Monday, May 4, 2015

Lily's Birth Story: Part II

The first part of Lily's birth story can be found here.

I remember when we first told our pastor about Lily's diagnosis, I told him that I only wanted one thing when Lily was born: I said I wanted her to be born naturally, and right around her due date, and with everyone I wanted there, and for her to be born alive. Yes, I thing, right? He quickly stopped me and told me life doesn't work that way. He told me I needed to rearrange my prayer requests or I was going to be even more disappointed. I sunk into the chair with humility because I knew he was right.

Jason and I talked about it and from that day on we prayed every single day for peace. We asked God to give us peace with any decisions we had to make. We asked God that we would be at peace with when she was born, how she was born and who would be there. We prayed this prayer every single day up until the hours I began pushing. 

With Ted's birth experience, I can learn from it and decide with another child what I would or would not do the next time. Lily's experience is different because honestly, I pray every single day I do not get a "do-over". There are a million "what ifs" and "what could have beens" that creep in and I have to stop my mind from going there. I can't do this over. I can't say I wish it would have gone differently because her birth story is all I have.

As we got closer and closer to meeting Lily, my list of wishes started to grow again. But when it really got down to it, I only had one wish, one prayer: I needed my parents to be there. 

My mom arrived the Friday before my due date and my dad the day after my due date. I think he wanted to "be there for me", but not actually there when she was born. Lily clearly had other plans. When I say I needed my parents there, I really thought I just needed my mom. But in the moments after she was born; as I think back to everyone coming in to see her,my dad walked in the room to meet his first granddaughter, and I realized I needed my dad to be there more than anyone else.

I needed my dad to see her in person. I needed him to hold her, to memorize her. I needed him to see firsthand that she was worth it. My dad was so worried about me during my whole pregnancy, but holding Lily, by seeing how much I loved her and needed her, I think he realized her value and saw her undeniable worth

There was so much love that filled that room. It was full of sorrow and sadness, but more than anything there was so much love

Our priest ended up being out of town up until the day before Lily was born. Near the end of my pregnancy, my second wish was for our pastor to be there to meet and baptize Lily. (I have known him since I moved here. He gave me my first job, which led me to our awesome community. He married us, baptized Ted, and gave Jason his Sacraments when he joined the Church.) Again, Lily knew better than us and thankfully she was two weeks late so she could meet him. He was there, jet lagged from a trip to Hong Kong, to pray with us and give her a blessing. Since she was born sleeping, she wasn't baptized, but he blessed her, read a scripture, and told us how much he loved us.

My parents, sister, brother-in-law and kids, and a few friends were all there to hold her, to see her, to fall in love with her. They saw first hand that she wasn't a definition, she wasn't anencephaly...she was beautiful and perfectly made. 

My nephew couldn't get enough of her. He asked to hold her several times. As he held her, he just stared at her and cried. She stole his heart instantly. 

After everyone held her, kissed her and said goodbye, they left. I don't know how long they doesn't really matter because there could never be "enough time" for them.

Then it was just Jason and me. We were beyond exhausted, but we just wanted to soak her up as much as we could. At first we thought the funeral home would come that night, but thankfully they didn't come until the next day. 

This was my favorite time...just Jason and I memorizing her every sweet detail. Her thighs were so chunky she already had rolls! She had the most amazing cheeks, maybe even squishier than her brother's! Her hands and feet were perfect. Her nose, like a button. We took turns holding her, kissing her, and telling her how much we love her. 

We took some pictures on my phone. I guess I can say now if I have one regret it's that we didn't take enough of these pictures. They are my absolute favorite. Just us and our perfect daughter. For these brief moments, we almost felt like normal "proud parents", not parents that were saying their hellos and goodbyes at the same time. But, I also know that even if I had taken a thousand more pictures, I would still say the same thing...there could never be enough pictures.

Jason and I were exhausted. Emotionally, physically, spiritually...all of it. I felt so guilty, but I needed some sleep. We laid her in the bassinet and got some rest. We woke up the next morning and spent the morning just loving her. Again, we memorized every little detail about her. I said earlier I wished I had taken more pictures, but honestly, none of the pictures even do her any justice. She was so beautiful. Our nurse, whom I will love forever, came in and "oohed" and "ahed" over Lily with us. She told me she had good, healthy, Irish thighs. She even cried with us. 

Then the director of the funeral home came to pick her up. My heart was racing...the moment I had been dreading for five and half months was actually right in front of me, staring me in the face. The moment that still takes my breath away and makes me well up with tears. The moment I had to hand my daughter over, knowing I would never hold her again in this life. I can assure you we prepared for a lot, but absolutely nothing prepares you for this moment. Jason and I prayed with her, we asked her to pray for us and for Ted, and we told her over and over again how much we love her and how sorry we were we couldn't save her. And then, my greatest fear became my reality...she left my arms in this life forever.

I am a different person now. I am now the mother of a saint. And as long as I live, my heart will be teetering back and forth, somewhere between Heaven and Earth. 


  1. I enjoyed reading this(&part 1) very much, even though it broke my heart. I had 2 miscarriages, so I know a little of what you were feeling, but so much harder for you to carry her, give birth, hold her, then half to give her back to the Lord. Lily's story, and you and your husbands is so inspiring.

  2. Thank you for bravely sharing. I'm not quite sure how I came upon your story, but I'm so glad that I did. I have been praying for you this whole time. You are so brave. What an encouragement to know that you will see your beautiful girl again with our Heavely Father and that there will be no more sorrow. Your family is often on my heart and in my prayers.

  3. Thank you for sharing. It made me cry seeing pictures of little Lily and having to lose her right away. I am in awe of your strength to share this story. Your little angel is watching over you.

  4. Oh, so touching...and so many memories to treasure in those moments with Lily. What a beautiful baby girl. I love that so many of your family members were able to be there. What precious, precious memories for all of them. She is and will always be part of your lives. Praying for all of you and thinking of your saint in heaven. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.