Olivianna

It  was March 12 of 2008. I was 23 weeks pregnant when we learned of our precious daughters condition. Up to that point, my pregnancy had been very similar to the first. I had the morning sickness, the acne, the tiredness…I had even had 2 previous ultrasounds confirming that our second baby girl looked perfect. But one early Wednesday morning, everything changed. Our world was turned upside down as we were informed that our daughter, Olivianna Grace, had a condition called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).

CDH is a fetal defect where there is a hole in the muscle between the chest and the abdomen.  The hole allows the contents of the abdomen (stomach, intestine, liver, spleen, and kidneys) to go up into the fetal chest, occupying the space and preventing the lungs from growing to normal size. While in the uterus, a baby does not need its lungs to breathe, because the placenta performs this function. However, if the lungs are too small after the baby is born, the baby will not be able to provide itself with enough oxygen to survive.
At first we were unsure of the severity of Olivianna’s condition.  We prayed and pleaded for the best…but in our flesh we feared the worst. After numerous trips to UCSF’s Fetal Treatment Center, and hours and hours of tests, we were told that Olivianna had the most severe form of CDH, and that survival outside of the womb was near impossible.
The next 103 days until Olivianna’s birth and death were the hardest days that we had ever experienced. There were days of extreme sorrow, when all we could do was pray and cry and beg Jesus to take all of the hurt away. And then there were days of extreme joy, when all we could do was shout out to Jesus and thank Him for holding us so closely and for using Olivianna for His glory. It was a time of being refined in the fire…of learning to trust…of learning to submit my life to the Lord, no matter the cost.
Olivianna lived 11 precious minutes on this earth. We held her, kissed her and told her how much we loved her. And then, we prayed her into the arms of Jesus.
This blog came out of a deep need to get my thoughts and feelings out of my head. I desired an outlet to share the  highs and lows, to ask for prayer, to give updates on tests and pregnancy, to share Olivianna’s story with anyone who would listen. More importantly, I desired to  share the love of Jesus Christ. His grace. His healing power. His salvation. His peace.
We are still on this journey of healing. We miss our daughter so very much, and so often think about what she would be like…who she would look like more…what her three and a half year old personality would be like. Although it is difficult at times, we cling to the promise that we will see her again. And then we smile!
Just like our lives have changed, this blog has changed. It started as “A Journey of Grace” and is now “Grover Style.” Nonetheless, it continues to be an outlet for me to share the things that God is doing, both personal and through my photography business. If you would like to read the posts that I wrote from the time I heard of Olivianna’s condition, to her birth and death, and the healing that took place in the months after, you can start (here) I pray that these posts will encourage your hearts and draw you closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that you will see not our faces, but His.
He gives and takes away, Blessed be His name.
-Amber

Megan - I am the mother of a beautiful 2 year old daughter named Olivia Grace. I work full-time and parent her 100 % by myself. “Olivianna” reminds me that no matter how hard it gets at times and how tired I feel, I am blessed with a healthy girl and I need to praise God as things could be worse. I will pray that God’s hand is with her parents when the pain of Olivianna’s short time in this world feels unbearable. May Olivianna’s song also bring comfort to others who bear a similar pain. God bless xxMarch 30, 2014 – 6:40 pm

Courtney (Cam’s Mommy) - Like many others, I found your story while searching for the meaning behind JJ Heller’s song. When I heard the song and when I read your story, I just started sobbing. It is so touching, especially because in 2010 I lost my baby, Cameron, to a miscarriage. Losing Cam is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life, but I know God is taking better care of my son than I ever could have. Thank you so much for sharing your story, people like you remind me to lean on God when my heart aches for my baby. You are in my prayers, God bless!March 18, 2014 – 11:40 pm

Olivia Anne fowler - Wow this touched me so much! I have wondered about who this baby girl in Jj Hellers song “Oliviaanna” was since I was 9 years old, Im 14 now…I cried longer than I have ever cried before wow this is such an amazing story. I’m so sorry for the lose of your presious baby girl! I know of a family who is going through something very similar, the mom is eight months pregnant I don’t know what’s wrong with the baby, but they said it won’t live past birth. As you know what this family is going through could you keep them in your prayers?
Thanks and God bless you,
Olivia fowler

Matt 18:3

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like the little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.February 14, 2014 – 10:55 pm

Olivia grace - Hi. My name is Olivia grace and I was do touched at your story…and you will now and forever be in my prayers. God bless you.

Olivia graceDecember 29, 2013 – 3:47 pm

Sara W. - Ooops thought it was JJ’s daughter but still…
I am still sorry!
What I said still goes for your precouse little girl!April 16, 2013 – 7:14 pm

Sara W. - Awww I’m so sorry!
I’ve herd the song and always wondered what it meant.
I knew it was proberly your daughter…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLLIVIANA!April 16, 2013 – 7:11 pm

Kianoosh & Megan - Happy 4th Birthday in Heaven, Olivianna! My wife and I read this post after being curious about the meaning behind JJ Heller’s song. Our nephew Jackson will turn 9 in Heaven on the 14th! It is so cool that it is Olivianna’s Birthday today, the same time we came across this song. We find great comfort and tears in your story and look forward to sharing it with Jackson’s Mom and Dad to comfort them!March 11, 2013 – 10:04 pm

Andria - JJ Heller, Thank you so much for writing about little Olivianna. Your song is Gorgeous, and as for the family, thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us! Even though she lived for 11 min after birth, she has brought peace to everyone who has heard the song JJ Heller has written for her. Her name, if you don’t already know this, derives from the Olive tree… the symbol of peace… every-time I hear the song and see this picture, I feel a type of Serenity/ Peace to know that God gives us such perfect little gifts even though some may only last a little while. In that space,in that little ounce of a second or minute, everything is still; everything is Olivianna’s gift to us all… Peace! God Bless and Thank you Olivianna… you are pure inspiration!November 4, 2012 – 5:01 pm

OLIVIANNA - Hi,
My name is Olivianna Faye Calmes. I am 13 years old. When I read this story I was touched. I had never known that someone had the same name. I stumbles across this page on the internet when i searched, “Olivianna”. That is a beautiful picture of a beautiful baby. My favorite color is pink too!
So nice to know that there was another Olivianna who was so loved and cared about.

God Bless!!!
Olivianna <3September 18, 2012 – 8:15 pm

Melissa - Like many writing here, I found your site after discovering, and becoming a huge fan of, JJ Heller. But I just wanted to share that when I read the first paragraph of your post, my jaw dropped. I, too, lost a daughter to CDH. We also thought our pregnancy was going well, until that 20 week ultrasound when the tech said “I’m going to have the doctor come in”…and life was never the same.

Our daughter, Maeve Alice Miller, lived 20 days. Today we remember the third anniversary of her death, when she “could not stay with us”. God has provided comfort in many ways throughout this journey, and that includes JJ’s song, and now this connection to your family’s story. I take comfort in knowing our daughters are with the Lord and we will see them soon.

God bless you.July 26, 2012 – 7:58 pm

Denise Womack - A beautiful baby and a beautiful story. God’s grace led me to JJ Heller’s healing music, and her song “Olivianna” led me to this website. Yours is a story of amazing courage, faith, and strength; and one to make us all thankful for our blessings.May 24, 2012 – 1:24 pm

Mary Scramlin - God Bless your family! She is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing and may God keep your family’s love strong for a lifetime and beyond to rejoin your little angel. Preparing to give our eldest wings in a different way as she approaches her teenage years is scary and knowing we have another daughter and son behind her, but you had to don Olivianna’s almost immediately because God had other plans for her. She took off to do God’s special works. Having miscarriages I understand some of your pain, but to go so far and actually get to hold her knowing you were going to have to give her back to God so soon is a real test of your love and faith. I admire you all for both.

I love photography, too. I really enjoyed your gallery! Reminds me to go enjoy mine more and keep clicking away with God’s grace.May 9, 2012 – 8:13 am

Kat Fall - I’m so sorry for your loss of her, Olivianna is such a beautiful name.
And I loved the by JJ Heller she is one of my most favorite singers! It touched me becouse my mom’s sister’s daughter ( my cousin) died when she was born I’m not sure what it was called but it to had to do with her lungs, her name was Mercy and my aunt said when Mercy was ” coming out ” the doctor said ” Come on Lord give me Mercy!” I thought that was sweet, and clever.
I miss Mercy she lived only 7 hour I only saw her 4 of those 7 hours.

Something weird is I never knew Olivianna, but I miss her dearly.

Kat FallApril 3, 2012 – 4:43 pm

Becca - One of the dearest people in the world to me is my friend Janelle. She was one of my roommates in college and we’ve stayed very close since. My other roomy, Suzanne, Janelle and I have prayed together every week via phone for several years. Janelle lives in CO, Suzanne in OH, and I live in IN. After sharing such formative years together, we were overjoyed when we all got pregnant within several months of each other. What a journey to go on together! We immediately began calling the babies the triplets.

Our worlds were shaken when Chris and Janelle were told at their 20 week ultrasound that their baby had developed no kidneys and was very, very small. The doctors recommended that they terminate the pregnancy. We walked through those dark days together. Praying, talking, and crying all the more frequently.

They decided to let the baby live however long Jesus wanted her to live and they named her Olivia Leilani (which means heavenly flower in Hawaiian). The night before Olivia’s scheduled ultrasound all our college girls (11 of us scattered across the globe) prayed at the same time, many of us via 3-way calls. So many prayers for the delivery were answered and Chris and Janelle had 90 minutes with Olivia, which was so much longer than the doctors anticipated.

There have been and continue to be many stories of God’s faithfulness in the process. However, the pain and grief is still very, very real in all our hearts, but especially in Chris and Janelle. I found your blog because JJ Heller’s song was the song they used in Olivia’s memorial slideshow.

I am so sorry for your loss. I know there is joy in walking with Jesus, even through the darkest possible experiences, but I also can’t imagine the all the pain you’ve been through. May God bless your testimony and may His work of redemption be more and more beautiful in you.March 30, 2012 – 9:50 am

Amy Clements - Amber, Im so sorry to hear of the loss of your daughter Olivianna (A very beautiful name). My daughter Catherine was born on 12/9/2011 and was diagnosed with CDH after she was born. She only lived a little over 6 hours.

Thank you for sharing your story.

God BlessFebruary 28, 2012 – 4:32 pm

Laurie - I believe the Lord lead me to you, Iam all so Greatful..I’ve been trying to concieve since 2007, in March of 2011 we finally saved $17,000,00 for IVF..Out of the blue I thought of a name I never heard before,”Olivianna” and said this will be her name(unborn child)..everyday I thought of her name and how exciting life will be once she’s arrived..well that month IVF didn’t work,I gave up, tired over weight due to stress,finally I said Lord take this,help me,we don’t have the strength anymore.I let go and began to live,lost 45 lbs,picked up a new job and hobbies then it happened. “Olivianna’s” name, the thoughts,I said Lord I don’t understand You gave us this desire..This week we decided to see another Dr. only because the dream,hope,desire is there.Tonight I randomly googled Olivianna and was amazed by God’s Grace!! jj heller “Olivianna”..I thought I know this artist WOW!!!I’ve heard her before and the name “Olivianna”…All I have to say is Your amazing, I couldn’t imagine the Love you felt vanish from your arms in 11 minutes!!Your Brave a true Blessing to me a perfect stranger…I know ur Olivianna is in Heaven an Angel..this wasn’t a coincidence it was God..I will pray for your family and God Bless you…LaurieJanuary 16, 2012 – 10:14 pm

Kimberly Whippie - I heard of Olivianna through the song by JJ Heller. It was such a beautiful song and I just wanted to know more about Olivianna. You are an inspiration and it just shows that when we are faithful that our Father is with us. Just as Olivianna is with the our Father now. My heart goes out to you and just pray for your family. Many Blessings!January 4, 2012 – 10:58 am

kathy hoeck - My husband and I recently had the privilege of hearing jj and dave heller perform their amazing music at the college where my hubby teaches. We could not have been more blessed by their music, their heart, their souls. Even tho we are well into our 50’s with two married daugthers and two teen age sons, their music spoke to our hearts in a beautiful way. We bought several cd’s and Olivianna has blessed my heart and I couldn’t wait to read the story. Thank you for this blog, thank you for your testimony and I’m so thankful for heller’s beautiful music!December 12, 2011 – 11:46 am

Heather Rayburn - i cried when i read this. this was exactly the kind of encouragement i needed right now to continue to trust and have faith, no matter the outcome. thank you amber.December 8, 2011 – 5:00 pm

Nolan Croce - How did JJ Heller come to know you guys and to write the song, “Olivianna”???December 8, 2011 – 12:50 pm

Katie - I found your story from JJ Hellers song and was truly touched by the beauty and grace expressed through it, it’s such an honour to even know about this and to see how strong faith can really be and i’m sure that your strength and that of you beautiful baby girl has influenced so many peoples lives and faith for it certainly has mine. I can’t wait to meet her when we get to heaven and to see you and your daughter re-united through the grace of the lord, i am so sorry for the postonement of your life with her but you will be together in time and beyond a shadow of a doubt she is not lost but with her father smiling proudly at her courageous and loving mummy and daddy, God bless and keep you xxNovember 18, 2011 – 7:14 pm

Zaneta - I find it amazing how one person sharing there grieve give comfort to others. Thank you.

Your daughter is beautiful.

Thank God we have hope for what is to come after this life because to have that kind of loss without it must be unbearable. My heart breaks for all the stories; I pray God’s love feels your heart when times of grieve come upon you. I too have a story of loss….two miscarriages and very little chance to any children. I find myself trusting God that He knows better than me and to be honest some days it just a thin line of hope. On those days I find myself asking God “Why?”. Thanks you again for sharing your story of loss, grieve and most important hope. My God bless you.November 1, 2011 – 11:51 am

Anna C - I’m so sorry for your loss. My little cousin had trouble when she was born and she had to go to the hospital a lot and now she is better.October 31, 2011 – 1:53 pm

Nicole C - im sorry for your loss.I am only 12 and i know i cant do much yet.this story reminds me so much of my friend, though she was 14 and passed away of an asthma attack on april 4th 2011. it was the worst day of my life.but like you (and so many others) im greatful that i can one day hold paige in my arms again.My dad said that every thing god does is for a reason.I know i cant see it now,but im thankful the lord has been a part of my life.Thank you for sharing this inspirational story with the world!
love,
nicole carpenterOctober 21, 2011 – 8:04 pm

Casi - Hi there! My sweet cousin just forwarded JJ Hellers song “Olivianna” to me this morning and when I heard the words I had to find out who it was about. Amber reading your story about you and your families trial through your pregnancy was sad yet very comforting to me. My husband and I found out in 2009 at our 20 week ultrasound that our 3rd sweet baby boy would be born with a condition called Thenataphoric Dysplasia. It also is a very rare condition (that was thankfully not genetic) that the baby could not live outside the womb with due to the chest cavity not growing enough to support his lungs. Those were very dark times for us….the hurt and pain were very overwhelming at times. But through it all I felt so blessed because we saw the Lord in a way I never thought I would get to see Him. All of our prayers as far as what to do through the rest of the pregnancy were answered…everything was black/white and that is all we asked for. We got to spend a few precious moments with our Eli when he was born @ 32 weeks on March 4, 2010. I feel very blessed to have come across your story because it makes me feel less alone in what my husband and I are experiancing even now with still going through the grieving process. I will keep you and your sweet family in my prayers and God Bless you for sharing your story! <3September 15, 2011 – 10:29 am

kelly - i pray for amber every time i think of oliviana and now she gave birth to her beautiful and healthy boy ezra. god is amazing and he has a purpose for everything and it brings me to tears to imagine what it was like to go through that but with the help of god she over came it.

-love,
kellyAugust 21, 2011 – 7:46 pm

Jennifer K. Hale - I just purchased JJ Heller’s album, When I’m with You, and I heard the song Olivianna. I was so touched by the beautiful words that I wanted to know the story behind the song, and after a few clicks on google, I was led to this page.

What a beautiful testament to God’s amazing grace you’ve shared with so many! Olivianna’s purpose in your family was certainly magnified through the lives you’ve touched with your words.

God bless you and your family. Know that whenever I hear this song, I’ll be praying that God will continue His healing in your lives, and continue His work through her precious story.

God Bless,
Jennifer K. HaleJuly 18, 2011 – 6:52 pm

Christine - I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful little girl .July 15, 2011 – 9:17 am

Emily - I love this story. So sad. Made me cry.June 12, 2011 – 5:58 pm

Jamie - God bless you and your family, Amber. You have touched many with this blog. Thank you so much. I have a story different from yours but I do not wish to share it here. I will never know the pain or torment that you have, I can only imagine carrying a child for so long knowing she would not survive. God bless you for your fortitude. He held you in His hands through this. I will be praying for you and for joy to be with you! I will not look at my children the same way ever again due to this blog. BLESS YOU!April 6, 2011 – 10:38 am

Jessi - I am so sorry for you, and like so many others, i heard JJ Heller’s song which then led me here… my friend’s mother had a miscarriage a few years ago, and it was really hard for them. i know it can cause a lot of pain. i’m very happy that you trusted the Lord through it all though. God bless you!!!March 26, 2011 – 10:56 am

Brittany - You know most of you tell of your sorrows and of the triumph God has given you even in the hard times. For the last 9 months I’ve asked the question of “Why Lord did you take my beautiful baby girls away from me?” And all I get back is an I LOVE YOU from him. Like so many of you I lost someone I loved. I sometimes wonder if it would hurt less if there had been only one of them. I know in my heart that it wouldn’t change a thing. It’s been a hard journey to get to where I am at, from where I was in that hospital room. I went into the Hospital on June 15, 2010 @ 8:00pm because I was having excruciating abdominal pain. Later I found out that I was going to be kept for observation overnight, so my aunt and her family went home. I was left alone in my hospital room all night and unable to sleep. I cried and sang hymns all night as I thought of the possible impending doom of having to have surgery the next day. I was scared to death and all alone to cope with the possibilities that something was wrong with one of my little girls. See I was pregnant with twin girls Shiloh Elisabeth Rielle and Susannah Ellese Faith, and at 17 weeks. I had been told that there was a possibility that one of my little girls was actually killing me from the inside out, and that’s as much as they would tell me. I was so scared that I would learn in the morning that I would have to have the surgery and I would lose 1 or both of my precious girls. That was the longest night of my life, and by far close to the worst too.

I had fought to keep them (my ex-boyfriend had given me an ultimatum, that it was either him or them, and I told him that it was definitely them), and now I was feeling as if God didn’t care about me or them and that all he really wanted to do was to take the 2 most important people in my life away from me. I have lost a lot in my life, for example when I was 3 my mother miscarried a baby,and I have lived with the longing for that brother or sister and the lost years without them since then. I am 22 now. I didn’t know if I could handle losing them too. And I had no desire to know how my mother had felt all those many long years before. So I prayed, cried and talked to God in that hospital bed and asked him if there was any miracle he could perform, that the only one I wanted was for my little girls to be okay.

I learned at 6:00 am the morning of June 16th, 2010 that I would have to go have an ultrasound done. They wanted to see what they would find in my uterus and to listen to see if in fact their hearts were still beating. While I was in there the Technician gave me a funny look and that scared me half out of my skin, I didn’t know if that was a good “funny” look or a bad “funny” look. I asked but of course he told me that he was not authorized to tell me anything. He gave me ear plugs because he said that I wasn’t allowed to know if their hearts were still beating or not. He left to talk to a doctor and they came back and wheeled me back to my room in the ER. They then told me that my OB-GYN would be in at 6:30 am that morning to let me know what would be happening the rest of the day. I waited till the time he was supposed to come, he didn’t come. He finally came at 7:00 am. His visit was brief, but long enough to say that I would in fact have to have the surgery. They had good enough reason to believe that I had a cyst on my right ovary. Then he turned around and as he walked out the door, he looked back over his shoulder and quickly added, “Oh! and just so that you know, you’re dying!”, and he left the room.

I was left there to sob into my pillow alone. I started to question God and his plan and his will for and in my life. All my worries came back. My life started to flash before me. All the good, the bad and the in-between. I wondered what would happen to my little girls, if I was to die, who would care for them, would they be okay, what would become of them. I finally asked that my Aunt and her family be called and then my Dad as well. I was informed that my surgery was scheduled for 10:30am.

They got me on the gurney and wheeled me to the door to the OR that I would be invading shortly. I kept crying and praying. Praying that my family would make it here in time before I had was put under for the surgery. Crying because of my girls and would I lose them. What if there was something wrong with them and I never saw them. I just laid there crying my heart out to no one in particular and holding my belly for dear life, as if holding would keep them safe from the unpredictable. All the family I had called got there in time, but barely. I was so afraid that I was gonna die. But I didn’t wanna live and lose my girls. I didn’t think that I could live without them. I kept praying and asking God to please allow me and them to all live, if it was his will and it was what was to happen. I started to sob harder as I finally said the words I had not wanted to say at all. I finally told God that if it was his will to let me live and that they had to die then, let it be.

You see, I didn’t want to lose them, but in the few short minutes before they put me under for surgery I was told that the test they had done, had in fact come back saying that Shiloh wasn’t gonna make it, and neither was I, unless they operated quickly, and even then Susannah may not make it either. But she had the biggest chance of survival. Something in that moment fell in my heart and I knew that neither of them would make it. And I suddenly didn’t care if I did either.

I came out of that surgery alive, Shiloh died before she was removed from my uterus, and little Susannah died 10 minutes after she was removed. Susannah had a hole in her heart, and Shiloh they didn’t why she died. I asked them if I could hold them, but they said no.

To this day the pain is ever real in my heart. I miss them like it were yesterday. Every month on the 16th, its harder and harder. I can’t write this without tears flowing freely. I will always love them, but I know in my heart that someday I will see them again. And I can’t wait for that day. Some days it seems to hurt more than others. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without God, and all his promises to me. I know he has plans for me and my life, and that he is working on showing them to me. But I can’t honestly sit here and say that there aren’t days when all I want to know is, “WHY?”. Why me, and why my precious little angel girls. I never wanted to know how my mother felt and still feels about my sibling, and its not something that any child should have to share with her mother.

I have felt like I was the only one out there that had gone this. Its so good to be able sit here and read that I’m not and that there are those that know just how I feel. I would never wish it upon a soul, and I am so sorry for all those that know just what I am talking about and exactly how it feels.

Amber: I am so sorry for you loss and your pain, but thank you for your faith in God and his promises and his love for us. Even when it comes to those we love and lose and some of the hardest roadblocks we may come to in life. You are witnessing something that most people would be afraid to, so thank you. Thank you for everything. You are truly inspirational. Thank you for allowing God to work through you for others and to you through others.

BrittanyMarch 15, 2011 – 3:40 am

Kristen Carter - JJ Heller led me to your story, the song touched my heart because I lost my brother, he was still born. I was devastated, so were my parents. I didn’t know how to deal with it, and neither did my parents. They both turned to drugs and alcohol, and I admire you for being so strong, and for allowing God to give you the strength to deal with your loss. I only wish my parents had been as faithful in the Lord as you.March 12, 2011 – 11:00 pm

jeanne - I am onley 13, me and my friends didnt know if this was JJ daughter. I was verry sad when i heard the news. when i get maired and have a babby, and if it pases away, i dont know what i whould do. this song made me cry. and i prayed that everone was ok. and the song love me is great to!!!! at my church we are singing the song in singlanughe for the deff!! and if someone reads this please pray for my dad not to go through with the divorce, and that he will come home. thank you and God bless
you!!!March 12, 2011 – 11:45 am

Jamee Stimpson - What a BEAUTIFUL baby girl! I’m sure she is dancing in the arms of Jesus right now! Much love.March 5, 2011 – 10:30 pm

Sara - I too heard JJ Heller’s song about Olivianna, and immediately started to cry it touched my heart because I too lost my little girl, Annabelle Marie. She was stillborn on June 1, 2008 and I too rejoice in the fact that I will get to hold my baby girl again and she is being held by our Father in heaven. Thank you so much for sharing your story it helps to know that there are others around that have been through similar situations. Annabelle had an omphalocele which caused her abdominal organs to be formed on the outside of her body. At 35 weeks one of the organs twisted and caused a blood clot which caused her heart to stop. Praise God I got to spend that much time with her, when I found out about the defect I was told that she would not make it past 20 weeks! Thank you for reminding me that Annabelle has other little girls to play with, and for making me smile remembering her sweet face!March 4, 2011 – 7:16 am

Theresa - I recently heard JJ’s song for Olivianna and was brought to tears immediately. My husband and I have lost two baby girls over the span of our marriage. Abigail Rose was stillborn on September 13, 1999 at 25 weeks along. None of the doctors were able to tell us what happened – just that she was gone and that I was going to have to deliver her. Seven years later, on December 19, 2006, it happened again. I delivered our stillborn daughter, Lalah Grace at 23 weeks along. Again, no doctors could tell us why this happened. We were devastated once again.

While each loss presented us with fresh pain and anguish, they also drove us closer to our LORD and gave us the opportunity to witness to others.

I count my blessings over this often. I am blessed to have 4 healthy children – may I never take that for granted. I am blessed to have a loving husband who is always there to point me to God’s loving faithfulness… even during times when He’s allowed pain and struggle into my life. I am blessed that God gives me strength and renews my faith each day.

Thank you for letting me share this with you. It’s been a while since I “talked” to anyone about this. God’s continued blessings to you and your family now and always.February 2, 2011 – 7:43 pm

Lynn - God bless you and your family…January 31, 2011 – 2:51 pm

Cadensmom - I learned about Olivianna’s story after listening to JJ Heller’s song. I just wept for your loss and for the strength of your faith in God to turn your suffering into something that will probably, in the end, encourage and inspire millions.I had several early miscarriages but had one late term baby who passed away in utero and was delivered stillborn at 34 weeks. His name was Jesse and he will live on in my and his father’s hearts forever. I played Olivianna for Jesse’s dad and he cried in a way I have never seen him cry. Yesterday, he went to church with me for the very first time and asked me last night if he could be baptized.I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how much Olivianna’s story has touched our lives and how it softened a hardened man enough to open his heart to Christ.Thank you for sharing her and your journey. May God bless you.January 31, 2011 – 12:50 pm

Nicole Ramsey - I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I am here by way of JJ Heller’s song about your beautiful girl. I was able to really identify with the song, my daughter, Caroline Elizabeth was still born on October 20, 2010 at 39 weeks and 2 days gestation. Losing her has easily been the hardest thing my family has ever gone through. There have been times that it was hard to keep in mind that she was sent into the arms of Jesus, and that we’ll meet her there one day. So, once again, thank you for sharing your story, and allowing it to be shared through music too. Your precious Olivianna will touch and has touched so many lives.January 17, 2011 – 2:05 pm

Lindsay Anne - Oh my goodness, I was just listening to the song, and I realized what it was about. I just found this post on Google. I can’t imagine what it must be like to loose a child that way, but I am so thankful for God bringing you through it and to Him be the glory for strengthening you though it.

love,
Lindsay AnneJanuary 15, 2011 – 8:45 pm

Sarah - WOW! The Glory of the Lord is shining all through this true story of life’s hardships, yet we still have the hope that someday all will be made new and all of our tears and sorrows will be wiped away by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Aba Father our Daddy. I will pray for you Amber your story has brought me to a place of remembering that God is big in all his ways.January 6, 2011 – 10:01 am

Lindsey - Wow. I am so inspired by your story. Reading it has stirred up so many emotions in me, and I cannot even imagine what it would be like to go through what you have. However, I thank you for sharing your heart and your innermost thoughts. Thank you for sharing your walk with God during this time. It has touched me deeply and allowed me to evaluate my own personal relationship with Christ. It has encouraged me to trust Him more and given me hope that He works all things for His glory. It has given me such important perspective on the trials in my life right now. I pray God’s richest blessings to continue in your life. You are awesome. Thank you!January 3, 2011 – 10:43 am

carrie bower - this story touched me and Olivianna’s song brought tears to my eyes. my Lila Grace passed away on Feb 1, 08 and we know not why. She was only in our arms for 86 days. I send my love and hugs to your family. We know our precious little ones are in the arms of Jesus and that brings comfort.

http://www.lilabower.last-memories.com

Love,
Carrie B.December 27, 2010 – 10:00 am

Rachel - I found out about this story from JJ Heller’s song on her new cd. Thank you for sharing it…It has touched me so much and helped me to appreciate all the blessings I have, and I have shared it with many family and friends.
Thank you again and God Bless,
RachelDecember 19, 2010 – 2:20 pm

Jena - I have never been so undeniably overtaken by God’s amazing grace as I did when I read this story. Your daughter, you never failing faith and this song has changed my journey forever. Thank you so much for being so strong, strong enough to share with the whole world. Your beautiful.December 11, 2010 – 9:38 pm

Rebecca - I’m so sorry for your loss Olivianna was a beautiful baby! My husband & I lost our daughter at 23wks into my pregnancy a few months ago and continue to struggle with our grief and the immense loss she has left in our lives. Thank you for sharing your and Olivianna’s story and inspiring others.December 10, 2010 – 5:45 pm

Cathi - I just downloaded JJ Heller’s new CD was listening to it in the car today. i had tears running down my cheeks I was so touched by the song I had to find out the story behind the song. I read your blog and was overwhelmed by your faith and your love of theLord. It made me remember one of my friends who lost her grandson Mason @ 4 months from SIDS. Because of his brief life and his sudden passing so many people came to accept Christ because of the his life and the transformation of his parents Kellie and LonnieNovember 30, 2010 – 6:11 pm

danielle - thank you so much for sharing your story and making it known….to make HIS story known. you are on my heart today.November 24, 2010 – 5:56 pm

Zoë Katzbeck - You are an incredible woman of God. I just read through most of your journey and cried while reading it. I am only 18 and have no idea what God has in my future. And I couldn’t even begin to know what you went through. But to see how God used you and Olivianna… it is so beautiful. You are amazing. God is amazing! Thank you for being so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you, Thank you.November 17, 2010 – 8:42 pm

Cara - I just got the new JJ Heller album in the mail today. I was listening to the song Olivianna when it hit me what it was about. I opened the album cover and came immediately to your blog. On June 2, 2010, my husband and I learned that our son, Grant, was no longer alive. I was 20 weeks 6 days pregnant and had a healthy pregnancy up to that point. Like Alicia, they induced me and he was born June 3 at 10:52 am. This past 5 months has been an incredible journey for us. Extreme grief but our faith has been stretched beyond what I could imagine. I started blogging a few months ago to share our story, Grant’s story, and to help express what I’m feeling. http://naughtforgranted.blogspot.com/2010/09/baby-d.html

Thank you for sharing your story with us.November 3, 2010 – 1:30 pm

Kristy MInor - Hello,

My mother in law, Jamie, shared your blog with me. I really appreciate her doing that. Like others, I want to share my story with you.

On January 29th 2003, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who was whisked away from us, as we sat there waiting, knowing that he was premature as I was 7 months along, naturally they needed to check him out. We expected they would have to keep him in the hospital for a while, they can do great things for premies these days! Never in our wildest dreams did we expect our doctor to walk in and say, “I’m sorry, he isn’t going to make it.” WHAT? Yeah, I didn’t see that coming.

To top it off our room was full of medical students, my mother and father, the staff who just flew in from a neo-natal unit by helicopter, and my husband. There we all sat and cried together. Our precious son Adam James lived for 45 minutes and died in my arms shortly after they took him off of life support and brought him in to hold for the first time.

The shock and emptiness of being in that hospital for the next few days and leaving empty handed was unbearable. I was due to have an ultrasound that morning, where I would learn the gender of our baby. However the night before I started feeling really crampy, those cramps persisted to get worse. I called my doctor thinking I had Braxton Hicks, he agreed. At 7 am I could barely breath from the pain, I was 8 cm dialated and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

My doctor tried to break the water but all he came out with was hair on the end of his tool. They couldn’t explain to me what had gone wrong, or why he had died. All they knew was that his lungs were not fully developed, and he had no kidneys.

I was so grief stricken that I had to join bereavement support groups to get me through those following months. We held a funeral for him and buried him on top of my grandmother’s grave. We chose to write him a letter before we buried him and buried him with our picture. It wasn’t until 2 years later when I moved to the west coast, that I discovered why he had died. He had Potter’s Syndrom, a very rare thing that can happen to any expecting mother’s baby.

I found peace in discovering why he died, and I found God by moving to the opposite side of the country. I made a website and dedicated it to him. I turned to writing almost immediately to help get my feelings out.

He’s coming up on 8 years old now and every birthday is still hard. God bless you in your journey of healing and hope.October 20, 2010 – 10:14 am

Valerie - Alicia, my story is so similar to yours … except my date was July 13, 2010. I too was 15 1/2 weeks pregnant. I’ll be praying for you!

Amber, thanks for your story … it’s nice to know people are willing to talk about infant loss, it seems like such a lonely time. Thanks for “talking!”October 20, 2010 – 9:53 am

Alicia - I was givin your story, and JJ Hellers new song “Olivianna” today by a beloved friend. On September 29th 2010 we found out our son had passed away I was 15 1/2 weeks pregnant. We had to induce labor and he was born September 30th at 3:45 am. It is the hardest thing a mother has to go through. We got to hold him, name him, then we had to let he be with Jesus. Thankfully we were able to have his tiny 1 oz. body creamated, so I get to see his picture, and his cross everyday. It is amazing how God has plans for us, and we are in his hands, even if we dont understand.October 20, 2010 – 9:01 am

Gina - Hello,
I just read your story… JJ Heller posted on facebook on the story behind her song “Olivianna”. I am so very sorry for your loss. I suffered a miscarriage two and a half years ago. I wanted to share a dance piece I choreographed based on my grief journey with my husband. My dance partner and I performed it in Boulder, CO (this is where the video was taken), and recently we performed it at a grief support group. I really feel like God allowed me to choreograph this to encourage and give hope to others going through loss and grief. My dance partner and I are hoping to share it with more support groups and whoever would benefit from seeing it. For me it has been such an amazingly healing experience to dance and share with others, I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me after performing it and told me their own stories.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un1o_ZycDrcOctober 20, 2010 – 8:03 am

“Olivianna” – JJ Heller | Kirk Family - [...] developing in the womb called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). You can read about the story here. I think after reading the story and hearing the song any man would cry including myself. The [...]May 17, 2012 – 11:17 am

When I’m With You – JJ Heller @ viaRenovo - [...] T&L: How did you learn about Olvianna’s story? JJ: I was running low on inspiration, and I posted a request for songwriting ideas on my facebook page. A friend from college contacted me and told me to check out her friends blog because it was a touching story. I remember being so moved by Amber Grover’s writing that I knew I needed to write a song about it. You can find out more at: http://www.groverstyleblog.com/olivianna/ [...]April 17, 2011 – 10:32 pm

Your Hands | Tracy and Mary's Blog - [...] Olivianna’s Story [...]December 1, 2010 – 12:14 am

Olivianna | love.joy.peace. - [...] way to keep their daughter’s spirit alive. i’m kind of backtracking now but click HERE and read Olivianna’s story. from here, her mom, Amber put in a link to read her blog posts [...]November 18, 2010 – 2:36 pm

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