Our Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katherine Rose Farrar

Our Perfect Little Princess

Always Loved, Never Forgotten, Forever in Our Hearts

“There is no footprint too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world”

 

It’s challenging not to perceive life now as divided into distinct ‘before’ and ‘after’ periods since losing our daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Out We Were Pregnant

When we discovered we were pregnant, our hearts overflowed with joy. It was a moment of pure elation—becoming parents was something both of us individually had dreamed of and yearned for most of our lives, and we spent many years making various decisions to try and prepare us to be the best parents we could possibly be.

We were filled with an overwhelming sense of love and anticipation, with endless hopes and dreams for the future. This excitement was not only ours, as it resonated deeply within our families also, who shared in our great joy. Amidst tears of happiness, we felt enveloped in a cloud of pure bliss. It was a magical time, perhaps the happiest we had ever been in our entire lives.

Difficult Pregnancy & Complications

I experienced an incredibly challenging pregnancy, marked by numerous severe complications that required multiple overnight stays in the ER. Unfortunately, no one had any answers for why the many alarming complications continued to happen.

Surprisingly, I was never classified as high risk, and we were consistently assured that complications like mine were simply part of the process for some individuals.

 

Gender Reveal

 

Due to a unique family pattern that persisted across generations on my side of the family, I grew up with the expectation and assurance that I would likely have a daughter. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me when we learned we were having a little girl. 

In fact, I had already prepared for her arrival by accumulating a closet full of baby girl clothes over the years and had even chosen her name back when I was in middle school. Katherine’s middle name, Rose, holds a special significance as it was also my maiden name.

Unexpected Delivery

I ended up having to undergo an emergency c-section. Before being taken back for surgery, the medical team presented us with the daunting and sobering statistics regarding the survival chances of an infant born extremely premature, which weighed heavily on our hearts. Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to hold my baby after her birth. She required immediate transport to the NICU, a process that involved placing her in a medical plastic bag due to her fragile state. 

Nothing about the delivery process or having a baby in the NICU under these circumstances felt normal. It was a stark contrast to the idyllic scenes portrayed on TV or shared in most family and friends’ stories. Witnessing your child suffer is an indescribable pain that consumes you, and walking through the halls of Labor and Delivery to visit my baby in the NICU was agonizing. Passing by rooms where new moms joyfully held and fed their babies, while mine was tethered to life support, served as a stark reminder of our reality.

As time passed and our daughter appeared to be thriving, we began to interpret the grim survival rate statistics as only applying to the day of delivery and the first few days after, which she had made it through. Throughout the week she was born, I received countless loving messages from numerous people sharing encouraging stories of their personal experiences as micro-preemies and the normal lives they went on to live. Some shared stories of being born in third-world countries with minimal medical care, while others recounted their experiences from forty-plus years ago when medical technology and advancements were less advanced. So, we began to let our guards down, took a deep breath, and started to believe that everything was going to be okay. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, until it wasn’t.

Heaven Date

Our daughter, Katherine, is a NICU warrior and she fought hard and survived for an incredible eight days. On the morning of her passing, before we could anticipate the turn events would soon take, we were overjoyed to receive news that she was doing well and her medical scan showed no signs of brain bleeds. This was particularly uplifting as we had been cautioned from the start to expect some level of brain bleeds in babies with her fragile state. With her scan results, we felt on top of the world. However, that day quickly became a whirlwind of emotions, transitioning from the highest highs to the lowest lows. 

Tragedy struck, shattering our world and leaving us grappling with unimaginable grief. The sudden transition from hope to despair was devastating, her passing was an unimaginably traumatic event, catching us completely off guard. Our world quickly turned into the chaotic scene of an unplanned emergency surgery, where no one is prepared for what’s about to unfold, and there was a cacophony of noise and anguish, and the images we witnessed were haunting. To watch your child pass away before your very eyes, feeling utterly helpless, is a pain that sears into your entire body and leaves scars that last a lifetime.

Lambie

For many bereaved parents, leaving the hospital without their baby is an unbearable moment, perhaps even more so than the loss itself. It goes against every instinct as a parent to walk away without your child. How do you condense a lifetime of love and dreams into a brief farewell? How do you say goodbye to all the hopes and dreams you had envisioned for their future?

As we were saying our goodbyes at the hospital, fellow Board Director Jacqueline received the news and rushed to offer her support, accompanied by a thoughtful gift. She had purchased a set of stuffed animals that were sold together, they were almost matching, and represented being “connected” to each other. She already had this gift on hand, intending to give it to us later. However, with the turn of events, she knew the time for this gift was now. This gift turned out to be an incredible source of comfort, especially during that immediate moment of agonizing loss and separation. I do not think there is a better gift that could be offered to a bereaved parent at a moment like that.

The fact that the gift was a set with two stuffed animals was particularly important and helpful. As a parent, your instinct is to prioritize comforting and protecting your child above all else. If someone had offered me a stuffed animal for myself, I would have immediately given it to Katherine. Having a matching pair set allowed us to leave one with Katherine, ensuring she wasn’t alone, and take the other home with us, keeping her close to our hearts. I vividly recall holding, cuddling, and shedding tears with our stuffed animal, which we named Lambie. It brought us a small sense of solace to have Lambie with us, nestled in the bassinet beside our bed, as we navigated through our shock and grief.

Life After

It surprises me that, while I had experienced profound sadness and trauma before, I still never truly understood the weight of the word “grief” until now. Your face physically changes, burdened by an overwhelming sense of sorrow that constantly pulls you down. Some people find themselves sighing aloud without even realizing it, a subconscious expression of the heaviness they carry within. In the depths of grief, time loses all meaning. It’s not just about losing track of time; it feels as though time itself ceases to exist, rendering it irrelevant in the face of such profound loss. The quest for answers becomes an obsession, an endless pursuit of the unanswerable “Why.”

Why did our story have to unfold this way? Why couldn’t there have been any other sacrifice we could make to have our daughter with us, healthy and pain-free? I often found myself pondering the countless messages I received from others who had survived similar challenges. I want to make sure I convey that I am absolutely deeply grateful and appreciative for each person who took the time to reach out and for each message that was shared, as it did offer me encouragement and hope at a time that I really needed it. And with that said, in the aftermath of everything, while I felt genuine happiness for their resilience and wouldn’t wish for their stories to be any different, I still couldn’t shake the nagging question: Why did they defy the odds that seemed even more challenging than the odds that we were up against, but we couldn’t? This question pierced me deeply, stirring up a whirlwind of emotions. These questions echoed endlessly, and the pain with them cut deep. The onslaught of practical challenges added insult to injury. The sight of medical bills and funeral expenses felt like a slap in the face, as did inhabiting a body that still bore the marks of recent pregnancy, yet bereft of a baby to show for it. Everything seemed simultaneously cruel and meaningless.

After Katherine’s passing, I noticed the word “memories” served as a trigger for me, as I felt robbed of any significant time with my daughter. However, a pivotal shift occurred when I reframed all the activities, places, and even mundane tasks like laundry or enjoyable meals I experienced during my pregnancy as cherished moments and adventures shared with her.

I also remember many people expressing sentiments like “our loved ones are still with us,” which initially didn’t resonate with me. However, as time has passed, I have come to wholeheartedly believe in the truth of those words—that our loved ones remain with us, just in a way now that differs from the conventional understanding of relationships. And while this revelation certainly doesn’t take the pain away, it does offer a “glimmer,” so to speak. Death doesn’t end a relationship; it merely transforms it. Every day, I still devote a tremendous amount of physical, mental, and emotional energy to nurturing my bond with my daughter. I strive to make her proud, visit places where I feel connected with her, and engage in conversations about our lives and the future I envision for us one day together on the other side of life. While some may not recognize me as a parent or know what to make of my situation, that’s alright—I don’t seek validation from others, because I know that I am a parent, and our relationship is as genuine and meaningful as any other. I once read a phrase that I connected with that said: ‘Others get to parent their child physically, and I get to parent mine by protecting their memory.’ I find this to be profoundly true.

New Adventures & Sharing the Love with Lambie

Shortly after our daughter’s passing, I stumbled upon a statement that became another significant turning point for me, aiding me in navigating those initial weeks of grief. It said something like this: “Would you be willing to die for your child? Of course, you would, but you only have to make that decision once. But what if the question were – Would you be willing to live for them? Then what would your answer be, because living is a choice you have to make every single day.” In the depths of our sorrow, this profound realization struck a chord, motivating and inspiring me with an unwavering determination to honor Katherine’s memory and the memories of countless other babies gone too soon. Our grief transformed into a driving force, propelling us toward purposeful action and meaningful change. In honoring their memory, we discovered strength and purpose, embodied in the enduring legacy of Lambie’s Love.

***Long ago, when my husband and I were discussing what was important to each of us, one of the items on my list was having family photos taken regularly once we had children. I pondered how we would accurately represent our family now. However, we found a solution, with Lambie once again coming to the rescue. We decided we could include our Lambie stuffed animal in our future professional family photos, either discreetly or subtly, in a creative and seamless manner. This ensures that our precious Katherine Rose is included, as our family would not be complete or accurately portrayed without her presence. This is something I am looking forward to doing one day in the future.