Rachel Elizabeth

Update 12:45 a.m. Thursday…..I forgot to tell you all something kind of funny. Sunday we put roses in the church in memory of Rachel. We put in the bulletin that the flowers were “in memory of Rachel Hartman on her 23rd birthday.” Well, our daughter-in-law is named Rachael. One of the little boys at church was worried something had happened to her. And she wasn’t at church Sunday, so I’m sure he really thought something bad had happened.

Today would have been our daughter’s 23rd birthday. Her name was Rachel Elizabeth. I reprint this post every year on her birthday.

But….I would like to explain something. People usually think that because I am reprinting this, that we are still deep in grief. We are not. Rachel is with God. While we missed her terribly for years after she died, and we wonder what it would have been like to have her here, we are joyous that she is in Heaven. While I would have loved to raise her just like we did with our other 2 kids, she has been promoted ahead of the rest of the family. She is no longer in the pain for which they gave her morphine. She is no longer trapped in the sick little body she was born with. Her body was perfectly formed, but she contracted a group B strep infection, and her little lungs could not handle it.

Nearly every year, on the Sunday morning before her birthday, I sing “It Is Well With My Soul” in church. I sang it this past Sunday. It really is well with my soul. Sorrow is such a hard thing to understand sometimes. But gief and utter despair are entirely different. We grieved, and even now, when I see something that makes me think of Rachel, I will get tears in my eyes. But I do not despair. She is with the parent that loves her far more than I ever could. And soon….very soon….we will see her again.

Bethany was born 2 years and 3 months after Rachel was born, and she was given her older sister’s name as her middle name. Here is the repost:


For about two weeks, every morning on the way to drop Brandon off at my mother’s before work, I had this recurring thought: “What if this baby were born early? What would I do?” I know now that God was trying to prepare me.

February 6, 1984 was an ordinary Monday. I took Brandon to my mother’s house (he was 2 yrs old) and then went to work. After work, I picked him up, took him for his allergy shot, and went shopping at Target for a new baby carrier. Our second baby was due April 28. Eleven weeks to go.

When I got home about 7:00 p.m., I was having a few small contractions, but I was use to those. I had Braxton Hicks contractions most days, and I had them when I was pregnant with Brandon, too. But I didn’t feel well, and the contractions were coming every 15 minutes. I was really tired. So Steve fixed hamburgers for us and I ate a little. I didn’t feel any better after resting, and by 9:00 p.m., the contractions had increased to every 5 minutes. But still they were not really bad.

We called the doctor and he said get to the hospital. So we did. They monitored me for a while and told the doctor on the phone that I was not having contractions. I don’t know what the nurse thought that rise and fall was on the monitor chart. So they gave me Vistaril and sent me home. At about 1:30 a.m., Feb. 7, I woke up having really hard contractions, but having had a sedative, I was having trouble staying alert enough to breath with the contractions. I was in a lot of pain. So about 2:00, we headed back to the hospital. We went into the ER, and the police officer immediately took me to labor and delivery. The baby, who the nurses had been able to touch hours earlier, had now moved up too far to reach, and the monitor indicated she was in distress.

Emergency C-section. My spinal anesthesia was not working fast enough, and they needed to get her out, so I was given gas long enough to do an incision. When I woke up, they were carrying her over to the table to get her breathing. I had to turn my head in an awkward position to see her, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her. The anesthesiologist told me she was pinking up well. They put a breathing tube in her throat. She was so tiny – only 2 pounds, 14 ounces. Just 15 inches long. She was born at 3:43 a.m. Her cord was only 4 inches long, so she could not have been born normally.

I just laid there praying, and thinking about the scriptures that talk about Mary “pondering things in her heart” when Jesus was born. I needed my husband, but they had not let him in there because it was an emergency, and it was still only 1984. They took her to the nursery, and gave me something to knock me out, before taking me to recovery. That still makes me mad to think about that – they didn’t want me to fully know what was going on. There was absolutely no other reason to knock me out.

Doctors from Texas Children’s Hospital came and got Rachel stabilized for the trip to their hospital; then they brought her in for me to see. I could only reach into the incubator and touch her little legs and feet. I could not raise up to look at her, since I had had spinal anesthesia. You have to stay flat if you don’t want the worst headache you could ever imagine. They told me I could call them anytime I wanted to see how she was doing.

Steve and my mother went to Texas Children’s to see her. After Steve got home, they called him to come back. Rachel died at 10:25 p.m. Her brain had hemorrhaged and her lungs collapsed. He held her and the nurse took pictures. He came back up to the hospital to tell me, but I was asleep and the nurses just took him to the lounge to let him sleep a while. At 4:00 a.m., I woke up and wanted to call Texas Children’s. They tried to talk me out of it. I knew something was up. The nurse said, “I’ll go get your husband,” and I knew that if she was OK, he would not be up there then. He really didn’t have to tell me she had died. She lived 18 hours and 42 minutes.

I will have to let Steve tell you about the trips to Texas Children’s Hospital.

It was determined that she had group B strep. That helped the doctor to treat me, because I had it, also, and the antibiotics he was using were not working.

The next several days were a blur. Or more like a nightmare. I was still very sick, and we had to plan a funeral. And Brandon was missing me. I got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon, eventhough I was still running fever. But the visitation at the funeral home was that night. And the funeral was Monday. The day before Valentine’s Day. Before the visitation on Sunday night, I sat and held her for the very first time.

I had some family members that acted horsey and said ugly things, because they were not the center of this crisis. I have family like that. We were told by my aunt that we shouldn’t have been that attached to her because we didn’t have her long enough. She was mad because she did not get that much attention when her son had cancer. She actually said that. My grandmother was mad because I didn’t come to see her as soon as I got out of the hospital. Nevermind that I had had a c-section, my daughter died, and I was still sick. I loved those family members, but I never again had the same relationships with them that I had before.

Life can be so unexpectedly short. Love your children. Hold them and kiss them a lot. You don’t have any earthly idea when you might not have them anymore.

Please go to Steve’s blog to read his story about his experience with her birth.

This is Rachel Elizabeth Hartman, on February 7, 1984:

Rachel Elizabeth

Steve’s father died on the same day, Feb. 7, in 1998.



33 thoughts on “Rachel Elizabeth

  1. :heartbeat:Dear Cindy,
    Thank you for sharing this…I was very moved.  My heart aches for your loss, but I, too, rejoice in where she is.  I miscarried a baby many years ago.  And so, I am sure they have met and are waiting on us…
    Love ya muchliest–Paula Sue:heartbeat:

  2. I am sure they have met and are waiting on us…
    Paula, I did not know that you had lost a baby. Yes, I’m sure they’ve met now, and are just waiting for the rest of us to get there. So we share a bond of knowing what it feels like. Sue sent me some books from their Crisis Pregnancy Center, and I got them yesterday. I thought they would be good for helping others in the same or similar situation. But there was something in the book from Focus on the Family that will stick with me. One of the things I had the hardest time with, was people saying things like, “Well, at least you didn’t have her very long,” or “At least you didn’t lose Brandon.” He was 2 at the time. But souls don’t come in different sizes and ages. Her soul was just as much a soul as Brandon’s in his 2 year old body. And your baby’s was, too.
    And a mother bonds with that baby long before the baby is born. Even when they think they don’t. Far too many women who have abortions find that out the hard way.

  3. Cindy, thank you for sharing this with all of us.  And you are right about the above comment, souls don’t come in different sizes and ages. 
    God Bless!

  4. Thank you, Christy.
    Tommy and Staci…..Thank you. Cherish Noah and Emily, and enjoy every minute. We don’t have them nearly long enough. And take lots of pictures! I think you’ve got that one covered πŸ˜‰

  5. Cindy, God knew he could trust you and Steve to love Rachel for eternity.  Thank you for sharing her story again.  I know God has great plans for you and your love for Rachel.  We have very similar pictures of Ashley in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  God bless you my friend.

  6. She is with the parent that loves her far more than I ever could.  I appreciate your way of putting that “the parent that loves her ….”  And soon….very soon….we will see her again.  Amen. — (& that Parent, too!) :sunny: :yes: Thank you for sharing your story. It touches the reader (me) at various levels ~ heart, mind, spirit, emotions, . . . God bless you and Steve especially on this special day. Love you muchliest! :love:

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! What a huge loss!! Isn’t it great though to think of her Daddy taking care of her in heaven? What do people do without the Lord especially in times like those! How awesome to think you will be reunited one day!

  8. Thank you, Lauryn. Very much. :heartbeat:
    Becky, it will be so nice to be reunited. I don’t know how people even make it without God to comfort them. Children run to their father when they have something wrong (that is, if they had a loving father) and Daddy could usually make things right. But as adults, too many people don’t run to their Heavenly Father because they either see Him as a crutch, or don’t even believe He is there. What a scary position to be in when they have a loss.

  9. You are the second person to tell me they had their AC on today.  That is so totally not fair!  Doug and I are hot weather people.  I do like the snow but not the cold.  Doug has said several times if he doesn’t get this church then we are moving south, Alabama or Georgia.  πŸ˜†  There is not a bone in my body that thinks he is serious in this comment.  I just go along with him.  :giggle:  He is too much of a family guy to move that far away from his children unless there was no doubt in his mind that south is where God wants us.  Oh, to be on a beach right now soaking up the sun!  :sunny:  I did hear on the 11 o’clock news that we were at ZERO.  Brrrrrrrrrr  Stop laughing, I’m sending you a snowman so be watching your mailbox.
    On the serious side.  God is an awesome God!  I marvel when I see his hand move in the lives of others.

  10. Stop laughing, I’m sending you a snowman so be watching your mailbox.
    πŸ˜†  πŸ˜†  πŸ˜†  πŸ˜†  πŸ˜†  Oh, wait….you said stop laughing…….:p
    We won’t have it on that long. It was just really muggy tonight, but it has been kind of warm for this time of year.

  11. :heartbeat:  Dear Cindy , I can sense how your love for yours childrens!    IΒ΄m sure you are beloved to them all, I would loves to say this word to you ”  You are a loves and passions mom . (((((((( Hugs )))))))) . Thanks , IΒ΄m fine , thanks be to God . I was very sick with a bad cold almost 2 weeks.   May God bless you and comfort you .  love in Christ . Tip

  12. I just came over from Cynthia’s site to tell you I will pray for your doggie ( I will)  but then I read your post.  Wow.  I don’t have the words………. God Bless You!

  13. :(I just bawled all the way through it!  What a heart wrenching story …. “It is Well with My Soul” … a beautiful song.. I don’t know how ya get through it …
    Precious Angel with Jesus!  Thank you for sharing this with us!!

  14. Re: the air stupid people take up. It’s true that there is no shortage of intellectually-impaired (is that PC enough?) people on AF bases. But what REALLY chaps my hide is when people are deployed and their spouses cheat on them. It runs rampant here!!! Maybe everywhere, but this is our only base so I really have no comparison. It’s a shame is what it is. I worry more about spouses than those defending our country. Thankfully, the defenders are USUALLY good people (granted there are some wastes out there) but I don’t know how they put up with some of those spouses. It’s a sin. Someone around here wanted her husband deployed for 18 months so she could get a nose job and a Dyson vacuum. I’m glad I value my husband A LOT more than that!

  15. That’s sad, Lauryn. Really sad. I cannot imagine being off in another country and having to worry about what the spouse at home is doing. Your mind could not possibly always be on your job at hand that way. But once again, people can be stupid. Too many think about only themselves.

  16. Over my time subscribing to your blog I’ve wondered what happened, but never went back far enough to find the answers… thank you for sharing that. Your faith is inspiring and I am blessed by the peace your words radiate. I cannot imagine losing a child, even though I came so very close. God bless you. :heartbeat:

  17. :heartbeat:  Someday!!!  :heartbeat:  Someday!!!  :heartbeat:  You will hold her in your arms. :heartbeat: What a grand reunion that will be!!  :heartbeat:  Blessings ~Carolyn  :heartbeat:

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