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2 Months

Yesterday marked 2 months since Goldie was born. These months have flown by, as time seems to do.

After Goldie passed and we spent the first few weeks just laying low going to the beach, going on hikes, and getting out of town for a few days. It was a good time to dwell on nothing but Goldie and draw close to God. Friends, family, and strangers were brining us meals, flowers, gifts, and cards. We have been so overwhelmed with the love we have felt from the people around us. 

Since then life has been getting back to “normal”. David is back to working, and Poppy and I are getting the house back to it’s better (cleaner) state. We’re loving getting together with friends again for meals and we feel happy day to day. Some days are harder than others, but overall we have peace and contentment. 

It has been amazing to read the comments and emails from everyone that responded to reading Goldie’s story on the blog or following along on Instagram. We have read messages about perspectives being changed, faith being restored, people without faith praying for the first time, mom’s finding comfort and healing in their own loss. It has truly been incredible seeing the way that God has been spreading Goldie’s story and using it for his glory. We are so encouraged to hear that her life had an impact on anybody’s faith the same way that it did on ours because that it makes everything worth it to us! 

Last week I went to visit the Dr that delivered Goldie. He’s not my usual OBGYN he was just on shift that night at the hospital but I thought I should go see him to follow up. He hadn’t heard yet that Goldie had passed and he was very interested to know if they figured anything out about her condition. A question that thankfully doesn’t keep us up at night. We talked about all the details of the birth, and he told me that was the most difficult delivery he has experienced, which is pretty crazy for me to hear, and nice to talk about the details with him. I go through different phases of wanting to think about the birth and other times when it’s too much for me. But, most of the time I (strangely) want to relive it in my thoughts.

 We also talked about trying for another baby down the road and he told me when he thinks physically it would be safe to try again. He also talked about when it is “safe” emotionally, he assured me that “God is fair” and the odds of this happening again aren’t likely. But he recommended not trying again until we are ready to go through another trauma, and are emotionally able to lose another child – just in case. Which is good advice, and got me thinking. We had no idea that this would happen with Goldie. We didn’t know that she was sick until that first time that we saw her on July 10th. Of course during pregnancy you think about your baby being sick or disabled but you don’t actually expect it to happen. You never think that you are going to be that family. But someone will be, and you most likely won’t get a warning sign.

The Dr encouraging me to be emotionally prepared for another loss, made me think about always be prepared for a “loss”. We’re going to go through lows in life whether it’s losing a loved one or another form of disappointment & heartbreak. And when those times come without a Dr giving us the heads up to prepare ourselves we need something strong to hold on to. Roots already deep, firmly planted in what we believe. So that we are able to stand against those painful days or years and find that light at the end of the tunnel.

I will forever be grateful that God prepared us in all of the little ways that he did for this unexpected journey that blindsided us this summer. It’s interesting for me to think back on situations of the past few years where I felt like I didn’t know ‘why’, and now I can see that God was setting us up for this. He somehow turned our tragedy into the most eye opening, and life changing journey we’ve been on. To feel joy & peace through loss is something we couldn’t have accomplished on our own. 


Goldie’s Service

This past Sunday evening we had a service to remember and honour our little Goldie Bloom. We decided to keep our service intimate with just our parents & siblings, all who were there the night that we said Goodbye to Goldie at the hospital.

I’ve always told David that if he passed away before me I would scatter his ashes at my favourite place on the beach so that I could go sit and stare into the water to be with him. It’s surreal to me that now I actually have that with my daughter. The night after Goldie was born when I laid in the hospital bed knowing that she might not make it I imagined this service. It ended up being exactly how it was in my mind and it was perfect.

We wanted the service to be simple, beautiful, golden, and natural – nothing forced or too planned.  David, Poppy, and I spent time earlier setting up our spot with little things that are reminders of her; gold balloons, gold shells, gold feathers, and white flowers. I love to throw parties mostly for the chance to make decorations and spend time on all of those pretty details. So being to do little things like spray paint feathers, and cut strips of white tulle for my little Goldie, the way I did for Poppy’s first birthday, made my mumma heart happy & also deeply ache.

Later when we returned to the beach we could see all our family gathered already at the spot we had set up. We walked the path towards them and my heart again felt that gaping hole, and my limbs & heart felt so weak the same way I did when when we held Goldie for the first & last time. The image I was living in of our family walking; David holding Poppy and me with the urn of Goldie’s ashes that I was pressing so tightly into my empty feeling chest, was an image so far from what I ever imagined for our family of 4. It feels incomplete.

We started the service with David’s brother Matt praying & speaking about Goldie, Heaven & God’s faithfulness. David and I then took Goldie’s ashes out into the ocean and watched the cloud of them billow and drift through the water. It was such a beautiful, painful, heartbreaking and yet joyful moment and an image I will forever remember. The ocean has always given me a strong feeling of God’s presence and this felt like a symbol of us releasing her body to God. Another experience of feeling a little bit closer to Heaven. And the thought of going home will forever be that much sweeter than it already was.

“David and Bethany, the inheritance you will receive in Jesus now includes a reunion with your daughter. The first day you’ll see Goldie healthy and the first time you’ll get to hear her speak. That’s not just a sentimental hope. That’s not an illusion to make us feel better. That’s a biblical picture. Goldie is right now safe with Jesus. Every molecule of her body like every other person who’s died covered in the grace of God will be collected by Him. Not one tiny particle of it will be lost to this ocean; and she will be put back together in a glorified state…a brand new, perfectly healthy, immortal body like none of us here can imagine.”

We continued to take our time worshiping, praying and taking flowers out to the water. I could have stayed there in the water for hours. Leaving that emotional moment and closeness to our baby girl was really difficult, but I love that I can come back to that spot everyday and feel like I’m spending time with Goldie.

After our beautiful and spiritual time at the beach we all went back to my parents house for a family dinner – toasting to Goldie, and sharing about the experience we all struggled through together.  We threw Goldie a party, and celebrated her life. We have had a lot of time mourning & grieving her loss but also wanted have the chance to feel and celebrate the joy we experienced with her and because of her. Being able to laugh and cry all together around the table made it such a special night that and we both wish we could relive again and again.

“David and Bethy most of all but the rest of us along with them have felt sorrow, have felt loss, and have felt the sting of death. These things are very real and we will not minimize them; they’ve felt strong and have seemed to have free reign. 

But nothing could be further from the truth than that.

One of the great ironies of the Christian life is that walking through the valley of the shadow of death is the very best place to catch a glimpse of our Shepherd. No where else can our eyes be more fully opened to the immensity of God’s power, His grace, and His love toward all of His children than there.”

-A part of Matt’s message from the service

*Again, thank you to M&Him for capturing such a special night to me so perfectly. I will forever cherish these photos and I’m so thankful I have them to remember this night that felt like a blur.

*We ask that you please comment with respect for our healing hearts. Thank you for all the loving comments and emails you have shared with David and I. We are so encouraged by your prayers and your stories of how Goldie’s life touched yours.

read part 3 of Goldie’s story “saying goodbye to goldie”

Saying Goodbye to Goldie

On Monday night, July 20th, Our precious Goldie laid in our arms for the first time as she took her last breaths. These ten days were the most amazing, profound, heartbreaking, and life changing days we’ve ever had and maybe will ever experience. We want to share our story of saying goodbye to our baby girl.

Every morning in the NICU Dr’s and nurses do their rounds and meet outside of Goldie’s room to discuss everything that is happening with her; what medications they are trying, which procedures are being done and what their next course of action is. Since Goldie was in such critical condition, and the cause was still a mystery, there was always a large group there for educational purposes and multiple Neonatologists present to discuss various options of treatment.

David and I usually attended these rounds but on Monday we decided to take advantage of a good night’s sleep and not rush to NICU in the morning. My Dad had been sleeping on a couch in the hospital for the past 4 nights. He woke up and attended rounds and then afterward walked down the road to the place where we were staying. He sat down in our room. Fighting tears, he told us that at today’s rounds the doctors agreed on the fact that Goldie’s condition had only gotten worse over the last 10 days. Her kidneys showed no improvement or much sign of functioning at all, recent X-rays showed more signs of bleeding in the brain, and we were still in the place of having to fully support her heart & lungs, while her pain continued to increase. All of this lead the Doctors to present the question “how long do we want to keep supporting this little deteriorating body that is living in discomfort?” These facts weren’t news to us. We’ve known all along the state of her body and it’s progress (or lack of) each day, but  of course we clung to a bit of hope that things might miraculously turn around.

Later in the afternoon the doctors sat down with David and I to tell us that they didn’t see Goldie recovering. David and I had agreed the day before that when/if the doctors ever thought that moving to palliative care was in Goldie’s best interest then we would trust them in that. Once we knew that they didn’t see Goldie’s body recovering, we felt it would be selfish to keep a heart beating in such a sweet, innocent body if it wasn’t leading to her getting better. They told us that it was completely up to us how long we wanted to continue care for Goldie, whether it be hours, days or weeks. David and I came to the decision to withdraw care that night, as soon as our immediate family could all be there. We called the family and told them to start driving. We went through the process of deciding & telling the doctors how we wanted that moment to play out, and all the other hard & emotional decisions that needed to be made for after Goldie passed.

David, Poppy & I spent the afternoon basically pacing, grieving, and waiting. Our parents & siblings had all arrived by 7:30 pm and we all sat in a room outside the NICU, praying together through tears. David’s brother Matt read out Psalm 139 before the family went in couple by couple to say goodbye to little Goldie for the last time.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them…”

After our family all said their goodbyes, David and I made our way to Goldie’s dimly lit, machine filled room for one last time. I sat down as the nurses switched over her respirator to one more mobile so she could be transferred from the bed to my arms, and they increased her dose of pain medication so she could lay with us comfortably. Since I laid my eyes on Goldie 10 days earlier I ached for the moment she would first lay in my arms, no matter what circumstance it was under.

I sat there crying with the feeling of a gaping hole in the centre of my body, like my limbs could give out at any moment. The nurse placed her in my arms (still receiving oxygen & medicines) and I began to cry out, and held her so close to fill that empty space I felt every time I looked at her. I could barely see her face my eyes were so full of tears. David and I stroked her body, kissed her head, prayed over her, and spoke comforting words to her; telling her to rest, to go home where she would be free of all the pain and suffering. The nurses then helped transfer Goldie with all her tubes to David and we spent more time feeling her little chest breathe before we let the nurses know that we were ready to remove the oxygen. I cuddled her close to me as they shut off all the machines. I placed my hand on her swollen, bruised, soft chest and felt her heart continue to beat for about 2 minutes. In those minutes even through her sedation she opened her eyes. Each time she looked up at us I felt Goldie & God saying through those eyes “I’m okay. I’m going home.”

Then that heart beat beneath my hand stopped, her body was still and overcome with peace & rest. I cried over her until I could get the words out to David that she was gone. We held her hands and her toes, touched her soft lips, tongue, nose and eyes. Her face was filled with more beauty than I have ever seen in a face. I no longer saw her cuts, bruises, blisters, bandages, and tubes. I just saw a purely angelic, beautiful, peaceful baby face with Poppy’s nose, pursed lips and a forehead covered in soft blonde newborn peach fuzz. We went between sobbing, and being completely in awe of the experience. We felt so close to Heaven and God’s presence. It was unearthly to feel my child’s soul leave and meet Jesus.

Once Goldie had passed we both felt like it was no longer her, it was just the symbol of her. But that symbol was so hard to let go of, knowing that when I let go of her I would never hold her again. I would never walk through the NICU hall and come lay my head on her bed just to be near her. The empty space that I was pressing her tiny body into, would remain there without her. We sat a little longer in Goldie & God’s presence to mourn, talk to Goldie and David sang the words “It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

On our drive home we sat silent in a strange place of feeling heartbroken and completely in awe of what we had just experienced. We were overwhelmed with peace, knowing that it was Goldie’s time to go home, and joy for our baby girl. Goldie spent her ten days on earth in a body that was so sick and now she was free from all the pain of this earth and being embraced by God, rejoicing in Heaven. I smile for her just typing that.

This 10 day journey was the greatest blessing we have ever received. Constantly playing in the back of my mind is “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I truly feel blessed that God took our hearts & broke them, making us changed people for his purpose, taking us so much deeper in our faith than we could have ever done on our own. Not once in this experience did we feel betrayed, abandoned, confused, or angry. The “why” the doctors are looking for doesn’t bother us as much as most would expect. While I was pregnant I held my stomach each day and as I prayed for our growing baby I always included “I pray she would be healthy, but more than that that you would create her exactly as you want to for your purpose.” and God did just that. I don’t try to imagine what life would be like if Goldie grew up, or what kind of little girl she would have become because I believe that God had already written each and everyday of Goldie’s life. There is no 10 year old Goldie that ever would have existed to imagine in our family, there only ever was 10 day old Goldie. She came to us briefly, changed lives, and filled her full purpose on earth.

We will forever miss and ache for our baby Goldie. She will always feel like our child and the 4th member of our family. Thinking about transitioning back to normal life is really hard for us. We don’t want to feel like all the little details about Goldie and this special time are being left behind or forgotten. When people ask how many kids we have we don’t want to have to respond “1”. But, thankful doesn’t even begin to describe how much we appreciate the experience of both her time on earth and all the unknown experiences this will lead to in our lives.

A film generously created by M&Him http://mandhim.com/ documenting the time spent in the NICU with our sweet baby Goldie.

Read the story of Goldie’s life here http://bethanymenzel.com/blog/2015/7/14/welcome-goldie-bloom-menzel

Thank you so much to the talented & generous M&Him Photography for capturing this special time for our family in the NICU, having these memories means so much to us. 

We also want to deeply thank everyone in this supportive online community for your prayers and love through this entire journey. Even though we haven’t taken a lot of time to respond we read and appreciate your comments & emails, xo.

Read Part 1 of Goldie’s story “Welcome Goldie Bloom” 
Read Part 2 of Goldie’s story “Goldie Bloom – 1 Week Update”
Read Part 4 of Goldie’s story “Goldie’s Service” 

Goldie Bloom – 1 Week Update

We knew at some point Goldie was most likely going to need to make the transfer to Children’s Hospital, where they have more specialized resources that she needs for her heart and other conditions.  And on wednesday morning they finally felt she was stable enough to make the move.

When they came in to tell us that Goldie was being transferred, and that we would be leaving Ronald McDonald House, at Surrey Memorial Hospital within the hour, it was really hard and upsetting for me.

In the midst of all this craziness Ronald McDonald House was the one piece of stability for us and little Poppy. We were sleeping only a short hallway away from the NICU and Baby Goldie, had finally gotten Poppy comfortable with sleeping in a new place, and was well set up there for what we expected to be at least a couple weeks. It made me sick to know I wouldn’t be in the same building as Goldie once we reached Children’s, and that Poppy would once again have everything changed and unfamiliar. Regardless, through my tears, we quickly packed our room and went to the NICU to watch Goldie get prepped for the transfer.

Watching the 10+ doctors, nurses, and paramedics prep her for transfer was the most stressful and emotional hour and a half of my life.  Even more so than the birth.  Which was such a blur of chaos.  But this, this was sitting and watching her heart rate & oxygen levels go up and down as they switched each machine over.  Wondering if her tiny body could handle the move. Once they were confident she was stable, they airlifted her to BC Children’s Hospital. We rushed to the parking lot to follow by car, and watched as our tiny, sick girl whirled away over head in the helicopter.

By the time we arrived she had been set up and stabilized in the Children’s NICU and was already receiving care beyond what she had before. I was comforted knowing that even though this felt harder for our family, it was definitely the best option for what our Goldie needed.

Leaving my baby girl at the hospital that night and even just going just 15 minutes away, to stay with David’s brother, was heart breaking for me. I felt so far away from her and like I couldn’t be there to support her as a mother. I sat up most of the night crying, praying, journaling, calling the nurses for updates, and comforting Poppy as she tried to settle in yet another unfamiliar place.

Yesterday we were put up in housing within walking distance of the hospital and can stay here for 4 nights, so even just this short term stability feels really good for us right now, and we’re so thankful to be able to be at Goldie’s side within minutes.

Last night was David’s and my 4th anniversary. My mom brought us a picnic & wine and we went to a park close to the hospital, and enjoyed it.  It was really good for us to escape for an hour and let our hearts settle down a little bit.

On our way back we stopped in the NICU to say goodnight to Goldie and when we arrived she was having a really hard time. The nurse was letting Goldie hold her hand as our babe was so shaken up from the pain of having her neck wound worked on. We held Goldie’s hand and whispered comforting words into her ear as she winced, wiggled and slightly moaned from the pain – the first sounds i’ve heard her make.

Her neck wound from delivery is worse then they originally realized, it’s quite a large open wound to the blood vessels and her skin is so extremely delicate that it is very hard for it to heal.

As they upped her pain medication, I laid my head on Goldie’s incubator for a while and waited for her to settle before saying goodnight, and then kissed her on the head for the first time.

At 3:30am we were woken up by a call from the doctor letting us know that Goldie was still stable, but not doing well and that we needed to come in to discuss options.

When we arrived they had medicated her body so it was mostly paralyzed, since she still wasn’t coping well with the pain and her lungs were now 100% dependent on the oxygen she is receiving. The doctor discussed options for courses of action with us, asking how invasive we want to get with different surgeries and the risks they each involve. Presenting the option of removing her oxygen tube and getting the opportunity to just hold her during her last few moments alive, or continuing as we are with her body most likely deteriorating and knowing that we may not be there when and if her little body decides to give up.

Decisions you think and hope you’ll never be faced with but ones we are being forced to make.

We don’t want to feel like we are “playing God,” and have peace in the decision to, presently, not do any extreme, high risk or invasive surgeries that only have a 50/50 chance of helping. We also don’t want to give up treating her, just to secure that moment of holding Goldie alive. We don’t feel like that is our decision to make – I would have more peace with a phone call telling us that her body decided to give up rather than watch it happen in my arms. We have found a middle ground where we will continue to support her organs and go about less high risk procedures in hopes that her body responds well to them. We are thankful to have amazing doctors to help guide us in these decisions that seem impossible to make.

Right now her abdomen is filling with an excessive amount of fluid because her veins are not strong enough to hold it in, this is putting pressure on all her organs not allowing them to function properly. One of the main concerns is that her kidney’s aren’t functioning properly. They aren’t clearing the toxins from her body and producing urine, the main thing we hope for everyday is to see more urine come out to know that the kidneys are starting to do their job. An ultrasound this morning revealed that there is bleeding in her brain as well. Today they are starting a procedure of inserting catheters into her abdomen in hopes that they will drain some of the fluid that is causing so much pressure on the organs. So we are at a place of taking it step by step, seeing what her body does and how long it chooses to keep fighting. Knowing that each visit to her could be our last and every time we rest waiting for the call that this is it.

We feel comfortable in our decision to let the doctors continue to do the procedures they see as necessary and wait to see how Goldie’s body responds to them. Knowing that at the moment she is getting worse but leaving the space there for God to do his work and either perform a miracle and heal her body or let it slowly continue to fail. We have a strong faith that God already has his plans for Goldie, whether her purpose has already been filled or if she will grow to have a story to tell we can rest in the fact that His hand is on her and His will will be done.

Read Part 1 of Goldie’s story “Welcome Goldie Bloom” 
Read Part 3 of Goldie’s story “Saying Goodbye to Goldie”
Read Part 4 of Goldie’s story “Goldie’s Service”

*I have disabled comments on this post since we are sharing some very big emotional decisions we are making we ask that you keep your opinions to yourself. Thank you for all your support, we really appreciate your prayers. 

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