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

Mary That song really touched me and she is in a better place now. She is in the arms of Jesus. I know it hurts,but that baby girl is in a better place and she is praising Jesus.
God blessJuly 23, 2016 – 3:17 pm

Mary That song really touched me and she is in a better place now. She is in the arms of Jesus. I know it hurts,but that baby girl is in a better place and she is praising Jesus.
I know how you feel, I just lost my grandfather, I never got to say goodbye. But you and your family will forever be in my prayers. God bless.July 23, 2016 – 3:16 pm

Olivianna Hi my name is olivianna also. I’m 12. I knew about another olivianna but never knew the story. You daughter is blessed to have parent like you!! She is in a better place now where she is not suffering. Your daughter is loved in many way by many people! The song is beautiful and is expressed in beautiful ways. Olivianna is looking over her family and the memorioes. God bless to you and your family! May olivianna rest easy.

~oliviannaJanuary 3, 2016 – 12:10 pm

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

Olivianna and risk taking obedience | GroverSpeaks […] To read our Olivianna blog, click HERE. […]June 24, 2015 – 6:37 am

“Are you pregnant?” …Oops. | abidingblog […] This song and story will make you cry, but it’s beautiful. Olivianna~ a tribute to a beautiful baby who lived 11 min. by JJ Heller. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFh2RloTtpY And the family’s story on their blog: http://www.groverstyleblog.com/olivianna/ […]October 28, 2014 – 4:15 pm

“Are you pregnant?” …Oops. | abidingblog […] This song and story will make you cry, but it’s beautiful. Olivianna~ a tribute to a beautiful baby by JJ Heller. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFh2RloTtpY And the family’s story on their blog: http://www.groverstyleblog.com/olivianna/ […]October 27, 2014 – 6:42 pm

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