Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“Now, why don’t he write?”

When we haven’t heard from someone in awhile, our family quotes this line from the movie Dances with Wolves. Upon seeing a man lying on the ground with an arrow through his chest, the crude, lewd, and socially unacceptable wagon master turns to his passenger, Lt. John C. Dunbar (Kevin Costner), and says, “Somebody back East is wondering, ‘Now why don’t he write?’”

To friends and family, the reason “why Jane don’t write” is . . .

Last week Grace had an ultrasound.  She and Abe had been counting down the weeks till they could find out the sex of their baby. Grace came home from the ultrasound beaming. She was able to talk to Abe in Iraq and tell him what the baby was, but he couldn’t call us until later that night. Grace and Abe had decided beforehand that Abe would tell us the news. Ande and I visited with Grace while we fixed supper. Not once did she let a pronoun slip. When Calvin joined us at the supper table we talked more about the baby. She gave nary a hint as to what it would be. Finally about ten o’clock, Abe called and said, “We’re having a boy!” We appropriately hooped and hollered and then he said, “Not really. We’re having a girl!” and we cheered some more. Grace called her friends and family and told them the great news.

The next day the doctor called and asked Grace to come in to discuss the ultrasound results. After many consultations with the doctor, a genetics counselor, a perinatologist, and another more extensive ultrasound, the doctors have determined that the baby has Trisomy 18, including a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. If Grace is able to carry the baby full term, the baby is not expected to live longer than a few breaths to a few hours.

As the doctors broke the news, Grace laid her head in my lap and sobbed. After several minutes she leaned over against Calvin’s chest and sobbed some more. Heart wrenching sobs. Like all new expecting parents, Grace and Abe had so many plans for their baby and their growing family and those plans are now altered or cut short. And yet through it all, the love of God has been felt so strongly, so tangibly. Abe and Grace tell it best:


Dear Family,

I was crushed when I heard the news about Clara Ann. It broke my heart to know that she won't be the perfect little girl we had hoped for. I cry every time I think that Grace and I aren't going to get to hold our little girl more than a day or two. I'm never going to see Grace rock and sing her to sleep. It hurts so much to know that she's never going to grow up and play with dolls. She's never going to go to school. She's never going to play any sports. She's never going to go on a date. She's never going to do hair and makeup with her mom. It kills me to think of all the things my little girl is never going to get to do. I hate that Grace and I don't get to plan for things like clothes to buy, toys to buy, how to paint her room, taking her outside to play...instead we have to plan on where to bury our baby, what kind of casket to get, what type of headstone. This was not at all what we had hoped and dreamed for. Last night when I was taking a shower, I broke down and bawled for 15 minutes when I thought of everything we couldn't do with Clara and all the things we were going to have to do instead. These past few days have been the worst days of my life.

However, I have learned a lot in the past few days . . .

I never knew I could feel so much love for someone I've never seen . . .

I've also found great peace and comfort in these past few days . . .

I know that Grace and I will have the opportunity to someday raise Clara . . .

I know that the resurrection is real . . .

I know that through the Atonement, Christ has made it possible for us to all be together again. I'm so grateful that he suffered so much pain and anguish to be able to comfort us and ease our pain.

I’m so grateful that we received Clara. I'm grateful that we received such a special girl. This has been a hard experience, but I wouldn't trade it and I wouldn't trade Clara for any other baby. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and is mindful of us.

I love you all.

Abe




This has been the hardest thing Abe and I have ever gone through. It's so hard knowing we were so happy (and) were going to start our little family and we had so many plans . . . We don't get to do these things anymore . . . Our hearts are completely broken. It's unbelievable to me that with all her problems she wasn't miscarried. But she's holding strong, she's feisty . . . and she is fighting this out.

Abe and I know that Clara will always and forever be our little girl. We are so thankful that through the Atonement of Christ our broken hearts will be healed and that through the Resurrection, Clara will receive a perfect body and we will get to hold her in our arms again. We are so thankful to have been married in the temple where we are sealed to Clara for all eternity. She is our special little girl and we wouldn't trade her for anything. Even though this has been hard, Abe and I know that we will learn so much from this, and we feel so honored Heavenly Father would send such a special little girl into our lives. We feel so blessed and wouldn't trade her for anything. I hope that I get to carry her full term so that I can be close to her as long as I can. I ask for your prayers that this will happen. I love this little baby so much and I want to help her keep fighting.

(Before the doctors’ consultations) I received a blessing from my father-in-law saying that no matter what everything will be okay. After the blessing I felt so at peace even though I was still worried out of my mind. I was calm and knew that everything was in Heavenly Father's hands. I didn't think I was going to lose little Clara, but now I know that it is the Lord's will. During the ultrasound the very first picture we got of Clara was a picture of Clara's head and her arm with her thumb sticking straight up. The technician said, look she's giving you thumbs up! We got a picture of it and the technician wrote on the picture, "Thumbs up, Mom!" I really felt as though Clara was saying, "Everything's going to be okay, Mom!" Like I said, looking at her you would never guess she had any problems. She acts like the happiest little baby and is my sweet little girl.

This is so hard, but like I said I feel so honored to be Clara Ann's mother. I know I will be with her again and "everything will be okay!" I wanted you all to know what was going on. Thank you for your support and I ask that you will keep Clara, Abe, and me in your prayers. I love you all.

Grace



And so while we wait for little Clara’s birth, we are grateful for the peace the Savior gives. Peace is better than easy. Peace is even better than painless. The peace of God truly “passeth all understanding” and we’re grateful for it.

29 comments:

Barb said...

That really is an arrow through the heart. Thank the Lord for the healing power of the atonement and the incredible young parents who are allowing it to work for them.

deidra said...

I've been hoping against all hope that Grace's baby wasn't the reason for your recent absence. What beautiful testimonies and how sweet it is to have the priesthood in our lives and know that the Savior lives. We will keep all of you in our prayers.

Kay Scott said...

So so sad. Thanks to all of you for sharing your incredible strength and testimonies through this extremely trying time. May the Lord's choicest blessings be yours. My prayers are with you.

ShelleyG said...

Oh Jane. I am so very sorry. Although we have the gospel to help us through the hard times, they still are HARD. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your precious family.

Michelle said...

Oh Jane . . . I don't even know what to say as I sit here looking at the computer screen through a veil of tears. You all are in my prayers as you have been since Abe left. I pray that you will continue to trust in God's plan as hard as it is at times like this.

Deanna/Mimi said...

I also feel deeply the sorrow that has come to your family. I wish I could make everything all better for all of you. But only God can and one day He will. I know you are heart-broken but I want you to know that you have a myriad of friends who feel your pain down to the depths of our souls. Your testimonies bring comfort. It is times like this that the gifts of the Gospel are made manifest. Abe and Grace will one day have their precious Clara through the promises that Heavenly Father has made to them.

Tiffany Fackrell said...

All I can say is I am praying really hard that you all have the peace and comfort that you need. How wonderful we have the knowledge of the plan of salvation.

SANDERSON / MCCONKIE FAMILY said...

I read this and then cried. Tomorrow is the 4th anniversary of Paul's passing. I ache for the goodness of your family and the size of this hurdle. Yes, that precious little girl will be an eternal part of your family but for today...I will pray for strength and the power of the Atonement to comfort. I love you...wish I could just hug you and make things better. You and your sweet family are in our prayers

Amy said...

Oh Jane. You guys have been on my mind all week. And this has me crying again. But what amazing children you have. I am humbled by the strength of both of their responses to this heartbreaking situation. Little Clara Ann will be blessed for the time she *does* get to spend with them. And that love will bind you all so close together when it gets difficult. My prayers are with you.

Susan said...

Dearest Payne family,

I love you. I'm praying for you.

Love,
Susan

Noriko Anderson said...

Please give my thoughts and prayers to Abe and Grace, and everyone who is going through this with them. With experience a few miscarriages myself, and recent loss of my Dad, I know the pain of both losing a child and funeral services... Both are painful processes. But they have wonderful attitudes. The gospel does bring us peace, and Jesus Christ our master healer can heal our broken hearts. I like to think that although my Dad isn't here to take care of and spoil 18 grandkids, he is up there taking care of those that I lost. So I hope that Abe and Grace can find comfort in knowing that Clara will be well taken care of until they can. She must be EXTREMELY needed on the other side. There is comfort in knowing that she was too perfect to come to this world to by tested.

Leigh said...

Many prayers for Grace, Abe, and Clara.

Michelle said...

Hello Jane - I know exactly what Grace is walking through. I know how incredibly overwhelming this journey is. Only a year ago this past April did we find out at 20 weeks that our son had Trisomy 18. Our son was born full term and very much alive and did live 25 days. He was doing well, but unfortunately he got the swine flu, which took him out. But I want to give you hope and give hope to Grace and Abe. I know of several Trisomy 18 babies/kids that are alive and several years old. These kids can live for several years and are an amazing gift to their families if given the chance to thrive and receive some medical treatments. Many doctors aren't aware of these kids, it is just us mom's communicating to each other. I know I was looking for hope on the internet for kids that have survived. At the time I only found one. But since then, I know of sooooo many from ages 10 months to 15 years old.

Also, If Grace has not had an amniocentisis I would strongly recommend NOT doing one, and after the baby is born, still do not do any genetic testing. There are several reasons why not to do this.

I'm on Facebook as Michelle Cramer Anderson if you or Grace and Abe are interested in friending me.

Also, I live in Sugar Land, TX and my cell number is 713-204-8667.

There are also a couple of groups on Facebook I would recommend joining. THE TRISOMY 18/13 JOURNEY and Trisomy 18 Mommies. These are 2 groups of amazing mom's helping each other out with their kids.

Feel free to call me anytime. I can pass on a lot of helpful information.

Many blessings to you and your family. And I'm standing in much hope and believe for your sweet family. Miracles do happen! All Things ARE POSSIBLE!

With warm regards,

Michelle Anderson

Chandra said...

Payne Family,
I've had you in my prayers for the past couple of weeks. Grace....you have the right name...as I read your thoughts I see you are a woman of great grace. May your hearts be healed by the comfort of the Holy Ghost and may your testimonies help others. You and Abe are incredible people and Clara is so blessed to have you as her parents. We continue to pray for all of you.

Cassidy said...

We love you and our hearts are with you all. So our are prayers. Thank goodness for eternity and eternal families.

Carolyn said...

I will think of you all and keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

tina said...

Oh my Gosh. What very heartbreaking news. I am very sorry to hear. Grace and Abe (and the rest of the Payne clan) are truly amazing young people. The one reason my mom was so dead set against my joining the church is because she had a 1 year old son die and she can't understand why God would take him away when he was perfectly healthy. Wow. So, our prayers are with your family. Thank you for sharing your inspiring words, Abe & Grace. Thank you for sharing your testimonies and your faith.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Thank you all for your kind words, encouragement, thoughts, and prayers. Truly. We all appreciate them.

Marie said...

I'm so sorry to hear this sad news for your family! Poor Grace. Poor Abe. Poor little Clara. Thank heaven above for temples and testimonies.

I'm praying and crying for all of you.

melanie said...

Oh Jane, my heart just breaks for each of you. And Abe so far away. I've been weepy every time I try and collect my thoughts today because I'm not sure I can say what's in my heart. We never know the trials we will go through but we do know that we will not be left alone. He has felt our pain and will reach us through His atonement. Thank you for always, always teaching me. Love you so much, always in my prayers. Especially Grace's sweet request for more time with Clara.

Jill said...

Oh Jane, what a situation. I am so thankful that you all have strong testimonies of the gospel to see you through this heartbreaking time. I don't know how those who don't are able to cope.

I'll be praying for all you.

Alisa said...

I thought of you all- all day yesterday. Then you came to my mind first thing this morning. Still thinking and praying for you.

Julie said...

Jane, My heart has been with you since I read this yesterday and I'm just without words other than...we love you and we are praying for you, Abe, Grace, and especially little Clara Ann who is so lucky to be born to a wonderful family.

sheila piper said...

jJane, Abe, Grace, and family. I am so sad for your family. Heart ache is the worst kind of ache. I would not dispare until she is born and it is a definite. I heard of many couples that have been given the news of children in distress and then when they are born all is well. Pray hard, and Gods will can prevail. We love you and think of you all the time. We know the heartache that can come from death.

Becky said...

Ohhh, I am feeling such sorrow for your family right now. I don't know if there are any "right" words to say in this kind of situation but I will be praying for each of you. And, in Clara's honor I will talk a little kinder and take the time to hold my little ones a little longer tonight...

michelle said...

Oh, Jane. Oh, Grace and Abe. And everyone else. What a heartbreaking turn of events.

I am reminded of my sweet niece Lola who was still-born at full-term. She was my sister's first child as well, and her death brought so many many disappointments and heartaches. I was there to choose a burial dress and watching her daddy carry her tiny casket just about broke me to pieces.

The atonement and the plan of salvation is the only thing that can get us through these trials, and I am gratified and buoyed up to read about your testimonies. It takes a very strong young woman to look that kind of a trial in the eye and thank Heavenly Father for the experience. What a family.

I will add you to my prayers.

Nanci said...

Your family will be in my prayers.

Jess said...

You guys are all in our prayers. Clara is very blessed to be a part of such an amazing family!

Rachel said...

Clara is so lucky to have such GREAT parents!