Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Robby.

Robby's 20th Birthday is Here

February 8, 2014:

Happy Birthday to our son Robby. He would be 20-years-old today, and most likely he would be serving a mission for the Lord. Well, actually he has been on a mission for the past 20 years. We receive no emails or phone calls, but every so often he he drops by in spirit to check in with his mom and let her know all is well. Thank you, Robby, for your ever so brief time with us that, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, has sealed you to us for eternity. We love you so much and are thankful for your place in our family and in our hearts, and for the blessings you've brought to us.

Robby's 19th Birthday is Here

Now it has been 19 years since the day Robby was born. The year after Robby died, no one could have convinced me that 19 years would pass so quickly, but they have.

Robby has remained an integral part of our lives, because he is forever in our hearts. I know that he is at our family's special events, and we have had a lot of those lately.

This past October conference, the new missionary age was announced: 18 for young men; 19 for young women. I realized how excited Robby would have been about going on a mission. But, in reality, he has already been serving a mission for the past 19 years in the spirit world.

Today I will go to the temple to commemorate Robby's birth, to worship, serve, and celebrate. Thank you for being a part of our family. We are indeed blessed to have our personal angel, reminding us of the importance of returning home with honor.

Thoughts from Robby's 16th Birthday 

Today our son Robby would have turned 16 years old. It is hard to believe that so much time has passed. And life is so good and so sweet.

I remember when I first found out that I was expecting Robby. I was over the moon. I knew that it was going to be a boy and I remember just running and jumping in the air and shouting for joy. I couldn't wait to share the news. So Bob was not even the first to know.

Ilene Fisher still had a blue binky at her house so she gave it to me. When Bob came home for lunch, there was a blue pacifier sitting on his plate. We planned to name him Robert after his dad from the start. But originally we were thinking of Derek as his middle name. When we found out there might be complications, I decided that I wanted him to be named Robert Dee, just like his dad. I felt that would be important to Robby and a way that we could express our love for him and his importance to us.

When I was around six months pregnant, I had an ultrasound. I was anticipating finding out that indeed Robby was a boy, but that isn't what I learned. Dr. Ojeda told me that my amniotic fluid was low which made it hard to see everything clearly. He said that there might be a blockage in the urinary tract that would need to be repaired during my pregnancy. He also said that the femur measured shorter than how far along I was which indicated that Robby might have the same dwarfism as our oldest child. So Dr. Ojeda sent us to a specialist, Dr. Brar.

I prayed that if it were possible that Robby would not be dwarfed. I really thought, at the time, that this might be a more difficult situation for a boy than for a girl. But I was looking forward to having him no matter what. Ilene thought that it would be wonderful for Cathy to have someone in the family like her. I am sure that they would have had a wonderful bond. I think we all bonded with Robby anyhow.

Dr. Brar tried to locate Robby's kidneys for the longest time. He had me drink some water, wait a while, and then he tried again. He said that he did find them. But he was more focused on Robby's dwarfism than the situation of such low amniotic fluid. He did not give me any advice to help increase the amniotic fluid and he did not check to see if there was a leak in the amniotic sac. What he did do was call our house the same evening as our visit telling us that he had friends that were geneticists who could see our oldest daughter the following day. She was diagnosed as an infant and there was no reason for her to be seen accept to satisfy Dr. Brar's curiosity.

I became suspicious that the amniotic fluid was leaking. When Dr. Ojeda tested for that, indeed it was leaking. So, even though Dr. Brar gave me no instructions to promote the health and life of my unborn baby, I put myself on bedrest. I still went to Dr. Brar's office for ultrasounds once or twice a week until Robby was born.

During the six weeks that I lay flat on the couch, the leak healed, and I learned to deal with my four children with much more patience and creativity. I also got closer to Robby and I cherished every single movement. The amniotic fluid increased from 2 or 3 centimeters to 7.

At 8 months, a technician at Dr. Brar's office seemed concerned when she performed the ultrasound. But she was not at liberty to tell me why. Dr. Brar wasn't in the office that day, so she asked me to come back the next day.

The following day, Dr. Brar began an ultrasound, and then he abruptly informed me that he didn't think the baby had kidneys. I questioned him about my first visit, and he said that maybe he'd just seen the adrenal glands. He said that he'd call the O.B. to deliver the baby that evening. When I questioned why, he did say that the baby was under stress. I just wanted to do what was best for Robby. Then he asked if I wanted another opinion. If the baby was under stress and needed to be delivered that evening, I didn't understand what another opinion would do. When I questioned him about that, he said that I could just have him vaginally since he was going to die any way.

Well, Robby was delivered Caesarean that evening. The hospital team worked to get him on oxygen so that he could breath. Then they hurried him away to do ultrasounds to check for kidneys and to take x-rays of his lungs. When they returned, they told us that Robby's lungs were extremely weak and brittle and that he did not have kidneys. They wanted us to understand that his lungs could burst because of how weak there were. Then they asked us what we wanted to do. I said that we just wanted to hold him.

Our home teacher showed up during this time. We got to see Robby while he was still on oxygen and looked wonderfully bright and beautiful. Bob was able to give Robby a name and a blessing along with our home teacher. The Spirit was so strong in that room that everyone present was touched by it.

They gave Robby some pain killer before taking him off oxygen; then I held him, and then Bob. I saw eternity in his eyes. I know that he is our son and that we can rear him in the Millenium of we live worthily. When I touched his foot, he jumped because it tickled. I am so glad that I got to hold my baby while he was alive. That in itself was worth a Caesarean Section. I would do the same thing again in the same situation.

The hospital staff was very kind and we got to hold Robby much of the night even though his spirit slipped away from his body shortly after he was taken off oxygen. His heart kept beating for almost one hour. So in all, Robby lived for about 2 1/2 hours. Although, someone asked me how long he was with us today. He is still with us.

Bob and I are the only family members that saw Robby alive. But we were surrounded by family and friends that shared this experience with us. We had a family night funeral at my parents' home, a viewing at the mortuary, and a little graveside service at the cemetery. We also had a memorial service at Bob's parents' home. We are so thankful for the testimonies we have, the strength of the Spirit sustaining us, and the support of family and friends. Ilene and Donna were my extra angels during this time.

For those who have expressed sadness or regret to us over our temporary loss, we have said, "Don't be sorry for us. Our family has our own angel." We have been blessed by Robby's life in numerous ways. For over a year, I felt that Robby was by my side comforting me. I felt like I was walking on clouds somewhere between this world and heaven. There were sad times when I thought I just couldn't make it through that first year, but between the Spirit of the Lord and Robby's spirit, I did make it. We all did.

Christine joined our family 2 1/2 years later. No, she didn't take Robby's place. But there was much joy and healing in our home.

It's been 16 years. That's one-third of my life! I'm glad that I have the memory of Robby always in my heart and the anticipatory memories of time with him ahead.

Each one of us had a spiritual experience that testified to us the reality of the immortality of the human soul. We all knew that Robby was alive, even little Tommy. The hospital rooms we were in, the mortuary, and many other places became holy ground to us.

The temple continues to be a hallowed place where we can all go and feel the blessing of our family being sealed for eternity.

Happy Birthday, Robby!

Robby is our angel child
Robby is our love
Robby is our angel child
Sent from heaven above
To lift our hearts and thoughts and goals
And dreams to reach the sky
Robby is our angel child
Robby lullaby
Sweet Robby lullaby

(A blog concerning when Robby's oldest sister Cathy was born:


  1. Posts from facebook friends:
    Sara Stevenson Hildebrand: That was beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing, Heidi. That really touched me. I admire you for your strength!
    Michelle Joseph-House: Isn't is amazing that though so much time has passed, our love for them is ever present. Happy birthday, Robby!
    Charlene Jamison: Happy Birthday to Robby Heidi.....I'm so sorry that miles and circumstance have kept our families apart in so many ways. I wish I could have been there for you and your family during this time and many other important times. Admittedly, reading this and learning about Robby and his very short life on this earth, has made me very sad, but, I do have faith and I understand your faith and how powerful and comforting it can be...thank God for that because I can't imagine what it was like for you all. You are very strong, you are a powerful and beautiful example for me....thank you for that. God bless you and Robby and everyone in our families.....Happy Birthday Robby, all my love, you will be in my prayers.....your cousin Charlene

  2. Other facebook posts:
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson: Robby was born on 8 February 1994. Today he would have turned 16.

    Robby is our angel child
    Robby is our love
    Robby is our angel child
    Sent from heaven above
    To lift our thoughts and hearts and goals
    And dreams to reach the sky
    Robby is our angel child
    Robby lullaby
    Sweet Robby lullaby
    Merry Marcroft Ramirez: So sweet ♥
    Sara Stevenson Hildebrand: Oh my goodness. Those pictures made me cry. How long was Robby with you? What was wrong with him? That must've been so hard, I am so sorry. I had no idea that you had another child. I know that you will see him again!
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson: Thanks Sara. He only lived for 2 1/2 hours. His lungs were extremely week. That was a result of low amniotic fluid, which was the result of his kidneys not developing. I'm going to write something on my blog. You can look at it when I post it if you want to learn more.
    How is sweet baby James? I am excited to see him again.
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson: Happy Birthday Robby!
    Carri Stober Stuart likes this.
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson: We had a good day. We got balloons for Robby and let a couple of them go into the night sky. We watched them until they disappeared from our view. We had family night, and then we had our tradional angel food cake with berries and cool whip for dessert.
    Chrissy Stevenson Lockhart, Wendy Sommerfeld Hayford, Michelle Joseph-House, Maggie Peart Schimelpfening, and Sharon Willis like this.
    Rochelle Carpenter: angel food cake and berries i must remember that for Mary.
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson: We've always tried to do something special on Robby's birthday. The first time, Bob was picking out devil's food cake and thought, No, that just isn't right. So we've done angel food cake every year. We used to let a balloon go for each year, but we don't get that many any more. We've tried to give someone a present ev...ery year in remembrance of his birthday. Usually we've picked someone that is the same age to get something for. This year, the YW are having a baby shower for homeless women tomorrow. So we bought some baby gifts for that. We just have to remember! I'm sure that you are still missing Mary terribly. I know that she's happy and waiting for you. :-) ♥
    Cathy Stevenson: Well, for his first birthday, we all though devil's food cake, because we love chocolate. But that just didn't seem appropriate. :) So it's always been angel food cake.

  3. This really touched my heart, Heidi. :( I never knew about your sweet Robby, and it's truly amazing to see your love for him, after all these years. I know he's still very dear to you, I am excited for you & your family to be with him again.

  4. More comments on this blog and on facebook posts:
    Nancy Sommerfeld Wright: I still lay a flower on his grave when I go to visit my parents spot.
    Robert Jamiso:n That was beautiful thanks for sharing with us. You inspirer me cuz. I believe after reading your Blog "Robby" is now in my heart. I am sorry we can not be there for you to celebrate his short life here but more so his internal life. Love & Respect
    Richard M Warner: Joy through the pain! Best wishes to you on this day!
    Michelle Nelson Stevenson What a sweet tradition. How many years has it been?
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson: Thanks to all of you who read my blog yesterday, or read my status or saw the pictures I posted. I appreciate all of your comments and the love that I feel expressed to me and my family. It's been 16 years since Robby's birth and death, but he is still very much a part of our lives and I appreciate that you would share... that with me across time and distance and cyberspace.
    Like a card from my Nana said, Even though we're far away, why start counting miles? I'd rather spend time thinking of you, and then start counting smiles. (Paraphrased obviously.)

  5. More comments:
    Korby Siggard: Heidi! I had no idea of the challenge you faced! It makes me very proud of you for staying strong and trusting in the Lord. I know you will have that opportunity to raise this wonderful child! Wow! Thanks for sharing!
    Becky Horman Ririe: Hi Heidi- I am just getting on the computer and missed yesterday. I have gotten emotional reading about your cute Robby, it brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing your story with all of us, you have a beautiful way to put words to paper. The story's ending of course is not what we would desire, but how fortunate we have the knowledge of the ... See MoreSavior in our lives. It gives us hope and love and eternal families, Robby surely came to a wonderful family. Happy Birthday to you all in celebrating Robby's life.
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson Thank you so much, Korby and Becky. ♥

  6. Rochelle Carpenter: Heidi God bless you and your family always.
    Heidi Sommerfeld Stevenson: And may He bless you and yours as well. ♥
    Marla Cenatiempo Windish likes your link and status.
    Carri Stober Stuart likes your status.