What a year it has been. On May 13th, 2011, I gave birth to my first daughter, Elizabeth O'Neal Say. It was a dark, rainy day when our little sunshine came into this world. Actually, she had been shining her light months before she was born. Her brothers loved laying their hands and heads over her cozy womb to feel her kicks. Jodie and I loved reading and talking to her at night, also feeling her jump and roll at the sound of our voices. And she touched so many others besides her family in more ways than any of us could've imagined. There's no doubt that God made her special from the start.
And then came the storm. We had our baby for such a short time. The day we buried her it rained, too. All day as a matter of fact. Cold, gray rain. The day after the burial, the sun decided to show it's face again. It was good to see the sun, but something didn't feel right about it. It didn't make my heart smile as it always had before. It definitely didn't reflect how I felt inside. For me there was still a storm raging. Daily it covered the sun. How does anyone go on? How do they continue to live when they've lost something so precious?
Lots of prayer. Not my own at first. It was so hard to pray those first few days and even weeks. The most I could manage was to just cry out to Him, begging Him to take away the pain. My friends and family were the reason I was able to keep myself together. They prayed for me when I couldn't. God never left my side. Even when I was angry with Him, he stayed. And eventually, I learned to dance in the rain. The storm continued to rage, but I danced anyway. I had six little boys who needed their mommy. The hurt began to fade slowly. And then, God sent us a rainbow.
Just seven short weeks after losing our Elizabeth, I became pregnant with our 8th child. There were a lot of mixed emotions at first. I was thrilled to be pregnant again, but scared to death that we could lose another baby. The kids were nervous too. Lincoln made it clear that he wanted this baby to be a boy. " Boys get to live with us and not go to Heaven", he would say.
It was a very long 12 weeks as we waited anxiously for the ultrasound. Although it was very rare, I had read of a few people who had more than one baby with anencephaly. It was enough to keep me awake at night. I prayed and prayed....and prayed some more!! Finally the day came and all was good. We saw our little peanut, healthy as could be. Then 8 more weeks and we had the second ultrasound. We went to a high risk specialist for a more detailed ultrasound. And again, all was great. Our baby GIRL was healthy!! As soon as they said it was a girl, I imagined Elizabeth up in Heaven giggling with joy! Of course, she probably knew before we did, but I bet it made her heart glad for us to get the news ourselves.
On April 4th, her exact due date, Naomi Ellynn was delivered into my arms. 8 pounds 4 ounces, 22.5 inches long, head full of black hair, adorable little fat rolls everywhere. Our rainbow was here!
Yesterday was May13th, 2012. My 13th Mother's Day. Elizabeth's first birthday in heaven, and Jude's 3rd birthday. Fittingly enough, yesterday was a gray, rainy day. It literally rained all day. Nothing turned out as I had planned. We will be celebrating Jude's birthday later in the month along with Lincoln, so yesterday was supposed to be about Elizabeth. I went to pick up her cake and they were out in the bakery. I guess a lot of people buy their mom's cakes for Mother's Day. So, we had cupcakes and cookies instead. I wanted to let the kids release balloons at the grave, but since it was pouring rain, decided I would rather not have them trudging through the mud. I bought her a princess crown, but left it at home on accident. All I can hope is that she knows my heart. I hope she knows how I thought about her all day yesterday and how I really wanted it to be special for her. I hope she enjoyed her brothers and the rest of her family singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Most of all, I hope she loved having her little sister there to celebrate with us.