil's Dad!

And the "Kid Table" (again from left): John-Paul, Maggie, Aunt Beth, cousins (and twins) Christina and Caitlin, Uncle Joe, Andrew, and Eamon:

I was thankful for:
and of course:

and definitely:

On Friday, we were able to spend time with the awesome Gale Family.  They came over for breakfast and brought us some homemade apple cider, my fave cookies, and pumpkin bread.  She sure knows how to win us over!!  Then we went outside to play:

Here's Elena with Maggie:

And Eamon with Leo:

And the bloggers - Lisa (how awesome is she rockin' baby #3???) and I:

Of course I just had to take this picture of Elena laying on the ground for about 15 minutes.  She's so content in any situation!

Sorry, Jason I have no pictures of you! But I assure you he was there, making us all laugh.

Later in the day, Phil's sister, Sister Denise, came over to visit.  Maggie was super excited to spend time with her godmother!  Then the much-loved cousins from PA came to visit and our kids played outside for hours together.  Luckily, Nana and Gramps live on nine acres and have lots of sticks...the perfect combination of fun.

Saturday was the Funeral Mass, and although I have no pictures, I will remember the beautiful and simple casket that held the twins for the rest of my life.  

So small. 

That afternoon we went to Mass for the First Sunday of Advent (how did that happen already?) and I laughed when at the first "May the Lord be with you" I responded "And also with you." D'oh! I was pretty good with the rest of the responses of the new translation.  The cheat sheet is a lifesaver.  And the righteous ones who yell loudly say the correct responses to mask those of us who can't quite get with the program. Of course, Phil pretty much has it all memorized already.  Catholic Nerd :)

Saturday evening we hung out with family and friends, and packed up and said our goodbyes.  We drove home early Sunday morning (left at 3:30 am) and spent the day decorating our home for Christmas.  We are exhausted but so glad we were able to spend time with family and friends and have true moments of joy amongst the sadness.  


  1. Thanks for sharing that beautiful picture of the twins...I'll be crying all day now thinking about them and praying for strength for them.

  2. I am so sorry for Kelly and TJ. Will certainly keep them in my prayers. Thankful they were able to be surrounded by so many loving hearts during such a difficult week.

  3. My heart just breaks for Phil's sister and family. I cannot imagine. I'm so glad that you all were able to celebrate and be thankful despite the tragedy. The girls and I were just chatting yesterday about Job and how even when God took everything away, he still got down on his knees to praise Him. Eye opener. Hugs, friend!

  4. Very sorry for the loss your family is going through. You are all blessed to have each other.

    PS You look great!

  5. My heart goes out to the parents and their beautiful twin baby girls.

    thoughts and prayers are with them.

  6. Pass me the kleenex....
    First, the header photo absolutely made me smile at your dear and precious kiddos.

    Next, the photo of Kelly & TJ with their beautiful baby girls...breathtaking and heartbreaking. They have been in my thoughts and prayers since you posted and I've passed their story on to others who are also praying.

    You've been on my heart and on my mind over the last week. So glad to read your update. {{hugs}} dear friend!

  7. Oh, what a week! We are praying for Kelly and TJ. What a blessing the family could all be together during this time.

  8. how sad about all the babies. life is very fragile. this post celebrates life and loss all in one.


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