Monday, September 28, 2015

My Beach Baby

Most years in the fall (usually the end of September/beginning of October), my mom Ginny, sister Emma, and I, along with my mom's best friend from college (Grace a.k.a. "Aunt G"), take a trip to the Carolina coast for a couple days of fun, rest, and relaxation. The weather during early fall at the beach is gorgeous!

The first annual trip we took was when my Lily girl was here. We went to Topsail Island 6 years ago around this time of year. I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time. As you can see in the photos below, I was finally starting to look pregnant, rather than just feel pregnant.

Lily had oh so many adventures during her short time on Earth and I will forever cherish those sacred memories. I cannot believe it's been 6 years.

That's my mom and Grace in the background
I still have this Topsail Island hat that I got in 2009 in Lily's memory chest

This is what I wrote about that trip to Topsail in Lily's pregnancy scrapbook:

"At the end of September/beginning of October, "Aunt G" (your grandmother's best friend named Grace) took us to Topsail Island for a short getaway vacation. We had a blast, staying at the Jolly Roger Inn right on the beach, eating delicious seafood at a local restaurant, splashing around in the waves at Surf City (where there is ironically a sign that says "no surfing allowed") with your Auntie Em and laughing hysterically as she held us up in the water in her small arms (we really floated), watching the breathtaking sunrise over the ocean, feeding the seagulls cocoa puffs from our balcony, watching and listening to the waves crashing upon the shore, walking down the pier, taking a lovely walk along the water's edge, relaxing in the sand and soaking up the sun, enjoying the beautiful fall weather and the presence of the Lord. You're a beach girl like your mommy!"

I will share more photos of that trip when I eventually share my pregnancy scrapbook (it's quite an undertaking to get all the photos and descriptions up on my blog!). I am sad we aren't able to make it to our annual beach trip this year, but hopefully we can go later in the fall or next spring.


Monday, September 21, 2015

The Day We Took Her First Photos

Six years ago today... the following is a little something I wrote to Lily for my pregnancy scrapbook:

On Monday, September 21, 2009 (cousin Anna's 14th birthday), I got my first glimpse of you, my precious little flower! Pulling into the LifeCare Pregnancy Center parking lot, my heart was pounding. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew that I was going to be a witness to the miracle of LIFE. The very hand of God was at work within my womb, shaping and creating wonderful you, sweet baby. The Lord already knew you long before I knew I'd one day have a beautiful daughter named Lily Katherine. 

I had wanted to have an ultrasound in August at the pregnancy center in Charlottesville, but it didn't work out. I had wanted to have one the week before at LifeCare when I initially went in and had a pregnancy test, but had to wait. I was in my second trimester of pregnancy, at 15 weeks and 1 day gestation. I had longed for this day my entire life, the day that I'd see with my own two eyes that I was a mother. 

Grandma Dukes, Auntie Em, and I went back to the little ultrasound room and I got up on the table. I had a 9:30 a.m. appointment. Hanging on the wall right across from me was a painting of a lily. My heart already knew you were a girl named Lily. I didn't need anyone to tell me that. Seeing the lily painting was like a sweet gift from the Lord, who knew your gender, name, and purpose already. My heart was bonding with your heart, little girl. A few months later, I went back into that same room where I saw you for the first time and the painting was gone. I found that strange and disappointing because I wanted to take a picture of it. 

The cold gel was put on my belly and the wand started moving around. I held my breath in anticipation. There you were on that screen! You must have known we were watching you because you decided to give us a little show. You were dancing and squirming all over the place! Flip, flip, flop. Laughing, I joked, "if this is any indication of what's to come, I'm going to have my hands full!" You were so tiny, yet already so developed and full of life. You were my baby and I was amazed at what God was doing. I was amazed at the beauty and miracle of LIFE. I was so happy to take home a couple ultrasound pictures - your very first photos!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grandparents Day

Today is Grandparents Day and I celebrate my parents (Lily's grandparents) and my grandmother (Lily's great-grandmother)! They will always be her proud grandparents and she will always be their treasured granddaughter. Time, distance, and even death cannot thwart that love. It's interesting that Grandparents Day is always near the date that I first told my mom she is a grandmother, which was September 8th.

Read something I wrote about my mom and Lily by clicking HERE.

my mom and her "granddarling," as she calls her
Four generations: Lily and her mommy, grandmother, and great-grandmother


Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Loss of a Cousin

My cousin, Hope, and I had a sweet time together when I was in Virginia in June/July. We got coffee together at The Mudhouse in Crozet and then visited at Lily's spot. I was able to share more about my girl. It's crazy to think that Lily is Hope's cousin. They are missing out on knowing each other... at least for now. The loss of a baby means the loss of so many relationships. 

Hope took these beautiful photos at Lily's spot for me. :-)


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Stillbirth Remembrance Day

Today (September 6th) is Stillbirth Remembrance Day. It is a day set aside each year to honor and remember babies that have been stillborn. Still born. For me and other moms who have had stillborn babies, every day is stillbirth remembrance day because we remember our babies every day. It's something that could never be forgotten. However, I do like that there is a specific day to honor stillborn babies. Honestly, before experiencing stillbirth, I don't even remember ever hearing about it or even knowing what that word meant. I'm sure I did, but I just didn't give it much thought.

"26,000 babies are stillborn every year in the United States. That is approximately 71 loved and wanted babies every single day! 71 families every single day who are planning their child's funeral and deciding if they'd like to have them cremated or buried. 71 mothers going through labor and delivery, trying to prepare themselves to say hello and goodbye in the same day to their sweet babies they will love forever. Stillbirth is known as the great equalizer - if you think it can't happen to you and your child, you're wrong. Stillbirth strikes all races, all religions, all walks of life. And it happens much more often than anyone likes to think about." ~Heather Fettig

Remembering my girl, Lily Katherine, who was stillborn on March 16, 2010, and all other precious babies who we carry in our hearts, rather than our arms.

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