The second half of summer didn't necessarily go how any of us expected to say the least. I have gone back and forth on what to say about it and honestly I still don't know what to say, but I'm going to sit here and wing it.
The month of July started off with Sydney's actual 14th birthday. My original plan was to take the kids out somewhere fun for the afternoon, but I wasn't feeling great so dinner out for steaks was about all I could muster the energy for. Thankfully Sydney was a trooper and was happy with just her birthday steak dinner. I ended up getting a summer cold of sorts and Jordyn decided to follow suit and get sick too. My biggest concern was "I can't be sick when the baby comes" so I was doing everything I could think of to get rid of that pesky cold.
Next up was our 4th of July celebration. As usual we spent it at the pool with family and friends. I will note that I have done a terrible...and I mean terrible job taking pictures this summer. Actually this entire year so there aren't many photos to choose from.
Anyone who knows me know I love Chick-Fil-A. I could eat it everyday. That is not an exaggeration. So of course when Cow Appreciation Day rolls around I get my crew dressed up like cows for some free food. We might have had 2 meals there that day.
It was after this event that our summer took a turn that none of us expected.
As all of you know my brother and his adorable wife Katie, were expecting a baby this summer with a due date of July 10th. It goes without saying that we were all anxiously awaiting the arrival of this little bundle of joy. Across the board our entire family and our friends were excited about the entrance of Baby Carter. Added to that excitement was the fact that they didn't know the sex of the baby so we were all
impatiently waiting for the big day.
I won't share all the details of what transpired, but I will share a little of this heartbreaking story. The due date of July 10th came and went. Katie had an appointment scheduled for July 13th to go see her doctor if she hadn't had the baby by then. She went in for her appointment and everything was looking good. Not just good...perfect. Everything was progressing as it should and checked out. All vital signs were normal and the heart rate of the baby was normal. During the appointment she was having contractions, but she was not yet in active labor. The doctor had her on a monitor for a while to see if she would move into active labor instead of sending her home. The baby's heartbeat this entire time was in the upper 150's with no signs of problem. Then in a matter of seconds the heart rate dropped. Then it dropped again to the point that the doctor was struggling to find a heartbeat. Typically when this sort of thing happens the heart rate usually bounces back up, but unfortunately that was not the case here. There was no time to call 911 so Katie's doctor drove her to the hospital himself as fast as he could. For those that know the Atlanta area, you know what a feat this is...
They got from East Cobb to Northside Hospital (safely) in less than 10 minutes.
Meanwhile my brother gets called from work and he is trying to make his way through the Hell that is known as Atlanta traffic. I had gotten a text from Katie saying to call Joey ASAP. A bad feeling came over me because the text was short and I immediately called my brother. He didn't have much information to provide other than he was trying his best to get through the traffic to the hospital and he really didn't know what was going on. I told him I would be there as fast as I could so I started preparing to leave (mind you I live about 40 minutes on a good day from Northside Hospital). As I was prepping Joey quickly called to say Katie was having an emergency c-section and he was suiting up to walk in. Six minutes later Joey called back with the most heartbreaking news. The baby didn't make it. From there I had the difficult task of calling my mom. Then I called baby brother Jay and he called dad because I couldn't bear to do it. We all headed to the hospital as fast as we could. Katie's family at this point were also in the process of getting to the hospital.
Joey was alone at the hospital when what I consider to be a miracle happened. After being told that the baby didn't make it a few minutes later a doctor walks out to say that they were able to revive the baby and that SHE (It's a girl!) had a heart beat, BUT they were very concerned about the amount of time she went without oxygen. There is no way of really knowing how long the baby was actually without oxygen/heartbeat so no one can say for certain. The amount of time that passed from leaving the doctors office to getting the baby out was in the neighborhood of 30 minutes.
After a very traumatic entrance into the world
Miss Bauer Elizabeth Carter
was born on July 13, 2017 at 1:43 in the afternoon.
She was 7.4 lbs and 20-1/4" long.
The top half of her face looks like Joey and the bottom half looks like Katie. Her little lips were a clone of Katie's! Look how long and lanky she is...just like her mom and dad!
I will not go into everything that transpired over the next 48 hours at the hospital, but I will say they were long days where we basically waited for information and kept Joey and Katie company. Bauer was a very sick baby due to the lack of oxygen. She fought hard for 2 days, but sadly her little body couldn't fight any longer. On Saturday July 15, 2017 our sweet Bauer Elizabeth took her final breath in her mom's arms with her daddy right beside her. She is our beautiful angel and when she left she took a piece of our hearts with her.
It's almost been a month since Joey and Katie said goodbye to their sweet angel. The past month has seemed to last an eternity. Although this has been very difficult on all of us; especially Joey and Katie, I can say with certainty we have taken our level of closeness as a family to a new level. We have rallied around Joey and Katie and loved on them like family knows how to do. We set up a GoFundMe page to help them cover the unplanned medical bills and final arrangements (click HERE for the link) in hopes that it would relieve some of the stress they have been under. We felt that was the best way for people to help and man did you guys show up! We have been so blown away by all of the support given and love shown to them throughout this difficult time. Our families are forever grateful. Bauer's final arrangements have already taken place. She was cremated and she is now home with Joey and Katie in the most beautiful little urn adorned with butterflies.
When something so unexpected and heartbreaking like this happens I think it's only natural for us to want life to pause. You want everyone and everything to pause, but unfortunately that's not how life works. Life keeps moving whether you want it to or not. On the day that Bauer passed away Bryce's birthday party was going on at the same time. My parents, Jay and I left the pool to head to the hospital about 30 minute before the party started. Bryan did a good job hosting the party with the help of my friends Lindsay and Casey. Thank you sweet friends for being there to help. Bryan, thank you for being "left behind" at the party when I know you wanted to be at the hospital with us. Team work. One of the things I have experienced during the past several weeks is that the Carter and Elrod families make a great team!
The end of our month was full of family time whether we were at my parent's house or at Joey and Katie's house. We celebrated Bryce's actual birthday on the 22nd at the pool with a low key get together with the grandparents. Bryan was out of town for sand volleyball nationals so we partied without him.
The very last week of July was spent going to and from team camp for soccer not once, but twice a day. Sydney's session was in the morning and Bryce's session was in the evening. Teachers in Cobb Co were back to school, which meant Bryan was back to work. We also had school meet & greets towards the end of the last week of July. The most exciting part of that last week was Jordyn got the pins pulled out of her elbow. Not only did she get the pins out, we found out she was healing very well and didn't need a hard cast after all. What a relief for Jordyn!
Sydney's meet & greet at Etowah HIGH SCHOOL!!
Jordyn's meet & greet for MIDDLE SCHOOL!!
You better believe Jo spent the last Saturday and Sunday of the summer in the pool. She had been sitting on the sidelines watching everyone swim for a month. She isn't cleared for sports activity so no soccer yet. She goes in at the end of August for a check up and hopefully she will get the all clear and be back out on the fields with her team. Until then she has been diligent in working her PT on her elbow.
My dad had earbuds on and he was singing. Please note the earbuds aren't plugged into anything. He's a funny guy.
That's about it. Just like that our summer was over and it was back to school. It definitely wasn't the summer any of us expected. It was a far cry from the summer I had envisioned in my mind, but despite our broken hearts (and broken elbows) we were able to make some good memories.