Which Hunt

Have you ever caught yourself measuring time based on a big event in your life? Perhaps it was an accident, or a “Got Ya” date, a major promotion at work or a death.

We’re approaching three years since Audrey was born. When I speak of her, it feels strange to say she was born almost three years ago. I guess in part because that seems so long ago, and yet, at the same time, shocking that it has passed too quickly.

My personal journey as her mother is three years old also. I’m basically a toddler. I can walk well, talk in complete sentences and ask for help when I need it.

I also have those toddler-like days when I cry for no reason, I can’t put into words what exactly I’m feeling and I’m overtired.

My journey is still young and moldable. Most weeks I see, read or hear something that I put into the Audrey part of my brain. You might think it slowly turns off or that having a six-year-old and a nine-month-old would crowd that…it doesn’t.

Cooper randomly brings her up or mentions her name. I won’t avoid that. And Emma? The simple being of her causes me to overthink and feel a little too much most days. Her existence is fascinating to me and further deepens my faith. Sometimes it confuses me but that is when I choose to trust that she is meant to be here and Audrey is meant to be there.

Being chosen as Audrey’s mother sent me on a “Which Hunt”. I imagine, no I hope, I’ll be on it for the better part of the rest of my life.

Whatever the situation is, big or small, important or mundane, I know that only I have the power over my emotions. No one or no thing can MAKE me feel a certain way.


So I ask myself, “Which way will I handle this.”

I’m hunting for my which.

Whiching well doesn’t always come easily to me, I’m a feeler. I feel all over the place. I tend to feel then think, therefore I should a lot too.

I fail often. I get it wrong. I lose perspective and lose sight.

But sometimes I win. I get it right. I dig both heels into the foundation that has been laid through the life and death of my second born and I see the light.

My Which Hunt is ever evolving. Let’s just say this particular season of life as a family with two young children provides endless opportunities to choose wisely. The moments when I react instead of respond are all too common. At times, I fall prey to taking the path of least resistance. It’s easier at first but more often than not, I regret it. In my relationship with adults, I typically have more time to gather my thoughts. As a parent, that time is cut in half (or less). I’m helping shape and mold future adults here, I need more time to choose the best which!

That’s when I pray, a lot, for wisdom and discernment. That works in all aspects of my life, not just as a parent.

Our daughter lived and then she died. Black and white, but not simple. Her life and death were sprinkled with clear which’s and difficult which’s. Some of the decisions we were faced with are almost unbearable to think about now, but we did it, we made it through.

I’m still growing and maturing on this journey. One day, I’ll wake up and it will be thirty years since Audrey. What will life look like by then? Only God knows. But I pray I will still say our Audrey reminds me to which wisely.

Love + Hugs, R


What About The Dad?


To The Daddy,

Our child is 50% you and 100% us.

Instead of carrying her in your womb, you carry the weight of our world on your shoulders.

You may not have felt her kick from the inside out, but you aren’t exempt from the pain of her loss.

I see you.

I see you forced into the role of “The Rock”. You are expected to be the solid counterpart to my emotional tendencies.

I see you wiping away my tears and wonder if you ever need a good cry.chrisaudrey

I see you leave for work each day. Throughout it all, you have continued to build a life for our family without question or complaint.

When was the last time I checked your pulse? Maybe she has also been on your mind.

You lost her too, after all. She wrapped her tiny hand around your ring finger. She calmed when you held her near your heart.

She knew the love of her daddy…what a beautiful thing it is, the bond between a father and his child.

When we chose each other, little did we know this would be part of our story. And yet she is, forevermore.

In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. Isn’t that remarkable? I imagine our marriage as a well-made vase. The great loss of our child could have slowly caused a crack and eventually broken us apart. Instead, she’s our gold. She makes us stronger.

Never once have you ever thought, “What about me”? That’s not who you are. But I have for you. Because it isn’t about me. It isn’t about me and our child. It’s about us. All of us.

So, what about Dad?20140608-122731-44851875.jpg

They feel it too. They need to be remembered and thought of. They have off days and quiet days and just-plain-angry days.

Give them the opportunity to talk about it, don’t assume they won’t or don’t want to. Give them the opportunity to get away from it. Time with friends or enjoying their favorite hobby can help relieve stress.

Don’t take it out on the Daddy. It’s easy to do. They are close and nearby. The truth is, sometimes those we adore the most are in the line of fire.

When family and friends offer to help, keep him in mind. What are some ways people can help him too? Ask someone to mow the lawn. Ask his friends to take him for a guy’s night. If a meal train is going, suggest some of his favorite meals.

It’s easy for him to get lost in the shuffle of errands, picking-and-putting, taking care of this and that, bill paying, and more. He keeps moving. Help him pause every once in a while.

Acknowledge the Dad.

Love the Dad.
















Two Years Gone

If only I could borrow miss Audrey for one more day, just to snuggle her close. I promise I’d give her right back…well, maybe.
It was on this day, two short but full years ago, that our daughter Audrey spent her last day here on earth with us. What I wouldn’t give for one more day with her. But like Diamond Rio so poignantly says, one more day would only keep me wishing for more. After all, we got 81.
Last week, Cooper asked me if Emma is Audrey.
I’ve thought about that precious question a lot. It’s confusing for him. Who am I kidding, it’s confusing for me. No, Emma is not Audrey. Yes, she is a baby sister. Yes, she sure looks a lot like Audrey. To him, perhaps a subtle nuance at this point. But, they are two different people. Two different stories. Two different purposes. Some day he’ll understand that better.
I had a tender day recently. My whole body hurt for Audrey. I just missed her. I was sad about her and that hole in my heart pulsed painfully. Oddly, it seemed comforting. I was almost relieved that having Emma didn’t cover up that pain. It confirmed there is no replacement for Audrey.
I will be forever grateful that I chose to document our daughter’s life through writing. It became my therapy, a cathartic outlet for me. I may over share at times but never will I regret including the tiniest of details about our daughter we lost too soon. I reread this link today that I wrote about her last day.
It is a bit hard to read but only because it makes me want to jump back in time for the day. I wouldn’t change a thing, I would simply redo it…in slow motion.
Today my throat might have a lump that may not go away, but that’s okay. I’m incredibly proud of her and her story. Here and there, it continues to impact people and as long as I can, I will sing her song.
Audrey, today is for you, as you dance in Heaven with your body perfected. We’ll miss you until the day we get to say hello again.
Hold your littles and not-so-littles a bit tighter today, friends!

The Gift That Love Gave

It is finished. Today the news came in. We received word that all of our hard work, dedication, generosity, selflessness and sacrifices have literally paid off. Gift

The goal was to raise $100,000 within five years. The reality is that we have exceeded our goal as of today, a short and unexpected 21 months after we began.


It was a lofty goal, one that was made humbly yet confidently. I have a newfound respect for those who dedicate their lives to the art and craft of fundraising. Every single dollar matters. Each penny represents someone who cares enough to give it away.

I’m overwhelmed by it today. All of it. 

I’m celebrating today because Audrey’s life made a difference. I’m celebrating because her 81 days will now benefit little ones at The Children’s Hospital for years and years to come. I’m celebrating because Audrey was. 

I’m mourning today because I miss her. I’ll never forget how she felt in my arms, or how her tiny body fit so perfectly in her daddy’s embrace. I’m mourning because my baby died. That never changes. I’m mourning because Audrey isn’t. 

I’m grateful today because of each person who loved Audrey enough to make this happen. I’m grateful I was chosen to be Audrey’s mama. I’m grateful for perspective that keeps me grounded. I’m grateful she has Heaven and Heaven has her. I’m grateful because Audrey lives. 

Wings for Audrey came at a great price. Far greater than $100,000.

$100,000 cannot bring her back, nor would any dollar amount have saved her life. What it will do is leave a lasting legacy honoring a small but mighty girl.

God lent us Audrey for 81 days. We got to borrow her while He taught us all a few things about this life we’re all living. We get to do better now and so…we should.

The fundraising may be complete, but now is when the fun begins!

To kick it all off, we are working on plans for a Wings for Audrey Gift Presentation Ceremony at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City. You, Audrey’s prayer warriors and biggest fans, will be invited to join.

This gift isn’t from Chris and I, it is from all of us…our parents, immediate and extended families, close friends and acquaintances, present and past colleagues, friends of friends, people we don’t know personally, small businesses and large corporations and yes, you anonymous givers. We will all present it as one.

The date and time are to be determined. Stay tuned for more information.

We are in the last stages of finalizing the details of how Wings for Audrey will work. We will outline the program during the Gift Presentation and then update you here as well. Aren’t you excited to see how your donations make a difference each year to come?

I desperately wish a sentence existed that could adequately express how deep our gratitude runs. It’s impossible. A simple thank-you will have to suffice.

T H A N K   Y O U!

We’ll keep you posted very soon with details regarding the Gift Presentation Ceremony.

Love + Hugs,





Parallels. They are everywhere I turn right now. So much about life right now seems to have something deeply rooted.

I’m having a hard time grasping it all and wrapping my heart around what was and is and is to come. My mind is like an overripe fruit that can no longer hold anything in.

The problem is forming sentences. My thoughts and feelings jump all over the place and I feel…tired.

It’s May. This month marks two years since our Audrey came into the world and lived her 81 days. Her life continues to bless me daily. Two years passed far too quickly.

Our little family has been full of life more than usual over the past two months. After a decade away, we have returned to our hometown of Stillwater, OK. Chris and I grew up here. When a wonderful work opportunity for Chris came knocking, we prepared to leave what was our home for 10 years as we became adults and parents.

It’s surreal sometimes, being back in the place that formed and shaped us. So many important people are here and just being near them feels like home. We left behind a group of people who are an extension of our hearts. This was and continues to be hard. Our 81 days with Audrey were beautiful because of so many of these people, our village, stepping in and fueling us. It was bittersweet to sell the home where our baby Cooper became a boy, and the place that housed our emotions during Audrey’s life. There is something almost healing about a fresh start at this particular time. As we prepare for another little girl to join our family, she has a place of her very own. Her room really is hers. She won’t live in what was intended for Audrey. This feels right.

And yet? The parallels continue. This pregnancy has been complicated. The baby is perfectly healthy as far as we can know at this point. This alone is overwhelming. It’s such an incredible thing for a baby to be born healthy, never ever to be taken for granted. At the very same time, thinking of her health can bring on a strange ache about Audrey. It’s hard for me to even put into words.

Almost one month ago, I had stents placed in both ureters because the ureters had collapsed due to my growing uterus, which caused urine to back up severely in my kidneys. Recovery from that surgery has been slow and often incredibly painful. We learned early on that my placenta was very low lying, also known as Placenta Previa. I was hopeful it would resolve itself. It did not. In fact, the placenta continues to be too low and puts me at risk for bleeding should any little thing disrupt the placenta. Additionally, the placenta has grown through my uterus and has potentially attached to my bladder. This is a rare condition known as Placenta Percreta, it is dangerous to mother and baby during delivery because of potential heavy bleeding and hemorrhaging. My team of doctors includes a high risk specialist, a urologist and an OB. Together, they have determined that the best course of action with the lowest risk is to perform a full Hysterectomy at the time of C-Section delivery, taking her at 34 weeks. The urology team will be present and ready to repair the bladder if needed. Doing a hysterectomy reduces the risk of heavy bleeding because they won’t try to separate the placenta. The bladder concern complicates things and we are prayerful that perhaps it hasn’t actually attached, but is just touching.

Delivering the baby six weeks early comes with preparing for a NICU stay. The “party line” is the expect her to be there the full six weeks, but she could come home after 1-2 weeks if she is healthy. Please oh please, God.

This delivery will take us back to the same hospital in Oklahoma City where Audrey was born. She’ll go straight to the NICU where Audrey lived for weeks. And just like Audrey, she isn’t due until June but will celebrate her birthday in May.

I’m working to keep it all in perspective and sometimes it is a lot to take in. Our baby girl is healthy, it is my body that is complicating things. By God’s grace, I have felt pretty calm about it all considering the risks.

I had a box of Audrey’s tiny preemie clothes that I kept for nostalgia, never imagining that we would need them again two years later. Coincidence? Nah…

As I type, these items of clothing, small enough to dress a baby doll, are washing clean. They, too, are getting a fresh start. However, their memory cannot be washed away. And who knows, it may be hard to see Audrey’s baby sister wearing her clothes. I’ll take it all as it comes.

Chris has put together yet another crib, this makes three. So far, only one of our children has slept in the crib their daddy brought to life. Oh, how desperately I want to see this baby girl sleeping soundly in this crib.

May 20th is when our little egg will hatch. I try and try to imagine what the day will look like and, like every other unknown in our lives, I simply cannot.


Walk by faith, Rachel,” I can almost hear Him whisper, “Remember this. Remember what Audrey taught you. Her gift was and is perspective.

Will my heart grow enough to make room for all three of my children? Will this baby push Audrey to the side? Will Cooper struggle to understand seeing yet another baby sister in the NICU?

Every once in a while, I use Audrey’s name accidentally when referencing this baby and it hurts because I get so mad at myself for it. The closer we get to meeting our Emma, it seems I am mourning Audrey in a new way. My heart is uncomfortably thrilled and broken at the very same time.

In 19 days, another baby will leave my body and become a part of the world. This time, my uterus will go too. I’ll never feel a baby slide an elbow or kick a heel from the inside, nor will I watch my belly dance involuntarily in the wee hours of the morning. My childbearing days are limited to 19.

What a humbling gift it is that I have been able to do this three times. They haven’t been perfect, glowy or easy but they have been. That alone is a miracle.

This song, Small Bump, came on as I typed away, and reminded me of the sweetness of this baby to come. She dances away and I pause to notice and remember the feeling…

As of today, we have all worked together and made incredible progress on funding the Wings for Audrey endowment. $91,150, can you even believe it? They said to expect it to take 3-5 years, but I believe it is going to happen this year. September will mark two years since we started fundraising and it would be amazing if by then, we all celebrated together!

You’ve continued to be there for us. Thank you for helping us keep Audrey’s story alive…for sharing her story. And if you think of it, we would be humbled and grateful for your prayers on May 20th.

Now and always, R



Spot Color

It was about this exact same time, just two years ago, that I sat in front of my blank computer screen…cursor blinking.

I decided to begin typing about the story of our Audrey as she lived just a few inches below my beating heart. On that day, never could I have imagined all that would unfold.

And now, today, I am once again typing away while a different baby girl curls around my womb.

Recently, I spent the morning working at one of my favorite coffee spots. It was a cloudy and stormy day, no sunshine to be found. I thought about how that is just like grief sometimes. A low-set gloom darkens everything. There aren’t any shadows. It’s simply and eerily monochromatic. But, light continues to shine just above the clouds. The sun is there, patiently and unconditionally waiting for you to rise up and allow its warmth to find your skin.

I blinked back to present moment and saw a beautiful mama walking in with her daughter that looked not-quite-two. She seemed about the age Audrey would be now. I watched them interact, all smiles and sweetness…like it was a commercial. Little one was donning a navy raincoat with bunnies all over it and there, like a ray of sunshine through the clouds, it noticed it. Her lovey. Tucked right inside her jacket, with just a head and two floppy ears peeping out, was a bunny zipped up tight and protected by this sweet girl.

In the same moment, I grinned sincerely while a lump swelled in my throat.

It never goes away. It never stops. And goodness, am I grateful. I will miss her, until I no longer have to and I, too, get Heaven.

I heard someone recently say they were tickled pink. I thought about what an appropriate description of emotion…color.

So much of my life is centered around color as a designer. Color can make or destroy a design…it matters more than most realize.

I started thinking about how we are tickled pink and green with envy…so, what exactly is the color of grief? The truth is, every person you ask may have a different opinion. Why? Because grief itself isn’t a single emotion….it’s all kinds.

Grief is red. It’s angry and mad. It’s wanting to punch a wall or scream into a pillow.

Grief is blue. It’s sad. It is tears that have no end and a heart that aches because a piece is broken.

Grief is grey. It’s neutral and slow. It’s the inability to feel one way or another or to make plans.

And grief is black. Its the darkest of dark. It’s broken and still. It can feel empty, alone and terrifying.

When we grieve, we’re all those colors and more. Grief is complicated and intimate. But, of all the life lessons I have been gifted, one that is so important is that grief bonds us.

We learn a lot about the people in our lives during hard times. You will learn the most, however, about yourself. Who are you when the worst happens?

Grief is incredibly revealing.



What color are you today? Are you tickled pink? Tell your best friend! Are you deep blue? Reach out and let someone in.

Love + Hugs, R






The Empty Crib: A Letter to the Mama

Dear sweet mama,

Cherish that very word…mama, mom, mommy. Losing your child doesn’t take away that beautifully, courageously earned title. You are and will forever be your child’s mother.

It’s unfair isn’t it? You baked this bun in your oven, you went through the stages of pregnancy, you delivered this child into the world. How is it that now, after all of that, your baby isn’t nestled sweetly in your arms?

We’ve all heard the same phrases. “It’s better this way”, “This is God’s plan”, “Your baby is better now”, “Everything happens for a reason”, etc. These may all be true, that doesn’t make them easy to hear.

I wish so badly you didn’t have to know this feeling – the one that is fully enveloping you now. But whatever you are feeling, feel it. Feel all the feels because nothing good comes from avoidance or stuffing.

At times you may feel lost, desperately seeking a compass to guide you on this unimaginable journey. It may be hard for you to make and keep plans. Your day may start with a fresh face, complete with mascara, and end with all of it washed away by tears.

Hang in there.

Hang tight because if you allow it, beauty will rise from ashes. In different ways, shapes and forms, this will change you…it already has. If you let it, this can mold you into a better version of yourself.

How will you live on to honor the life of your child? Open your heart and be ready to accept the challenge.

Why isn’t there an instruction manual for this? Something to tell us how to feel, when to feel it and for how long. Perhaps it really is because each story is so unique, just like our little ones gone too soon.

You may feel as though no one you know fully understands what you are going through…no one gets it completely. That’s true. In the empty moments, the darkest and deepest ones…seek the One who does.

“Holy Spirit, you are welcome here,

Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.

Your glory God is what my heart longs for,

To be overcome by your presence, Lord.”

Did you catch that? Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Ask Him to fill the void of your great loss. This will not and cannot be filled by family, friends, busyness, substances or even another child.

You may not understand His ways now or ever fully, but you choose to trust and keep the faith. Ask God to reveal purpose and meaning through the life and death of your child. Listen for it.

Discover what brings you comfort; coffee with a friend, journaling your thoughts, volunteering, exercising, cooking, etc. Avoid that guilty feeling for having time to do these things. I know it’s hard. Having this extra time is a direct result of the absence of your baby. So choose wisely and make it count.

Breath will escape you when you least expect it. You will see or hear something that overwhelms you and the hole in your heart seems to ache. Maybe your body is still fighting to produce milk and it maddens you that it just won’t stop without pain or inevitable mastitis. A baby gift shows up from some loving person who hasn’t yet heard that your baby passed. Every time you pass by the nursery in your home, you want it gone…but at the very same time, you don’t want that painful finality. It’s a week after the memorial service and the flowers are all starting to die…a reminder of one more thing in your life that you can’t force to stay alive.


Some days, the hits will come one after another. Then, you will go several days without tears. You may not wear a cast or be in a wheelchair, but a piece of you feels broken. Doctors heal broken bodies. Who heals the broken hearted?

God does.

Let time do its job. Healing is a process that has no timeline. Each heart takes an undefined amount of time to learn to beat in a new rhythm.

Sweet mama…I see you. You are fighting a courageous battle. Hold your head high, lift your chin up toward the Heaven where your child now waits for you.

Fight for your life, fight for the good and fight well.

Written for you with honor and respect.