Lily's second birthday has already come and gone...I can hardly believe it. It's already and only been two years. March is a bittersweet month. I was somewhat sad for it to end, just because it's her month. But, I am thankful I made it through. I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. Anyways, this is a post I've been working on for a while. I want to share all the special things from Lily's birthday!
My brother, Joseph, surprised me with these beautiful lilies for my Lily's birthday! He's the sweetest! Definitely made me tear up.
Here I am holding Lily's lilies on her birthday. We also got a special "Happy Birthday" balloon in honor of her day. It's still a celebration after all! :-)
I love whimsical photos ;-)
For her birthday, we ate red-velvet cake. Red-velvet is what we had at my Valentine's baby shower. We also had it on her first birthday. So, it is now a tradition.
It is strange that I have to be the one to blow out Lily's candle.
My amazing, wonderful friend, Faith, (who was also one of my roommates at Ellerslie) surprised me with this keychain. It has a picture of Lily's hands on it and says Lily Katherine, with her birthday and a line from a poem I wrote: "I'll hold her again, kiss her, and love her, of this I am sure." Faith wrote the sweetest note when she sent the keychain: "Dear Hannah Rose, I thank Jesus that I can call you my friend and sister. May you feel His presence today as you celebrate your beautiful baby girl's heavenly birthday. She is loved, as are you!"
A friend of mine from childhood named Julie sent me this photo. She said: "I bought two Lily bushes on your Lily's birthday since she would be two this year. And they bloomed the last day of March, stubborn lol." This absolutely made my day! It amazes me that the people I least expect to honor and remember are the ones that bless me the most. It means so much to have other remember Lily, especially on her birthday. Pink is my girl's color. I love that they bloomed on the very last day of the month, but still HER special month!
My amazing friend, Elise, went to the cemetery where Lily is buried and took her a birthday balloon and lilies. It means SO much to me! Lily is buried in Virginia and I live in North Carolina, so it is very significant to know somebody took time to think of Lily and to go visit her spot on her birthday, especially since I can't. Elise sent me this photo and also sent me a copy in the mail. It is really hard for me for Lily to not have a headstone. She just has a little windchime, so people don't know how to find her spot. It made me tear up when Elise said this: "I thought since I wasn't there with you, I could at least do this and send you this is honor of her 2nd Birthday. I figured that was the place because I wasn't sure and then the chimes started, so it was almost as if she was saying 'this is me!' :D"
Tracey also gave me this little ladybug magnet. Ladybugs have a special significance to us :-)
My sweet friend, Allison, gave me these beautiful Daylilies to plant in my girl's special garden! It is starting to bloom beautifully with the coming of spring! That's another thing I will be posting about soon.
Allison gave me the flowers in this bag with lilies on it! :-)
A little girl that lives a couple houses down from us shares Lily's birthday, March 16th. She turned nine this year. Last year, we took her a gift and so we decided to do it again this year. We've made that another tradition.
For Lily's birthday lunch, my twin brothers, mom and I ate at Cracker Barrel. I used to eat there all the time when I was pregnant. It's my favorite restaurant! We ate there last year on her birthday as well. Another tradition!
I took a picture of this empty chair. It's for where Lily should be sitting. My sister is in Colorado now and my best friend moved away, so it is also for them since they couldn't be there for Lily's birthday.
My mom at Lily's birthday lunch
My brother, Adam, at Lily's birthday lunch
My brother, Joseph, and I at Lily's birthday lunch
4:24 p.m. on March 16, 2010...the moment she was in my arms. The minute she was born.
My brothers and I on the rocking chairs outside Cracker Barrel. We took pictures like this last year.
Mom and I wore our matching bracelets that my grandmother got for us at The Compassionate Friends candlelight service last fall. They say "Forever in my heart." I also wore my LIFE bracelet and Lily's footprint necklace.
In the kitchen, I set up a few of Lily's things...her photo, her name in the sand photo, her hand and footprints, her balloon, flowers, and some other things.
I ended her birthday by lighting my special "Lily of the Valley" candle that I light on special occasions, such as Mother's Day and her birthday.
The day after Lily's birthday, March 17, the celebration continued. Some friends and I had a birthday brunch and balloon release. It was very special. These friends are from my infant loss support group so it is really meaningful to celebrate Lily with them. We had so much yummy food! Thank you so much, Rebecca, for your hospitality!
Lily Katherine was due on, March 14, 2010 (National Potato Chip Day), so we called her Spud. Ironically, the food I ate nonstop during my pregnancy were hashbrowns. I craved them daily and enjoyed them homemade, as well as at all different restaurants. It's only appropriate to make eating them a tradition each year on March 14, in honor of our little Spud. I also decided to take them to the birthday brunch. Thanks to my awesome mom who made them so delicious! :-)
All the birthday balloons were pink. Most of them were plain pink and one of them had the number 2 on it. Everyone wrote a special note to Lily.
My friend Tracey
LOVE this girl, Morgan
What I wrote on my balloon: "My Precious Flower, I celebrate you today and every day. Thank you for changing my life forever. Happy 2nd Heavenly Birthday, Lily. Love, Mommy"
It was such a beautiful day for the balloon release! Here I am holding all the balloons with everyone's special notes to Lily.
There were some extra balloons, so some of Lily's friends in Heaven got notes written to them from their mommies :-)
Distributing the balloons
Then we released them to the Heavens...
They were so beautiful going up into the sky. The way they moved in the wind literally looked like they were dancing! It was beautiful!
Watching the balloons dance away...
My awesome friend, Morgan, and I
My friend, Allison, from group offered to make cupcakes for Lily's birthday! Of course, they were red-velvet. :-) She even took the time to make the lilies to go on top. Thank you so much, Allison!
Lily's lily cupcake on top of a plate with lilies of the valley on it :-)
My friend, Esther, from Ellerslie sent me this precious E-card with a sweet note:
"Dearest Hannah Rose, I just wanted to send a note your way letting you know that I have been thinking of you and praying for you especially since today is Lily's birthday. I'm praying that the story of Lily and her mother will continue to touch hearts and save many more beautiful little lives.
I'm missing you, but I'm so confident in the leading of our Precious King as we move on with life. May the high praises of God be in your mouth and a two-edged sword in your hand as you daily follow Him (Psalm 149:6), and may the gates of Hell be shaken by the power of Jesus in you.
Love you, Hannah Rose. May you ever revel in the close embrace of your Lord.
IN CHRIST, Esther"
A new friend, Marcia, made me this beautiful picture! This is what she wrote on her blog about it: "One night I was staying up late, simply because I couldn't sleep... and I was just browsing blogs. and I found this blog through another one of my blogger friends. Hannah Rose, had attended a semester of Ellerslie (which is also the church we attend) but I never got to meet her personally, though I knew who she was (trust me, when you have a large batch of students almost always at your church, changing every 9 weeks, it is very difficult to meet everyone,very difficult) Anyways, back to that night... I started reading all her old posts and I cried as I read. I am not a person who cries during movies etc, but I cried. There was something so beautiful about her story. It was written by God, it was written for a purpose. So, ever since that night, I've followed her blog, and today is the 2nd birthday of her precious Lily Katherine was born a still born. As I read her post for today, and rewatched her new legacy video for Lily, I was brought to tears again, and here is the result. Happy Birthday Lily!" Thank you so much for thinking of my girl and making this beautiful photo! I love it. I hope to meet you soon in real life! :-)
A blogger friend (Rachael) from Australia lit a candle on Lily's birthday. I also have another friend from Ellerslie who lives in Australia (Karen) and she lit a candle for Lily on her birthday! It makes me smile to know people from around the world are honoring Lily's day!
The amazing ladies at Grief Journeys made me this graphic for Lily's birthday! Thank you!
My grandmother likes writing poetry. She wrote a poem for Lily's birthday last year. This is what she wrote this year:
March 16, 2012
Dear daughter of Hannah Rose
Your little heart stopped.
Stopped before you came.
Came to join us on the earth
Where you were desired.
Precious little one
The Lord carried you straight HOME
Where you wait for us.
But - in the meantime
We grieve what you could have been
For all of us here.
Events prove to us
That we are not in control
As we think we are.
Our loving, kind Lord
Truly does know what is best
Even when pain comes.
When all's said and done
Everything works together
In His loving hands.
In the midst of pain,
This is soooo hard to believe
But - I know it's true!
My precious granddaughter - this is a pain our Gracious Lord has allowed the two of us to carry with an extra measure of His grace! You are forever in my prayers. Love, Bumma
For the second year in a row, Crystal, from Calvin's Cupcakes made Lily a special graphic. Thank you!
I got beautiful cards from some friends and family. My brother gave the card in the middle that says "Birthday Girl" with the butterfly. On the inside it says: "Today's your day to spread your wings and do a zillion happy things! (with Jesus!) Happy Birthday, Lily! Love, your Uncle Jo!"
The card on the left is one Morgan gave me. On the inside it says: "Dear Lily, Happy 2nd Heavenly Birthday! I'm sure you already know this, but I just want to tell you what an amazing mommy you have. You are ony lucky little girl. I wish you and my Marcellus could be here on earth playing together. But I know the two of you are having more fun than your mommy and I can even imagine, playing on streets of gold. I really wish I could have met you here. But I feel like I know you through all the beautiful things your mommy tells me. I love and miss you! Morgan, Marcellus's Mommy" Then the pretty card on the right is from my friend Tracey. On the inside she wrote: "To Hannah, Just a note to let you know that, although you are never far from my thoughts, especially during the month of March you are on my heart. I can not believe that Lily would be 2 years old. The time flies and creeps at the same time. Not much left to say except to thank you for allowing us to share in Lily's birthday celebration! Lots of love, Tracey"
Morgan gave me this cute little bunny for Lily's birthday. :-)
On Lily's birthday, we went to the Vital Records office to get her birth certificate. When Lily was born, they didn't issue birth certificates to stillborn babies. It made me so sad to feel like the state basically thought she didn't exist. Well, the law changed in October of this past year! I wanted to go right away, but thought it would be special to go on Lily's actual birthday, since it was the day she was born. We got her "Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth" and "Fetal death report." That's a story in itself that I will share about on a post soon.
Morgan wrote this precious post for Lily's birthday.
Lindy wrote this special guest blog for Lily's birthday.
Well, that's about it. If you've read this far, you're a trooper! This is a super long post. Thank you to everyone who lit a candle for Lily, ate hashbrowns in honor of her, red-velvet cake, or anything else. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.