Beautiful Grace

07 Mar

15 I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song)

I’ve been a nurse for over five years but today was a first.  Her body was so small and her rib cage so flexible that it didn’t take much pressure from just a couple fingers to compress her slowing heart.  They turn quickly, the little ones.  I’d just taken her to see the doctor this morning about her persistent diarrhea and skin issues.  He made a few recommendations, some new, some we were already trying.  Nothing groundbreaking.  He said she’d be fine.


I’d believed him.  She wasn’t very dehydrated; it was easy to start an IV once we got back home and she decided to stop drinking the rehydration serum.  Even when we saw that her oxygen saturation was low, she responded beautifully to supplemental oxygen.  But her heart rate never came back up.

On the trip to the hospital I was calmer than I expected I’d be.  Wilson was driving, probably too fast.  Carla was holding up the IV bag and making sure the oxygen machine, which was attached to a generator in the back of the truck, didn’t fall on us.  Erin and I took turns with compressions and bagging.  I think we all knew it was over but for some reason it felt right to keep trying at least until we reached the hospital.  When we arrived it was all very matter-of-fact.  Annabel didn’t make it.

She had come to us last August, tiny and perfect.  She’d been abandoned at the same hospital that just pronounced her death.  She didn’t have a name yet so Carla and I started brainstorming.  I wanted Anna, meaning grace.  Carla wanted to use the Kreyol word for beautiful, Bel.  We sort of do everything together so we settled on Annabel; Beautiful Grace.  Everyone speculated about her father’s ethnic background.   We knew her mom was Haitian but Annabel had such light skin.  Whenever Carla or I were holding her in public, people would ask us if she were ours.  She is God’s, we’re just holding her.  Some of the nannies told me we just had to keep her out in the sun for ten minutes a day and she’d turn Haitian.  We knew it was silly, but let them do it anyway.  Her nannies loved her.  Emily loved her.  The VandeLune girls loved her.  I loved her.  And when I start to question things–her life, her death, what I did, what I didn’t do–I am reminded,

She is God’s.  We were just holding her.


Posted by on March 7, 2013 in The Kiddos


9 responses to “Beautiful Grace

  1. Kara Giudice

    March 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for doing what you do. I can’t even begin to imagine.

  2. ruthanne

    March 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Sheila–this is heartbreaking. So sorry for the loss you have all experienced today.

  3. darla

    March 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks, Sheila. This is beautiful. I know I didn’t know her well, but I’m still so very sad. And therefore I know you and others who loved her well are many many more times so.

  4. Kris Thede

    March 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Know she blessed many of you in her short life. She did what the Lord sent her to do and then He took her home. Praying for those of you who loved and will miss her. Rejoicing with her in her new life.

  5. Kris Schroer TeBrake

    March 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I’m speechless, but my heart hurts for you all. Thanks so much for the love you share with all of those kiddos, including ours. You’re a blessing…

  6. Tanya

    March 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I wish I could be there and sit with you and Karla. I am not sure what that would do, but I so wish I could be there to just sit. I am sorry Sheila.

  7. Mom (Vicki)

    March 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    She felt much love in the arms of you two. You are the hands and feet of Jesus. Blessings

  8. Sara Stumbo

    March 8, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Heavy times…..but God…..


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