Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oh Lily, Sweet Baby

There's a song by Colbie Caillat called "Capri" that reminds me of my beautiful Lily girl. And whenever I hear it, I sing along and replace "Capri" with "Lily." Carrying her was a gift from my Heavenly Father.

She’s got a baby inside
And holds her belly tight
All through the night
Just so she knows
She’s sleeping so
Safely to keep
Her growing
And oh when she'll open her eyes
There'll be no surprise
That she'll grow to be
So beautifully
Just like her mother
That’s carrying
Oh Capri
She’s a beauty
Baby inside she’s loving
Oh Capri
She’s a beauty
There is an angel growin’ peacefully
Oh Capri
Sweet baby
And things will be hard at times
But I've learned to try
Just listening
Patiently, oh Capri
Sweet baby
Oh Capri
She’s a beauty
Baby inside she’s loving
Oh Capri
You're a beauty
Just like your mother
That’s carrying...Oh Capri

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Repurposing Lily's Crib

I still have Lily's crib that was obviously never used by her and will never be used by another baby because it's just one of *her* special things. There are certain things that were meant for her that I would like to share with her future siblings (just like if she were here, her things would be passed down). However, there are some things that were hers.

For a while, I was thinking of donating the crib to a local pregnancy center, but decided against that. Right now, the crib is sitting in storage and I just can't bring myself to give it to some place like GoodWill where somebody who doesn't know Lily's story will buy it.

I am pretty sure some people wouldn't "get" why I'm still hanging on to the crib. I am not sure why I've held onto it so long either, other than it just seems too sad to get rid of it. I'd rather know it's in storage.

Anyways, now I am really glad I kept it after seeing a story that has gone viral about a caring man who turned a woman's son's crib (who was stillborn) into a bench. He surprised her with this gift after buying the crib at a yard sale. When his wife found out the crib was for her baby that had passed away, they knew they had to give it back to her.

After seeing this story, it gave me the idea to have Lily's crib repurposed and turned into a bench. It would be nice to have her crib actually be functional and not just taking up storage space. And how sweet it would be to have this bench be in the nursery of my future child. I will try to figure out how to go about doing this.

Here's the repurposed crib the man gave back to this grieving mother

Here's the news story about the repurposed crib.

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A Big Sister in Heaven

My friend Elise sent me an article about a mom who added a sandbox to her baby's grave so his brother would feel more comfortable visiting his spot and it would not only be a sad place of where his mom cries.

Some people have been really mean to her about it, but unless you have lost a child, you have no idea what it's like and shame on anyone for judging. 

I think it is absolutely precious. I hope that my future children (if I have any) will enjoy spending time in the sunshine and fresh air at their big sister's special spot and that it won't feel weird or creepy to them. I will make sure to take them there each year on special days such as Lily's birthday and Christmas if I'm able to and they will grow up with their big sister in Heaven being a part of their lives. It will never be strange or foreign to them to talk about her or go to her spot because she will always be a part of our family.

Read the article HERE.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blooming for yet Another Spring Season

Some family friends named the Kirchmans gave me a bleeding heart plant at Lily's celebration of life/memorial service over 5 years ago in March 2010. I remember when they first gave it to me thinking that the little pink hearts were a powerful reflection of my bleeding mother heart. My heart that bleeds both love and sorrow. And how perfect that hearts remind me of her and my Valentine's baby shower. We planted the bleeding heart in Lily's memorial garden and each spring around her birthday, it blooms. It is something I look forward to in the spring... the time of year when she came, but never came home.

This is something I wrote on my blog last year about this plant: "Several days ago, I realized with a heavy heart that I had not yet seen the bleeding heart blooming this year in the spot where it was planted. I mentioned it to my mom and we both wondered if it would come back. Then yesterday, my mom told me excitedly that I had to come see something in Lily's garden... the bleeding heart is indeed coming back! It is just starting to bloom, but it sure made me smile to know it's still alive. It is a connection to March 2010. A connection to Lily. It feels like the Lord is gently whispering to me through this little plant that He has not forgotten. This bleeding heart is a reminder that though things may sleep through the winter, they come back in the spring! The spring is such a glorious time of hope and resurrection. The beautiful weather has lifted my spirits more than I can say. I am so thankful the Lord brought this little plant back to life. And even though it appeared it was gone forever, it was just sleeping. Lily might appear to be gone forever, but she is just asleep to this world... but forever alive in Jesus."

This photo is the bleeding heart blooming today, for the sixth spring season.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Better Dream

I have all sorts of partially written blogs just sitting in my drafts folder. I was briefly looking through them today when I came upon some posts from the fall of 2009, shortly after I had started my blog. I was pregnant with Lily at the time and wanted my blog to be a place where I could encourage others facing similar circumstances, mainly unplanned pregnancy. Eventually, I wanted this to be a place where I'd post photos of Lily and share updates of her growth and life. I never imagined how it would turn out. I also wanted to share about my pregnancy journey. There are unpublished posts titled, "It's a GIRL!," "Pregnancy Center Banquets," and "Preparing for Baby."

Anyways, I came across a post from October 25th, 2009 called, "Making a New Plan."

It is difficult to come across these posts from that time in my life, knowing how I had no clue that Lily would say goodbye before I said hello. Knowing that those few months were all I'd ever get... oh, how I wish I would have cherished it more than I did, not wishing the time to come for her to be born.

I am not sure why I never finished writing all those posts from the time when I was pregnant. I wish I had. I was just so sick and tired most of the time and kept putting it off, figuring I had more time. I would love to be able to read more from my perspective in that season of my life.

This is what I said in that post:
My mom got me a journal at Target that has this saying on the cover: "Sometimes on the way to a dream you get lost and find a better one." My eyes filled with tears when I read it and realized it explains my life. The dreams and plans I had for my life never included getting pregnant before marriage at such a young age.
But, God is showing me that He has a new plan and Lily is my better dream. I got lost on the way to this place, really lost, but now I'm found. By Him, in Him. Because of her. She always was planned by Him.
Jeremiah 2911: says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
He has always known the plans He's had for my life. He knows the plans for my future. He knows the plans for Lily's future. He will not harm us. He gives us hope and a future. She will forever be a part of my future. And though a few months ago I may have told you that was terrifying and not a good thing, I know now it is a good thing. I am still scared about my future, but I know that God has a plan and a purpose. And I love Lily more than I ever knew I could.
She's my better dream...

She was my better dream then. And she's my better dream still. Her life and her legacy.

"Sometimes on the way to a dream you get lost and find a better one."

Before her, I had lost my ability to dream. But, with the realization that life grew within me came the realization that God had given me the ability to dream again.

My dreams are now a ripple effect from her life!

And how perfect that the journal has flowers and a butterfly on it?

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Path of a Grieving Mother

I very much dislike feeling as if I must defend my love for Lily or defend the fact that she is an irreplaceable precious life that I will grieve for the rest of my days. Lily is just as real as any other person on the planet. She is buried in a cemetery in Virginia and is dancing before the Lord as I write this! I truly don't understand why it's so hard for those who have not lost a baby to grasp that it's a lifelong sorrow. Mothers especially should be able to try to imagine it, even in a small measure, even though it's hard to even think of.

Mothers - just picture this will you: imagine if when you went to the hospital to deliver your child, what if your doctor had told you their heart had stopped beating just before being born at fullterm? And there was no medical explanation as to why this happened. Imagine all the years of memories, pictures, laughter, and cuddles you have had with your child and that all those times would never have been. Imagine it all being erased. That's what I'm missing out on. Imagine giving birth to a lifeless child. Imagine seeing that precious face you love so much and imagined countless times, but their eyes never opening to gaze back. Is it really, truly so hard to at least try to understand? Imagine not having any other living child to help ease the pain and ache and fill your empty arms.

This gets me irritated just to think about how little empathy people have. However, I am reminded of a time when I was probably around 15 and I was eating at Cracker Barrel with my mom and grandmother. They were talking about a family whose unborn baby had died. I clearly remember asking, "Why is it so hard? It's not like they really got to know the baby." It is painful to know such words came from my own lips. I do recall being in a grumpy mood when I said that and acting like a brat, and I was young, naive, and not a mother yet, but still, I said it.

I believe God has allowed me to remember that conversation so that when the very same type of loss touched my life so intimately, I would have more grace with others. They don't understand. And many times, people can't understand something unless it happens to them. I don't want people to have to live through it to "get it," so hopefully my words will help open eyes and hearts.

Please, if you are reading this, try to think about what it would be like if you went to the hospital to have a much-loved and anticipated baby only to discover their heart had ceased to beat. Try to personalize it in your mind. Then reach out to someone you know who has lost a baby. Show them compassion, love, understanding, and support. Simply let them know that their child matters to you and that they aren't forgotten. Don't push them to "get over it" or tell them to "move on." Try imaging what it would be like to walk a mile in their shoes before judging the shoes they have been chosen to walk in.

I don't need to give value to Lily's life or convince others that she matters. She does because He says she does. I'm leaning on this truth.

One's value does not grow depending on how many breaths they take and how many days they reside on Earth. And a mother's love cannot be measured. There is no point in comparing who "has it worse" in grief. Remember these things, both those who have lost children and those who have not.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” -Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

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My Little Dancer

I came across this beautiful piece of art that reminds me of Lily on the Held Your Whole Life Facebook page.

It made me think of two quotes that I've heard, though I am unsure who said them both:

"I carried you every second of your life and I will love you for every second of mine."

"No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you're the only one who knows the sound of my heart from the inside."

Not only that, but Lily is my little dancer. Here is what I wrote in her scrapbook, with a "She's a Dancer" sticker and ballet stickers: "You were extremely active in the womb - always wiggling, kicking, and punching! We joked often about how you were our little dancer, practicing hard to perfect your myriad dance moves, from the Irish Jig to the Polka. You loved music and dancing and wanted to be ready to perform for an adoring audience on the day of your grand entrance into the world!"

I'm going to get a print to hang on my wall. Prints can be purchased by clicking HERE.

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