Friday, August 19, 2011

I Got to Hold Her

I've lost track of how many Fridays it's been since I last held my baby girl, but although the number fails me, the pain doesn't seem to slip my mind and it certainly doesn't leave my heart alone. 

I brought Sam to Rachel's playground for a little bit this morning.  We went down the slide together a couple times, went on the swings and played a tune on the music wall... it is a pretty amazing playground.  I brought my clippers and cut back her garden that has been without flowers for a while now.  It's still nice, just all green.  Sometimes I can hardly believe that the playground really is there because of her....that my small vision last September on vacation came to be much more than that in just a few short months after her birth and death. 

After we played, I stopped home and cut a bouquet of flowers from my garden and brought them to Rachel's grave.  Her stone is so nice.  The plant I bought her has gotten used to the temperature out there and was in full bloom again, really pretty.  I set up her vase and honestly, didn't feel much emotion there today.  I remember days and days of standing in that spot just crying my heart out to God and crying half way home because I had to leave her again.  Today, that didn't happen.  I wondered if it meant this was going to stop hurting so much, but I've been dealing with grief long enough to know that it doesn't work like that.  I'm sure I'll have my days.... but today, I had peace.  At least at the cemetery. 

When I got home, I had received some of the edited pictures of my girl that my friend Lisa (started off as a blog reader!) is working on for me.  I just sat here staring at Rachel and crying.  I can really hardly believe that my baby died... that she was born without the top of her head... that she still had big curls of hair.  She looks so pretty, and I'm excited to see more pictures that show that.  Unfortunately, our photographer from NILMDTS sent us the pictures just the way they were, without editing, because I was in a rush to get them for her funeral.  So although they are great photos, there are hundreds of them that I have not shared....mostly because of her coloring/lighting, and some because her hat had moved into a bad position and was either covering too much of her face, or not enough of her head.  I guess it's just hard to let go of the fact that some people will look at her pictures and pick her apart and I want to protect her from that.  There are also some characteristics of babies with anencephaly that I feared people would judge on her, like her folded ears, which I have now come to love and miss....

I wish I would have had more time to memorize her face in person.  I do it with the other three all the time and I realized that I was doing it today with Rachel, unfortunately when I felt my heart fill up with love for her as I was looking at her, I couldn't reach out and give her a hug.  I absolutely love to kiss my kids' noses... I know, it's odd, but it's my favorite and Rachel definitely had an Aube nose (they all have their Daddy's nose) and I kissed it a lot.... but I cried as I remembered that and the fact that as the hours passed by, hers became cold on my lips.

My friend was telling me that in a midwifery book she's reading, there is a true story about a baby born with anencephaly.  I believe it was in another country and the baby lived for a couple of days.  She said they referred to the baby as a holy one because they could sense how special the baby was.  I think that is the best memory I have with Rachel....the undeniable sense that I was holding a piece of heaven....that not everybody gets the privilege of being that close to God... that she was something truly special, irreplaceable, an amazing gift and fashioned by God for His eternal purposes alone. 

And I got to hold her.... and call myself her Mama....

I miss her so much.  She is worth every single tear and every ounce of pain. 

You can see her little curls in this picture in the middle of her forehead...
she had a TON of straight hair in the back, just like all her siblings.  I wanted to take the curls from the front, but didn't want to give her a bad haircut, so I clipped some from the back

I love this dress on her, thanks Mom for bringing her a birthday present ♥
Thanks, Lisa for taking the time to work on these photos... it means so much!


  1. Oh my Stacy that first picture of Rachel is beautiful. She is so lucky to have you as her mama <3

  2. An Angel with the book of life wrote down sweet Rachel's birth, and whispered as she closed the book, "too beautiful for earth". Stacy, you absolutely did hold a piece of heaven in your arms and these pictures depict that. She's absolutely beautiful, just like her mama.

  3. Oh, Rachel is so *beautiful*!!! Just like her Mama.


  4. I spent some time tonight going back and looking at old posts, photos, and generally navigating the blog all over. I know that I've read every post thus far, seen every photo at least once, watched each video... I'm sure I haven't missed anything along the way.
    However, as I read this blog I had a thought; You are one of the bravest women I have been blessed to know (even if it is from afar), and I happen to find your grieving process to be honest and, well, refreshing. I'm not sure that's the appropriate word- but I'd like to share why I chose it.
    Many of us who grieve a loss, we get sucked back into the daily grind we call life and we "move on". I don't think that many people take all the time they truly need to grieve a loss.
    I think back to my grandmother passing. I truly loved that woman. I grieved, but life was going so fast at the time that I stopped having time. The grieving and memories became fleeting.
    There are many days when I have downtime that I remember the loss, and I feel a deep guilt that I didn't grieve enough, that I didn't do that honorable woman justice.
    I know there are plenty of people, some with lawyers, who think that you have grieved too long. I use the word refreshing because that's how I truly feel about your grief. You're doing it your way, in your time, and you're making sure that you do that precious little baby justice. You broke the mold of what is considered "acceptable" grieving, and you refuse to conform to others expectations regarding such. That, my dear, is absolutely refreshing.
    Although I hope that you may find relief in time, I pray that you continue to work toward it in your own time, on your own terms. I hope you grieve so completely, so fully, that you never have to feel guilty that you didn't; that you let life take over and you "moved on" too soon.
    Your grief, and the way you share it, help us to realize that it's not about the grieving process but rather the person you lost. It's about Rachel. Your grief reminds us that there was a Rachel, and that she is so special, and that she deserves everything you do for her- including grieve.
    Your sharing process keeps me coming back for more, and keeps me looking back through the older posts, because I always want to remember Rachel. Because if I can't experience all that Rachel is by way of her, I can still do it through you. Because you've made me realize that, no matter how busy life is, she was here- my grandmother was here- and that no amount of time without them takes away from the beauty of their lives. You've helped me to see that, without keeping them at the forefront of my mind, life, and everything I do, I'm not really living the life that keeps sweeping me up and pulling me away.
    Keep being brave Stacy. Keep refusing to let the nay-sayers get you down. And keep refusing to conform to the "norm" or "expectation", staying true to yourself, your family, and Rachel.
    It's truly refreshing.

  5. Rachel is so incredibly beautiful. Your pictures are precious. I love the way you described your precious girl. Gives me goosebumps. I am so glad you experienced peace while visiting Rachel on Friday. Love and Hugs to you!!

  6. Hi Stacy, I think the story your friend is referring to is the one of Ira by Ina May Gaskin. You can read it on my site too, she gave me the permission to share it:

    Rachel's edited pictures are beautiful! What a gift your friend is offering you!!

  7. She's so BEAUTIFUL Stacy! I'm so glad that you've been able to have some of her photos edited so that everyone else can see her beauty. I understand your protectiveness and wanting everyone to see her just as you did and always will.

  8. Sweet, gorgeous girl! Thanks for sharing her with us!! I can't wait to meet her in heaven one day too! =D

  9. Sweet, gorgeous girl! Thanks for sharing her with us!! I can't wait to meet her in heaven one day too! =D

    P.S. Love, love her hair!

  10. Stacy - I hope you can post more pictures of Rachel...she is SO cute and I love her little ears - they are just so precious.
    She has been a holy one since she was concieved and now with Jesus she continues...

  11. Stacy she is so beautiful! I love her. Thank you so much for sharing them, I can't wait to see more. Love you <3

  12. Thinking of you and Rachel tonight :) Love you.

  13. Thank you Stacy, for sharing these pictures! She sure is a beautiful girl. Love you!!

  14. How nice of your friend to do the pics for you. I have a friend who I met thru my blog who did the same for me b/c I was so upset I got unedited pics after waiting 4 mos for them.

    I agree. So worth it.

  15. Stacy, I have been reading your blog since last October, and this is the first time I have commented... I just wanted to say I'm glad you had the strength to post these pictures of Rachel so we could really see her face up close... she is a breathtakingly beautiful little girl! I just want to kiss those cheeks!


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes