Friday, January 28, 2005

Carter's Obituary

Carter's obituary appeared in the Chadron Record and Crawford Clipper the week of January 24-28.

Carter Devon Richardson, baby boy to Devon and Brandy Richardson, was born straight into heaven on January 12, 2005 at 11:10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He weighed 4 lbs 1 oz and was 17 inches long.

Carter passed away from Ebstein’s Anomaly, a rare heart defect. Carter was 35 weeks gestation.

He will be lovingly missed by his family which include his parents, paternal grandparents, Sandi Richardson and Norm and Jan Richardson of Chadron, maternal grandparents, Todd and Lori Storbeck of Crawford, maternal great-grandparents, Dale and Donna Brown of Whitney and Clarence and Bonnie Storbeck of Chadron, maternal great-great-grandmother, Dorothy Storbeck of Valley City, North Dakota, Aunt Tiffany Storbeck and her daughter Paige of Sidney, Aunt Natisha Storbeck of Lincoln, Aunt Chelsey Storbeck of Crawford, Aunt Kodie Richardson of Denver, Uncle Scott , Aunt Malena Richardson and their sons, Brayden and Dayton of Chadron, Uncle Kendall, Aunt Crystal Smith and their children, Gentry and Whitney of Stanberry, Missouri and numerous extended family members.

Carter was preceded in death by his second cousin, Nicolas Storbeck of Crawford, and paternal great grandparents, George and Dorothy Harshfield of Chadron and Vern and Ella Richardson of Denver.

Monetary donations received will be donated in Carter’s name to fund children’s heart defect research.

I'll Be There!!

Daddy please don't look so sad, Mommy please don't cry.
Cause I am in the arms of Jesus and he sings me lullabies.
Please try not to question God, don't think he is unkind.
Don't think he sent me to you, and then he changed his mind.

You see, I am a special child, and I'm needed up above.
I'm the special gift you gave him, the product of your love.
I'll always be there with you, and watch the sky at night.
Find the brightest star that's gleaming, that's my halo's brilliant light.

You'll see me in the morning frost, that mists your window pane.
That's me in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain.
When you feel a gentle breeze from the wind that blows
That's me, I'll be there, a kiss on your nose.

When you see a child playing and your heart feels a little tug.
That's me, I'll be there, giving your heart a hug.
So, Daddy please don't look so sad, Mommy don't you cry.
I'm in the arms of Jesus, and he sings me lullabies.

- Author unknown

Carter's Story - Part II

On January 25, we brought your ashes home to be with us where you should be. Our thoughts are to bury your ashes (or scatter them) with ours when we pass on to be with you forever in heaven.

I still miss you a lot, every day as much as the day before. Daddy and I are both not sleeping well. I went back to work for the first time yesterday. I will go back part time for the next couple of weeks to get past your original due date of February 13.

Sometimes I feel like you are still with me. I still wake up and expect to be pregnant with a rude awakening when I am not. At least I have a good metabolism and don’t look pregnant (I thanked Grandma Lori for that).

I’ve been trying to do a lot of things for you – as much as I know how. I made a tribute to you through this website. I put your picture in a frame with my favorite poem (one for home and one for work). I made a CD of songs that remind me of you. I scanned all of your ultrasound photos and Polaroid photos so that I would have them forever. I lovingly wrote your obituary – this was hard to write but I think it turned out very well.

Yesterday, I finally found a scrapbook at Hallmark to use for your photos and other memories. It is blue with toys on it and reads “Pictures to Treasure”. I was actually leaning towards a different one but I felt as if you would like the blue one better – it was as if you picked it out yourself.

Your Dad wants to get a tattoo on his chest in remembrance of you. He has some really cute ideas. I will post the final version here when he gets it.

We are getting a lot of cards and e-mails from everyone. Everyone at work wants to pitch in and dedicate something to your name. I will post it here when we decide what to do. Some people at Aunt Kodie’s work planted a tree in your name. Great Aunt Trin and Brenna keep a candle lit for you and will plant something for you in the spring. Great Uncle Tony and Aunt Kathy are going to donate children’s books to the library in your name. We are also going to donate some money towards children’s heart defect research. All of this is very special.

I miss you and I love you forever, ever and always,


Monday, January 17, 2005

Songs for Carter

I put these songs on a CD for Carter:
Glory Baby - Watermark
Homesick - MercyMe
Hello, Goodbye - Michael W. Smith
To Where You Are - Josh Groban
When I Look to the Sky - Train
I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
Angels Among Us - Alabama
Fly - Celine Dion
Angels - Jessica Simpson
Angel - Sarah McLachlin
There You'll Be - Faith Hill

Poems for Carter

Please Don't Tell Them You Never Got to Know Me

It is I whose kicks you will always remember,
I who gave you heartburn that a dragon would envy,
I who couldn't seem to tell time and got your days and nights all mixed up,
It is I who acknowledged your craving for peach ice cream by knocking the cold bowl off your belly,
I who went shopping and helped you pick out the "perfect" teddy bear for me,
I who liked to be cradled in your belly and rocked off to dreamy slumber by the fire,
It is I who never had a doubt about your love,
It is I who was able to put a lifetime of joy in an instant.

--Pat Schwiebert

My Baby Boy

Inside my belly you slowly grew.
How much I wanted you I always knew.
But now daddy and I are filled with grief.
Your time with us was way too brief.

I’ll never understand why we’re apart.
And time will never heal my broken heart.
But I’ll always love you more than words can say.
And I promise I’ll see you again one day.

The only comfort I can allow
Is my baby boy you’re with the angels now.

- Kristyn von Rotz

Dearest Mommy and Daddy,

When you wonder the meaning of life and love, know that I am with you.

Close your eyes and feel me kissing you in the gentle breeze across your cheek.

When you begin to doubt that you shall ever see me again, quiet your mind and hear me, I am in the whisper of the heavens, speaking of your love.

When you lose your identity, when you question who you are, where you are going... Open your heart and see me, I am the twinkle of the stars smiling down upon you... Lighting the path for your journey.

When you awaken each morning, not remembering your dreams but feeling content and serene, know that I was with you, filling your nights with thoughts of me.

When you linger in the remnant pain, wholeness seeming so unfamiliar, think of me.

Know that I am with you, touching you through the shared tears of a gentle friend easing the pain.

As the sunrise illuminates the desert sky, as the breathtaking brilliance awakens your spirits, think of our time together...all too brief... but ever brilliant.

When you are certain of us together, when you are certain of your destiny, know that God created that moment in time just for us...

I am with you always....

- Author unknown

Hi Mommy

Hi Mommy,
It's me, your Angel
just checking in with you.
I know you're sad, because I'm gone
and Mommy - I'm sad too.

It's beautiful here, where I am
-there's such a lovely view.
but mostly when I'm sitting here
I'm looking down at you.

I see all of your feelings
everyday when I look down.
I love to see you smile
and I know sometimes you frown.

But guess what? I have a job to do...
God saved it for your boy.
I get to watch over you
and protect you from the world.

So though you cannot see me
and I know it's hard on you.
You'll surely see the benefits
of the job God has me do.

- Author unknown

Dear Little One

We never dreamed you'd be so beautiful...
In all of the times we tried to imagine
every last detail of who you would be,
thru all of the nights we spent quietly thinking
of how we would feel
when we first looked at you,
we patiently waited
and silently wondered.
We hoped and we prayed
and we tried to imagine...
but we never dreamed you'd be so beautiful.

- Kimberly Rinehart

To The Child in My Heart

O precious, tiny, sweet little one
You will always be to me
So perfect, pure, and innocent
Just as you were meant to be.

We dreamed of you and of your life
And all that it would be
We waited and longed for you to come
And join our family.

We never had the chance to play,
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now
And listen to you giggle.

I'll always be your mother.
He'll always be your dad.
You will always be our child,
The child that we had.

But now you're gone...but yet you're here.
We sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy.
There's love in every tear.

Just know our love goes deep and strong.
We'll forget you never--
The child we had, but never had,
And yet will have forever.

- C.P.

A Man In Grief

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry" and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.
It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.
They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
but "stays strong" for her sake.
It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave --
He lost his baby too.

-Author Unknown

We Thought of You With Love Today

We thought of you with love today,
but that is nothing new.
We thought about you yesterday,
and days before that too.

We think of you in silence,
we often speak your name;
All we have now are memories,
and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is our keepsake,
with which we will never part;
God has you in his keep,
we have you in our heart.

It broke our heart to lose you.
But you didn't go alone,
For a part of us went with you...
the day God took you home.

- Author unknown

Carter's Story - Part I

To Our Precious Firstborn Son, Carter Devon Richardson:

Even though you were with us physically for only a short amount of time, your presence will be felt within our hearts forever. You already had a personality all your own…

Our journey began on the day of your conception on a wonderful night in May 2004. In early June, your father, Aunt Kodie and I went to Hawaii on vacation. Although we didn’t know it at the time, you were with us on our vacation. We had a wonderful time parasailing and snorkeling and sunbathing.

When we returned the following week, I was ravishing all of the time and if I didn’t eat, I felt shaky so I knew something was amiss. On June 19th, your Dad bought me a home pregnancy test. The test came back positive. So I made your Dad go to the store and buy me two more just to confirm! Of course, they were positive too. We were having a party that night so it was virgin lava flows for me (and you).

The next week, I went to the doctor who confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. Your Dad was very ecstatic and wanted to tell everyone right away. But I wanted to keep you a secret for a while.

A few weeks later, I was spotting and was worried about you so we went to the doctor for our very first ultrasound. There you were, as beautiful as could be, with little stubby arms and wiggling all around. You were, from that point forward, our little peanut.

That day we called and let our families know. They were very excited to learn of the news.

We went regularly to the doctor for our monthly checkups. We didn’t eat anything or drink anything that the doctor told us not to. No more Subway because they use pre-packaged deli meats which could have given us listeriosis. No feta or other unpasteurized cheeses. No swordfish or other fish high in mercury. We did indulge in caffeinated beverages once in a while but for the most part we drank a lot of Gatorade (I have water issues). Your Dad would go to the gas station and get us an Icee at 3 a.m. if we wanted one. I tried to do everything to make sure you were okay. However, some of our favorite treats were Hot Cheetos, pickles and French fries (not all together, mind you!). We also didn’t crave any sweet foods like ice cream or other desserts – it was salt all the way – normally I would eat a lot of desserts on my own but apparently that wasn’t anything you were interested in.

In August, the three of us took a trip to Tucson for my work. You and I went to bed early while your Dad stayed out drinking with my co-workers. We were sleepy heads.

September was a busy month. I had a 250 person conference to run in Scottsdale. Then you and I jetted off to Nebraska to join your Dad for Uncle Scott’s wedding to Malena. Aunt Tiffany and Dane picked us up in Denver and drove us to Crawford. I was just starting to show and everyone wanted to touch you and said how cute I looked. I bought a pretty new dress to wear to the wedding. Uncle Scott and Aunt Malena’s wedding day was very cold and rainy but it was a beautiful ceremony.

The next week, Great Grandma Harshfield passed away. Your Dad flew back to Nebraska for her funeral. I couldn’t go with him because you and I flew to Chicago for a conference with DeAnn and Katie. We went downtown to Michigan Avenue and ate at a pizza place. (That was another of our favorite foods - pizza.) One night when we were out eating with the conference attendees, a gentleman (a work client) had the restaurant bring dessert for us that had ‘Congratulations!’ written on the plate in chocolate.

When we returned to Arizona, it was time for another ultrasound. Daddy and I were excited because they would be able to tell us if you were a boy or a girl. This ultrasound was very long because they suspected that your heart was different than other boys and girls. But all your other parts were growing just as they should. They also told us you were a boy and your Dad said to me, “I told you so.” He knew it all along. He was very thrilled. I on the other hand was worried about what I would do with a boy! I’ve only been around girls most of my life. But even that didn't outweigh our worry about your heart.

On Monday, they got us in to see a pediatric cardiologist named Dr. Peoples. Grandma Lori flew out to be with us. The cardiologist explained that you had a severe form of Ebstein’s Anomaly, a rare congenital heart defect in which the tricuspid heart valve is not formed correctly. Your Dad and I decided you were a tough little guy and could fight it out to be with us.

We had many, many doctor’s appointments with many different doctors. Alperin, Watterkotte, Zenge, Balducci, Gilpin, Cleveland, Stock… Daddy and I met with the NICU doctors at Banner Desert and St. Joe’s and the surgeon who was prepared to do any surgeries on your heart. We were originally going to deliver you at Banner Desert but St. Joe’s had better doctors for your situation so we wanted to do what was best for you. We were going to give you everything we could to try and make you better. The best doctors and surgeons, the best hospital.

Although I worried about your condition every day, soon you were kicking and squirming in your tiny space to let me know you were okay. We also bought a device so we could listen to your heartbeat when you were a little bigger. Listening to your heartbeat was one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. Your heart rate was always right where it should be at every doctor’s visit (between 130 and 150 beats per minute).

October was a sad month. Your second cousin, Nicolas, was very sad and took his life. The three of us flew back to Nebraska once again for his funeral. Our whole family was affected. It was a very big funeral with many people missing him very much.

Soon, your Dad could put his hand on my tummy and feel you move around. The two of you had a special game you would play where he would poke you and you would kick him back. Sometimes when he would get home from work late at night and I was already asleep, he would wake me up just to play with you. He would also lean close to my tummy and say “Hey now” in his loud way. I know you recognized his voice because every time he would come home, you would move around a lot in response to his deep voice.

November we were in a car accident on our way home from work. My fault probably. We were okay. But the Vibe wasn’t so we drove around in a Nissan Altima for a month.

Your Dad and I began taking childbirth education classes for 3 hours on Monday nights. This was a fun experience for the both of us even though we didn’t use much of what we learned in the delivery room.

Your Dad and Aunts Tiffany, Natisha and Chelsey, all pitched in for a spa package at La Bella Salon in Chandler. It included a facial, massage and pedicure. I liked the facial the best. Later in the month, Kathy at KCA provided our whole office with full body massages. You kicked the massage therapist during the massage when she put her hands on my belly.

On December 10th, we attended the KCA/PRA Christmas party at the Farm at South Mountain where we ate a nice dinner and did a gift exchange. A good time was had by all.

The next week, we went to the Wild Horse Pass Gila River Casino for your Dad’s Cheesecake Factory Christmas party. Dinner was served and a gift exchange was done as well. They also gave us a little bit of money to gamble with.

My co-worker, DeAnn, gave you a Baby Einstein video and music CD for Christmas. We drove around listening to the CD of Baby Bach music. You seemed to like it and would kick me when it was on. This was one of our fun adventures.

Grandma Sandi came down for Christmas and stayed for a couple of weeks. Uncle Daryl came up on Christmas Eve. Daddy had to work on Christmas Eve so the three of us ate at the Cheesecake Factory so we could see him. I was sad because this was my first year away from home at Christmas. But I knew that if I went to Nebraska for Christmas and something happened to you, the doctors would not be able to give you the care you needed for your special heart so I was willing to stay in Phoenix.

On New Year's Eve, your Dad and I went out for a romantic dinner at Fleming's Steakhouse. We had a wonderful night.

In January 2005, your Dad went to California for work. We were very proud of him. He was attending a course called Professional Assessment and Development Center for only a select few employees of the Cheesecake Factory. On Thursday the 6th, you and I went to our first (and only) fetal non-stress test. They hooked me up to a machine that monitored your heartbeat and my contractions. I was having regular contractions even though I wasn’t supposed to be and didn't feel them. They were also concerned that you weren’t as active as you should have been. So they did another ultrasound to make sure you were okay. (We were used to them by now!) You got the hiccups during the ultrasound like you did every day for a month it seemed. This was the only doctor’s visit that your Dad missed – he was a very loyal Dad and came to all the others – and there were a lot of them! That week I did notice you were starting to get a bit tired. Your movements weren’t as often. I was very nervous and worried about you frequently. I waited and waited to feel you move for me.

That Saturday, January 8th, we had a fun day. Your Dad and I worked on the house to get it in tiptop shape for your arrival and all the visitors you would have. You were a very active baby that day and gave me hope you would be okay. That night we went and ate at On the Border – you must’ve liked the spicy food and didn’t give me heartburn.

Sunday you were slightly less active but I felt as if you were just getting cramped in that tight little space. You were stretching your legs a lot against my belly and trying to get comfy.

Monday, the 10th, I woke for work feeling pretty good. I had gotten most of my hospital bag packed over the weekend. Before I left for work, I told your Dad I was ready for the next chapter. I was ready to see what was going to happen next. You must have heard me because around 2-3 p.m. you decided to kick me one last goodbye. I started getting scared on my way home from work since I hadn’t felt you move in a while. I played the Baby Bach CD so loud in an effort to get you to move. I ate a little dinner, drank some caffeine and laid down to try and get you to do something. Anything. Around 8 p.m., your Dad spoke to the doctor to see if we should come to the hospital. He got off work and around 10 p.m. we were at St. Joe’s.

The nurses and doctors on duty looked for your heartbeat for quite a while with the heart monitor. I remember one nurse trying to blame it on the machine being broken. Then they brought in a portable ultrasound machine. They confirmed my worst fears – your heart had gotten tired and stopped beating. You had taken the angel’s hand and left for heaven, taking a part of me with you as you went.

The doctor said we could go home that night and come back to deliver you the next day as long as I was feeling okay. You slept with us at home for the last time that night.

The next day (January 11th) around 1 p.m. your Dad drove us to St. Joseph’s Hospital where they would be inducing me. We got settled into our room and met our nurse. Her name was Lori, just like your Grandma’s. She was very nice. She was training another nurse named Leah that also tended to us. She inserted an IV that was giving me saline solution. I was hooked up to the machine that monitors contractions again. The doctor inserted some medicine to ripen my cervix around 4 p.m. They gave me some pills to help me sleep. I had a little bit to eat – graham crackers, jello, and some nasty tapioca pudding/jello. Grandma Lori and Grandma Sandi arrived around 5 p.m. at the hospital.

Our night nurse was Katherine. She was nice as well. We were moved to a quieter, nicer room. I slept off and on. Everytime I rolled over, the belt that monitored contractions would move so it wasn’t picking them up anymore. The nurse would have to come in and fix it.

At 7 a.m. on January 12th, Lori was back on duty with Leah. Around 8 a.m., I heard a soft popping noise and felt a gush of water – my water had broken. Lori helped me up to go to the bathroom. When I came back to the bed, the contractions were intense and about 1 minute apart. At this point, I requested the epidural.

About 45 minutes later, the anesthesiologist arrived and inserted the necessary catheter into my back to administer the pain medication. A few minutes later, I started feeling relief from the contractions. My right side was still feeling the contractions pretty intensely so Dad rolled me over onto my right side as the anesthesiologist had instructed. But it still wasn’t affecting my right side. The anesthesiologist came back and started to put some more medication into the tube – this is where the story gets frightening…

He asked me if my neck was tingling. I said yes. Almost immediately, I got a loud ringing in my ears, my tongue started going numb and I was seeing double. I was frightened. He called for the nurses quickly. He put a different medication into the tube and the side effects started going away. Apparently the catheter had moved and some of the medication got into my vascular system.

The anesthesiologist inserted a new catheter into my back to administer more pain medication. At this point, the nurse said I was dialated 10 cm and so it wouldn’t be much longer. They were going to wait until the contractions pushed you down to make it easier on me.

The next thing I knew, Dr. Gilpin and Dr. Cyr were at my feet. I was drifting in and out. A few minutes later, you were born straight into heaven. I didn’t even know you were out. Your Dad looked at me through tears and said “He’s out.” It was 11:10 a.m.

We discussed before we even saw you that your name would be Carter Devon Richardson. The other option for a name we had was Alexander but you felt like a Carter in my heart.

Grandma Lori and Grandma Sandi went with you to have your picture taken and your footprints done. Grandma Lori got to dress you.

Later that afternoon, your Dad and I held you. I didn’t want to let you go after I got you in my arms. You were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen. You had your Dad’s big feet. My long fingers. My face. A cute little nose. Lots of reddish brown hair. It looked as if it would have been curly like your Dad’s. You weighed 4 lbs. 1 oz and were 17 inches long. Everything about you was absolutely gorgeous.

We had you blessed by the hospital’s chaplain and she took you away. I wish I had gotten the chance to rock you before she took you away. I also wish I had my picture taken holding you.

We left the hospital that night around 6:30 without you. I felt very lonely without you in my arms as they took me to the car in the wheelchair.

Saturday we got to see you again at the funeral home. You still looked as beautiful as ever. I wish we would’ve had a camera with us. I got to hold you again. We should’ve stayed longer.

Now you are with the angels and Jesus in heaven where your heart can’t hurt you anymore. For that I am grateful. Many children with heart defects have to have many, many surgeries to endure – it makes me feel more at peace that you won’t have to go through that.

Nonetheless, we miss you a lot. We had many hopes and dreams for you. Your Dad would have made you into a perfect little NASCAR fan. I can picture the two of you kart racing. He would have taught you how to cook like a pro. He would have taken you hunting and fishing. You would have had his deep voice.

You would have loved playing with our little teacup yorkie, Nutmeg. The two of you would have been best buddies.

You and I were going to rock and play and sing lullabies. You would be a computer expert. You would have sang like an angel… now you’re our guardian angel.

Your Dad said all along that I would have been the princess of the house. You would have taken care of me just like your father does. He says you already started to take care of me while you were inside me. You turned to exactly the right position and I didn’t hurt afterwards (physically anyway). Now you are always with us, protecting us.

We’ll see you again someday. But until then we will miss you everyday. I will cherish our memories. For now, I will rest in knowing heaven is your home and it’s all you’ll ever know. You will always be our little baby. Our firstborn son.

I love you forever, ever and always.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

About Carter

Born: January 12, 2005, 11:10 a.m.
Died: January 12, 2005
Weight: 4 lbs 1 oz
Height: 17 inches