"Precious in the eyes of the Lord, is the death of His saints!"

                                                                Psalm 116: 15

Nora's Story

" before I formed

you in the womb,

I knew you, before

you were born, I

set you apart..."

            jeremiah 1:5

   The day after we had a FAMILY camp out in our

back yard, my husband & I were overjoyed to learn

that we were expecting our 5th child! In my private

prayer time, I asked the Lord to send a sister for our

only daughter. I love my sisters, & I longed for our

daughter to experience that same special bond! Well,

I was pregnant & though we chose not to find out the

gender of our baby, until birth,(as we had not for the others)

I felt, in my heart, that this was the daughter that I had

asked God for!!

  The first 10 weeks were much like my other 4 pregnancies.

Lots  of "all day" sickness, but we were so anxious and

excited to welcome another child into our FAMILY!

Then week 11 began & so did our true journey!!

As I watched our 3 younger children, on their final day

of swimming lessons, I began to feel very sick. After a 6 hr.

stay in the E.R., it was discovered that I had a Sub Chorionic Hemorrhage. Basically, a condition during pregnancy, that

typically resolves itself... but I am definitely not typical!!

  My pregnancy continued, as did the hemorrhaging!!!

It did not resolve itself, but instead grew & worsened with

each day. Survival mode for myself and our baby, began

instantly! My body was losing nearly as much blood as it

was producing. I began "bed rest", which was impossible

with 4 other children. I could not drive, leave the house,

and could barely stand without assistance. My days were

filled with pain, worry, and lots of prayer! My husband, our

parents, FAMILY, and friends stepped in, as much as possible.

What a summer!!

  As summer came to an end, so did my time at home.

On Sunday, August 31, 2014, I made my final trip to the

hospital, via Ambulance. After months of hemorrhaging & severe anemia, I began seizing and could no longer stand. Around

midnight, my husband called 911 & I was rushed to the E.R.,

in Lafayette, La. Upon arrival the "on call" dr. said,

" send her home, there's nothing that we can do, besides deliver,

which would terminate the pregnancy." We were adamant

that I would carry our baby until natural birth, no matter what!

I also told the staff that I could not leave! I requested a CBC

( complete blood count). I knew that I was dying & someone

had to listen! The test was done & showed that my Hematocrit

was 2%. Immediately the nurses began my first of 4 blood transfusions. Though I was, in fact, "dying" as one dr. put it, our baby was thriving!!

Praise God!!

  Our parents cared for our other children. My husband worked

tirelessly and drove an hour each night to be with me. My mother

came to spend days with me, in between caring for our kids.

My father, in-laws, and extended family filled in every other gap! Separation from our other children, proved to be one of our toughest challenges.

My days were filled with tears, fears, and constant prayer! I was so humbled and helpless! There were so many FAMILY members,

friends, & strangers praying for us! My husband & I grew

even closer to God, as we knew that we were powerless & so

was our unborn child. Thy will be done, Lord!

  Finally, on September 28, 2014, after months of unimaginable

trials, it was time. In an emergency C-section, I gave birth

to our baby! " It's a girl!! " We were elated! We named her

Nora Jo, after my grandmother and mother. She was 28 weeks

old & all of 2lbs 6 oz. She was GORGEOUS!! God's perfect gift,

after enduring so many trials! She was healthy, but small & we

were told, that she would have to stay in the NICU for 10-12 weeks,

to continue growing. We were so grateful for her health, but

concerned at the same time. We had never left the hospital

without our baby! Once again we were overwhelmed with conflicting emotions!! Finally, we would be home with our other children, after being apart for 5 weeks, but we would be separated

from our daughter, that we had been struggling for so long to

bring into this world! We had no choice, but to return home, start healing, & continue our prayers! Oh how we longed for the day

that we would bring our baby girl home to meet her brothers

and sister!( children under 18 were not allowed in the Lafayette NICU)

  My body was ravished!! My days were now spent trying to heal,

taking care of our other children, & staying in contact with

NICU nurses and doctors. On my 35 birthday, my husband was

able to hold Nora Jo for the first time, at our NICU visit!

What a priceless moment! Two days later, I fell & broke my foot!!

I had not walked in months & my legs were weak! After months

of poor health & isolation, I now began the 8 week process of

healing a broken bone!! It was "just a foot", not convenient,

but the most important thing was that we survived it all!! My foot

would heal, eventually.

  Five days later, on Thursday, October 16, 2014, I was speaking

to one of the nurses on the phone, she called me, and was sharing

with me what a miracle Nora  was! She never needed oxygen

( as most premature babies do). She was beautiful!! I agreed &

was so thankful  for her kind words! Two hours later, I received

a call from the NICU dr. Her tone sounded concerned, & caught

me totally by surprise. She explained that she had just made

rounds & noticed Nora's  belly was, " a bit distended" and she

would continue to monitor her, and update us. We hung up & I

called my husband to give a report. Within 30 minutes, the dr.

called me back. She sounded very alarmed & said that Nora  Jo 

needed to be transferred to Ocshner Baptist Hospital in

New Orleans.

  I felt panicked and confused!!! Earlier that morning, my nurse

friend was bragging on how wonderfully the baby was doing & now

the dr. says, " Nora  must be taken to New Orleans!" I asked if she

could give us an hour to place the children & get to the hospital.

We wanted to ride with her in the ambulance. She said, they could

not wait for us & that she was so worried about Nora's  rapid deterioration, that she was joining the NICU nurses for the trip.

We were told to meet them there as soon as possible! Obviously,

after a C-section & with a broken foot, I could not drive! I got

in touch with my husband & we left our other children with my

parents. In utter panick, we were on the road to New Orleans!!

  We arrived at Ocshner Baptist Hospital. We were in the NICU

waiting area, for what seemed like forever, then finally, the staff

called us in. This hospital was huge! Each baby in the NICU had

their own suite. We were escorted to her room. My husband

wheeled me into Suite 7, to find our "healthy" baby girl, lying

lifeless & breathing with a ventilator! Devastation!!! What was happening??? This felt like a nightmare!...I was sick to my

stomach!! We sobbed & prayed!!!!

  Later, the dr. explained that Nora  was suffering from N.E.C. (Necrotizing Entrocolitis) - Necrotizing meaning damage

& death of cells, Entero refers to intestine, Colitis means 

inflamation of the colon - He also explained that this condition

was most common in premature babies & spreads rapidly. We

couldn't believe what we were hearing!! They then advised us

to call our parents & have them bring our other children to

New Orleans, as quickly as possible. Everything was happening

so fast! Our parents left home at 3a.m. with our children & met

us at 7 am.

  This was the first time they all met Nora Jo  & we were so thankful

that this NICU allowed all siblings and grandparents to visit.

They adored her immediately! Finally, our whole FAMILY was

together, just not where we hoped to be! After more tears & prayers,

we were asked to sign consent for Nora  to have surgery. The dr. said that he would make an incision on her lower abdomen, in

order to see what damage had been caused by N.E.C. He said they

would repair any damage if possible & surgery would take

1 1/2 hours. We loved on her, prayed over her, & cried some more!

We gathered with our children & parents in a private room , while waiting for surgery to be complete. My husband & I prayed..." Lord,

if this illness will cause our sweet girl to have a lifetime of

suffering...She was YOURS first...please take her home to be with YOU"...total SURRENDER to the will of God!! The hardest thing in

life to do!!... " JESUS, we TRUST in YOU!"

  Thinking we would be in for an agonizing wait, we were shocked,

when the nurse came in only 17 minutes later! She asked my

husband & I to follow her into another room. My heart sank & I

was sick to my stomach once again! She invited us in to a large,

empty conference room. Just moments later, the surgeon walked

in. He said, " It has destroyed everything!... We could not save

any of her tissue... we had no choice, but to close her up...

there's NOTHING we can do...I'm so sorry!" How could this be happening??? I prayed unceasingly for 21 weeks...Lord,

didn't You hear me??? I am somewhat ashamed to say, that in my "humanness",  I had words with GOD! Next, my husband went to

get our children from the waiting room & brought them to

meet me in the conference room. We had to explain to them,

that the sister that they had just, finally, met...would not come

home , would not grow up & play with them, ...and would

not live! This was the most heart wrenching aspect of it all!!!

They sobbed as I had never witnessed before." Ok , God, here's

your last chance....PLEASE ( I begged), give us a MIRACLE!"

  As I sat humbly in a wheelchair, with my husbands loving hands

on my shoulders, I held our beautiful daughter for the next

2 hours. She was on a ventilator & had many other wires

connected to her frail little body. The nurse explained that

Nora  was only absorbing 20% oxygen & would not live much

longer. She removed everything, except the ventilator.

  On October 17, 2014 at 7:07 p.m., in Suite 7, Nora Jo , took her

last earthly breath. She was cradled in the arms of her adoring

mom & dad, who so deeply wanted & loved her!!!! I quickly

remebered our prayer... We asked the Lord to take her home,

if she were bound for a life of suffering... HE answered us!!

  Though she was no longer living, I was able to bathe & dress her

for the first time! In a real gown! We then took her precious, lifeless body to the private waiting area, where each of her siblings & grandparents were able to hold her for the first & last time!

  The next morning,  our FAMILY, journeyed home, to plan

the funeral for the short, but AMAZING  life of our BELOVED

Nora Jo !!! We were told of an organization, called Maddie's Footprints.

An amazing couple, who had also lost their infant daughter,

now helped other FAMILIES, with funeral expenses for

their young children. What a beautiful legacy to honor their

baby while helping others! We contacted Maddie's Footprints,

& they generously helped with some of the expenses. The rosary

and Divine Mercy Chaplet were sung by FAMILY & friends. It was beautiful! The room was filled with so many people!! I had no

idea!How could all of these people be here , for our child , that

they had never met! Many of them stood in front of the room

& shared how our journey had touched them! Wow!!! They

were so generous & tender with their words & acts!

  The most memorable witness was Melanie, a NICU nurse,

that spent  nights in Lafayette, with Nora . I spoke with her

nightly on the phone, but we had never met face to face. ( the NICU

is closed to all vistors at night) She shared, that out of all of

the babies she had cared for, that Nora , was special to her

in an unexplainable way. She said that she called her

" Nora Butterfly ", as she watched her stretching in the early

morning hours. These are moments that we never were able

to share with our baby girl & so these images remain so very

dear to us!!! After the funeral, the most  heart wrenching 

moment was watching my Priceless husband, carry our

baby daughter's casket as our children followed!!!!

  Though I would have never chosen this cross for our

FAMILY... GOD'S plan, is perfect...hard to understand ,

but perfect! Through our entire journey... there were signs

of His working hands, everywhere! Ever since  her funeral,

we have seen countless butterflies! We see at least one daily,

no matter the season!! They are little treasures, sent by our

Lord, to remind us that Nora  is always with us &  to maintain

our HOPE that our FAMILY will be reunited with her & our

MAKER for eternity! If you are a Christian, you know that

several numbers are signs of God! Please notice the 7's and 3's throughout Nora's Story !!

  During my entire pregnancy, I said countless rosaries,

Divine Mercy chaplets, & prayers to Blessed Francis Xavier

Seelos. I slept with a relic of his in my hand.{ Years ago, we

named our homeschool Academy of Blessed Seelos, because we

were drawn to his story. He arrived in New Orleans on September 28, 1866 ( Nora's  birthday )} We  were unexpectedly sent to New Orleans, the city he served & home of his shrine. During  our day in NOLA,

my mother had called the Seelos Center, for a blesser to come

visit us. A blesser usually will visit the sick with a relic &

Father Seelos' crucifix, that he used years ago while visiting

the sick & infirmed. Our blesser came at 3p.m. ( the hour of mercy), shortly before surgery. All of these things we know are part

of God's mysteriously perfect plan! Such a short life , but so many

fruits & treasures have come from it!

  Thank you for allowing us to share Nora's Story with you!

We are so grateful that GOD has allowed us to be the proud parents

of a Saint, if only for a short time on this earth. Life is

PRECIOUS at all stages and must be cherished! We pray that

all hearts will recognize the sanctity & gift of EVERY HUMAN LIFE !!!




  " Be still , and know

    that I am God! ..." 

                            Psalm 46:11

" Be joyful  in hope,

  Patient in affliction,

  Faithful in prayer..."

                Romans 12:12  

"My grace is sufficient..."

              2 Corinthians 12:9

" Jesus, I trust in You!" 

    Sister  Maria Faustina

      Divine Mercy Chaplet

" O my Father, if it

be possible, let

this cup pass from

me: nevertheless,

not as I will , but

Thy will be done..."

               Jesus Christ

                        Matthew 26 : 39

" ...you see signs

 & wonders..."  

            John 4 :48 

" All life has inestimable value,

    even the weakest &

    most vulnerable. All of

    us must care for life &

    cherish life, with tenderness

    & warmth...Caring for life from

    the beginning to the

    end. What a simple thing, 

    what a beautiful thing, so

    go forth & do not be discouraged.

    Care for life.

              It is worth it!"

                    Saint John Paul II

       by Nannie Meg

Mommy's Sweetheart!


    Daddy's Little Girl!

an original

for her

little sister!

    by Ella Kate

Funeral Bouquet

Nora's Butterfly Garden