Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Here With Us

This last week in California was one of the most special and spiritual weeks of my life. I can't even begin to go into detail of all the miraculous and tender mercies we experienced as a family.

Tiffany was scheduled for an induction on her due date, the 12th, so Claire and I packed up and drove down Monday (she was an ANGEL for all 12 hours) and we stayed for a week. 

Reese and Claire were so good for each other. Claire has been around other toddlers, but she must deep down remember their connection because she and Reese were so cute together. They learned so much from each other too; Claire finally calls me "momma," she says "no" and learned a couple of other small words. Reese learned how to use a spoon to eat and now says "uh oh" and what a hippo says (mouth wide open) and other cute things. 

Every morning after breakfast, they took a bath together:

And after their bath, they went to the park. Man, I miss California weather! It was perfect and wonderful every single day.

Here is a little video of some of the clips of them during the week:

For those of you who don't know who Tiffany is, please start HERE.  My dear cousin Jared passed away suddenly on November 30th, 2011 leaving behind his pregnant wife Tiffany, and their 17 month old girl, Reese.

During the week, we shared many tender moments as a family. A few breakdowns, and lots of nights up laughing and talking about our memories with Jared.  Wednesday, the day before she was to be induced, was a really hard day for everyone. There were so many mixed emotions in all of us as Jaclyn's birth was the following morning.  No one could put a finger on it, but we all felt down and sad.  Jac's birth was something that was anticipated and dreaded, happy and sad, exciting and emotional all at the same time.  We all missed Jared and thought about him a lot that day.  Tiffany received a blessing from my uncle Alan that night.  It was then that things changed. He was standing in proxy of Jared and we all felt his presence.  There was a renewed strength, peace, and comfort in everyone after that.







Early Thursday morning, with babysitters in place (thank you, everyone who helped), we all headed to the hospital. It was a very hard process for Tiffany to do.   They started her on pitocin and the contractions started immediately. After only a few painful contractions, she received an epidural and was able to relax.  But the waiting game was tough and it was hard to be there without Jared.  We were all very emotional.  We had another family prayer and it was very spiritual... and as some things are too sacred to describe, I can only say that Jared's entrance was undeniable. 





Tiffany made these posters of pictures I took from Reese's birth to help her visualize Jared:










I love this girl.  
(And she is actually my cousin as well! We are related a while back so I think we're 3rd or 4th cousins!)




After a couple of hours, Tiffany was finally able to get some sleep and when they checked her when she woke, she was a 6.  Thirty minutes later, she was a 10 and it was go-time. I have never witnessed nor heard of a faster, more smooth delivery. After less than 15 minutes of pushing, she was here.



Jaclyn Christine Johansen was born at 4:23pm on January 12th:


And she was perfect.








7 pounds, 4 ounces and 19.75 inches long:


She looks so much like Reese, but mostly just in the nose and eyes. They have their daddy's eyes, that's for sure.








Big sister Reese came later that evening to meet Jaclyn:


That first night, I stayed with Tiffany in the hospital and helped with baby Jac. She is the sweetest baby. 


Because recovery was SO fast and went so incredibly well, Tiff was able to leave the very next day. We were happy to get her home.  With lots of helpers, 2 amazing mothers, and Jared and angels on the other side, these 3 girls are well taken care of.   There was just miracle after miracle that occurred this week. Maybe someday Tiffany will share them.

Tiffany is so loved by her Heavenly Father and is one of the most amazing mothers I have met.





















Here is a tender, very special video that I put together for the family:
(Note that Jared had a designated spot on her right {which was where he was last time}, so notice when she looks to her right, she is looking towards Jared)
This was taken at Reese's birth exactly 18 months ago:

(Wish it weren't so shaky at times... I blame my emotions)

My testimony of our God, His love for us, His plan for us, and the reality that He LIVES, has grown immensely these past 2 months.  The miracles are undeniable; they are indescribable, and they are REAL. That is the word for me that describes what has taken place with these intimate events--REAL.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is REAL.  This church was restored by a REAL prophet, Joseph Smith. We have a REAL prophet living today, Thomas S. Monson.  The Book of Mormon was not made up, it is REAL scripture translated from REAL prophets of old, to be used as a companion with the Bible.  We are surrounded daily by REAL angels; helping, guiding and protecting us.  This life is but a small speck in the eternities and it has been testified to me that death from this life is really just a "going home."  All the more reason for us to live this life to the fullest, serve others every day, be better every day, appreciate and love our families, and strive to keep the Spirit with us every day.  I love and miss Jared.  I have had the gift of feeling his love and appreciation for me. I know we will see him again, and what a fine reunion that will be.

Email me if you'd like to write a letter to Tiffany or  donate to the girls' trust fund HERE.

38 comments:

Adam, Julianne, & Michael said...

What an amazing and amazingly difficult thing to go through. How wonderful to have such a fresh piece of her husband enter her life. Tiffany has a bond with her husband now that I'm sure the rest of us cannot even slightly fathom. Thank her for letting us all feel of her amazing spirit... it strengthens my testimony to see such precious miracles and to see the glow her in her eyes.

Kat said...

My heart goes out to Tiffany. So glad she has such an incredible friend in you. I very much enjoyed your testimony that you shared and felt the truth of those words as I read them. Thank you again, Camille, for sharing this sweet experience.

Carly said...

that is a very special and tender video. thank you for sharing this incredible experience and your testimony.

Gage and Missy!! said...

Camille, that was such a touching post, beautiful pictures, and a beautiful video. Tiffany is very blessed to have so much love! What a strong woman to go through all she has endured, I hope she and the girls are doing well, I know they have an angel watching over them! She truly is an inspiration for all women she has such strength and courage! Congrats to the family!

Marisa said...

WOW. I am so glad you shared this (and that Tiffany let you share it). I had tears streaming down face during all the videos and just looking at all the pictures. What a beautiful mama and baby. So so so sweet, all of you.

Jessica said...

Thanks Camille for these photos! I loved seeing them, and hearing the whole sweet story. I'm her cousin that took the photos at Jared's funeral. I love seeing yours! I need you to teach me some tips. Where in UT do you live? I live in SLC and am moving to Draper in a few months. Thanks again. xoxo-j

Jessica said...

I just watched the movie. Thank you so much for sharing. What a gift for Tiffany. Wow.

Emmi Morrison said...

Wow....what a spiritual and moving video. My prayers are with Tiffany and her beautiful girls now and always. God Bless you for sharing the experience Camille. You definitely captured the spirit. Hugs!

Administrator said...

I have been following this on Facebook as you have posted things, and I am bawling reading this. What an amazing woman to make it through all of that. What a tragic and joyous moment all at once. Thank goodness for the Gospel and the strengths that it gives us to live this life that is so fragile. But what a wonderful gift her husband & the Lord have given her-2 beautiful children.

paige and jord said...

warning: novel.
camille i wish you could see me right now.. actually, i take that back. but just so you know, my face and my shirt are soaked with tears. what an incredible video! you described everything so perfectly, as i think the situation fits; heartbreaking, so emotional, devastating, exciting & spiritual. i just cant stop crying thinking of all of it (and i dont even know her!?).
my prayers will continue to go out for tiffany, and those precious little girls. what a blessing the gospel is to all of us, but especially to her right now- knowing jared isn't far away at all, and that this life is but a blink of an eye.. and they'll be together again.
i just want to say how incredibly gifted you are- to be able to do this video/pictures for her, something she will treasure for the rest of her life. you are amazing! thank you for sharing such a sweet testimony, and such a sweet & personal experience. i'm better having read it!

Ashley said...

Very beautiful Camille. I had hoped that Jared would be able to come for the birth. Your friend is so lucky to have you!

Eric and Alexis Beus said...

I agree with everything everyone else said. Maybe it's pregnancy hormones but I think it was the spirit; I have tears streaming down my face. I can't imagine having to face something that difficult. She is such a strong woman and an inspiration. She will always help me remember not to take my husband and family for granted. That video was beautiful and touched me deeply.

The Wonderful World the the Warnicks said...

Well, I did it again! I just bawled my eyes out for the last half hour or so! Those pictures and your video, omg. Ive been sending prayers and thoughts to the Johansens and Tiffany. She is truely such a role model and inspiration. Your work is gorgeous!

Lindsay and David said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post, and such and inspiring video. I love all the pictures, and the video at the hospital brought me to tears! I hope Tiffany knows how many people there are who , have heard her story and are pulling for her! She is so strong, and teaches us all what it's really like to have faith in the plan of salvation. She is a beautiful, strong mother and her girls are so precious! Can you submit this video to be a Mormon Message? I really think you should! It's very powerful.

Jill Revell said...

Beautiful pictures, beautiful family! I too am bawling my eyes out! So grateful for the spirit, and the peace He brings.

josh and nat said...

You and your family are simply amazing. The glow in Tiffany shows me that it is REAL!!! You have me in tears once again and have helped me truly feel the spirit!! Loves to you and your family.

Ashley said...

I think Lindsay is right. When Tiffany is ready this would be an incredible message to share with the world. Their family has touched so many people's lives already.

Tono, Brielle, Bryton & Callie said...

Thank you for sharing this amazing, inspirational story! A great reminder of what is important in life!

Sammy said...

That is the sweetest most precious story! So glad that everything was able to go so well with the labor and delivery. She is such a perfect beautiful baby girl. Hope all is well for their little family

Just In My Spare Time said...

I actually told myself I wasn't going to watch this video. I cried so hard the last one... well, I couldn't resist. It was amazing Camille! What an precious gift you have given to such a sweet family. She is an inspiration to me! Thanks for sharing her life with us. Thanks to her for allowing you to. :)

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing im so touched.

beau&lindee said...

Stumpled upon your blog this afternoon. Wow! Such an inspirational story. This story truly touched me and I know it will touch others also. The gospel is so amazing and true. I am grateful for the plan of salvation that enables families to be together forever! Thanks again for sharing.

Grace said...

Camille,

your blog post and videos are so touching. thank you for sharing with so many of us who love and care so much for Tiffany, the Bleak family and Johansen family. You can feel the emotion and tenderness in your writing as well as your video.

Natalie N said...

Oh my word. Every time I saw a picture of Jared's wedding ring I had to fight back the tears. What beautiful pictures of such a beautiful and tender event. Tiffany's baby is beautiful.

I cannot even begin to imagine the spectrum of emotions that everyone must have been feeling. Thanks for sharing a beautiful post and your testimony.

Aubrie Knight said...

You write so beautifully. I have been following your blog since Jareds passing and the way you write and the pictures you take are breath taking.


What an amazing woman Tiffany is. To still have a smile on her face after everything she has been through. I wish I could meet her, to hug her. To have that kind of support system around her is incredible. She will forever be in our prayers.

I look forward to further posts from your blog and the beauty you bring to this life :)

The Holmgrens said...

I think I met you at Utah State. You were a friend of Whitney Stewart's and I was her roommate. I found this post on Pinterest and was intrigued so I started reading...and couldn't stop. I read every word on your post about your cousin's passing and his funeral and this post about the birth of this beautiful baby. The videos and pictures are amazing. I was having a difficult day today. My husband is gone for military training and I am home managing the motel we run and our 2 kids. Although I came across this post in a pretty round-about way (repin after repin...), it's timing couldn't have been more perfect. I feel oddly rejuvenated and refreshed both by the story and your words. I just wish to say thank you, that doesn't really seem like enough, but Thank You.

Wendy said...

One of my friends who knows Tiffany pointed this out to me, and I want to thank you for such a beautifully done post. This one and the one prior. I was crying my eyes out and my emotions are pretty fresh right now seeing how I had my own little girl 4 months ago.

What an inspirational story and one to really remind us how precious life is and how our Heavenly Father truly loves each of us and provides us with those tender mercies. Thank you for posting this. Your photos are gorgeous and you tell an amazing story with them.

Jordan said...

Camille! That was such a sweet post! Thanks so much for sharing!! This is such an inspirational story and reaches so many people! Thanks for helping share it!

becca said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful beautiful video. It is a cherished gift. I love these people you have in it!

Becca said...

a friend of mine shared your blog on her blog and I am beyond touched. The video had me bawling. I wish I could just give Tiffany a big hug. I know the Lord will watch over her.

Lisa Long said...

So beautiful! I bawled through the whole thing! Thank you for sharing!

Kari said...

Wow, I practically cried through the whole birth part of the video. When I saw you post that picture on fb of when Tiffany had her baby, I was just hit with sadness. It was weird because it was a picture of a new baby, but knowing the backstory made it so sad. Part of me never wants to think about this story because it's almost too sad to even imagine. It sounds like she has a great support system, and I hope she's doing well. I can tell she's amazing, and we're total strangers!

The Miller's said...

Wow! I think I just bawled my eyes out! Even though I don't know Tiffany I feel like I love her as my own family. What beautiful girls! I know Jared is so proud! Beautiful video and pictures you put together...they will be cherished by them forever.

Cristina said...

thank you so much for sharing this (and the previous post). we know the johansen family from pleasanton and our hearts go out to them. the videos were so sweet and beautifully put together, i couldn't stop crying.

McKensie Naomi said...

Camille, I don't know you, I just found your blog through another one who shared this story. This is one of the most beautiful, touching, sad, peaceful stories I have ever read/ heard. You have an incredible talent and your pictures and video made me bawl. I pray for YOU and your family and also Tiffany and her beautiful family. What beautiful tender mercies, and after recently losing a brother, I wanted his new bride sit next to him at the viewing as well and many of these same emotions filled me as I read this. Thank you for writing this. I am a better person because of it. In times like these, it isn't the easiest to hear, in fact, I almost hating hearing it, but it's true-- Families are forever and you will see your cousin again. Thank you for sharing this. Also, in your video Here With Us, what two songs did you use? If you have a second, but don't feel you need to, will you email me back the titles and artist. My email is mckensienaomi@gmail.com.. Thanks again, and we will be praying for you guys. God speed.

Adrianne Miller said...

What a beautiful story and video. I would also like to know what the first song was. Could you email me? Thank you,

Adrianne Miller
adriannewilson@hotmail.com

Andrea said...

I watched this video back in January but never posted a comment. Now months later I came across it again and I just wanted to tell you that you have an amazing gift and watching this I feel the spirit every time. Although I don't know Tiffany I know she is an amazing woman and mother.

Alan Johansen said...

You are right. We are forever changed. Some people tell me 'time heals' but I still feel a profound void that will never be filled until I again embrace my beloved son. For now I can only hold onto the knowledge that he lives on to fulfill a greater purpose I cannot fully understand because I see only through a glass darkly. Only love, not time has any power to heal. The deepest longing that weighs on my heart is as heavy tonight as it was two years ago when he suddenly left this mortal realm.