Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Solveig's Birthday - One Year Later

Since Solveig Sofia was born on February 29th, the day that doesn't exist except for every four years, we decided that we would honor her life on the 28th unless it is a leap year.  Today was that day. It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since our precious angel was born into Heaven.  Some of the days we have endured in this year have seemed so long.  There were days I just wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out for a very long time.  And other days, particularly as we moved further into the year, I was truly able to find enjoyment and peace.  Overall there has been a sense of peace.  I really have felt God's presence with me and with us even in those darkest moments.  That is something that I am so grateful for, and something of which I never desire to let go.

So today, the big one year anniversary of our baby's birth and death, we decided to do some really special things together as a family.  Our hope was originally that Erik and I would be able to go to the hospital to the room where we delivered Solveig.  There is a need for me especially to make peace with that sacred space, listen to music that we heard during the delivery and afterwards, and just reminisce about our daughter in the place where we first met her...and where we spent the most time with her.  Unfortunately for us, the room that we used has been occupied today.  So we will hope to go there sometime in the next week if it works out.

Since our hospital date didn't work out, we slightly altered some of our plans.  We took the kids to our wonderful museum for young ones where we made homemade paper, worked on an assembly line, delivered mail, and swung through the jungle and went to the moon with the cartoon characters who speak Sp_anish.  It really was fun to do something joyful that Solveig would've also enjoyed if she had been with us.  After playing hard for a few hours, we made our way to an As_ian restaurant for stir fried goodness.  Then it was onto the grocery store to get some pink roses, or in this case today pink tipped white roses as that was all they had.  And we picked up six pink balloons from the party store.

We made our way to the cemetery in the country where the snow was covering the ground in a white blanket, just as it was almost a year ago when we first buried our little girl.  I noticed as we drove up that there was already a freshly laid flower at the grave and I was so curious about it.  With roses in tow, we walked to the grave where we found that beautiful pink rose and a note from my sweet friend Natalie and her family.  What a blessing to have friends and family who have been there for us through this journey and who have been remembering us with calls, flowers, cards, emails, etc.  We are so grateful.  Thank you dear Natalie.  And thank you to the many others who have shown us your love.

We took turns laying our roses at the grave.  For some reason, the kids decided it would be cool to place each of their flowers on top of the headstone rather than by the ground.  Then we got out our six light pink balloons, just like the ones we had last year when we buried Solveig.  (Six balloons were for the four kids, including this little one inside of me, and us two parents.  I didn't intentionally leave out our two miscarried babies - and now that I think of it, I wish I had gotten two more balloons.) We decided to release the balloons together as a group, but didn't think about the fact that the ribbons were sort of stuck together.  What ensued brought great laughter as our balloons flew up in the wind and got lodged into a nearby tree where one quickly popped.  We decided that the one that popped must have been Solveig's balloon, and that maybe she was kind of laughing at us!  Erik said that she might have been thinking, "hey guys, I beat you!  I got here first!"  Shortly after that balloon popped, one of the remaining five balloons let loose and flew into the sky.  That made me think of her spirit flying to Heaven.  We reminded the kids that the reason we did the balloon release and visited the cemetery was so that they could remember that our bodies are not meant for this earth, and that we will all die someday and we do not need to fear death.  We told them again that we have hope in the resurrection of Jesus - hope in Heaven where we can also look forward to being reunited with Solveig and our two miscarried babies.

After Erik and I hugged and we were chilled enough from the brisk air, we left the cemetery and headed with Bailey dog to the dog park.  It was fun to take a loop around the park with the kids and to see Bailey enjoying herself with the small pack that was there.  We promised the kids that there was something "chaud" for them after the dog park.  They didn't know that word in Fre_nch yet, but kept trying to figure it out.  Once we got home, we made some hot cocoa (our something chaud - "hot") and warmed up a bit.

After a rest, I made some almond buttercream frosting for the vanilla cake I baked yesterday and set out decorating the cake.  I just wanted it to be simple and had bought some raspberries to place around it.  I found some candy decors that I could use to write Solveig's name and placed one little pink candle on top.  We decorated the table with a simple pink tablecloth and some girly butterfly plates and napkins.  And then the feast began...hot dogs, baked beans and salad.  We just wanted to have something simple, and the beans and hot dogs we felt would've been enjoyed by a one year old.

When it was time to sing and have cake, I was videotaping and could barely choke out half of the words for the birthday song.  It struck me again that the baby we were singing to was not physically with us.  But you know what else struck me today?  Her birthday in Heaven must be much greater than any birthday could ever be here on earth.  I can hardly wait to join her there to celebrate more birthdays.

For now, we will continue to honor our daughter and celebrate her short yet valuable life here on this earth.

Solveig Sofia, I love you sweet girl.  Your mama misses you so much.  I wish I could hug and kiss you and feed you your birthday cake...and sing songs to you and rock you and lay you down in your crib to sleep.  We will never forget you.  Your life mattered and always will.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unexpected Blessing

Tonight I attended my support group at the hospital.  This has been such a key part of my healing in the past year - going to support group and being encouraged because I'm walking this journey with other parents who are also going through similar things.  Our support group leader/facilitator Annette is so dear to me and has become a lifeline and friend over the year.  I'm grateful for her help.

After group tonight, I asked Annette if she would go with me to the labor and delivery unit so that I could double check where we delivered Solveig.  Sometime around her birthday, Erik and I plan to go to the room to remember her and our experience there.  It is so important to me to make peace with that space before I deliver another baby in that hospital sometime in the next few months.  Annette willingly went with me to the unit and explained who I was to the nurses on duty.  Right away, the nurse that we were speaking with said, "Oh, I remember you!  Wasn't your baby born on the 29th of February last year?"  "Yes," I said, "that was her."  The nurse Lori said, "I was the charge nurse that night and I remember you and your family.  Your story was so unique.  The nurses talked about you for a long time after that.  I saw your baby's obituary in the newspaper and I really appreciated that you wanted people to designate their memorial funds to Now I L_ay Me Do_wn To Sl_eep."  Annette told Lori, "Melody is making the boxes for the hospital now."  And Lori said, "Oh that's you?  Those boxes are amazing!  In fact, one woman who had a loss here and received one of those boxes was able to share about it with her friend who lives in W_is_cons_in and didn't get anything at the hospital she delivered at when she lost her baby.  She took photos of your box and gave them to her friend who is now is now making boxes like yours for her hospital!"  "Wow, that is just awesome!  I'm so glad to know that is happening," I exclaimed.  I was blown away by this response, and immensely touched that someone would remember and acknowledge us, our loss and our baby girl.  I was also so thrilled to know that because of the box project which started years ago in honor of a little girl named Olivia who was stillborn, that people are continuing to be blessed by the boxes which are now being made in honor of my Solveig.  Tears came to my eyes, and Lori said, "I didn't mean to make you cry."  I said, "no, it's okay!  It means so much to me that you remember."  Just down the row at the desk another nurse said, "I remember you too.  I was there."  I looked at her and totally recognized her!  "You're the one who took pictures, right?  I remember you too," I said.  "Thank you so much for taking pictures."

Shortly thereafter, we made our way down the hall and confirmed our room.  There it was, empty at the moment, and I recognized it right away.  It didn't feel weird to me to see it.  This was the third time that I had set foot in that labor and delivery unit since our delivery last February.  And each time I've been there it has felt a little bit better.  I'm hoping that on the day we plan to go in to honor Solveig's life that it will be open and ready for us to spend some time in it.  That place is sacred for us.  Angels were there with us.  The care we received in that hospital was amazing.  And I'm incredibly grateful for the people who are working there.  Going back there and having a live baby, Lord willing, will be such a redemptive experience.

God chose today to remind me of His presence.  He showed me again how much He loves me, and that our baby girl's life was not in vain.  He showed me that her legacy lives on, and that what was such a tragic situation for us has now gone on to produce good in our lives as well as the lives of others.  We are blessed to be part of Solveig's legacy.  And I can hardly wait to see what God continues to do because of that little girl's life.

Thank you Lord for letting us have Solveig for such a brief time.  May we choose to continue seeing the good that has come out of her life.  And may you continue to be glorified.

Soli deo gloria!