Wednesday, October 28, 2009

63 Minutes

63 minutes, 3,780 seconds, 1/24 of an entire day, the time it takes to watch 1 episode of "24".  It seems so insignificant, but those 63 minutes forever changed my life.

Ever since we knew of Jo's T18 diagnosis, and we knew that she most likely wouldn't live long if at all, we prayed for a few very specific things.  We prayed that she would be born alive, that we would have time(No matter how brief) to hold her, that when the time came for her to make her crossing that it would be quick and peaceful, that we would hear her cry, that I would be the one holding her when she passed, and that she would have hair.  That last one was only my prayer.  It was just something that I wanted for me.

JoJo was born at 8:09am...............alive.  Dr. H gave us a very quick glance of our little girl and then passed her off to Dr. P, the neonatologist and his nurse.  From what I remember(and remember I've had a lot of pain meds since Friday) Johanna cried relatively quickly.  Her cry wasn't loud or strong, but it was enough to reassure her Mommy that she was alive. I wish there would have been a way to record her cry, but we didn't think of that ahead of time.  I'm hopeful that it will be forever etched in my mind.

Chad stayed by Jo's side the entire time.  He and the OR nurses would give me updates on Jo while Dr. H was finishing surgery.  Dr. P, the neonate, worked with Johanna very minimally before getting her cleaned up and handed to Chad.  Dr. P listened to her heart, and confirmed that she definitely had a major heart defect.  She also had some sort of esophageal blockage.  Chad(and me by proxy since we had already determined what we wanted ahead of time) again affirmed that we wanted no treatments or interventional medication for Johanna.  We just wanted all the time the Lord would give us.

As soon as she was cleaned and wrapped they brought her to me.  There is nothing like seeing your child for the first time.  Especially a child that we didn't know would make it until her birthday or not.  I can't describe the elation I had both when I heard her cry and then when I saw her.  She was beautiful.  She looked just like Clayton, with her Daddy's dark skin, and a head full of dark curly hair all her own.  She was the perfect mix of all 3 of us, and only Johanna all at the same time.  The Trisomy 18 was obvious to me, but that was OK, since that was a large part of who she was.

At this point, the nursing staff notified our family that Johanna was alive and crying.  They also retrieved the clothes and special hat that I had picked out for her to wear.  Dr. P listened to her heart again and told us that her heart rate was already falling and that his estimate of her life span would be 1 to 1 1/2 hours. We asked the nursing staff to tell our family that she was going to pass quickly and to bring Clayton to the hospital to meet his sister.  They did this for us.  I'm a little fuzzy on the details at this point, because I was soaking up my daughter, but I think that Dr. P may have went out to our family himself and told them what he had just told us.  If I'm wrong on that I'm sorry, but I think that's how it happened.

As soon as Dr. H was finished with the c-section we were taken to recovery.  The OR, Labor and Delivery, were kind enough to let me recover with my baby, and in a place where my family could be around us.  Chad, Johanna, and I arrived in the recovery room first, and we quickly asked that our family be brought in to meet this special little girl.  Once our family came in Johanna made the rounds with our entire family.  Everyone got to meet her, kiss on her, hug her, and tell her how much they loved her.  After everyone had a turn, the NICU nurse listened to Jo's heart and said that her heart rate was very low.  We asked that everyone leave so that Chad and I could be alone with her when she went to the Lord.  They very kindly stepped out of the room and gave us our time.

We quickly undressed JoJo and laid her on my chest.  I remember weeping, only for me though.  I kissed her on the top of the head and told her that she could go.  I told her how much I loved her, how much she had changed my life, how proud I was to be her mom, how much I would miss her, and that I would see her again as soon as the Lord would let me.  Chad was right beside of my bed touching her and me at the same time.  He was weeping as well, and telling her all the same things that I was telling her.  It's hard to let your baby go, even when you're giving her back to her Creator. 

Dr. P came back over to us and pronounced her time of death as 9:12am.

Johanna only had 63 minutes in this world, but she forever changed it for those that knew her and her story.  I'm grateful that God gave her to me.  Even though my heart is broken right now, I'm still thankful that she was mine for a few minutes. In those 63 minutes God answered every single prayer that we had prayed for Johanna and for us. She was born alive.  We had time to hold, cuddle, and love on her.  We heard her cry, and it was a wonderful sound.  She passed quickly and very peacefully.  I was holding her when she went to Jesus.  And she had a head full of curly black hair.

Her 63 minutes were beautiful.


Pam said...

Oh soooo many blessings!!!!!! She is just beautiful, just like her Mom, Dad and her big brother!!!!
Praying for you in the days ahead.

Pam said...

by the way....what is your favorite flower?

Holly said...

I am rejoicing that you got 63 wonderful minutes with your daughter. What a blessing that time is!!! Thank you so much for sharing these moments with Johanna. They take me back to my own time. (((hugs)))


I have goose bumps reading this. What a beatiful post for your beautiful little girl. My heart breaks for you and your family. I am so happy that all of your prayers were answered. Thank you so much for sharing her with us.

Adrienne said...

Oh Nikki, I can barely see through the tears. This was beautiful. Praise God for answered prayers! Praise God for Jo's life, no matter how short it was.

Tracey said...


As I sit here in tears reading about your precious Jo and reflecting on the amazing journey that you all have been on, I marvel at your strength and courage.

I have just recently become pregnant after two back to back losses and I am ashamed of myself for letting worry and fear surround me due to complete unknowns and what-if's in my own mind.

How can I even think of allowing the enemy to crush me when here you were faced with insurmountable odds for your precious daughter and yet you remained steadfast and true and submissive to the grace of our Lord.

You have been a light unto the souls of so many and while my heart breaks for the loss of your sweet Jo here on earth, I am also uplifted by the fact that you WILL be with her again one day and in the meantime what better care than that of our Creator.

May the Lord comfort you and continue to give you peace. God Bless you and your family. You will continue to be in my prayers.


Kerry said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your precious child. I lost my daughter Hannah to Trisomy 18 a few weeks ago after 16 weeks of pregnancy. I rejoice with you that you were able to meet Jo, and I grieve with you in your loss. I am sure that Hannah and Jo are celebrating their lives together, watching over our families from heaven.

Simply Donna...... said...

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! Praising God for those 63 minutes with JoJo. She is so precious to so many people, as are you, Chad and Clayton. Love, love, love her hair - who knew is was going to be curly and so much of it? Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you and your family. I will be forever blessed.

And, you will never forget her cry - it will stay with you forever. God will make sure of that. Love you my special friend.

Brandy said...

My heart is so broken for you and your family. Your baby girl is precious and should be so proud to have such a loving family. Thank you for sharing your story --it hits a very close spot in my heart to read your story.

PS I don't have a blog myself and came across your blog several months ago and have been following your story. Thank you for sharing. Sweet blessings to you and your family.

Brandy Ross
Whidbey Island, Wa

Angela said...

Oh I am so happy for you that you had 63 precious minutes with your little Johanna. She was absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing her pictures and her story. Many people have and will read your story and truly see the hand of God in yours and little Johanna's life. You will cherish every memory from those 63 minutes! What a blessing! *big hugs* right now for all that you are going through.

Anonymous said...

Oh girl, this was the sweetest thing ..I am so glad that you had just a moment with her. God is good, and he was there in the room with you to take her from your arms. I just became a Christian a few months ago and see that miracles happen in different forms. I pray that your family be continued to be blessed...
Johnson City TN

Autumn said...

A beautiful, sad touching story. My prayers are with you and the rest of Johanna's family.

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful story of your time with your little girl. 63 minutes are powerful! I love that you got to cuddle skin to skin with her. Hope you are doing well today.

Jennifer said...


I am so greatful you and Chad had 63 minutes with your baby girl!! I'm so glad she went peacefully. & didn't suffer.

Thank you for sharing her beautiful story with us!!!

Many, many (((HUGS))) & prayers!!!

Kenzie said...

What a beautiful post! I know that those 63 minutes were likely the most sacred you have ever spent- praise God for answering each and every prayer. He is SO FAITHFUL... each prayer of ours was answered as well and it is amazing to see the hand of the Lord in such a tangible way. I know your heart is broken and sometimes it feels as though you can't even draw breath, but I am so proud of you and so is the Father! Just remember that in the most difficult moments, the Holy Spirit is indeed interceding for you... and so are hundreds of others.
So much love and prayer,

Emma and Company said...

How wonderful to spend those precious minutes with her. What a blessing. This made me cry and smile at the same time. Such a beautiful story.

Myra said...

I can hardly see to type as the tears flood my eyes and face. Such a beautiful, precious life. And how good God is to answer prayer.

mariamomma5 said...

ow perfect! How beautiful!! My good friend is Chris, who lost her baby Cana Lynn a year ago. I read about you and your family on her latest blog, and I wanted to read about your sweet baby girl..I am moved..I am touched by the Lords faithfulness even in the midst of this storm. i thank Him for her cry. I thank Him for those 63 precious minutes that you will never forget. I thank Him that she is safe in His arms and that you have that knowledge to get you though the tough days ahead.

Many blessings upon you and your family!! When our daughter went home to heaven, I was 7.5 months pregnant with her and she passed b/c of a knot in her umbilical cord. One verse from a song we love that we think of often was "You set my feet a-dancing, you set my heart on fire, in the presence of a thousand kinds you are my one desire, I stand before you now with trembling hands lifted high...BE GLORIFIED!" and I think of your little JoJo standing before the throne of the King and praising Him and rejoicing with all the Saints and she awaits being held in your arms again..peace to you and your family!! THANK YOU for giving her life and being an example of all to the precious gift it is!!