I have a natural and exceptionally deep
longing to have our baby known.
To tell of the life that was never born,
but DID live.
The life that although incredibly short,
has changed me.
You can find our not so simple story here.
This is baby bear.
Such a simple little bear, and yet, so much meaning within this little fellow.
For each of our girls we made a build-a-bear. We made them pretty quickly after we found out the gender and picked their name so it would be the very first toy they received. We also put our voices in them to hear our voice when we weren't near. Shortly after we knew we had lost our 4th child, I knew we needed to make him or her a bear as well. We picked a simple, gender neutral little bear with a sweet little smile and incredibly soft fur. My husband and I each wrote a note to our baby. We took all the girls with us and talked about the reason for this bear.
The older woman gently stuffing our bear turned with her big smile and asked who this one was for. After just a slight pause I smiled and gently said, A sweet little baby that didn't get to be born. She smiled so kindly. She didn't feel the need to offer words of sympathy. She didn't give off any kind of awkward feeling. It was refreshing to talk about my baby to a complete stranger.
For those not familiar, they have little red satin hearts that the child can kiss, make a wish, and place inside the toy they are creating before it's closed up. I picked a heart and asked each of our girls to give it a kiss. The woman knowingly didn't ask them to make a wish or do any of the blowing on it to warm it up, rubbing on their tummy and jumping up and down sort of things they would usually ask the child to do. She simply held our bear open, ready to receive the kiss covered heart. We also placed our letters and two ultra sound pictures inside.
We don't keep him high on a shelf as an untouchable. We want our children to love on baby bear, cuddle him, sleep with him, and wear him out. Eden is our 2.5 year old who has never been good with transition or with one of us missing. Once old enough to realize daddy left for work every day, she cried for months and months each morning until she finally got use to it. When Madison, our 4 year old, started half day preschool this fall, Eden had the hardest time adjusting out of all of us. Just last night we went to Madison's Christmas show and Eden lost it when we dropped M off with her teacher. (But oh those incredibly sweet girls, as M was on stage with her class waiting for the song to start she found us and kept asking from stage, where's Eden, until she finally saw her and could wave. Of course Eden was super excited to see M up there as well.) So, naturally, Eden is in love with baby bear. She loves to play and cuddle with the bear and tries to keep it all to herself.
The greatest part about our bear, it reminds us all about our baby. The girls will say that the bear is for our baby who is in heaven, and talk and ask questions. It brings me amazing comfort to know our children have a reminder to keep from forgetting about our baby. And of course, baby bear has caught a few of my tears as well.
is our baby's stocking. I've made it identical to each of our daughters with the exception that it's white.
The day I hung the stockings and put up the tree was slightly heartbreaking. I kept thinking about how next year there should be four stockings. I could picture it there. After a few weeks I realized, why not hang a stocking? My request, and please feel free to join in, is for help filling it. We asked if anyone would do a random act of kindness in remembrance of our baby and privately share it in writing with us. Or just a personal note. We are printing them and sticking them in the stocking to read together when the time is right on Christmas. If you would like to send one, please say in the first line that it's for our stocking so we don't read it right away. Normally I would say good deeds should go unnoticed, but for us to know that kindness is being spread through this grieving process is an incredible blessing and touches my heart.
These are my new necklaces....
I have made them both myself and would be honored to make one for anyone struggling to remember their lost babies. The one on the left is shaped like a pocket watch. My father always carried one. It worked (and still does) on six diamonds, was engraved with his initials, which also happen to be mine (with my maiden name), opened in front and back and has gold roman numerals. It has a beautiful and intricate design. I always loved it and would beg to see it. Always. When I graduated high school he gave it to me with a personal engraving on the inside of the back. It's treasured to this day, especially as we approach the ten year anniversary of his passing. So the shape of this necklace is already intimate.
Inside my necklace is the saying, "The first thing you saw was Jesus", as well as what would have been the birthstone (May) for our baby, an angel wing, the letter A for Anderson, and a sunflower because baby was the size of a sunflower seed when we lost him or her. It also happens to be my favorite flower. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look at a sunflower the same again. They will be more intimate to me then ever before. I realized this when Aaron brought me four sunflowers a week after my D&C. I couldn't bring myself to throw them away once they were beyond wilted.
I do want to make clear, the angel wing is not because I hold the believe my baby is an angel, or an angel baby as many say. The bible tells us that we are created higher then the angels. We are God's most valuable creation. When a believer in Christ Jesus dies, he or she does not become an angel because we are better then that. Our maker has told us so in His word. My baby is better then any angel. This angel wing comes from a song by Brave Saint Saturn. One line ran through my head over and over as I've grieved this baby. "The angel's wings cover you tonight, hallelujah, press your head against the breast of Christ, Hallelujah." This is what the angel wing is for.
The necklace on the right is a birds nest for any momma. I love these, but was waiting and waiting to make one until I knew we were done having children. But I've finally decided that if God wants to bless us with more children, I can always make a new one.
And finally, this....
Our willow tree figurines. I have a whole line of them, each depicting times in my life that I cherish. I'm not a big collector of anything, especially figurines, but these have become sentimental. I found the perfect willow tree figurine for our cake topper when we were married and I was eventually given two more as gifts, each holding something symbolic to me. One holds a sunflower, which now makes it even more meaningful. My husband gave me the one of an expecting mom gingerly holding her belly when I was expecting our first, and we were given one of parents and their children. My sweet mother-in-law gave me one for all three of our girls last year, depicting something of each of their characters. After we lost our baby she gave me the fourth one you see here. An angel holding a baby. I tear up just looking at it now. How I long to hold my baby. The comfort to have this visual reminder that my baby is being taken care of by his or her creator. Sometimes it stirs up painful emotions of how I long to hold and care for our baby. And other times it brings so much comfort. A sense that it's ok. My baby isn't neglected. My baby is living in heaven with our Creator.
It's not always easy, but there is joy and peace in that.