I have been so bad at regularly updating the blog these past few months! I have several posts written in my head that I really want to type out but I just cannot find the time to do it. Part of me feels guilty about this since I used to be so consistent with my blogging, but part of me also feels relieved that there have been no big tragedies in my life lately to blog about. I am busy with life, regular life with my three earth babies, and it is wonderful. I still feel like I’m trying to reintegrate back into “normal” life, except that it is a new normal. I still struggle with the fact that I will never be the person I was before anti-kell antibodies and before my daughter died. This adjustment to my new life feels very similar to when I move to a new country. It’s disorienting at first trying to understand a new culture, learn a new language, figure out a new transportation system, make new friends, find your way around a new city, etc. I’ve realized that it takes me at least a whole year in a new country to start feeling like I’m not just a visitor anymore, like I belong. I still feel like I don’t quite belong here even though she died three and a half years ago.
For the rest of my time here on earth my life will be divided into two parts…no, not even two parts, two completely different lives. There was my life before Lucy and there is my life after Lucy. It feels like I am just now figuring out how to make this new life work. I am feeling more confident finding my way around this new country. The culture shock is not as terrible now, but it still jolts me some days. Often, the cloud of sadness settles on me and overtakes everything. I can’t believe I’m missing her whole life. I can’t believe I have to actually go through the rest of my life not knowing my daughter, not interacting with her on a daily basis. Most of the time, though, I just feel thankful. I’m thankful for all that God has done for me. I’m thankful for the many ways He continually fulfills His promise to me that He made on the day Lucy died. He said He would redeem her death and my pain, and He is slowly doing that, day by day (this is one of the blog posts I need to write!)
I started working part time again teaching English to German families and I love it. It is so rewarding and fulfilling for me and the extra income is desperately needed. We finished paying off all of Nora’s medical bills, but we still have our credit card bill to pay off. Normally we don’t use our credit card at all unless there is an emergency but after we lost all of our savings on the “adoption” and I moved to Houston last year we had to use it on a regular basis. Hopefully we can now pay it off over the next year.
Lately I’ve been struggling with the fact that if I didn’t have anti-kell antibodies, we would have already been trying again for our next baby. We would have to get pregnant this month or next month if we wanted Nora to have a sibling two years younger than her. It hurts me to see Liam and Asher play and wrestle while Nora sits all alone on the sidelines, smiling sweetly at her brothers. She should have a three year old sister. I wish I could be pregnant right now with her little brother or sister. I don’t want her to be all alone without a sibling friend close in age. It is another loss that hurts me every day. We are not trying to conceive, by the way. Here is Nora playing with her stuffed animal friends on her little couch that she got for her birthday.
Nora is now 14 months old and is still such a content, joyful baby. I love having a little girl in the house. She is so different from her brothers. She loves shoes, clothes and jewelry and tries to dress herself already. She is very maternal like I was when I was little. Her baby dolls and stuffed animals have all been rocked to sleep, bottle fed, kissed, patted, dressed, undressed, dressed again and even sung to. Nora loves talking and singing. Her favorite sentences are “I love you.” and “I like this.” I ask her, “Nora, who is your hero?” and she says, “Doc Mo” which is her version of Dr. Moise. Last night she was playing with her Daddy before bed and she pointed to her belly and said, “Tickle this.” She is finally walking all over the place and trying to keep up with her brothers. They are still obsessed with her. They think she’s hilarious and adorable and they can’t believe how soft her skin is. I often hear one of them say something like, “Mommy, Nora is so cute she’s making my eyes cry.” They are gentle around her and very protective of her. If one of them accidentally knocks her down or hurts her somehow, I always end up comforting the big brother more than I have to comfort Nora. She might cry for a minute but her brother will cry for half an hour and then feel guilty all day about how he knocked her over and hurt her. In these moments I feel extra thankful that she didn’t die in my womb. Her brothers would have been absolutely devastated. I’m so glad they didn’t have to go through that heartache again. Liam asks often about Scarlet and Lucy and he says on a regular basis, “What if we had been able to keep Lucy, Scarlet AND Nora? I would have loved that.” He just said it again this morning. Our lives are interwoven with grief and joy and “what might have beens” but they are anchored in the steadiness of God’s love and goodness. Our joy and our stability are found in Him and we are so thankful that He is unchanging. Here are a few pictures of Nora lately and a video from her first birthday that I forgot to post earlier.
Bethany, I’m new to your blog, and I’m not sure how I even stumbled across it, but I’ve been reading for almost two hours and am just stunned at your story. I just want to thank you so much for sharing it. What love is in your heart, what hope. Your courage inspires me to do better with my days. I’m so thankful to have met you and I hope we can get our daughters together soon.
Thank you so much Brooke! Your words are so encouraging. We definitely need to get Nora and Mina together for a play date soon. Nora is finally starting to recognize other babies her age as actual humans so that’s nice 😂
I lost my Madeleine August 20,2016. I went into my 36 week checkup only to find out she no longer had a heart beat. I have 3 boys 6, 4 and 3. Reading your post feels like I could have written them. The yearning for the little girl after the boys….that’s me……she is my first thought at any given time and my second is she is still gone. I think sometimes I think I’m in a dream…like I expect to find her..then reality hits….I can’t ever have her here with me..it isn’t fair…I like you love my god but I question why he allowed this to happen to my beautiful, perfect, wanted, loved only little girl.I was the oldest of 2 boys. My mother is my best friend. I wanted the chance to have the sister I never had…that connection my mother and I have but it was taken away from me. I had prepped my boys for their baby for 9 months. They argued over who was going to hold her first,bathe her first,sing to her first. Instead I got to explain to them she wasn’t ever coming come, death meant forever, cremation. I decided to have her cremated to have her home with me, where she belongs. I died the day I held my lifeless daughter in my hands. To top it off I don’t have a reason as to why I’m not holding a 3 1/2 month old chunky baby. The cord was not around her neck, no knots in her cord, her placenta was tested…nothing….I’ve been to 3 dr’s who have looked through mine and her chart with a fine tooth comb and the only explanation is”I’m sorry for this unfortunate even that has happened to you, we don’t have a cause” we did decline to have autopsy because it could have came back wwith inconclusive and I didnt want to think of her tiny, perfect body being cut on for nothing…sometimes I wish I could change that decision…when people die they always have a reason for death..I dont…and that has made the coping process very difficult. I had perfect pregnancies with all 4..worked and took care of my kids, husband and home. I want nothing more than to be pregnant again. I feel like I was running a race and my toe touched the finish line and it was her ked away. All my anticipations, wants , dreams, hopes all left when she left. I have to live for my boys…I don’t feel I have the choice otherwise….but reading your blog has brought me much comfort because I feel like we’re the same type of mother. People tell me with time my wounds will heal however I don’t think that’s true for me…Madeleine s wound will always be fresh….yes with time maybe I can talk about her 100% and not cry ..only time will tell…you give me hope. I’m so glad you got your rainbow baby and a little girl…that’s amazing. I want another. I want to feel complete again. I want my arms filled. I want to see my boys interact with a baby sibling especially my youngest since he is the baby of the family. I don’t want to replace Madeleine but I do want something tangiable (sp?) Here on earth to love and help me feel somewhat complete. Women have told me having another has helped them cope in ways unimanginable has this been the case for you? All these firsts I am missing really hurt so bad, this holiday season really is difficult for me. If I didn’t have to boys I would rather skip it this year but I do have them so I have tried to be happy for them during the day but when they go to bed I break down and cry. I’m sorry I’m going on and on but I think telling Madeleine s story does give me peace..even if it is only for a few seconds…
Kelley, I am so sorry that you lost your Madeleine. I was heartbroken for you as I read your story. I think it is especially painful to lose your ONLY girl after having all boys. I related to so many things your wrote, even still today almost four years after losing my Lucy. The pain never goes away, you just learn to function with that heavy burden of grief weighing you down. And in a way, the shock of my little girl not being here with me never fully wears off. Sometimes the realization still hits me like a wave, “My baby girl is dead. She will never be alive on this earth with me.” It’s something I don’t feel I can live with, but I do. I hate how other people seemed to accept Lucy’s death so quickly and then move on. I still feel shocked that she is not here with her siblings and her Mommy and Daddy. It’s the worst thing in the world, losing your child. I am so sorry that this is your reality. I hate that Madeleine isn’t here like she should be. The first year and a half are by far, the worst of all (well, for me at least.) Those first 18 months or so are still so dark and heavy when I think about them. Any time I even see the year 2013 I feel panicky and depressed and hopeless. Even though the ache for Madeleine will never go away, you will not feel this desperate and dark forever. You WILL feel joy again and you will feel peace, and even hope. You will be able to enjoy small things again and even learn how to do small talk with other people again (something I just relearned in the past year.) I’ve been praying that you would also be blessed with a second baby girl that you get to keep. I SO wish you could have known what happened with Madeleine so that you could at least KNOW. And that you could figure out if there is some type of treatment. I think I’ve read that about 50% of parents who lost their babies to stillbirth never find out why. That is hard. But most of the women who do have stillborn babies and don’t know the cause go on to have healthy rainbow babies afterwards.And I agree with the women who told you about the healing power of a rainbow baby. God had used my little Nora to heal me and our whole family in miraculous ways. I have way less triggers now, which is so great. Anything pink or girly used to send me into a dark spiral emotionally because I thought I would never raise a girl on earth and my only daughter was dead. I would tear up just walking past the girl aisle in the toy section of Target. I never thought I would get to buy baby girl toys or see any pink baby girl clothes in my laundry basket. But thankfully God did give me the gift of a living baby girl. I will pray that He gives you one too and that your deep wounds will heal. I wanted to write more but I’m literally struggling to keep my eyes open right now. I am praying for you! (Also, I didn’t proof read this so sorry if I made any silly mistakes)