Friday, March 6, 2015

A Part of My Heart Stuck in That Baby Section

It's still hard to walk by the baby section in any store and see clothes I would have loved to have gotten Lily, especially Target where I had my baby registry and where my mom and I often shopped during my pregnancy.

She would be at the age where she'd be wanting to dress herself and pick out clothes she liked too. It makes me wonder what sort of clothes and things she would have liked. Would she like Frozen and princess outfits?

I also realized that if she were here, we'd now be shopping in the little girl section, rather than the baby section. Time sure does fly by, but a part of my heart will always be stuck in that baby section with my forever baby.

I wonder if it will always be this way, even when I have more children. I've heard women who do have children other than the child they lost say it's still difficult for them.

This post left me:

Memories of March 16

Before 2010, March 16, and the month of March in general, didn't have specific significance in my life. Because of this, it is quite interesting that I can remember exactly what I was doing/what happened many years on March 16. The reason I think I have these memories is because they are all bad memories.
One year, when I was 17, I got snowed in at LaGuardia Airport in NYC for around 24 hours on March 16, the day I was scheduled to come back to NC after visiting my friend in Brooklyn for a week during spring break. That wasn't too pleasant.

Another year, when I was 19, I remember getting into a big argument with someone I cared about. I remember it was on the 16th because we were celebrating St. Patrick's Day, which is on the 17th.

These are just a couple of examples.

I don't think these memories "mean" anything, but I just have found it odd as I've reflected back on March 16 in years past.

I had no idea what March 16 would one day come to mean to me. Isn't it strange that the only memories I specifically have of the date are unpleasant memories? A foreshadowing of March 16, 2010, perhaps?

I wonder what dates in the future that hold no significance to me currently will be, such as my wedding date and the birthdays of my future children.

Even though March 16 is a sad day because the birthday girl is not here to celebrate, it is still a beautiful day. I enjoy having a day that's all Lily's own to celebrate, honor, and remember her.

It brings Heaven a little closer to Earth.

This post left me:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

He Knits Hearts Together

I saw this beautiful wedding video that brought tears to my eyes in general. But what got me the most, why I'm writing this post, is because I am so sad I will never experience what is in this video with my future (hoped-for) husband and Lily.

The bride in this video has an absolutely adorable little girl named Brielle from a previous marriage. Through tears, she says in her vows how she has prayed every night for a man to love her and her little girl and how God has more than answered her prayer. She says how her husband has shown her what true love is, from how he loves both her and her daughter. She thanks him for accepting Brielle into his life and loving her as his own.

The groom's love and devotion to her as well as her daughter is evident and oh so precious. During his vows, he also makes vows to Brielle. He promises to do everything that fathers do for their daughters, to care for her, protect her, and love her forever. There isn't a dry eye in the room during their vows.

I'm so sad that Lily won't be at my future wedding. One of the people I love most will not be there for any of the important life moments.

It hurts that my husband will never even get to see Lily, except for in pictures, or hold her, except in his heart. It hurts wondering if he'll even be capable of loving her? It hurts that he never will love her as much as I do. I don't want to feel lonely in my love for her. I don't want to feel misunderstood when I'm grieving for my first-born while pregnant again or giving birth. He won't be able to fully understand how I'm feeling. Will he be supportive?

I'm sad he won't be able to prove his love for Lily. I'm sad he won't be able to do all the things that fathers do for their little girls. I'm sad he won't be able to make vows to her too. I'm sad that the three of us won't be able to walk down the aisle together, as a new family.

I hope he will still be able to accept Lily as his own, though only in his heart. I hope he will embrace the ways I choose to honor, love, and remember her.

I expressed some feelings and thoughts I have about finding my future husband to a friend and she sent me an email that has really made a lasting impression on me.

She wrote, "And just so you know, it is a great thing to be real and honest with yourself and the Lord about what your heart needs and desires in a relationship and NO! you are not being too picky! Just as the Lord knit Lily and Luke together in your womb, He knit YOU in your mother's womb. And, He KNOWS you, intimately. To take that to a deeper level of understanding, not only did He KNOW you before you were born, your parts and pieces were carefully chosen one by one according to the things you would need to accomplish the plan He had for your life. He actually knows you better than you know yourself! He ALREADY knows what you need in a man and He ALREADY CREATED HIM for you, and you for him.... he's out there somewhere. The Lord often brings him to mind for me to pray for him to come in to your life at just the right time... He WILL give you what you need in good times, on the hard days, and when there seems to be no other way. And just as He knit your heart to both Luke and Lily, so will He knit your heart to your husband!! ... Somewhere out there in this world is an amazing man with your name written on his heart even though he can't read the writing yet.... The Lord has a man made just for you whose ministry will line up with your ministry. And you can judge him by this: if he doesn't love and want to "adopt" Luke and Lily.... HE IS NOT THE ONE THE LORD HAS CHOSEN FOR YOU! :) You can take that to the bank dear friend!!!!!!!!! You will know him by his fruit."

I cannot express how encouraging and life-giving these words are to me. God prompts just the right people, at just the right time, to send me what He wants me to know.

I know a lot of guys wouldn't "get" me, but I do believe if I am meant to be married, God has the right person picked out for me. And it only takes one. He is perfectly capable of preparing our hearts for one another and bringing us together in His perfect time and way. And even though he won't have the opportunity to father Lily on Earth, I believe God will knit our hearts together in a beautiful way and not only that, but He will somehow knit my husband's heart to Lily's and Luke's. He knits hearts together in a way only He can.

Never settle, ladies. No matter what your life and your past looks like, God's plans for our lives are much more beautiful than our own. If you are a single mother, God has a man for you (if His plan for you is marriage) that will love your child as his own. He can knit hearts together. Wait for God's best. Don't take it into your own hands, but entrust this area of your life to the one who knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we need.

This post left me:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

So Many Similarities

I have been meaning to share this for a long time. It's one of those crazy "coincidence" stories, except with God, I know there are no coincidences. Things like this always seem to happen to me.

In January 2010, when I was seven months pregnant with Lily, someone reached out to me on Facebook because we have the exact same name, Hannah Rose Allen. Right away we became friends because of our name.

Not only do we share the same name, but we also were born only three weeks apart!

And we both live in North Carolina, just a couple hours away from each other. We are hoping to meet in person for the first time this year.

Hannah told me about her daughter, Savannah, when we first connected, because she saw I was pregnant with my own daughter at the time. For many years, I had wanted to have a daughter named Savannah Grace. Hannah told me she had initially wanted the middle name Grace as well.

Savannah was born three months early and passed away at two months old. When Hannah first told me this, I told her, "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry. I can't imagine how tough that must be." Little did I know that in just a couple months, I would be losing my little girl too.

Hannah wrote, "I'm sorry, but I thought that I had freaked you out by telling you that the baby had passed because we have so much in common." And I responded, "No way, I'm not weirdly superstitious or anything."

I wrote Hannah on March 17th, saying "I thought I'd let you know that we have yet another thing in common. One that I wish weren't so..."

Lily was born on March 16th and Savannah was born on March 18th, just two days apart and separated by a year (2009 and 2010).

Also, I was due with Lily on the 14th and if I had not gone into labor by the 18th, I would have been induced on Savannah's birthday.

Both of our daughters brought us to Jesus through unplanned pregnancies and have taught other people that abortion is wrong.

We have the same name, live in the same state, were born less than a month apart, our daughters birthdays are a couple days apart, and are both with Jesus, and we both like the name Savannah Grace. Aren't all those similarities crazy?!

It has been really special to encourage one another in the loss of our daughters over the past five years. I know God brought us together in friendship. :)

Here are some other crazy God stories I've written about:

The Little Fella and March 16

Our March 16 Babes

The Little Gal

This post left me:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Makes It's Entrance on the Calendar

It's March again, the month that holds the memory of a sweet little flower who danced into my heart and left me changed forever.

Her birthday is in two weeks (on a Monday this year) and plans are almost completely together. It is going to be quite special. :)

Read a couple of the posts I've written in years past about the month of March:

The Month of March

What March Means to Me

This post left me:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Memories of Her Moving

It seems to be a popular thing these days for people to take videos of their pregnant belly with their baby moving for the camera. Each time I see one of these videos, I get sad thinking about how I wish I would have taken videos like it when I was carrying Lily, especially since I never got to see her move outside of the womb.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about (because it's Jill Duggar and she's a "public figure," I don't feel creepy sharing someone random's video lol).

When I saw this video, it brought back a flood of pregnancy memories of what it's like to have a sweet babe growing away inside. It's hard to describe, but sometimes the memories seem so far away, but then something, such as this video, will bring them to the surface, and if I think deeply enough, it's almost as if I can feel her moving again. The not-so-gentle kicks and punches from my active baby girl. I miss her sweet movements so much.

When I start to get sad because of the things I don't have, I try to be purposeful in being thankful for the things I do have. It was such a gift to go fullterm in a pregnancy! There is truly nothing in this world like feeling your baby moving in your belly and bonding with them through all those months. I can sometimes hardly believe it actually happened to me! But, it did. And it was a gift. A precious, precious gift that can never be taken away. So many women long to experience pregnancy, but can't because of numerous different reasons. I was given that gift. Even if I never get to be pregnant again, I have those memories. I had that experience. I have a daughter. And I am eternally thankful.

This post left me:

The Sacred Project

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to honor Lily in another beautiful way by participating in something called "The Sacred Project."

I first heard about this project last summer when several pages I follow on Facebook shared about it. All the participants knew at first were the guidelines to submitting a photo and that it was to honor and remember our babies and the bond we share with them.

This is what it's about:

"The Sacred Project was created to provide an opportunity for mothers who have experienced the death of a baby during pregnancy or infancy to create something delicate & bold in honor of their child. Filmmaker Pia Dorer, of It’s Not All Black & White, and Sweet Pea Project’s founder, artist/writer Stephanie Paige Cole, have teamed up to create a new project that will raise awareness and unite bereaved mothers from all across the world. Based on Stephanie’s poem “sacred” from the recently released poetry collection To Linger On Hot Coals, the Sacred Project aims to honor the bond shared by mother and child. The short film is a global artistic collaboration that will contain stunning visuals from our 498 contributors, sound clips in 18 languages, video in multiple languages, original music from musician/song-engineer Ian Aeillo, motion design from Ulrike Kerber of Viva Design, animation by Aaron Shiel and original art from both Carly Marie Dudley of Project Heal and Stephanie Paige Cole of Sweet Pea Project."

by Stephanie Paige Cole

Your life began and

ended within my womb I

am a sacred space

because of you

"Stephanie’s powerful poem ‘Sacred’ has comforted bereaved mothers around the world and has been the inspiration for our film project and the advocacy work surrounding it. Although Stephanie’s poem was written in memory of her much loved daughter Madeline, who was born still in 2007, her final words “i am a sacred space because of you” continue to resonate and unite ALL mothers. It irrevocably acknowledges the special bond that is shared between mother and child that can never be broken – even following loss."

My sister helped me with my photo. I decided to hold a heart frame with Lily's hand and footprint.

All the photos submitted from mothers around the world are so unique. You can see the gallery by clicking HERE. I was happy to hear that some of my friends were able to participate in honoring their baby because I shared about the project last summer.

Here is a beautiful painting that Stephanie Paige Cole created, inspired by her poem.

I think the film is beautiful, to see hundreds of women, representing hundreds of babies, from around the world, with different accents, backgrounds, etc. Yet, we are all bonded by the love and grief for our babies. It is a powerful visual to see so many photos together.

I was disappointed that I can barely see my picture in the video and wish they could have flashed each photo, even for just a second. But I understand that there were just so many that it would make it difficult to do that. I also wish I had sent an audio clipping in for the project, but when I received the email about it, I was busy that day and by the time I could have done it, they were no longer accepting audio clippings.

Here are the screenshots from the video where my picture is (towards the top and a little over to the right from the center).

I loved seeing Lily's name at the end, at the beginning of when the names started. There it is on the left towards the top.

I must admit that as beautiful as I thought the film was, I did get a "buddhism tone," with the mandala and some of the music. I know that I'm not the only one who got that feeling. I don't like that aspect of it and had no idea it would be that way. But other than that, I really like the film.

On the website, there is a page called "We are sacred spaces because of" and then Lily's name is listed. By the way, if you've lost a baby, you can add their name to this list by visiting the page.

I feel honored to have been a part of this project and am so happy I could honor my baby girl in yet another way.

The Sacred Project has a Facebook page if you are interested in "liking" it.

This post left me:
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