As I stood in the baby section at Kohl's just a few hours ago, it only took a few minutes for me to realize that I was in over my head. Everything began to blur and I knew that if I didn't make my choices and get out of there quick, I was going to find myself in the midst of a full on public meltdown. I grabbed the closest rattle to add to my stack of onesies and made my way back to the main aisle,
much like a frantic swimmer close to running out of breath under water, I gasped for air
and beelined for the closest cash register. I knew this would be a challenge, but I didn't expect to affect me in such a deep and immediate way. Perhaps it was this day, or perhaps it was the fact that I haven't been able to bring myself to walk through a baby section for the past 12 months. Either way, it was clear that I had underestimated the emotional fortitude required for the task at hand.
A few hours before getting the spins in the Carter's section, Jesse and I were discussing ways in which we could honor our little ones over this holiday season. In particular, I was desperate to find an activity to honor the daughter that we were supposed to be meeting
tomorrow, December 2nd.
How does one commemorate such a day? As I was painfully reminded, it's not like we had a place that we could go to lay flowers or place a teddy bear. We didn't have a book of photos to look through or really any positive memories of her short existence. We have been left with almost nothing. I say almost because she is actually the only little one of which we ever got an ultrasound picture. But it is tucked away in a special place for mine and Jesse's eyes only, and we both feel strongly about keeping it that way for now. At any rate, we landed on the idea of choosing an Angel Tree child to buy gifts for each year in memory of our little girl who would have come to us so close to Christmas. In fact, when at Walmart last night, I chose an Angel Tree card for a little 1 month old boy who is living in CPS's possession. With tears in my eyes (as of the past few days, my eyes are just at a constant state of watering, so now I just go with it), I knew that he was the one and thought about how we would be buying this little one's gifts at the very age we would have been buying them for our own child. As we continued to explore this idea today, we landed on the decision to, from this point on, support one Angel Tree child for each of our babies in heaven as the years go on, hopefully choosing children at the age that our children would have been. Finally. A way to keep their memories alive and to do something for someone else in their name. I couldn't visit their graves and I couldn't look through their baby books,
but I could do that.
As I sit and think of the "supposed to be's" "could'ves" and "would'ves" that plague most of my thoughts on days like these, I also remember the journey that we took as a result of this little one. From the moment we learned of her to the inconclusive ultrasounds that led to waiting and waiting and waiting to learn what the outcome would be. Days of hope would crash down into days of despair. And the next morning would bring another day of hope only to be smashed to smithereens in another day of devastation. Until at about 9 weeks and after an entire day at Banner Thunderbird and a trip to the OR, the last flicker of hope was gone and we lost her.
There are, as you might imagine, many moments that transpired during that roller coaster of quiet madness that are not expounded upon here as just in this very minute I have chosen to leave some things to the memories of my husband and to me, out of respect for this most vulnerable and intimate of experiences. Moments that can't really be described with words. With that being said, on May 8, 2013 we said goodbye to our precious second little one and suffice it to say, that experience changed us forever.
Jesse felt pretty strongly that she was our little girl, and so after careful thinking we landed on a name for this little one-- Nadia Larrayne. If we did our homework correctly, then her name bears the meaning of
And as we received our second handmade baby quilt from my mom, ordered our second Forget Me Not made of stained glass to hang in our front window, and tucked our only photo of our little nugget into a safe place, we were most definitely living an existence that was cloaked in sorrow. Not the kind that comes and goes when that great job passes you by or when you hear that sad story about a stranger in the news,
but that deep, pervading, gut-wrenching, ugly cry, sob yourself into hysteria kind of sorrow.
The kind where it feels like something inside of you has been most unnaturally and unfairly ripped from you and what's left is nothing but a bleeding, irreparable, gaping hole in your heart. And the days are dark and the smiles are few. And yet, in the midst of it all, as ill-prepared as I may have been for what would come next, a short 5 months later, I still felt a sense of hope that this would not be the end of our story. And in fact, it isn't even the end of little Nadia's story. Scripture is very clear that the concept of mortality does not apply to believers in Christ and to those who have not yet reached the age of accountability. And so, our little pink Forget Me Not has not died, but rather is living in Eternity with Christ until the day that we see her again. We are heartbroken that we did not get to meet her today as originally expected, but look forward with great hope that we will meet again.
Because in Christ, there is no death.
Dearest little Nadia,
First, we miss you. Like crazy. There are some days where you are all that we think about and other days where every tiny thing that I see or hear reminds me of you. I realize that sounds a little nutty given the brevity of our time together here on earth, but in my mind, you are a whole person with likes and dislikes, a personality, and even a sense of humor. I think you would have been the spunky one, giving your dad and even Juno a run for their money with your antics and your scheming. I think you would have had my hair and your dad's eyes and I just know that you would have been the dose of stubbornness and mischief that both of your grandmas were waiting for ;-) <3 I think about what it would have been like to finally meet you and see your face, and how it would have felt to bring you home and show you our Christmas tree and your very first ornament from Auntie Rachel. But don't you worry-- for as long as we are around, you will always have ornaments on the tree and guess what-- because of you, some little boy or girl will always get a Christmas present who may not have otherwise received one. We will always think of you during this holiday season especially as you were going to be our most favorite present of all. And when the hard days come, I will look at the flowers your daddy gave me when we lost you and I will snuggle the blanket that I made for you and listen to the lamb that Grandma brought for you as it plays "Jesus Loves Me". And I will probably feel sad and I might even cry, but I will keep memories of you close by always and I will never ever forget you and will take comfort in knowing that this is not the end of your story, dearest little one.