Monday, December 6, 2010

We love and miss you Hope

Last Sunday we celebrated Hope's short life with family and friends.  The memorial service was a special time for us as we introduced our baby daughter to our friends.  Addison was able to read Proverbs 3: 5-6 which has meant a lot to me during this pregnancy.  And she shared a letter she wrote to Hope.  The boys also wrote letters to their baby sister that we read at the service.  I got to read a special letter I wrote to Hope and was able to thank so many people for their support.  Pastor David had a wonderful message about faith and hope and about our Faith and Hope.  We also heard some words from my dad, Ron, and my mom.  My sister and my dad both shared scripture verses that were meaningful to us.  We sang some hymns, watched Hope's slideshow and played a special song for Hope - "I Will Carry You" by Selah.  We ended by playing "Amazing Love" - the song we call "Faith's song" because we played it at her memorial.  I was so anxious about the service all day...felt like this was the end and after the service I would have to get on with life.  But after the service I felt such a calmness and peacefulness.  I know that it is not over and it will take quite a while to move on.  And I will be forever changed by this experience.  Our family has been so blessed by the support we have received from people...meals, gifts for the kids, childcare, words of encouragement sent by mail, comments on this blog and on facebook.  As we said at the service, thank you to everyone for showing us Jesus' love. Brian ended the service with some sweet words to his baby girl and then everyone prayed over our family...and boy, do we need those prayers.  We continue to miss Hope very much and my heart aches to hold her once again.  We love you baby Hope. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hope's slideshow

Here is a link to Hope's slideshow.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hope's Memorial Service

For those of you nearby, we changed the day of Hope's Memorial Service.  It will be Sunday November 28th at 4:00pm.  It will be held at Ellerslie Chapel in Windsor.  We changed it due to several schedule difficulties and so that people that are away for the weekend may be back in time to come.  We look forward to sharing this time with people and sharing a little about our little girl.  Thanks.  Robin and Brian

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hello and Goodbye

We welcomed Hope Abels Cronk into our family on November 18, 2010 at 6:39pm.  She weighed 4lbs 8oz and was 17.5 in.  Our sweet baby had soft, fuzzy brown hair and was perfectly formed.  Her big sisters and brothers got to meet and hold her and love her that night.  They had lots of questions about her and were very interested in seeing her little hands and feet.  We also got to introduce her to some of her family and a few of our friends.  We had a very special time with our little baby.  We spent the night with her and the following day holding her and soaking in every moment with her.  Although we all would have liked to have had more time with her and bring her home with us, we said goodbye with many tears on November 19th.  By God's grace, the time we had with Hope was very peaceful and relaxing.  It was wonderful to be able to hold her in my arms and kiss her and tell her of all the dreams I had for her.  And knowing she is up in heaven with her big sister Faith, gave us all a sense of joy.  Although we don't know God's reason for taking Hope, we are trusting in Him with all our heart and leaning not on our own understanding...knowing that His plans are better than we could ever imagine and that the reason for this might blow our minds (as our good friend reminded us). 

We are thankful that the hospital staff was so kind and supportive and understanding.  They helped us make arrangements for Hope as we decided to give her special heart to the cardiologist group in Denver.  Hopefully, with Hope's heart, they can learn more about Ebstein's Anomaly and help another child in the future.

We are so thankful for all the support and prayers we have received.  It has been amazing.  We've been receiving packages at the door with meals, gifts, and toys/crafts for the kids.  It has been such a blessing to us and a joy for our kids as they know things are hard right now.  Thank you so much. 

We are planning on having a memorial service for Hope on Saturday November 27th.  My hope is that we can celebrate Hope's life and praise God during that time.  I will try to write another post after the service so those far away can hear about it. 

Again, thank you for your prayers and support.  It was only through God's strength and the wonderful, amazing help of my husband that I was able to let Hope go and return home to the rest of my family.  We love you Hope.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sad news

Today we went to see the doctor because I hadn't felt Hope moving since yesterday afternoon.  We are very sad to say that her heart was no longer beating.  We came home and told the kids that Hope was now playing with her sister Faith in heaven.  They always add some lightness to the moment with their comments...Bray said, "So when she comes out she'll be dead?  What will we do with her when she's dead?"  And five minutes later they were all wrestling with Brian.  We are thankful for our kids to help us through this time.  And our dear sweet Addison (who turned 7 today) wrote us a note all by herself saying that she was sorry Hope died and "is thar ane way I can help you.  I hope you ornt sad."  Unfortunately we are very sad and weren't quite ready for this to happen.  It was not the ending we hoped for.  We will go to the hospital for an induction Thursday and meet Hope.  We are thankful for all the help and prayers during this time as we are not looking forward to doing this once again.  We will keep you updated and hopefully be able to share some pictures...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Update on Hope

Tuesday Nov. 2 we went back down to Denver to see the cardiologist and hopefully make some kind of plan for the delivery.  I thought I was 32 weeks but was told I was 33 weeks along (it's always nice to gain a week when you're prego).  We ended up getting to meet with the surgeon and discuss options.  His opinion was that if baby Hope is doing ok, they will try to do her heart surgery within a week after the birth.  However, the severity of the problem would require a surgery that would only allow her to use one side of her heart.  It would require several subsequent surgeries to complete the job.  He did say that the mortality rate for the surgery on a brand new baby is significant.  After we left feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the decisions, the cardiologist (Dr. Miller) called Brian and asked if he could send our info to Mayo in Minnesota to get there opinion on surgery options.  So now we are waiting to hear if they think they could fix the problem and allow her to use her whole heart (a much better scenario in the long run).  The good news from the visit:  they seemed a little more positive about her outcome then the past visits.  The bottom line:  they really don't know how she will do after birth and everything really depends on that - she could do ok and be able to tolerate a major surgery or she could do really bad and they would only be able to provide comfort measures.  So you might be wondering how we are doing.  I think the best way to describe it is overwhelmed...not only by the decisions that have to be made, but by the issues they raise with having four other kids to consider (and at Christmas time no less).  I fluctuate between planning her memorial service and planning her surgery.   And I have to continually tell myself to take things one day at a time, not to think about all the what ifs (especially if we have to go to Mayo), and that God is in control.  He made Hope just how He wanted her to be and gave her to us for however long she has.  I have to trust that He will be with us whatever happens and will get us through.  So for now we wait, try to make the best decisions for our family, and trust in the Lord with all our hearts.  Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hope's Heart

For those of you who do not know, we are expecting our 6th baby December 22!!  We found out at our routine ultrasound that the baby has a congenital heart defect called Ebstein's Anomaly.  At first it seemed like everything would be ok...the baby would be born and at some point need heart surgery.  But subsequent visits to the cardiologist showed that the baby's heart was getting worse.  At that point, we decided (for the first time) to find out the gender of the baby.  We found out it is a GIRL and we named her HOPE because we are hoping for a miracle of some sort ... whether it be complete healing of her heart or that she lives.  I decided to try out this blog thing so that I could update people as we learn more about her prognosis and our plan.  We have appreciated all the love and prayers we have received as this has been one of the hardest times in our lives.