Lorri and I met in college and after a few short years quickly married. I graduated in 2006 with a M.I.S. degree and she graduated in 2007 with her B.M. Our next step was for Lorri to get her masters degree which she did in 2009 from the University of Northern Colorado. Master Topping and I moved back to Ohio where we soon learned she was pregnant with our little Isaac.
Lorri's pregnancy was difficult with Isaac, but after trying for 5 years with no success, we were just happy to finally be starting a family. Her labor was about 4 days long and ended with a very unwanted Cesarean, but we brought home our handsome baby boy, healthy and safe. Isaac means laughter and he truly lives up to that name. He fills every room with joy and love.
Shortly after Isaac turned 1 we discovered Lorri was pregnant again! This time, we were going to have a girl. We've both always wanted to have a fairly large family and having a boy and girl so close together was going to be a huge blessing.
This time around we went about things differently and Lorri had a much better pregnancy, enjoying it to the fullest. We planned to try a home birth this time but made sure to have a doctor backup that we saw regularly. At 40 weeks we had a non stress test and an ultrasound, revealing nothing out of the ordinary. Labor began a few days later at home. After a pretty difficult 6 or 7 hours, Lorri's water broke and we discovered a good amount of meconium. The midwives had monitored her heart rate continually throughout labor, and we took one last good reading before heading to the hospital. We drove the 8-10 minutes down the road and checked in quickly. This was not where we had planned on birthing but we wanted to take every precaution.
When we arrived at the hospital Lorri was taken to the triage to be examined while her doctor was informed that we were there. After about 50 minutes of sitting in the triage, Lorri was rushed back for an emergency Cesarean. I was not allowed to join her. Over an hour later (it seemed like a lifetime) I was informed that our little Lillian Hope was stillborn but they were able to revive her after 10 minutes of resuscitation. They took Lilly back to the NICU as she was in critical condition. The next four days of her little life she battled for survival but ultimately went to be with the Lord on February 23rd 2012.
We have never been given a diagnosis as to what caused Lilly to be without oxygen. They have run tests and made speculations, but everything seemed normal and the doctors have no idea. That is one of the hardest things, not knowing why.
This began the new chapter of our lives, one where something always feels missing, one without our daughter. A new world has revealed itself as we realize how little we are truly in control. Grief has been an immense, unpredictable, agonizing experience, but with an ocean of tears, many prayers and the grace of our heavenly Father, we have walked through our night and can see the beginnings of a new light.
We will never forget Lilly. She is a part of our family. We will grieve her till we see her again. But, God is faithful and we choose to continue to walk in faith, knowing that she rests in the arms of a loving and good God. And we want to help others find their light and know again what it is to have Hope.