Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kloe Elizabeth

On July 24, 2008, our dear friends, Todd and Karen Broyles, said hello and goodbye to their baby girl, Kloe Elizabeth.

When we moved to St. Louis a year ago, we met Todd and Karen. Todd was a resident with of three. They hit it off right away, and became best friends. A few months after moving there, we found out Karen was pregnant with their first baby! They had tried for 6 years, and had had 2 failed attempts at in-vitro, including one miscarriage. Their 3rd in-vitro worked, and we were SO excited for them! They were the most elated parents I have ever seen. She never complained about being pregnant, and was so careful to make sure they had the best doctors, and she took such good care of her body. We grew to be close friends as our bellies grew. They are so cute with our boys, and our boys LOVE Todd and Karen. 

As it neared time for Beckett to be born, I asked Karen if she would would like to be in the delivery room with us. I wasn't sure my mom would be there in time, and I wanted some good pictures. She was such a great support, and we LOVED having her calming presence and infectious smile in our room for the birth of our baby.

The time drew near for Kloe to be born. Todd and Karen continued preparing, attending childbirth classes, washing clothes, practicing putting a stuffed animal in their carseat, ordered prints for her wall, cross-stitched and framed an amazing cross-stitch for her, and were SO prepared for the birth of their little girl.

We had a baby shower for Karen, who was the most humble recipient of gifts. She came to the movies with the boys and me, and liked my nursing blanket, so I made her one. We talked and talked about babies as we sat through our husband's softball games in the heat and humidity. The Sunday before her induction, she let me do a maternity photo-shoot of her picture-perfect belly. Her and Todd were great, and we got some really great photos. I am so glad we got all of those pictures!

Our husbands neared the end of their one-year AEGD residency, and Karen neared her due-date. Everything was favorable for induction, so they decided to induce her a few days early, so Kloe would be a little older when it came time for them to move a few weeks later. She went through 2 rounds of cervidil, and they eased her into labor slowly. Karen and I talked a few times during her labor. Things were going slow, but great. She got an epidural, and Kloe was doing great. About 4am Karen's water broke. She woke up Todd, and they called the nurse in. There was a lot of blood in the water. They rushed Karen to an emergency C-section, and left Todd in the delivery room. Karen was put to sleep, and they did the c-section. However, Kloe didn't make it. She never took a breath. 

Kloe was physically perfect. She was 7 lbs. 3 oz. She had light brown curly hair, just like Karen. She was adorable. Karen and Todd were able to hold her and have her in their room until about noon that day, and were able to say goodbye to her the next morning. 

I cannot even imagine being in that situation. It was one of the hardest things Andrew and I have gone through, and we aren't even her parents. We visited them a few times in the hospital, and were informed that the reason the water was full of blood, was because of Vasa Previa. It is where the umbilical cord attaches to the sack, instead of the placenta, so the 3 umbilical vessels that feed blood to and from the mom/baby, run along the lining of the sack. When the water broke, it severed one of these vessels, and little Kloe lost all of her blood before they could get her out. Karen lost a lot of blood too, and we were so lucky she was in the hospital when her water broke, or we may have lost her too from blood loss. The only way Kloe could have been saved was from an elective c-section, which no first-time mom would do. Especially when everything was favorable for a vaginal delivery. Vasa Previa can be detected by ultrasound but is not checked for on routine ultrasounds. If you are pregnant, or know anyone who is, please ask them to check this for you!

The days and weeks following the loss of Kloe were emotionally draining, to say the least. Andrew went to the funeral home with Todd. We would trade off our kids and spend time at their home. Karen and Todd handled it better than you could ever imagine. They have great faith, and although it is a tragic situation, they find comfort through Jesus Christ. They had many friends and family circle around them. Karen had to recover from a c-section, and has been such an example of patience and humility. She even attended the residency graduation. Andrew had to answer to everyone at work. Since they were best friends, everyone came to him to get the story. He would come home for lunch and we would hug and cry. We would cry every time we talked about it. We would hold our little newborn, Beckett, and cry and ask God why we are so lucky to have 3 healthy boys. We prayed and prayed for Heavenly Father to comfort them. We continue to hug our boys a little harder, so grateful for their fragile lives. We think of Kloe all the time, and we know she is helping accomplish a great work in Heaven. We know they will be together again as a family. All of this brings us, and the Broyles, comfort, but does not take away the pain.

I was planning on helping Karen with birth announcements when Kloe was born, and I suggested they still do them. What we came up with is at the top of this page. They handed them out at the memorial service, and mailed them to family and friends. We also made thank-you cards with Kloe's actual size foot-prints on them. The quote on them, which I love, is 

"There is no foot too small, which cannot make an imprint in this world."

Just by chance, we ended up on the same flight to Boise as Karen and Todd. We were flying there just a few days after moving to Kansas City, and they were moving there (to Mountain Home AFB) and grew up in Boise. Our flights met up in Denver. Their flight was late arriving from St. Louis, and they almost missed the connection. I begged and begged them to hold the plane, and they made it just in time. We arrived late Friday night. Saturday was a family reunion for Andrew's extended family. Then we were able to go to the Memorial service for Kloe that evening. We were so lucky to be in the area that day, and so blessed to be a part of the services, as we left the following day to visit more family.

At the memorial they had a table out with various items, including a quilt and burpcloths her sister had made, a bat Todd had engraved at the Louisville bat company, and pink roses. The service was very nice. Todd did an amazing job speaking about the pregnancy, and the entire experience. What examples they have been of great faith.

We miss the Broyles so much! We are so grateful for the time we were able to spend with them. We will always remember Kloe. She taught so many of us to be better parents, to be grateful for our children, to give others the benefit of the doubt, and to live better so that we can be worthy to see her again someday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

[ Cooper Starts School ]

It's official... our boy is growing up. Cooper had his FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL today at Sacred Heart Catholic Preschool. His teachers are Mrs. Lesa Carroll and Mrs. Lowry. He has been counting down the days, and showed NO hesitation running into class. He goes MWF from 8:30-11:30. We were on a waiting list, and were so excited to get into this school, as it has come HIGHLY recommended by everyone I've talked to. I figured he better be in some kind of preschool this year, as next year he starts Kindergarten... which is ALL DAY everyday here!

Waving and saying "Bye, Bye Mom!"

The first pictures he drew today, "A spider that flies. A spider that doesn't fly."

Cooper has already made friends and can't wait until Wednesday! He is lucky to have FOUR kids in his class who are also in his CTR 5 primary class in our Ward at church. Bryce, Brian, Cambrie, and Zander. 

We are SO proud of you Cooper. You are growing up, and although we miss you, we are so proud of you too!

Gunner on the other hand had a very hard day. He cried because he wanted a backpack too. He cried and flopped on the floor in the hall of the preschool because he wanted to go to. He cried and cried in the car when we left saying, "I don't want to leave Cooper!" Poor guy feels like he's losing his best friend. When we walked in to pick Cooper up, they yelled each other's names and ran and gave each other a huge hug. It is so fun that they are such best buds. I am glad to have some more one-on-one time (plus Beckett) with Gunner though. We went to WalMart for him to pick out a special treat (an Indiana Jones figurine). Hopefully it gets easier!

Beckett's Baby Blessing

Beckett was given and name and blessing, formally, in the Dalton Gardens Ward, in the Coeur d'Alene Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on August 17, 2008 at 8:30 am. He did such a good job. Andrew did an amazing job too, and said some very nice things. Some of the things he was blessed with included:

  • A sharp mind and an understanding of truth when it is taught to you.
  • Make decisions that will lead you to happiness and joy.
  • Know the truthfulness of the Gospel, and what you are taught by your parents, grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.
  • Desire to serve your Heavenly Father, understand Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father's love for you, which will lead you to serve a mission. Joy in your service. Find the elect who are ready to be baptized.
  • You have a great pedigree of righteous members of your family who have made great sacrifices.
  • Blessed to attend and return to the temple and feel the Spirit there. To return with a lovely daughter of Heavenly Father to be married for time and all eternity.
  • Blessed with health and strength, and with your body you can be active and enjoy wholesome activities.
  • An ability to manage time constructively to be able to be successful
Andrew said when he opened his eyes, Beckett was staring up at him wide-eyed.

(Great-Grandpa Leo Lee, Uncle Dan Waite, Uncle Tyler Morton, Grandpa Gregory Larson,U Uncle Tyler Morton, Uncle Tim Gatten, Daddy Andrew Larson, Uncle Brett Gatten, Uncle Jon Erickson, Papa Steve Gatten. Not pictured: Bishop Randy Priebe)

Dad's family. Grandpa and Grandma Larson and Waite family.

Papa and Nana Gatten

Our friends from dental school, Mike, JayLyn and Xander Scholes, who now live in the area.

Thanks to all who participated in the blessing, and attended (including the Aunts and cousins not pictured; Ryan, Heather and Beau Butner; and your Great Uncle Jim and Aunt Paula, and their children Ben, Sarah and Dan Ross, Danny, Sadie, Scottie and Sam). It was such a neat day! 

After church we had Hawaiin Haystacks and Icecream Surprise at Nana and Papa Gatten's house. 

  • Love patty-cake, peek-a-boo, above the head push-ups, "chubba-chubba cheeks", and zerberts (blowing bubbles) on your tummy and cheeks.
  • Started playing with your horsey toy on your car-seat.
  • Still has a high-pitched squeal.
  • Have gotten your first tastes of real food... smokies, ice cream, grapes squeezed in your mouth, and mashed potatoes and gravy.
  • Love swimming and baths, and we call you our water baby.
  • Still SUCH a good baby. If we swaddle you and give you your binkie when you're tired, you go right to sleep on your own.
  • You "talk" and coo more than our other babies did. You will tell us "stories" forever. It is so fun!
  • Starting to stand-up and hold your weight when we hold on to your hands.
  • Cooper calls you "boy-boy". 
  • You were spoiled rotten the last few weeks... being fought over and held by your cousins, Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents.
  • You still love your binkie, especially when you're tired, but you are a HUGE finger chewer. You always have your hands up by your face and a finger or two pointed right into your mouth. 

Living out of suitcases...

  • 4 weeks ago today the movers came and packed us up (one huge perk of the Air Force), and we moved into the Holiday Inn Express for our last 9 nights in St. Louis. We had adjoining king suites. Swimming 3 times a day was one perk for sure.

Our little moving coordinator. The older boys were shipped off to friends houses for 2 days.

Cooper learning to dive

And backwards dive

We call Beckett our water baby

  • Then we headed to Kansas City for 2 nights in TLF (Temporary Lodging Facilities). 
  • Fly to Boise for 2 nights in the AmeriTel, Andrew's extended FAMILY REUNION on his mom's side (the Brocks), and the MEMORIAL for Kloe Broyles.
    Andrew's immediate family.

    Andrew's oldest sister Artie and her family. Oldest to youngest (Dan, Artie, Tanner, Erynn, Tyler, Tate)

    Beckett's favorite, above the head push-ups

    Grandpa and Grandma and the grandkids

    All the boy cousins... I LOVE this picture showing all their personalities.

    Kaylee and Grandma playing another one of Beckett's favorites... peek-a-boo.


    Andrew's sister Aimee, and her family oldest to youngest (Dan, Aimee, Riley, Kaylee, Lilly, Brynlie)

    Aimee and Brynlie

    Andrew's parents and sisters.

    The reunion was held at a park where we ate pizza, played games, and got to ride these fun paddle boats. Then we played more games and swam at the hotel.

  • Off to McCall for 3 nights for the LARSON FAMILY REUNION with Andrew's 2 sisters and their families. We stayed at a house that slept 16, a block from Lake Payette.
    Cooper and Tate in the bath after lots of playing "treasure map" in the forest around the house. 

    Celebrating the August birthdays.

    Tyler wanted to hold Beckett all the time... even when he was crying! He would say, "Cassie, I'll hold Beckett if that would help you out." Tanner, Riley and Erynn were a lot of help too!

    Tate and Cooper (9 months apart)

    Wiffle ball at the park

    The girls assembling 50 cards each from Becky's card kit!

    Gunner and Lilly

    Decorating frisbee plates. The sidewalk chalk behind the kids is the obstacle course Aunt Aimee designed (scooter, basketball, spin around the bat, throw wet balls in a bucket, run stick to finish line). Also shot Riley's BB gun.

    Kayaking crew

    Tate and Cooper

    Kayaking. Everyone except Cassie and the 2 babies went kayaking. Despite Gunner's apprehension, it was enjoyed by all!

    Fun at the beach

    Aunt Cassie and Brynlie.

    The boys loved watching Tanner burn everything with the magnifying glass. Also loved finding a caterpillar and dragonfly.

  • Up to Spokane to Andrew's parents house for 3 nights.
Loving Aunt Artie's bathtub

ROCKBAND! A favorite for all! The kids laughed pretty hard at Uncle Andrew's heartfelt singing. :)

SILVERWOOD Theme Park and Boulder Beach Waterpark with Grandma and the Waites.
Gunner rode all the kiddie rides with Tate. Cooper was just tall enough (42 inches) to ride the 2 BIG wooden roller coasters... and he wanted to... and he DID!

Also got a DATE NIGHT out to Outback with Brady and Danna Nelson.
  • Over to Coeur d'Alene to visit Cassie's family, the Gatten's, for 7 nights
One huge accomplishment in Nana and Papa's pool.... COOPER LEARNED TO SWIM WITHOUT A LIFEJACKET!!!!!!!!! He was so proud of himself. He got to the point where he could jump off the diving board and swim all the way to the shallow end. Way to go Cooper!

We had a GATTEN FAMILY BBQ with my Dad's extended family in the area. It was good to see a lot of family we haven't seen for a long time.

Beckett was BLESSED in the Dalton Ward, and we had a big brunch. More on that in a later post.

(Brynne's little boy. Brynne just found out she is having another BOY!)

Here are the 3 boys. 
Asa (5 months), Brady (4 months), Beckett (3 months)

Had a fun night of GAMES and treats at Brynne and Jon's house. 

Made sure to get some cheeseburgers at HUDSON'S downtown Coeur d'Alene, and visited North Idaho College (where we met 9 years ago). It was fun to run into my old soccer coaches, Dean and Dan.

We were there during the North Idaho Fair, which for our family means one thing.... the ELEPHANT EAR BOOTH. What is an elephant ear? A huge flat donut with cinnamon and sugar, and a tradition for over 30 years. Why do we do it? To raise money for our kid's missions... it is anticipated to profit enough to cover as many of the great-grandchildren's missions who want to go. We make around $30,000 selling ears, pop, milk and water in 5 days! Lots of grease, lots of cousins, lots of work... but lots of fun! It was fun to be there, after missing it for the last 4 summers.

During the Elephant Ear Booth we decided to do COUSINS CAMP for all the cousins in the area... an easy way to "babysit" them while some of the mom's worked. 

Wednesday we went to the free movie, had a picnic at the park, did relay races (teams were the "Rad Runners" and "The Fast and Furious"), had an obstacle course, went back to Nana's to make jewelry, paint, and make cookies.

Thursday they did tie-dye t-shirts with Aunt Mikin, painted bird houses, made birthday hand prints and letters for Uncle Spike's birthday on his mission, and made their own pizzas for dinner. 
The Fast and Furious
(Ella, Sophia, Sally, Kate, Hayliann, Jackson)

The Rad Runners
(Kiah, Cooper, Nikell, Gunner, Wyatt, Noah)

Cooper undoing the knot during the obstacle course


Aunt Brynne, Cade and Beckett

Friday, after working the morning shift, we went to dinner at CAFE CHULO (a yummy Cafe Rio knock-off) with the Nelson's and then hit the FAIR for some fun. The boys loved all the animals, and the rides.
Gunner and Ella Nelson

Milo, Beckett, Tate, Ella, Cooper and Gunner

Unlce Brett

Ella and Gunner
  • Back to TLF at Whiteman Air Force Base until we can find housing.... and we continue into our 5th week of living out of suitcases! Are you all as tired as we are after reading this post???!!!!