Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Visit

At Tatum's request we visited Jersey today for the first time. The cemetery was quiet, peaceful, empty. I hated to see Jersey's grave as one of the two fresh graves. Tucker wanted to un-bury her to see her "fluffy pink box". She has yet to receive her headstone, all in good time.
Tatum wanted to share her cheese crisp with her sister. Tatum would take a bite and then offer Jersey one. It was sweet. Sad. Unfair.

We brought pink tulips with us. Tucker giving her his flowers.

Tatum sharing hers. Three for Jersey, one for Tatum.

Pink, her favorite.

Tatum was feeling sad and cheated, perhaps we both were.
We didn't plan it but her shirt is quite appropriate for the occasion.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jersey's Viewing

We got our viewing pictures back this weekend and they also turned out amazing. Because I'm feeling protective of her I was quite conservative in selecting which photos to broadcast. Here's a few of our moments:

Her darling pink, fluffy casket; this picture doesn't show the sparkles.

She's quite the princess and one bracelet simply would not do. The bracelet on the left matches mine and Tatum's. The one on the right was given to her by her Grandma. A girl can never have to many pretties!

We match.
A Daddy and his daughters.

Our family of 5.

Tatum adoring.

These are the cute labels her messages were written on and then sent to her in Heaven on the white balloons.

Tatum enjoying monkey hair.

The final good bye.

One last kiss.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthday Boy #4

Tucker Sam turned 4!! Here's looking back.
Brand new.
Easter, 2006. 1 yr. old

July 2007 2 yrs. old.

July 2008 3 yrs. old.

January 2009, the big 4

Tucker is such a funny dude, sometimes the only way to describe him is...Tucker. He loves:
* bike riding
* baseball
* the Sun Devils
* green
* pizza (Barro's)
* army dudes
* Daddy
* Star Wars
* Joy School
He's a stinky, active, cuddly little guy. He's an animal on his bike and can throw a punch like a pro. He enjoys doing service and burping. He loves his Daddy and wants to grow up and play baseball, not go on a mission (his words, not mine). We're working on sharing, fit throwing, and bed making. He's smart, happy, and how we love him!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jersey's Special Day

We got our pictures back post funeral. Here's our day:

Jersey's sign in book.

Her darling program.

Her Daddy was the sole pallbearer.

Us watching as she is driven to the cemetery. I like how Tucker is waving.

Follow the sign.

Again her Daddy, our baby.

At the conclusion of the dedication of her grave.

Tucker, Tatum, and I set our balloons to sail before the group. It wasn't coincidence these 3 balloons stuck together until they were out of sight.

Watching our letters reach the heavens.

Watching them sail.

This is one of my favorites. Every balloon had a message for Jersey Girl, I think she read every one!

Tatum, Jersey, and I had matching pink and white bracelets with a silver heart engraved with Twirl.

Dear sweet Tatum... she rarely left Jersey's side.

Some of our favorite nurses made the treck.


Tatum darling as ever!!

Us five.

It was a beautiful day, there's nothing we would have done differently. We were lucky to have Jersey, if only for 6 weeks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Two Weeks Down, A Lifetime To Go!

Two weeks down, a lifetime to go. Mondays are the anniversary of Jersey earning her wings. The first week was an absolute whirl wind. There was much planning and errands to do; we were so busy we hardly had time to think. Chris and I decided we have funerals to keep our bodies busy and our minds occupied. I'm a planner, I like planning parties better than I like going to them, I never thought I'd be planning my precious daughter's funeral. I hope to never plan one again! I hope I never see a casket that small ever again! And I hope I never forget the desperation and fear followed by peace and amazement!

I was worried about last week, our first week without a funeral to plan and second week without the hospital to drive back and forth to. Without either of those there was a lot of time to fill, to think, to cry. It ended up being a good week. We tried to do fun activities not normally done, we tried to laugh more, and be more patient. Chris and I went on 2 dates, I don't remember our last date. We went out with our new best friends, the Ridgeways, and very much enjoyed ourselves. Keisa and I talked all evening about our angels and our experiences. She has an angel too, unfortunately. It was amazing talking to somebody who just knows, who is more experienced in the sorrow and can promise it really does get better. They have been so good to us, we've felt wrapped in their arms and loved. It's an elite club we share membership in.

Mondays aren't necessarily bad days, how I would love to have Jersey in my arms, not doing so makes me ache, makes me think of the "could have beens". It's also a day of remembering. I'm so afraid to forget. To forget her smell, the touch of her hair, that little tongue, the powerful feeling that filled her room that early Monday morning. It was very obvious she was there in the room with us after she passed, as the morning wore on that amazing feeling left, she had gone and it was time for us to leave. I look back on that morning with awe and wonder.

Tatum continues to be difficult. I don't know how to help her. I try instead of punishing her and enforcing the rules to wrap her in my arms to show her I love her. Her attitude, sass, and things coming out of her little mouth are very taxing. My normally happy, darling little princess has turned grouchy and angry. Her and I have discussed solutions to her melt downs but in the moment she refuses to comply. I know time is healing and hopefully soon I will be able to help her better. Tucker is...well Tucker. He doesn't seem to be as affected and hopefully nothing will arise.

I miss my Jersey Girl fiercely! When I'm at a store or church and I see a baby near Jersey's age I find myself staring, wishing, wondering. I hope I'm not denied the opportunity to raise her. I hope when I see her again I will have made her proud.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Milk Wagon

This is most of my breast milk I'd been saving for my girlie. Not pictured are 2 huge hospital bags full previously given away to our precious friend Bella. Breast milk is liquid gold, it should be considered a sin to waste even one drop. Having said that I was feeling sick about what to do with my abundant supply. I didn't know anybody who needed it, and I didn't want to give it away to just anybody. I preferred a sick baby, preferably a heart baby who could benefit from this precious supply. The nearest milk bank is in Tennessee and that wouldn't work so what to do? A good friend and fellow heart mom asked around for me.

Backing up a few weeks. I was spending precious time with Jersey when a heart mom whom I didn't know walked up to me and wrapped me in her arms. She introduced herself, Molly, and we chatted briefly. She extended her support and understanding.

When asked if Molly knew anybody who needed breast milk she burst into tears. Her little guy Mark only tolerates breast milk and she doesn't make enough and it costs $4 and oz. How happy (and sad because it wasn't going to Jersey) I was to share! If Jersey Girl couldn't use it I'm thrilled Mark, a heart baby, could! It was wonderful giving Molly my abundant supply, I know she appreciates every ounce and won't waste a single drop.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jersey Ramblings

I've had so many thoughts going through my mind, every time I sit down to record how or what I'm feeling I can't seem to sort through everything. I can't seem to focus enough to make any sense. There's so many weird and contradicting thoughts and emotions.

There's nothing more to say about Jersey's "special day" (as the blondies call it) than perfect. It was a great day, a beautiful day. We cried and laughed and hugged and ached. Jersey looked so good, she looked like a dollie in her long white dress. There were many hard parts of the day but I think the hardest part for me was watching Tatum. She never left Jersey's side. She played with her hair, stroked her cheeks, kissed her, and put her arms around her. She proudly introduced her little sister to friends and family coming to see her. How excited Tatum was to be a big sister, to have her very own baby. She couldn't wait to teach Jersey how to walk and talk and dance. Tatum is such a cute dancer. While Chris was speaking Tatum began sobbing, a deep uncontrollable sob. She had huge alligator tears and it broke my heart. These last several days she's been very hard; very emotional and angry.

I loved that Chris was brave enough to speak at Jersey Girl's funeral. I was sitting there watching him wondering who this new man is, I'd never seen this side of him before. I loved the balloons at the cemetery, what a neat thing to see. Tatum, Tucker, and I wrote our own notes at home and then brought them with us that morning. We let ours go before everybody else, our three balloons sailed together, never separating. Isn't that how we're suppose to be: sailing together through this life during the highs and lows always sticking together? I loved how people so unselfishly served us in ways we don't even realize. I love how much support was given to us on the hardest day we've ever had to face. I many things about that day I'd never change. Planning a funeral is like planning a wedding in 3 days!

While my arms are empty of my baby I waited so long for I can't help but be grateful she has her wings. I was done watching her go through all the crap she did. I was tired of the never ending procedures, the constant sedation, the uncomfortable life she led. How free she must feel. How lucky she is it was only 6 weeks. I'm grateful she's perfect, no machines, no doctors...just heaven.

I feel like the last 6 weeks were just a bad dream. We never brought her home so our home dynamic didn't change. We never saw her in her room or in her cute, pink outfits. We're back to our regular routines... with the memories. When we go out as a family nobody knows our baby is missing, nobody knows we have 3 rugrats. I was asked the dreaded question, "howz the baby?". "Oh she's an angel," I responded because she was and is. "That's nice" was the response. It is's wonderful.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Angel Jersey's Obituary

Jersey's obituary is in the Arizona Republic today. Here is the link.

Jersey Anderson

Anderson, Jersey was born November 25, 2008 with dark monkey hair and a perfect nose. She earned her angel wings on January 5, 2009. She was diagnosed with a congenital heart disorder and respiratory issues. She was a miracle and a blessing, as all babies are, and left prints on many people's hearts. Jersey was such a fighter...a precious girl....a brave girl. She was an angel among us, sent to teach us about life. She is free from her broken body and now twirls on her perfect tootsies. We love her and will miss her dearly. Her daddy and mommy are Chris and Heidi Anderson and her big sister and big brother are Tatum and Tucker. In lieu of flowers the Anderson Family requests donations. Funeral services will be held in Mesa, AZ on Friday, January 9, 2009 at 10 am at the Mesa Central Stake Center, 925 N. Harris Dr. Internment will follow at the Mesa Cemetery. Arrangements by Bunker's Garden Chapel, 480-964-8686.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Privilege

It was so nice to read Chris's lovely post about Jersey's passing, I loved reading it from his perspective. For me, I would like to have record of my thoughts and feelings and so this is not in any way an attempt to out do or override anything Chris wrote. I simply want to remember...

I was privileged to spend all Sunday afternoon alone with my girlie. I was lucky enough to have a tiny hand free of tape to hold! So precious and soft. She had had a rough couple of days and we could sense in the air growing concern. The doctors didn't need to tell us how fragile she was, we sensed it. While I was running my fingers through her monkey hair Jersey's doctor and I had a hard conversation. She expressed the need for Chris and I to make the difficult decision of do they or don't they recessitate Jersey should she need CPR as she had come very close several times. We concluded our conversation and the doctor left the room. I had a pounding in my heart and I knew the time had come, her mission was complete. The rest of the day was uneventful, both her grandparents visited and Chris and I spent the evening together with her.

I was awoken by Jersey's doctor at 12:30 am and was lovingly informed Jersey didn't look good and it was time to call Chris. We were incredibly blessed to have Nicole with us, our favorite nurse who took care of Jersey every weekend. We grew to love her dearly and trust her completely. We were so grateful she was there with us and Jersey. Nicole asked if I wanted to hold her now or later. Absolutely NOW! I waited 6 very long weeks to feel her weight in my arms! She was unhooked from the now unnecessary things (cerebral monitor, dialysis, a few lines), given extra pain medication per my request, wrapped like a burrito, and placed in my arms. I finally had her little body in my arms, something I've longed for since she was born. We rocked back and forth like mommies and babies do. Her and I talked about sparkles, twirling, and how much I would miss her. I let her know how proud of her I was and that it was okay for her to go. Her grandparents each held her for a short time. How quickly the hours passed. What a peaceful, spiritual feeling filled her room. It was quiet, calm, and so very sacred. How we cried and what we would give....

We let her doctor know we were ready. She excused our family leaving just Chris and I. All her medication was turned off except her fentanyl and she was extabated. Chris and I watched her tiny heart beat its last few beats. Sacred. Heart wrenching. Peaceful. We cried together over our little soldier, what a battle she fought. I'll never forget those sacred minutes with Chris and I and our sweet angel girl.

Tatum and Tucker were brought up a little later to finally hold the precious baby they had heard and sacrificed so much for. Tucker asked immediately when we could take her home, I wasn't prepared to answer his rightful question. How do you explain to a 3 year old his baby will never come home? How do you help him understand angels? Tatum loved holding her. She ran her fingers through her hair all the while talking softly to her.

It wasn't the worst day of my life, not even close. It was too peaceful, too sacred, too important and pivotal to be considered negative. A day the veil was so thin. A day we witnessed a heavenly exchange from our arms to our Heavenly Father's. We were partners with Heavenly Father in her creation, how lucky we are! What a privilege! How lucky we were to have her for the few weeks we did. They weren't easy but I wouldn't trade them. Her time here is sacred to my heart and how determined I am to live my life worthy of her. I hope she will always be near. I hope she watches over her big sister and brother who very much miss her. I hope she knows how I love her and how I am forever changed.
Hi friends and family,

This is Chris' sister, Lindsey.

Chris and Heidi are so grateful for all of your thoughts, prayers and comments. They have felt of your love from the very beginning. For many of you that have brought meals and helped with their kids they are especially grateful. Please keep your thoughts and prayers coming.

In lieu of flowers I have set up a Paypal account to go to Jersey's Memorial Fund. If you would like to donate follow this link (click on word link). If there is a problem with the link or you would like to donate another way please email me at linzegarrett (at) hotmail (dot) com. Thank you so much for your kindness.

Much love,


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jersey Girl's Service

Jersey Girl's funeral service will be:
Friday January 9th at 10 am
At the Mesa, Az Central Stake Center (below is a map)
925 N. Harris Mesa 85203
We love ALL of you and would love for you to come!
There will be no viewing except for a brief family only viewing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Our Princess

Words can't describe the emotions Heidi and I have felt today (this is Chris writing). Today was a day no parent should have to go through. We had to say goodbye to our sweet, sweet baby Jersey.

Over the last few days her condition continued to get worse. She was starting to accumulate more and more fluid, her blood pressure would dip dangerously low, and her oxygen levels weren't where they needed to be. Yesterday when our doctor asked us about reviving her or not, if the time comes, we knew her time was limited on this earth. I left the hospital around 10 pm very depressed and not sure what to think. When I arrived home I went straight to bed thinking about the condition of my baby girl. I finally had the courage to tell Heavenly Father that I was ready to accept her going home to live with Him. I couldn't handle seeing her under so much stress.

At 12:48 am I received my answer. Heidi called me and told me it was time. Jersey had maxed out all her drips and ventilator and there was nothing else we could do. I rushed to the hospital so we could be with her for the remaining moments of her life.

When I arrived I walked into a very calm and peaceful environment, just as Jersey would've wanted. We took off all the unnecessary cords and tubes so we could hold her. We still had her hooked up to the ventilator, heart medication and pain medication. We held her, talked to her, sang to her and told her how much we loved her. We called both our parents so they could see her one last time.

At about 5:50 am Jersey's heart rate and blood pressure weren't holding. We told our doctor it was time. We excused our parents and I was able to hold her as they took off all her cords and IV's. Once everything was off the Doctor removed the tube from her mouth. We were finally able to see her precious little face without a tube and tape.

I had the privilege and opportunity to hold her as she passed away. It was a very spiritual and sad thing to experience. We felt her spirit leave and enter into the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Once she had passed we gave her a bath and brought our family in, as well as Tatum and Tucker, to say our goodbyes. Both our kids were able to finally hold their baby sister free of any cords or tubes. Tatum loved every minute. She sang her songs and told her all the things she would teach her to do (twirl, cart-wheel, etc). Tucker held her for a few moments but then wanted his mommy.

Today was an extremely difficult day for us, but necessary for Jersey. She fought a good fight and gave it her all, but Heavenly Father wanted her home. We will miss our precious little baby Jersey, but we know she is in a better place. A place free of IV's, tubes, cords, surgery's, blood pressure cuffs, monitors, etc, etc. She touched our lives in so many ways and Heidi and I feel so honored and blessed that Heavenly Father would send her to our family.

Our hearts ache for our sweet baby and we miss her so much. I can't put into words the love I have for our special Angel. She will always have a special place in my heart and not a second will go by that I don't think of her. Yesterday when Heidi and I took a nap we slept with one of her blankets, it was her favorite blanket and the one she was wrapped in as she passed. It was so nice to have a piece of her home with us snuggled in our bed. We look forward to the day when she welcomes us home. It will be a special day for us all.

Heidi and I have felt an overwhelming amount of support from everyone. Your prayers and thoughts were felt throughout the day. Please keep them coming as we are going to need them over the next few days, weeks, months...

We are holding a funeral service on Friday morning and we will post details at a later date. Everyone who was touched by Jersey is welcome to participate on this special day.

Angel Jersey

Our princess Jersey passed away at 5:56 this morning in our arms. Her little body is pain free and I'm sure the Heavens opened and welcomed her home. She is hopefully sitting on her throne waiting for us to live worthy of her. She is perfect, special, and ours forever.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Grim Reeper

Jersey's surgery went well with only minor issues. The surgeon placed a permanent catheter for kidney dialysis and performed a pleurodisis. She had some venting and sats issues but they were resolved. She tolerated the procedures well and rested comfortably the rest of the day. Her surgeon, Dr. Nigro, was pleased with her and the repairs and anticipates no further problems. She came back looking only slightly puffier which was a huge relief to me.

We met with her team of doctors: her cardiologist, surgeon, and nephrologist (kidney dr) to discuss her treatments, future plans, and prognosis. Her cardiologist says her heart function is good, her tricuspid and bicuspid valves are a little leaky but he isn't concerned. Her graft (donor valve) is working and while her pulmonary arteries are still big everything is relatively working great. Her nephrologist, who I now like to call the Grim Reeper, was very frank in an uncompassionate way. She's in acute renal failure which is hugely horrible. If she was a healthy little girl with only a kidney issue she would be very sick; Jersey has her heart, lungs, and now kidney issues making her prognosis grim. If the dialysis is unsuccessful there's nothing more that can be done for her. She has to be at least 20 lbs. and relatively healthy before she's even considered for a kidney transplant. If she's lucky she'll get back 25% kidney function. Her prognosis is small. The cardiologist said she maybe has a one in three chance of survival. Does he see her as a three year old? No, probably not. They just unloaded terribly rotten news, the worst we've ever heard and then he says "but don't lose hope". It was like a sick joke. We never have lost hope, but the hope we have was just squashed and thrown out the window.

It was a crappy, depressing day to say the least. We're ready for the stars to align in her favor, we're ready for the miracle, we're done with this cruel life for her. If she's going to be taken just do it now, her little body has been torchered enough. Give her relief, give us relief! There's no doubt in our minds Heavenly Father can make her whole. It's up to Him whether we get to keep her or say goodbye but I'm tired of waiting...watching. I'm exhausted, just about defeated.