I met Rachel Olimb a few days ago but she has been on my mind every night between 1 and 3 AM for the past year.
When I was 16 weeks pregnant with my daughter Jordan, I started having contractions and before we knew that they weren’t going to be any danger to the baby or pregnancy, I spent a lot of time laying around trying to keep them from being too frequent. As a gal-on-the-go, it’s really difficult for me to be still for very long so I entertained myself with a laptop and a pile of books in bed. On one such contraction-heavy day, I was loafing around when I saw several of my Facebook friends mention a baby named Paxon who needed prayer. I checked out the blog they mentioned and was immediately drawn in to the story of a family who had been fighting for their boys.
They had one son named Asher who had Cystic Fibrosis and their unborn son Paxon had Cystic Fibrosis and a chromosome deletion that was probably incompatible with life. I was heartbroken for them and couldn’t get this suffering family out of my thoughts. I don’t know if it was because I was about as far along in my pregnancy as Rachel was in hers, or because of my work with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep or my general love of babies and children, but I began following the story of Asher and Paxon and praying for them in earnest.
Paxon was born on Christmas and passed away just eleven short days later. I had my baby Jordan a few days after that and while I was celebrating the birth of my healthy baby girl, Rachel was mourning the loss of her sweet son Paxon. It really felt like injustice. Jordan was born a chubby and generally happy baby but has been inexplicably the worst sleeper in history. She has kept me in a state of zombiehood for a solid year now and she and I have had to spend a lot of quality time together in the wee hours of the morning.
It was during these first few nights home from the hospital when I desperately wanted to put Jordan down and go to sleep that I thought of how Rachel must have desperately wanted to be awake holding Paxon. I felt guilty on these nights and reminded myself of how blessed I was to be holding my fourth baby all night long. I turned my guilt to prayer and was hoping that somehow Rachel was getting rest and finding peace despite the emptiness she was sure to be feeling. Not only did she lose a son, but she had another son who will have a lifelong battle fighting to breathe and fighting for his life.
Several months later, I sent her an email letting her know that while we don’t know each other, she and her sweet son have been in my prayers and on my mind. It felt crazy to reach out to someone I didn’t know (whom I’d totally been blog-stalking) but I felt led to encourage her and let her know that Paxon wasn’t forgotten, and how I thought of him often. Thankfully, Rachel received this well and has since asked me to help with the fight against Cystic Fibrosis, which I’m more than glad to do.
Thankful for some way to actually be of help, I’m donating a newborn session to the auction for Cystic Fibrosis research on February 25th which will be held at Redemption Church in Gilbert. I would LOVE to see my session bring in some money to fight this awful disease and I would LOVE for my clients and friends to come and support this family and their little fighter. Together we can do so much for this boy, this family, and all who are affected by Cystic Fibrosis.
If you have something of value to donate, please do! If you want to come bid on all the cool stuff that other people have donated to the auction, that would rule! Brio Tuscan Grille will be catering the event and there are sure to be some amazing deals to snag! Check out the auction website here: http://teamasher.tumblr.com/ You can also donate directly to the Olimb family for Asher’s ongoing medical expenses, which would mean so much to them.
Help us fight for Asher on February 25th! I mean, seriously, is he not the cutest thing in the world???