Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lily of my Heart

Today I am not posting about our house. My heart is full of much more important and eternal things. This is all very personal and honestly quite sad so I understand if you choose not to read it. I just really need to put my heart into words today.

Sunday is the third birthday of my daughter Lily Arabella which means "an innocent and beautiful, answered prayer." I was thinking yesterday that I don't have any plans of how we are going to celebrate yet. You see, she is not here running under my feet, tugging at my shirt, shining her smile everywhere to remind me. If she was I would have spent months coming up with a theme and planning out every second of the celeebration. I feel so horrible for not having plans. So in honor of her, I want to take a moment and run through the memories of all that happened three years ago.

In May 2009 my husband and I went to visit my sister and her family in England. They have three kids and my husband told me that we would come home either ready to have a kid or never wanting one. I came home ready. Sometime in June I was sitting on our backporch and telling God I was ready. it's not often that I feel like I'm certain of His presence and His voice in the exact moment, but that day I felt Him and it was like I could feel Him smiling with joy over the mother I would be. I cried. The next month we started trying and on August 1st we found out we were pregnant. We were shocked, amazed, scared, excited all at once.

At 9wks along we were on vacation the first time I bled. It wasn't much and I didn't feel pain. The next week I was letting the dog in from outside when I thought I'd peed my pants. We are getting nice and personal here. It was blood. The doctor said the pregnancy hormone was still high in my system, but there was nothing they could do if I was losing the baby. The next day on ultrasound the babys heart was beating and it was wiggling about, but something didn't look quite right. At 12wks and another ultrasound we were told that no skin had formed from right under her ribcage down to her pelvic bone. We could terminate right then or wait and do an amnio at 15wks to find out what happened and terminate then. They said our baby was a girl. They said she wouldn't live. The only life she'd ever know was in my womb. Terminate. . . terminate. . . That is me choosing to take my own babies life. That is me taking God out of the picture and out of control. That is me making the choice. No. No I coudn't do that.

One month later we find out her spine is bent at a 90 degree angle. We find out her precious feet are clubbed. Her heart is still beating. I felt her move for the first time on Halloween in the Taco Bell drive thru while singing along to Taylor Swift. The doctor said terminating a child who has no hope is different. I've never loved my husband more than we he asked her how she really knew there was no hope?

We buy a crib. We decorate the nursery. We paint her name on the wall. We show faith in the God who makes all things possible since she is showing the doctors wrong with every heart beat.

Months pass. She kicks like a beast, 90 degree spine be screwed. At 32 wks we are transferred to another doctor at a hospital with a NICU that can handle her care. Her heart still beats. Her body still grows. Our doctor is the head of labor and delivery. When I call for her the receptionist asks why I got her as my doctor. I tell her it's because my babys organs are growing in a sac created by the umbilical cord outside her body. I guess that answers her question. A csection is schedueld for 39wks. There is a high chance of the sac bursting since it is such a thin membrane. There is also a chance that the umbilical cord is short since Lily is still high up on my right side. They may have to do a vertical incision to get her out.

The morning a day before our scheduled csection I wake up to contractions. This is happening. My husband says no its not and go back to bed. I actually try. Nope we have to go. My contractions are three minutes apart on our 30 minute drive. I didn't think I'd have to go through this. The nurses don't check me or call my doctor right away. When they do I am 5cm and my water is about to break. The doctor lives 40mins away and might not make it. They call her and she tells them to give me the epidural, but they have to wait for her. Yes, I agree. We need her. The contractions have pushed her down far enough that a normal incision is done. There are about 40 people in the room ready to welcome our girl. There is silence. There is beeping. There is a plastic surgeon student who stitches me up. The crowd walks to the door while I still lay there holding Jasons hand. A girl holds up a tightly wrapped bundle of baby and I see her face. She is alive. Her heart beats. She is rushed out the door.

We find out she is huge. 9lbs 2ounces and looks like a wee little Michelin man. Rolls aplenty. Jason goes to see her. Jason doesn't tell me the whole truth of her condition. His eyes are red. I can't finish this story the way I want today. Not the details of the end. Her organs not growing in her torso didn't allow her lungs to fully develop. There was no hope for them to grow. One of them was almost non existant. We got 16 days. 16 days of shared life. 16 days that we were told would never be. We prayed everyday. We continued to believe everyday. I feared how I would react if she wasn't healed. If she didn't live. We feared for our marriage if she didn't live. We felt what we felt and we weren't afraid to be honest with God. He listened. He held us in His presence. Her room was full of HIm. Daily scriptures on her incubator. Loved ones filing through to see her sweet face. I sang to her. We read the Bible and childrens books to her. She held our fingers. Her Daddy bonked her nose. She had his angry face. She folded her amazing beautiful feet on top of eachother just like me. She looked into my eyes when I kissed her tiny fingers good night. We got to sleep in her room. I left only once to see our dog and shower in our own house. I fled her room when things got tough. I still don't know how I feel about that. I was there when she left us. My Mom was too. And my sister all the way from England who made it just 5hrs before her departure. The night before my sister came I told Him that if He was bringing her just to be here to comfort me after the death of my daughter that I was  not okay with that. That was not a good gift. Immdiately after I started to sing Great is Your Faithfullness. He is good. Always good.

I held her once in life and once after death. My amazing baby girrl. Today I just needed to pour my heart out. I needed to feel the excitement, pain, sorrow, joy all over again. I needed to say that sometimes I'm still not okay that she isn't here. Sometimes I still ask why. Sometimes I just say thank you. Thank you Lord for 16 days of shared life. Thank you Lord for my good, good gift.


  1. I just wanted to say that this post truely touched my heart in ways I can not explain and brought me to tears. It takes a lot to share something so personal with the world and in reading this, I think that it really puts things into perspective and teaches you to appreciate all that God gives each of us everyday, no matter the amount of suffering and hearache there is in the world, to be able to have such strong faith through it all makes life a little easier to get through and makes us all appreciate the joys life brings us despite the challenges and pain. Thank you for sharing and God Bless you and your family!

    1. I can only echo this comment. Wow. I found this blog because I am building a Rome... and just wow... I can not imagine your pain but you are a testament to how faith in God can carry us through anything.

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart xx

  3. Erin, You and your family are a true inspiration to everyone who knows your story.
    Love and blessings to all. Mary Louise Forte

  4. Beautiful and heart wrenching x

  5. This also brought tears to my eyes. Yes, 16 days of loving an innocent child was a gift so dear! You went through so much but glad that you are a child of God and knew that Lily was going to an eternal home. Sorrow also brings Joy! We had this discussion in church for Easter. Praying for you this Sunday on her birthday! Becky