Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lillian Therese

Two years ago, I lost my Sweet Pea.  I will never forget her.  I know she was tiny, so tiny she couldn't even be seen on the ultrasound at 8 weeks.  She died inside me before she was a speck on the screen.  People may look at me, especially people who have never had a miscarriage, and think that because we have been so blessed with these four children that it wasn't as hard or that I would get over it with the distractions of my big family or, more specifically, the distractions of Speck/Drew who came after my loss.  But Sweet Pea is a soul born into Heaven instead of this Earth and no amount of children I may have or time can ever make me get over it.  You don't "get over" miscarriages any more than you "get over" the death of a loved one who walked the earth.  However, you do learn to live with it.  You learn to wake up and go about your day, and when you remember her, your breath catches and your stomach tightens and your heart aches.  Sometimes you smile.  Sometimes you squeeze back tears, and then there are times when you let those tears come.

Having lost my Aunt Cindy this year, I would say that the biggest difference between losing your unborn baby and someone you loved for such a long time is the amount of things that remind you of them.  Everything reminds me of my Aunt Cindy.  Silly things like doing laundry because she helped me get stains out of my kid's clothes, really moist brownies because she and my uncle brought some over after Drew was born, gnats swarming my face because she was the one who introduced me to the "Virginia wave."  Like I said...everything.  But my Sweet Pea, not so much, at least not anymore.  At first there were the physical reminders and the plans we had made that all had to change, the room that was already dubbed "the baby's room" in our brand new house.  But now, new plans have been made.  I've had Speck/Drew, and that room is now his.  New memories have replaced the old ones, but there are still some things that give me that sting of loss, that catch.  The Aggie shirt that Drew now wears that I bought for her when I was still pregnant, the silver pin that is stuck in my mirror of a 10 week old baby's feet that a sweet lady gave Brian on the Fourth of July when he went up to bring me Communion, and then, of course, there is the Fourth of July itself which will always hold reminders of My Sweet Pea.  I don't want to forget.  I think, at first, I did because it hurt too much.

Brian asked me the day after we lost the baby if I wanted to give the baby a name.  I am a big nickname person as you may know, and had already been calling the baby Sweet Pea.  I thought that was enough of a name, and I quickly told him no.  I didn't know the gender though I suspected a girl.  I have been wrong every single time though with my other children and didn't want to rely on my instincts, my historically inaccurate instincts.  Naming her seemed to just make it harder and even more real.  And on top of all that, I felt people would think it was silly.  Silly?  Even though I felt it, I knew that was just stupid.  A soul isn't silly no matter what.  My baby never even grew to the size of a sweet pea, but she made a difference.  She was the focus of our family's prayers.  She was and is loved by God and by us.  She was loved and prayed for, and most of all, she is still able to do the most important part of what she was created to do...be happy with her Creator forever in Heaven.  She deserves a name.

It's taken me a long time to get to this point.  This spring I read the book After Miscarriage by Karen Edminsten.  One of my favorite parts was about having an "invisible family."  This is hard for any mom who has lost a child, to have people who meet you count only the children they can see and not all of your children.  It was not an easy book to read, but it gave me the courage and the encouragement to name my unborn child.  Karen wrote,

"A name affirms the uniqueness and dignity of the child you lost.  It is a small but very real gift you can give to the baby you were not able to see or embrace."

Lillian Therese.  That's our baby's name.  Lily was a name that has always been on our list, but just didn't seem right for Hannah or Genevieve.  It came from Matthew 6:28-30 that speaks of trusting in the Lord which has never come easily for me. 

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"

How very right that name felt for this child who helped to teach me how to trust in the Lord more.  The name Therese is self explanatory to a Catholic. St. Therese of Lisieux died at a young age, and is well known for her little way of serving and loving God.

Lillian Therese.

A perfect name for my little saint. 

"Now I am setting out into the unknown.  It will take me a long while to work through the grief.  There are no shortcuts; it has to be gone through." ~Madeleine L'Engle from Two Part Invention:  The Story of a Marriage (quoted in After Miscarriage)


Kristen said...

Beautiful! I struggle with this subject because we suspect that Stephen had a twin initially since at my 8wk ultrasound there was a sack that stopped growing around 6wks. But there is no way to know for sure (although my motherly instincts told me there was another baby). So I go back and forth about mourning and possibly naming the baby and convincing myself that I am silly and there probably wasn't another baby.

The Pilots Wife said...

What a beautiful name! Prayers for you and your little saint in heaven.

Jennifer said...

This is lovely, Kelle. I'm sorry again for the loss of your sweet Lillian Therese. Thanks for sharing a little about your ongoing grieving process. What a beautiful name you chose for a precious soul.

K said...

Oh, Kelle, this is a lovely and heart-wrenching tribute to your beautiful saint. What a beautiful faith, to name her after the lilies and the Little Flower. May God continue to comfort you in your grief, and thank you for sharing your pain and your faith, both, with us.