Monday, October 12, 2009

Holding strong and pressing forward

Today has been difficult for Thomas and I,because we miss our little Ashlyn very much. She was such a beautiful little girl. She was such a fighter, she has touched our lives forever. We continue to move forward in our lives. It has been extremely difficult to see four of our children slip into the eternities right before our very eyes. We dearly miss each one of them who have gone on before us to prepare the way for Thomas and I and their two sisters (who remain on this side of the veil). We are so grateful for the knowledge that we do have that God does live, he is real, that His Son Jesus Christ has paid the price for me and for all, so that families can be united for eternity. We know that the grave is not the end. What comfort this knowledge has brought to Thomas and I these past few months. We started preparing tonight for that glorious day when our 2 little girls come home. Still don't know when that will be, but it will happen. Thomas and I put together a crib that was so generously given to us by a wonderful dear friend whom we have come to admire, love and look up to. She is a true example of the pure love of Christ. We adore the new crib. Thank you for the kindness. It only took Thomas and I a few hours to put it together, but hey we did it together.

The girls continue to do well. Haley continues to move forward in her recovery from surgery. She has been able to be weaned down on her oxygen and better yet on her ventilator settings. She is such an amazing little girl. Although she did scare us a little this evening when we visited with her, her heart rate was up for a good while, but I called this evening and it had come back down to normal. Rachel is doing very well, she continues to thrive. She also is down on her ventilator settings, as well as her oxygen. She loves to be on her belly, and it shows with her oxygen saturation's. Both girls had a very eventful day, with all kinds of tests such as echo cardiograms and EKG's. Rachel had a head ultrasound as well. They both seem to be doing relatively OK. We are so thankful to a kind and very wise Heavenly Father who not only knows us by name, but knows how to succor us from our infirmities. We have truly felt the tender mercies of a loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. We will continue to move forward with trying to do what is right for our little family both here and on the other side of the veil.

Here is the crib that was so graciously given to us by the kindest person.


  1. That is an absolutely beautiful, exquisitve crib, Amanda. I love the sleigh style. It is so elegant. I was a nanny for many years to several sets of identical twins- all girls, and in the begining, they all shared a crib. It was cozier for them, felt safer, and more assuring. There was also plenty of room since they were so little. It will probably be the case for your little ladies as well. Having just one crib set up right now is actually pretty perfect! We pray that they continue to thrive, and are so happy that you have been blessed with being able to provide all of your children a body to go on to eternity.

  2. All of your children are so blessed to have you as their parents. It was by no accident that Heavenly Father sent them each to you.
    Prayers for you. I know it is so hard right now, having lost another sweet spirit from your arms.

  3. I am so, so very sorry to hear about the loss of your precious Ashlyn. I pray that God would surround you both with his peace and comfort.

  4. My heart broke when I heard of the news of sweet little Ashlyn. She was certainly a little fighter.

    We will continue to pray for your family and for the girls to keep heading in the positive direction towards coming! It is such an emotional day when they do, so exciting but scary too!

  5. Again, I am so sad to hear of the loss of Ashlyn, but I am happy to see that you are muddling through this with more strength and courage than most anyone would. I hope and pray that the last two girls come home safely and get to sleep soundly in that beautiful crib!

  6. Prayers that you are able to bring Haley and Rachel home safe and healthy soon. Prayers also for the children you love and have lost. I can not imagine your pain. I know you are only given what you can handle, and that you must be incredibly strong.

  7. Dear Amanda and Thomas,

    I am following your blog from Rome, Italy. I am originally from Houston, and this summer my sister brought me a Houston Chronicle from the day that my daughter was born here. It happened to be on June 8, and in that edition I read about you and have been reading your postings online ever since.
    I am so sorry to hear about your babies who died, including the two from a year ago. I was pregnant with twins myself originally and lost one of them in February of this year at 21 weeks, so I have an idea of what you went through. I admire your faith tremendously and view it as inspiration for my own. I, too, am looking forward to being reunited with my other little girl in Heaven. At the same time, I am happy to hear about your two girls who are doing well (one of them has my name), and I hope that you will be able to bring them home soon and that they will be happy and healthy there, and I pray that they will never be taken from you during your lives. In the meantime I will also pray for the souls of their brothers and sisters.

    On a more earthly note, that is a gorgeous crib for the two girls. I’m sure you had fun putting it together. My husband and I did the same for our daughter about two weeks ago.

    Love, Rachel Marshall

  8. Beautiful crib for your beautiful babies! I pray they will be home with you soon! I'm so glad that they are doing so well. They must know that if they get better, yall will take them home!

    Losing Ashlyn after such a fight must be so hard to deal with. It is so uplifting to see you handle it with such faith and grace. You are truly an example to everyone of strength and faith in the Lord.

    Praying for you always,

    Christina McKinney

  9. Amanda and Thomas, I am so proud of you for "holding strong and pressing forward!" I am so happy to hear about Rachel and Haley and can't wait to see them at home with you. You are getting very close to having a "full" house! Go girls, go!!!

    Thank you for posting the picture of the crib. It is so beautiful! I hope you continue to post pictures of the nursery as it goes (along with pictures of the girls, of course!). Amanda, you are such a lady! Thank you for making my day.

    Keeping all of you in my heart and prayers. Love, Claudia

  10. Beautiful spirit, beautiful crib. Keep holding strong!

  11. Beautiful crib for beautiful babies! Such fun to prepare their room. They are growing right on schedule and will be home before you know it!
    i'm not a prophet! never pretended to be, but i am a gramma who loves babies - all babies and i don't care how they get here! i am so grateful to be allowed to follow the progress of your sweet little ones!
    I admire anyone with courage and faith who can do what you two, Amanda and Thomas, have done. Keep the faith, dear ones. Our Father in Heaven keeps you, and us, in His tender care.
    love, Erma from Midvale, Utah

  12. yeah Rachel and Haley!!! I'm glad they are doing so well!! and cute crib!!

  13. Bless you Thomas and Amanda. You are wonderful parents and I know you only want the best for your children.

    That is a beautiful crib!! How fun to set it up. Thats always one of my favorite parts of getting ready to bring a baby home! Our baby boy will be in a pack n play for a while until we are ready t move his big brother to a bigger bed, but I am excited to set the pack n play up, make sheets for it, etc. Have fun continuing to get ready for the girls to come home. I hope the time flies until then!

  14. So sorry, wishing you all the best. xxxx

  15. "God wanted you to be infertile"?!?!
    What an ugly thing to say and what a small view of how our loving Heavenly Father works.

    Our God has a beautiful plan that INCLUDES giving the amazing gift of knowledge and skills to blessed physicians that can help use the gifts GOD gave them to BLESS families!!

    WHO ARE YOU to say what God did or didn't want? Honestly!

    I'm confident the Stansel family prayed fervently to know what to do each and every step of the way on this journey. Your insensitive comments (based on flawed logic I might add) are simply that...sad and insensitive.

    I, for one, am so grateful that the Stansel family has chosen to generously share this experience with those of us praying for them and I'm sad that you would use that generosity to spew your negativity...

    If you can't say something nice and supportive for this sweet family...please kindly keep your comments to yourself.

    Hugz to you Stansel family!

  16. I too agree with Elena.
    How awful for you to chastize this family in this moment. If you dont have something positive and uplifting to say then dont follow this blog. The determination and the faith that this family has is amazing. They have taught me to trust in God more than I ever thought I could. On top of that they have lost 4 children in two months... instead of being rude about the desicions they have made you should be standing next to them. Let he who hath not sinned cast the first stone.
    To the Stansel family:
    I began reading your blog yesterday after stumbling across an article. I read from beginning until the most up to date point. You are an amazing family with so much strength and I believe that with Christ all things are possible. We prayed for you in our prayers last night and we will continue to do so. I am so happy that you have faith and you trust the Lord. Your posts are amazing. Your friend through Christ.

  17. Dear Thomas and Amanda,
    I was so sorry to hear about your beautiful little Ashlynn. You have been and continue to be so brave. You and your sweet little girls are in our thoughts and prayers. Love from Salt Lake City.

  18. Stansel Family,
    I am sorry about the horrible comments you have had to read on your beautiful blog today. I sincerely hope you can ignore those morons, and instead feel the love and prayers extended to your family by everyone else. Your posts are so inspiring to me, I deeply admire your faith, and always come away from your blog with even more gratitude for the blessings you are so amazingly able to list, day after day. I am sorry for your loss, and though I do not know you, my family loves you guys, and prays for you every day. Remember, ignore the morons!! Love and prayers,
    Melanie Segalla (and family)

  19. glad to hear haley and rachel are having a good day. Thank you for taking the time to keep us updated on your posts. We love and support you and wish you family only the best. the crib is beautiful.

    I guess that everyone does not understand that you can't spend every waking hour in the nicu with your babies

  20. God is so good. I just learned of your journey through an article in the Ny Times. Your family is now in my prayers. Your 4 angels sit with my 1 angel, my smallest Quadruplet that blessed us with her presence for 9 days. Haley and Rachel have 4 angels watching them, I will be praying for your 2 babies in the NICU, praying that the NICU journey left is easy and they become feeders and growers and get to join you at home very soon.


  21. Amanda and Thomas,
    I don't know if you remember us, but we were in your ward before they created Summerwood. I've been following your journey for a while now, but haven't commented before. I'm so sorry about your little Ashlyn. I pray that little Rachel and Haley will continue to improve. Thank you for sharing your testimony in every post. You uplift me with your spirit and your faith. I know you will get to be with your little ones again someday and that it will be a joyous reunion.
    All my love,

  22. I'm happy to hear that Hailey and Rachel are doing so well. I keep waiting to hear that they'll be coming home soon, but I suppose it will be awhile still. I have twin boys who are now 11. Mine actually didn't share a crib at night, but they did during the day. They used to sleep in this Moses basket, both of them side by side. I'd just carry them around the house with me.

    I agree, ignore the negative comments. People who think they know what God's will is for someone else are deluded and should be diregarded. Focus on the future, I pray that your family will be healthy from here on and I pray for your babies who are gone.

  23. I'm so sorry to see about the passing of little Ashlyn. Stay strong with your beautiful girls - it's a long journey, but it's well worth the wait.

    And I can relate to setting up something in the nursery. My husband and I spent last night painting and putting up border trim in our nursery, and it really brought it home for us that the NICU journey will eventually lead to our baby boy coming home where he belongs.

    Cathy Chandler

  24. Thinking of your family today. We're so sorry to hear about the losses your family has endured. And what special spirits await you on the otherside. What a peace it must bring to your family to know you will have the opportunity to raise them, that this isn't an ending, just a separation. I don't envy the time you must wait until that sweet reunion but I do know you have a great testimony of this and how you inspire others with your faith. We will keep praying for your family.

  25. I can't wait for them to come home. It is such a joyful day. I went and looked at the posts of when you held the girls and when we first saw them and I realized that you are very lucky. most babies look like aliens but your's are beautiful. They just look like really tiny normal babies with tons of support. Anyway can't wait to hear more.

  26. fie on you dudleydia! you really DON'T GET IT, do you. For shame. there have been no flipflops and i don't know when you became master of the universe...
    sorry amanda for this sad person's comments - this isn't a dudley do right at all. you deserve much more credit than this.
    your testimony of our Father's love and wisdom outshines all the negativity in very few of the comments made!
    love, Erma


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