In November 2005, I found out I was pregnant. I was excited to tell my husband and ran out & bought a teddy bear and baby bib to give him that night, along with the positive pregnancy test. The bear sat on his nightstand for months, waiting to be given to our baby girl, who we decided to name Elizabeth Marie, after my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth.
In April 2006, I became extremely ill. Preeclampsia is the name of the disease. I couldn’t see. I had an excruciating headache. I was swollen. My blood pressure was 220/115 when I was rushed to the ER and up to labor and delivery. The nurses put me in a bed as they brought in an ultrasound machine to check our daughter’s heartbeat. They whispered to each other as they turned the monitor away and ran for the doctor. Silence. I already knew. I was just waiting for the words. Then they came. “I’m sorry. We can’t find a heartbeat.”
I don’t remember much of those days in the hospital. I was close to having a stroke and dying too. Massive amount of drugs were given to me. Morphine for pain. Other medications to help my mind forget what was happening. I woke up in order to deliver our daughter. She had red hair and had been so perfect in every way.
Then I passed out in my hospital bed again.
I remember having visions as I faded in and out and as my body struggled to stay alive. My most vivid vision was of our daughter, Elizabeth, as a young girl, running and playing with my grandparents, Mary & Wade. They were all at our property in central Oregon. The place I’d grown up at and where my grandparents had retired.
As I felt my body shutting down, this red headed girl came to me, with a teddy bear in hand and said, “It’s okay. I’m fine. You need to go back.” I yelled “No! I don't want to leave you!” Then my grandparents came forward and said, “We’re okay. We have her. She can stay here with us. You have to go back now. We love you.”
Then I woke up in my hospital bed and started to cry.
In 2007 we had a healthy son named Gavin. In 2010, our daughter Sophie Marie was born. She was perfect in every way. She quickly grew into a silly, quirky, smart little girl.
One day, she spotted the teddy bear on my husband’s dresser and was drawn to it. He showed it to her and she was instantly in love. Sophie already had about 100 other stuffed animals but something about Teddy called to her. To this day, Teddy goes everywhere with her. He goes to the store, the movies, yoga class, car rides, the bathtub, grandparents’ houses and yes, up to the property in central Oregon.
When Sophie asked me to do a photo shoot of her and Teddy, I had to hold back my tears. These photos are so similar to that vision I had in the hospital back in 2006. I truly believe this bear and this girl are best friends, at least for now. I know this won’t last forever. Childhood and its innocence are gone so fast. One day she will forget Teddy but for now...for now they have each other.
I would give anything for my grandparents to see our children. I have a feeling they’re watching and having a wonderful time watching this little girl of ours and her bear, Teddy.
“Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart.”