Oct 8, 2014

Harper: Amber Roberts

Today's story is written by a woman I've never met, or whom I've only 'met' through email. Her name is Amber and I feel like I've known her my whole life, because when I read the words she writes I can't help but wonder how she could know exactly how my heart feels. 

Amber has written many words about her sweet babies on her own blog and I encourage you to read them. My favorite is her latest post entitled "I'm their Momma" written back in November of last year. It speaks many words of how I feel now that Baby Hess Number Two is on the way, and it includes the most adorable pictures of her little Jax.

I pray today that you read these words and hear the story that the Lord has so wonderfully written for her life.

Harper Solley Roberts.

Just typing her name brings tears to my eyes...tears of sadness, tears of remembrance, and tears of pride. I knew before I got pregnant that I would name a little girl this. I loved the name Harper and Solley was Jerry's mom's maiden name. I imagined her with pigtails & pouty little lips saying "Hi I'm Harper Solley" in a southern accent like mine to everyone she met.  It's a name that I don't get to fill out on medical forms or school registration. I'll never see that name on a backpack in her kindergarten cubby, but it's a name that is so very important...because she changed all of us.

After nearly two years of trying and one round of IVF, we found out that we were pregnant with twins. We were thrilled. These babies were our answer to prayer, our dream come true. I couldn't wait to see their faces and hold them in our arms. I had a scare at 5 weeks, and because of that we had weekly ultrasounds to check on them, so I literally got to see them grow and change in my belly from week to week. They were perfect. From the beginning, I knew that baby A was my girl and B was my boy. Then at 20 weeks, we went in for the anatomy scan and to find out gender. Baby B was a boy, healthy and strong...my Jax Childrey, named after my Pappaw. But my baby A just wouldn't move. I knew something was wrong. We found out the next week during a level 2 ultrasound that she had "multiple abnormalities." She had severely low fluid, and had no indication of kidneys or bladder and several other issues. We went to specialists who confirmed this. They told us that without a miracle, she wouldn't survive. That her job was to be alive long enough to help me deliver her brother as late and as healthy as possible.

I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in divine healing, and in miracles only God can explain. We shared our story with our friends and family. We called for prayer from churches everywhere. I got thousands of hits on my blog.  We prayed until we had no more words to pray. Then we sat and wept to God and prayed more. Prayer was our only hope. We continued to get frequent ultrasounds, and we rejoiced at every heartbeat and fluctuation in Harper's fluid levels.

Late on August 17, 2013 at 29 weeks, I started having contractions. We went to the hospital where they transferred me to Little Rock. After failed attempts to stop my labor, I had a C-section. I don't remember much before I went in. I was in too much pain. But I do remember praying. And I remember this sudden peace that washed over me as they wheeled me back. I knew before my epidural that this would be the only time I would hold her. I somehow knew that she had done her job, that her brother would be okay, and that I was going to have to make the most of my time with her.

I'll never forget how quiet that delivery room was. I sang to myself to fill the void. I sang the same song I had sung to the babies for the past nine weeks. "He loves us, oh how he loves us...." When they rolled me back in the room I just looked at my husband, his face pale and broken. He couldn't say the words, but I just said "I know."

The hospital was wonderful. In all of my worrying and wondering about what would happen on this day, I never let myself think of this scenario. I didn't know what to expect. They had a beautiful smocked dress for her to wear. Her daddy insisted that he be the one to dress her. They wrapped her in a precious crocheted blanket & hat. They gave us as much time as possible with her. We held her, talked to her and loved on her. We passed her around to our families who were there to love on her too. We took pictures. We were grieving parents, but we were still proud parents.

My Harper weighed 2 lbs 2 ounces. She looked exactly like my baby pictures. She had my nose and a mass of thick, dark hair. She was beautiful. This angel had done her job well. Her brother was delivered tiny but the healthiest baby he could've been. He was so healthy that he only needed a bit of oxygen for the transport to the NICU. They were even able to bring him to me before going downstairs so we were able to experience them as twins for a brief moment. Her sweet little life had given us the best gift in her brother, a gift we can never ever be thankful enough for.

Harper was born alive, but she passed away in my arms shortly after. Officially, she lived one hour and forty four minutes.

My daughter only lived a little bit on this earth, but in the 29 weeks and 6 days she was alive she changed our world for the better. Her life taught us to pray in ways we had never prayed before. Her story has changed the hearts and minds of those we know, and touched those from places we've never been. Her gift has inspired us to live our lives giving, forever trying to repay the generosity and kindness we've received along our journey.

I still cry for her every day. I would be lying if I said I fully understood why she died, but I'm so so proud of her. I'm proud to be Harper's mommy, in the same way I'm proud of her sister when she scores in volleyball or how I'm proud of her brother when he says a new word or learns a new skill. She is proof that every single life is important and even the tiniest among us can change the world.

Harper's Mommy

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