Monday, 23 September 2013

Heart Beats 2013!

It's hard to believe that almost a year ago we were doing the Heart Beats run around the Stollery.  Shawn and I weren't able to be with our team in Calgary, but decided to run anyway.  This year we have the privilege of running along with our friends and family, but lost the privilege of snuggling with Hope when we finish.  We depended on and deeply valued Heart Beats through our journey with Hope.  I have set a lofty fundraising goal of $5,000 this year and am hoping to make it!  The run takes place on October 19th.

Here is the link to sponsor my run online:

If that doesn't work, simply go to and select PLEDGE AN ATHLETE and then type in Amy Koslowski.

Thank you in advance for your help.  I look forward to having the free time to get more involved in the incredible and very practical ways that Heart Beats helps families in the midst of such a difficult journey.

As for our life, we passed another 21st and have now survived 4 months without Hope here.  It honestly feels longer and we continue to miss her daily.

Sadie is currently sick, but we're hoping the antibiotics and steroid she started will get her back to her old self before we head out on our trip in 2 days.  I'm not looking forward to being without her for so long, but I must admit the break from being a mother, a house cleaner and cook are very appealing.  I'm not sure that my brain will know what to do with so much time to think about myself!

Thank you for continuing to encourage us and pray for our family.  We are blessed.

Monday, 16 September 2013

A Rainbow Baby

A rainbow baby is a baby born after another child is lost.  I found this definition online:
In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

The storm (loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.

In July we discovered that our rainbow baby is growing in my belly.  The baby is due on March 25th and big sister Sadie is BEYOND excited to have a new baby around.  She has requested that if this baby is born with a tube, we cut it off.  I think she's trying to communicate her desire for this to be a healthy child and I couldn't agree more.

At the start of my pregnancy I was thinking about the comments I would receive from others and knew that, "as long as it's healthy!" would be among them often.  I thought through this and came to a realization that although we would all love a healthy baby, I care more that my child will grow up and love Jesus.  If I have a healthy baby that rejects God and chooses to live their own life, I miss out on eternity with them.  If I have a sick baby that loves Jesus, I get to enjoy that child forever.  Through our journey with Hope I have come to value a heart that loves Jesus far above a child that is healthy.  It's a simple thought, just not one that ever crossed my mind while carrying Sadie in my pregnancy.  I pray that this baby would be healthy, but that above all, it would grow up to choose Christ.

Sadie continues to talk about Hope and shares her desire to be with her again.  I find it difficult to watch her long for her sister and yet, I'm comforted that she remembers her.  She sat for over an hour watching movies of Hope on my phone and telling me all about them.  I do the same thing some days.  I am so thankful for all the pictures and videos we have of her.

Sadie has started pre-school and is loving it.  She is enjoying the fall and the routine that comes along with it.  I love seeing her learn new things and develop in her life.  She continues to make us laugh and give us reasons to smile.  After Sunday School this week as we put her in the car she said, "God has a plan for me!"  Shawn responded humorously with, "Really?  Since when?"  That stumped Sadie, but she didn't care.  She knew that God has plan for her life and that's all she cared about!

Some of you may remember after Hope's death that our friends put together a book called 'Hope's Reach'.  The book is full of letters from people describing how Hope impacted their lives.  It's a massive colour book full of stories and photos of our little girl.  It took me 3 weeks to read through the entire book.  It's LONG, but also extremely rich and not easy to take in large amounts at once.  I was so moved by it and am thankful to have it.  We spent time editing mistakes out of the first copy and getting it all ready for printing.  The book will now be printed and we've decided to open it up to others.  If anyone would like a copy of this book for themselves, we are happy to order you a copy.  Being a colour printed book, it's not cheap to print.  The books will cost $80 each and would likely be $20 to ship outside of Calgary.  If you're someone that would enjoy being able to read these powerful stories and to have this memory of the journey you've been on with us, would you let me know before October 15th?  We can arrange payment and shipping once I know who would like a copy and how many I'll need to order.

In 10 days Shawn and I will be heading to Europe.  After Hope's death a group of friends and strangers put an account together to send Shawn and I away on vacation.  The 13 months of Hope's life were extremely stressful.  Shawn and I spent a large amount of time apart and our time together was often consumed with intense conversations about Hope.  We worked hard to maintain our marriage and to keep it healthy, but often dreamed of a second honeymoon to reconnect and move forward in our relationship.  We talked about doing this as soon as Hope was stable.  Sadly that never happened, but we were beyond shocked when this account was started and our dream became a reality.  Shawn and I will spend 2 weeks on a cruise through the Mediterranean while Sadie remains in Calgary with family and friends that promise to love her to pieces!  I wanted to publicly thank each and every person that has made this trip possible for us.  I'm dreading the time away from Sadie, but am deeply excited about the one on one time I'll have with Shawn.  Please pray that this is a wonderful time of reconnection for us and that my pregnancy doesn't leave me on the boat while Shawn explores Europe!

My pregnancies are usually horrible.  Some of you that followed Hope's journey before she was born will remember how deeply I hate being pregnant.  I am extremely uncomfortable during my pregnancies.  First is the nausea, it begins immediately and usually lasts until I deliver.  In my delivery with Sadie was I still throwing up just hours before she was born!  I am on medication to make this easier, but the medication makes me very tired.  Secondly my hormone levels are always too high and specifically my Relaxin levels.  As a result I have had SPD with each of them as well.

SPD is: Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is most commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth. It is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis, either anterior or lateral, as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis. SPD is a dysfunction that is associated with pelvic girdle pain and the names are often used interchangeably. It is thought to affect up to one in four pregnant women to varying degrees, with 7% of sufferers continuing to experience serious symptoms postpartum

It has already begun in this pregnancy and my hips are in constant pain and walking becomes more difficult as each week and month passes.  I receive treatments throughout my pregnancy and it helps a great deal, but is still extremely inconvenient!  My feet begin to flatten as I move forward as well and I get to a point of begging Shawn to rub my feet constantly!  Poor guy.  Enough whining...the point being that it's not a fun 9 months and I could use your prayers.  While pregnant with Hope I swore I would NEVER get pregnant again.  After she was diagnosed Shawn felt strongly that we should have a third child.  He didn't want Sadie to lose her sister and be alone.  I eventually agreed and we had decided to have one more, regardless of what had happened with Hope.  I feel even more confident this time around to say, "I'm not doing this again!!"  This baby is worth the trouble and the pain, as were Sadie and Hope.  I just long to reach March and to have this little one in my arms.

I am currently 13 weeks pregnant.  Sometime in the next 5-7 weeks I'll be receiving another ultrasound.  Although I've already had two, this will be the first time we'll get a good look at the baby's heart.  We are praying for 4 chambers and a healthy heart.  I think I'll feel more relaxed once we know everything is okay and we find out if this is going to be another little lady or a little man.  Although my heart longs for another girl, I wonder if a boy would be easier on me emotionally.  It would be an entirely new experience and that may be better for us.  I trust God to decide and that either way we'll be able to carry through.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family, for the new baby that is growing and for our hearts as they slowly mend from losing Hope.  Never forgotten, forever missed.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Productive Days

Today was a day that I finish feeling very accomplished.  We set an alarm to make it to the early service at church, 9am is not that early.  Sadie had to be woken up to make it on time and it's walking distance from our house!  After church we went to Heritage Park for an awesome day of family fun.  The park is perfect for Sadie right now.  She got to ride on a lot of carnival rides, a steam engine train, a horse drawn carriage and a steam boat!  We went over to the farm and saw all the animals, ate ice cream, visited the candy store and explored all the historic houses.  After 5 hours of walking around and enjoying ourselves, we stopped at their annual harvest sale on the way out.  It was moments before they were closing and we got some amazing deals!  A whole watermelon for $1, a massive box of green peppers for $5, a case of mangoes for $2, cauliflower for $1 and 2 cantaloupe's for $1!  Sadly after we purchased our watermelon for $1 they dropped the price to 2 for a $1.  We would have complained but the money was going to the Children's Hospital here and we've found that place helpful in the past!

We just got home, made a pizza to throw in the oven for supper and are looking forward to relaxing on the couch after Sadie goes to bed.  I even signed Shawn up to be Santa at Sadie's pre-school in December!  What a good sport to save me from having to volunteer to be on the board committee.  It was a large time commitment that I didn't want to make and Santa was only for an hour.  I'm sure he'll be hilarious.

Today, as we waited for our carriage ride, a mom behind me asked how old Sadie was.  I asked in return how old her children were.  Her youngest was 17 months old, the age Hope would currently be.  Whenever this happens I find I stare at the child and try to picture what our Hope would be doing right now and what she'd look like as she got older.  Would she grow into her big eyes, or would they always light up her entire face?  Would she still be bald?  Would she finally be over 13 pounds?  It always stops me in my tracks and brings some sadness before I can continue on with the day.  Watching Sadie ride the ferris wheel alone because she didn't have a sibling to sit next to her was hard when so many of the kids had someone next to them.  It's the little things that continue to hit hard.

We are thankful that we are doing well and are able to go out and enjoy a day as a family.  We are thankful that our marriage is still full of love for one another and that our pain is not turning us against each other, only closer to one another.  We are thankful that Hope is resting safely in the arms of Jesus and that when Sadie asks the tough question, "why did Hope have to die?"  We can answer with the confidence that God knew what he was doing, even though we wanted him to do something different.  We continue to live life and through that we grow and we get stronger, even though the pain lives on.

Monday, 2 September 2013


Tonight I finally sat down and finished reading a book that was sent to me by a friend shortly after Hope's death.  The book is called 'A Grace Disguised' by Gerald L. Sittser.  I highly recommend this book to anyone that is suffering a loss or tragedy of some kind, his thoughts and reflections are very powerful.

A specific section on community in the presence of sorrow jumped out at me tonight and I wanted to share it:
"First of all, it requires a choice on the part of those who want to provide community for suffering friends.  They must be willing to be changed by someone else's loss, though they might not have been directly affected by it.  Good comfort requires empathy, forces adjustments, and sometimes mandates huge sacrifices.  Comforters must be prepared to let the pain of another become their own and so let it transform them.  They will never be the same after that decision.  Their own world will be permanently altered by the presence of one who suffers.  It will bring an end to detachment, control, and convenience.  It will prevent them from ever thinking again that the world is a safe place full of nice people, positive experiences, and favourable circumstances."

Reading this section reminded me again of how thankful I am for the people that made that difficult decision to be our community and to be forever changed for the ordinary.  Although life is no longer a "pretty" thing, there is beauty to be seen in true community.  Thank you for making that sacrifice and for growing along side us.

Tucking Sadie in tonight she asked once again, "Do you think we could ask Jesus to give Hope back?" I said no.  "Do you think if we wave a magic wand she might come back?" I had to say no once again. "Mommy do you think that God will give me a new sister next week then?"  I answered with a more thoughtful, "well, we can ask him to do that and then see what happens!"  She continues to miss her sister and longs for the comfort that I never knew a small child could bring to an older child at such a young age.  I look forward to her getting older and building her own community.  Right now as a family we are that community for her, but I know she is still lonely in her loss as well.

Thank you for continuing to care.