Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blair Nicole Schuelke

The story of our sweet baby Blair all began on April 2, 2011 when my husband Clint and I found out I was pregnant with our first child! We had prayed about when to start our family and felt the Lord’s confirmation as we saw the two lines on the pregnancy stick. We were SO excited about the thought of having a child to call our own. As a Pre-K teacher, I have always loved kids and couldn’t wait to take care of my own rather then a classroom full of others. I decided after 4 years of teaching that this was going to be my last year, and that I would begin my new career as a mom in December. So I packed up my classroom with anticipation for the future.

I had the most perfect pregnancy! I was always waiting for the day that I would start to feel nauseous, but that day never came and I went 36 weeks with no sickness to speak of. Other then the persistent backache after 30 weeks, leg cramps at night, and frequent trips to the restroom, I loved being pregnant! I had never felt better! I had a cute maternity wardrobe along with many compliments on how cute my baby bump was and comments of how everyone couldn’t wait to meet Blair. When we found out we were having a girl, it added so much excitement to what was already so wonderful! We had the perfect name picked out; Blair Nicole. Blair is Clint’s middle name, which was a name his parents loved because of a good friend they knew with that name. Nicole is my middle name, which my parents picked out simply because they just liked the name. Our little girl’s name would have a little of both her parents. We began thinking and preparing for the future as we started a remodel on our house with a new kitchen, living room, and nursery. I couldn’t wait to set it up for Blair, but would have to wait until after our remodel was finished. But it was ok with me…all that was important was having a healthy baby; the details and decorations would come later. Life was good with so much to look forward to!

My life changed dramatically on November 5th, 2011, a month before her December 5th due date. I had gone to my baby care class at the hospital that morning and lunch and shopping with friends that afternoon. It wasn’t until that evening that I realized I hadn’t felt Blair move as much as she had the day before. I was a little worried, but soon felt her have the hiccups so I felt a lot better. The weekend continued with a little concern, as she still did not have the usual kicks and jabs I was so used to. I was also having a lot of Braxton hicks, so I wondered if she was just moving less because of that. When Monday came we called the doctor and went in for a Non-Stress Test. The nurse found the heartbeat with the Doppler and then hooked me up to the machine. Her heartbeat was normal and I was supposed to push a button every time I felt her kick. After eating chocolate, I was able to push the button more often, but the doctor wasn’t comfortable with the amount of kicks she made. So we went in for an ultrasound. Immediately we were able to see her moving, which was a huge relief. The ultrasound tech was supposed to look for 8 things in order to say I “passed”. She had 30 minutes to find those things and she passed 100% of the test in 15 minutes. Blair was alive and seemed to be healthy from what we saw and what we were told. There wasn’t a huge concern from the fill-in doctor (my doctor was out taking her boards) or nurses and we were sent home. We went home with excitement and peace knowing that she was ok and we had done everything in our power to make sure she was. The rest of the week went on about the same. I still didn’t feel Blair the same as I had before, but I thought this was the new norm being so close to the end. I also had an appointment scheduled for Thursday, so I knew everything would be checked out again. I was confident that everything was ok.

On Thursday, November 10th I picked my mom up from the airport. She flew in for the last of my three baby showers. We had plans to start organizing and getting Blair’s space set up (we still were not in our house at this point because of the remodel, but we were living in my grandpas house he only stays at on the weekends). Normally my husband had gone to every appointment with me, but this was starting my weekly appointments so it fell on the week he was working. It worked out great that my mom would be able to go with me. My appointment was at 3:45, and again I had no fear or worry going into it.  I got undressed because at 36 weeks and 4 days along this was the first appointment that she would check to see if I was starting to dilate. As I lay back on the table, my doctor began to look for the heartbeat with the Doppler. She pressed it against my stomach in several places stopping every once and awhile to really listen saying, “I think that is it…” But I knew it wasn’t the same sound I had heard in every appointment before this.  She remained calm and said that sometimes the Doppler didn’t work very well. She rolled in a cart with an ultrasound machine to get a better reading. She did the same thing again; saying that she wasn’t always good at reading the machine and that her ultrasound tech had better equipment. This is when the panic set in! She asked me to get dressed, but not to panic yet…(Yeah right!) She would have me come into the other room to get a better look. When the ultrasound tech began the test, I knew immediately, but was in denial. I didn’t see the heart moving like I had before and as she called the doctor back in I knew my life would forever be changed. My mom was definitely freaking out with unbelief and confusion. “How could this happen!” All I could do was stare in unbelief asking the same questions. “How!? Why?! Not me!! I want Clint here now!!!” And then she said the words I never wanted to hear or hear ever again! “Brooke, I am so sorry. There is no heartbeat. Blair is no longer alive.” My doctor took us back to her office so I could call my husband and have a safe place to cry. All I could do was cry and wonder “is this really happening!? We were here Monday and everything was ok!! We saw her moving!”  After many tests, our biggest question of how it happened never got answered and never will be answered on this side of heaven. It is something we have to just give to God and trust that He has a plan.

Clint immediately left work to come to the hospital. We live almost an hour away, so it took him awhile to get there. By the time he got there I was in a labor and delivery room getting dressed in a hospital gown because my doctor was not going to let me go home until she was born. When he got there all we could do was hold each other and cry. At first, all I wanted to do was have a C-section and not go through the agonizing hours of giving birth. I wanted to go home and pretend that it was all just a horrible nightmare. But somehow the Lord gave me strength to press on. Family and friends through either their presence or prayers surrounded us immediately. Being in the hospital and going through what we did was the hardest thing I have ever done! Yet, there was an indescribable peace and power that was with us while we were there that came only from the Lord. And after 23 hours of labor with only 3 pushes we got to see our precious Blair for the first time. We had looked forward to this moment since we found out we were pregnant wondering what she would look like. Who would she look like most?! Never in a million years did we think it would be like this! Blair was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen! She had the most beautiful lips with defined peaks on her upper lip, the same as her daddy. She had a head full of auburn hair like mine covered with a sweet lace bonnet, and the tiniest little features on her 5 pound 1 ounce frame. I will never forget how she felt in my arms and the amount of love I had in that moment. But with that emotion also came pain and deep sadness as I looked at my baby girl who would never open her eyes.

We got to spend 4 hours holding Blair and sharing her with our family. My sister-in-law took lots of pictures as everyone held her and saw how beautiful she was. We also had a professional photographer with an organization called “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” take pictures along with the photographer with the hospital. I will forever be grateful for those pictures. Letting her go was the second hardest thing I have ever done with not hearing or seeing her heartbeat being the first. The third hardest followed close by with leaving the hospital without my baby. And again I had to hold onto a strength that comes only from the Lord.

In the days that followed we had many people show their sympathy with visits, phone calls, texts, food, prayers, cards, gifts, hugs, and shared tears. On November 15th we had the sweetest service for Blair at the chapel in the cemetery where her body would be laid to rest. Our brother-in-law, Jeff Scott, who also led our wedding in 2007, led the service with a personal message that spoke to our hearts. We had to think and talk of things that no one else our age would even fathom thinking about. We decided that Blair would be buried in the same plot as me with a gravestone marking her name between ours because she would forever be a part of us. We decided as her parents to carry her casket to the place she would be buried, which helped as closure for us. I will forever carry the memory of beauty with me as I remember the beautiful flowers, words, songs, and caring support of family and friends on this day.  

Clint and I have said from the beginning that we know all things work for good for those who love God, and we will count this grief and pain worth it in the end if lives are changed because of it. Our prayer is that others will give their life to Christ or strengthen their walk with Him upon hearing of Blair’s life and death, and in seeing our hope through it all. Her life had purpose and will continue to have purpose to bring others closer to Him. We have seen the power of prayer and the love of Christ through His people toward us in amazing ways. While we still grieve and forever will grieve, we hold onto hope that we will see Blair again someday. We love and miss Blair with all our hearts, but it brings a smile to our faces that she is loved better than we could ever have loved her here on Earth, and that heaven is all she will ever know. She was simply a little girl made for heaven. A little girl who we will see again someday! 


  1. Such a beautifully written story of our sweet Blair. I miss her every day but also take comfort in knowing that she is with Jesus and that nothing could be better for her!! So, until I get to see her again, I will trust in Him for His plan. You and Clint have been such an inspiration to everyone around you, and have shown your faith to be so strong, there is no doubt that lives will be changed because of it. You are such a blessing to me and I know that the Lord will bless you abundantly for your faithfulness.
    Love you more than word can say....

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  2. Beautiful words about the life of your perfect little Blair Nicole. Brooke, I love your precious heart and that you are allowing God to be glorified in her life...and that we KNOW we will see her again for all of eternity!

  3. Sweet Brooke,
    I am overwhelmed with an array of emotions as I read through your story. I am proud of you for writing and for sharing your pain as well as your faith. Your mom is right that you are an inspiration to so many for the testimony and trust you have in our good and gracious Father. I still cannot fathom the road you have endured and I pray that the Lord will continue to pour out his love and his grace on both you and Clint to not only sustain you but comfort you and preserve you as you continue to walk this path He has laid out for you. May you continue to walk in faith, and continue to look upward toward Him. Jesus is our great High Priest that is the only one who can truly understand your pain, and can therefore meet you right where you're ANY given moment.
    You are me and by so many....

  4. Dearest Brooke,
    You are such a strong and brave young woman. You and Clint have handled the most devastating situation with such grace and love. So has your mama. She shows her strength and trust in what the Lord has done and what He will do every time we work together, every time we talk. I have grieved many times for all of you and know this blog will be so helpful and is a beautiful testimony to Blair's life in Jesus' arms. What a precious baby. Love you Brooke. I will continue to pray as you walk through your journey in you do, clearly you know how close Jesus' arms are about you.
    Love, Nancy

  5. Dear Brookie,

    Wow, there is just so much here that brings up my own memories, emotions and story. How incredible it is that God has intertwined you in my story the way He has.

    Such a beautiful, heartfelt, raw account Brooke. I can feel your emotions as you unfold the events. How valuable the internet is now for sharing and allowing God to use you and connect you with others in similar circumstances! I know it will help to bring healing not only to you but to many others as well. You are brave and unselfish to do this, and you reveal your deep love for Jesus, despite your anguish, and that is the most powerful and best gift you can ever give or receive!

    As I have walked this journey in many similar ways, I of course feel connected to you now on that level, but also find It really amazing how God would have, more than 27 years ago, had you being formed in your mom, my good friend, when our precious firstborn Christopher would go straight to the arms of Jesus, and yet still before your entrance into this world, He would bless us with the knowledge that the hope of new life, new beginnings, was on her way-- our beautiful Carly, your good friend! What fun it was watching you two and all the sisters grow up together!

    We can't know how God will be orchestrating your future, but I do know He wants to give you the desires of your heart as you have delighted and trusted in Him (Ps. 37:4-5). Already God has given you much cause for rejoicing in hope for the future, with another precious one on the way! So very thrilled and happy for you all, and I will be keeping you in my prayers, along with the little cousin in the oven too!! God is so good!

    I didn't mean to take so long to reply to your beautiful post, but since I waited so long I can now celebrate all the good news! Hope to see you and your new lil bump soon!

    Much love,