Rachel Elizabeth

12:35 p.m….Bethany is probably facing surgery. She has to go for an MRI first, but Dr. Moss (Connie will like the name) said he believes she ruptured a tendon that runs up the inside of her ankle. This tendon holds the foot in the proper position. She also cannot move up or down, the toe next to her big toe. Not good.
Ok….see those purple tendons in this picture? The doctor believes Beth has ruptured one or more of those tendons. It attaches the foot bones to the muscle in the calf. Her calf muscles are normally very hard and strong, but since she has been hurt, the left calf muscle has shrunk considerably and gotten very weak.
foot tendons
(CNN) – Mitt Romney suspended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday, saying if he continued it would “forestall the launch of a national campaign and be making it easier for Sen. Clinton or Obama to win.”
Read the rest of the article HERE.
Today would have been our daughter’s 24th 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 did not sing this past Sunday because I have been sick. This coming Sunday, Bethany will sing. That’s only fitting…her name is Bethany Rachel, named in honor of her older sister. Bethany was born 2 years and 3 months after Rachel.

It really is well with my soul. Sorrow is such a hard thing to understand sometimes. But grief 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.

This is a repost of the post I do every year on her birthday:

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 breathe 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 very 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.


On a different note…..one of Beth’s “matches” on eHarmony wants to meet her. I hope it’s not the 45 year old guy that doesn’t bathe or brush his teeth



24 thoughts on “Rachel Elizabeth

  1. {{{hugs}}}Thanks for the reminder. I love my girl so much, but sometimes I get so busy I’ll be like, “Not right now,” or “In a minute,” and then something else comes up and “right now” or “in a minute” don’t ever happen. I’ll be giving her extra hugs today. (She’ll be 12 years old tomorrow.) None of us know how long we have on this earth, and we should be more careful to use every minute wisely.

  2. Thanks for the reminder.
    You are very welcome, Laura. And even when mine were growing up, I probably did not tell them enough that I loved them, or hugged them and kissed them enough. Although Brandon might disagree. :giggle: He wasn’t much for hugs or kisses.
    Rachel has her victory!
    Yes, she really does, Linda. And she deserves it. She suffered when she was here because she was so sick. I hope she’s the first loved one I see when I get there.

  3. Oh what paths God often asks us to walk.  Ones we would not journey down on our own.  But, oh the work He works in our life when we are willing to hold his hand and follow HIM.  Love, me.
    I hope Beth’s guy is all she’s ever dreamed of!  I think Jenn met another one sometime while we were gone.  I heard her talking to someone last night and when I asked who it was she was very evasive.  I guess time will tell!

  4. @wolfpacwife14 – Very true, Sue. We would never have chosen that road, but we can see how God has used it in a mighty way.
    Isa 55:8-9…….8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  NIV

  5. I cannot imagine loosing a child. Mark Bishop sings a song I Got Here As Fast As I Could. I always think of parents who have lost Children.:love:
    RYC: I don’t know for sure what we will do as a Church. Last night Doug and I talked about collecting some things and taking it to my family that suffered lost.

  6. I had two miscarriages before Will was born.  We moved to LaPorte in 1985.  When picking an OB/GYN and asking around at church for recommendations many, if not ALL, told me to STAY AWAY from Pasadena Bayshore Hospital.  I’m sure that you were not the only one.
    Praying for Beth’s foot.  I hope you get a referral to a good orthopedic specialist if you don’t already have a great one.

  7. STAY AWAY from Pasadena Bayshore Hospital
    I really don’t know why people say that, because we have always used Bayshore. We’ve never had any serious problem with them. There are always minor irritations with hospitals, but nothing major. All my children were born at Bayshore.
    The hospital had nothing to do with her death. She would have died no matter where she was born. I had a group B strep infection that I passed on to her.

  8. I might add that my dad had his first heart bypass surgery there. Many of the doctors that practice there also practice at the Texas Medical Center. My dad’s heart surgeon at that time (he’s dead now) and his current cardiologist, Ming Jeang, also practice at the Texas Medical Center. The nurse who was director of surgical services at that time, and also when I had my thyroid surgery, is a good friend of our family.

  9. I should also point out that the neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital told us that Rachel’s lungs were the consistency of liver (Steve’s site says “leather” but that should be liver). It was already that way when she was born. We had no idea at all that I had the strep infection.
    Doctors make a huge mistake, though, in what they tell women about group B strep. They believe that it is contracted by the baby only during the birth process….that the baby gets it after the water breaks and the baby moves through the birth canal. But that’s simply not true. Rachel was born by c-section and my water did not break before the surgery. She was sick long before she was born. Her activity in the womb had slowed and she did not seem like her normal self. Doctors fail to tell women that if she has a systemic infection like I did, she can pass that on to the baby.
    At the time she was born, though, most doctors did not even know anything about group B strep. It’s a much more well-known neonatal problem now, and can be treated. Rachel also had Hyelin Membrane Disease, which is an absence of a surfactant in the lungs that helps to hold them open. Now they can not only give steroids before birth to mature the lungs, but they can place an artificial surfactant in the lungs. That was being used in experiemental cases at Texas Children’s just after Rachel was born.

  10.  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. 
    That’s what I was referring to, not the fact that she died.  But then, a lot of hospitals would have done that back then.
    Sorry if I pushed a button.

  11. Steve signed papers giving them permission to use the experiemental surfactant in Rachel’s lungs, but she was too sick with the group B strep for it to work.
    I had that strep with Beth, too, but they were able to treat it with antibiotics. I really believe I had it with Brandon, too, because he was sick when he was born. But not much was known about it.

  12. I can’t imagine what you went through.   And I can’t believe what some of the family said and did.   That was selfish of them, they should have been thinking of you and what you were going through.   Hope the doctors can figure out the best way to help Beth.  

  13. Thanks, Penny. It was particularly hard when my family did those things, but it did get better. I’m sorry to say, though…nothing was ever like it was before. And they just couldn’t understand why. My grandparents complained about me staying away from them. They didn’t have a clue how they had hurt me.
    And the aunt….she’s the mom of my cousin Greg, who now has cancer for the 4th time, at 47 years old.

  14. I should have added, though, that we’ve been able to help a lot of people since then, who have had similar losses. But the first time I had to sing at a funeral after that, a baby of a couple at church that was stillborn, I didn’t think I’d make it through. It was tough. It was only about 6 years after Rachel died.
    Last year we put flowers in the church “in memory of Rachel Hartman” and little Jeremy at church thought something had happened to our daughter-in-law Rachael. We had to reassure him that she was ok, because she wasn’t at church that day. He was really worried.

  15. This has been a question on my heart and mind but seems kind of relevant to your current post.If you’d like to respond to this privately, feel free and I totally understand… Beth has my email address (at least she should, let me know if she doesn’t and you want to get it from me). The friend I’ve mentioned I’m concerned about… I am just at a loss at what to say to her when she expresses such pain even after two years of losing someone very close to her, a close family member and whom she says was her by far biggest prayer warrior and spiritual role model. She feels that she was unjustly taken from her and just does not understand how this could happen, why God would do such a thing, why God would ignore her prayers to the contrary and I think really has been angry with God ever since. I mean you and I both know that our plans are not God’s plans, and that she indeed has been called home to heaven and this is cause for celebration, but she seems to have a hard time moving past the selfish fact that this family member has been taken from her – she is still hurting about this. She shakes her head at everything I’ve tried to tell her as being just words designed to make her feel better. I guess what I’m wondering is how you can possibly get through to someone who has felt a loss like that. I mean I can totally understand why she’d be feeling the way she is. It makes logical sense, even if it doesn’t make biblical or that sort of sense. I fear that this event has hurt her walk in a major way, and from what I can tell she hasn’t been the same since. (I met her after this had taken place). I do have a fear that you’re going to say that all I can do is pray for her. Which I am doing constantly – am praying harder for her than anyone i can think about in recent memory.I also suppose I’m asking you because I know it must have taken major movement and comfort from God to help you move past the loss of Rachel. This just hurts me because she has become a very dear friend and it breaks my heart to see her like this and so far from God, knowing that at one time she wasn’t. Sorry if I bring up any feelings/such/intrude on anything by asking. Just…. felt led to ask you about this.Like I said, you can just email me or post publically here… doesnt matter.

  16. Scott, don’t ever worry about bringing up any unpleasant feelings with me. I do not mind at all. Like I said, we are not grieving anymore. I’ve always been willing to talk about Rachel, even right after she died. But I could always tell it made other people uncomfortable. They didn’t know that they really did not have to say anything at all.
    And I don’t mind answering publicly, because maybe somebody else can see something in it that will help them at some point.
    The honest truth is that you might not be able to get through to her and make her understand. She has to reach that point on her own. And yes, that’s where much prayer comes in. You will have to pray that God will show her what she needs to understand.
    When people are grieving, even when they say things like they don’t understand why it happened, they may not really want answers, particularly in the case of women. They just need to talk, and listening is the very best thing you can do. And if she asks why, just tell her you don’t know, because you really might not know why this is happening to her.
    We know that death just happens. Everybody dies and God decides when. It is the result of sin in the world. But she might not understand that. She does seem to have anger toward God, but that is part of the grieving process. It is one of the steps. And if she is really, really angry with God, you will not be able to get through to her. Everybody goes through the grieving steps at different speeds, so what might take 2 years for some, will take 4 years for others. The 2 year thing is just an average time it takes a person to work through the steps of grief and come to terms with it. But it will STILL hurt, even after that. That pain does not go away….you just learn to live with it, and learn that it does not have to consume your life.
    What she doesn’t seem to understand (and again, you can’t make her) is that God sometimes says no when we ask for something. He will say no if it is not in our best interest, or the best interest of others. We prayed for Rachel to be healed. And you know what? God DID heal her. He took her to Heaven with Him where she is no longer suffering, and she has all the rewards God had waiting for her. Our grieving is not for the person that died….it is for our loss. We do not want to be without that person. And that’s only human.
    There was a lady at our church…I had known her all my life….that died of cancer in 1995. She was sooo sick, and suffering so very much. Of course her family would have loved for her to get well and not leave them. And I know they prayed for that. But in the end, when it was very clear that God was going to say no, they told her not to feel like she had to hang on for them. They told her they loved her and would miss her, but that she should feel free to go ahead and go with God, to a home where she would no longer suffer. Now THAT is the height of unselfishness. They loved her so much, that they did not want her to stay and suffer.
    There is a lady who was a member of our church for several years, and just this year moved to another church (mostly because she was ticked at me…a very long story 🙄 She can’t accept authority over her.) Anyway, several years ago, her husband died. He had gone into the hospital for hand surgery, and had a heart attack in surgery. They revived him several times, but could not keep him revived. They revived him one last time, long enough for her to go in and tell him good-bye. That’s more than a lot of people get. And she was understandably in a lot of pain. But after several years, she was still in just as much pain as right after it happened. Then 2 years ago in November, her only child Kenneth, was killed in a freak plane crash. She has been beating herself up ever since. She kept asking, “What did I do to deserve this?”
    And we know the truth is that she may not have done anything. Sometimes God does take a loved one because of something we’ve done, as He did with King David when he took the baby of David and Bathsheba. That baby was a result of much sin. David slept with a married woman, and then had her husband killed in battle. And God took that baby that was the result of that sin.
    But in Fern’s case (the lady who lost the husband and son), it could have just been the time God appointed for each of them to die. And God could use those things to teach her, if she would just stop and listen. But she chooses to continue to beat herself up. And not even our pastor was ever able to get through to her.
    And to be honest, she is vulnerable to a lot of Satanic influence. When people start looking for answers to “why?” in places other than God, they are open to Satan. Fern believes that her son led her to the very site that he died. She said she felt him there with her in the dark one night at the airport. No….she never would accept that human’s spirits don’t hang around. They are instantly either with God in Heaven or with Satan in Hell. If she felt something, it was demonic presence. Demons knew she wanted to feel Kenneth’s spirit present, and they were more than happy to oblige her. She donated a beautiful picture to the church to hang in the fellowship hall of a dove flying into the sunlight. She swears there was only one dove in the picture, and then suddenly there were 2. She said it was Kenneth telling her it was ok, that he was in Heaven. I just have to shake my head. You *cannot* reason with a person who is thinking those things. You just have to pray that God will remove those demons from their place of influence around the person. She hangs out with friends (not Christian ones) that tell her the way to get over her husband’s death is to get laid. So as long as she has non-Christian influence like that, and welcomes that influence, she isn’t going to hear God’s answers to her.
    Men usually take the route of trying to solve a problem. Your friend has a problem, and you look for a solution, thinking that is what is needed, when she may just need to talk….to vent her feelings and frustrations. And what you do comes from love, because you want to help. It just might not be the best way to help.
    I don’t know if I’ve answered any of your questions at all. But other than praying that God will reveal the truth to her, all you can really do is be there and listen. Let her know you care and you support her. You just have to be the love of God to her, in human form.

  17. My dear Cindy,
    I am so glad you posted this.  I had read it before, but I am glad to get to read it again.  I understand completely what you mean about the difference between sorrow/grief and despair.  You are such a blessing…
    With muchliest love and prayers,
    paula sue

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