Today is Baby & Infant Loss Awareness Day. If everyone across the globe lights a candle for 1 hour beginning at 7pm, there will be a continuous Wave of Light across the world, to remember and honor each baby that never had the chance to come home, and those babies that were taken from us too soon. Please join my family today as we remember all of those precious angels that are no longer on Earth with us.
Our family is beautiful. Our immediate, and even extended family really makes a conscious effort to remember to include Sephora in whatever is happening from day to day. Sephora’s Great-Great Grandmother just passed away last week at the age of 93. My heart melted when my Grandmother called to tell me that Sephora was included in the number of great-great grandchildren that “Nan” had.
As many of you that follow Sephora’s blog know, we do have another baby. Although Sephora’s song was and always will be “You Are My Sunshine,” Miles is the sunshine of my life today. His one dimple, (the kiss of an Angel before descending from Heaven to Earth–Sephora) gets deeper as he continues to grow. I see Sephora on his face every single day when he smiles. I also wear a mother/daughter pendant that contains Sephora’s ashes and locks of hair around my neck. Every time I nurse our little boy, he grabs onto my chain and plays with it. I’m pretty sure he has no idea what it is, even though he touches it every day, but that fact that he does touch it makes me believe he does know and have a connection to her in some way.
Our family is Beautiful. Daddy, Mommy, Sephora, & Miles
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with Sephora, I sang to her every day. The one song that I would repeat to my belly over and over again was “You Are My Sunshine.” When arriving at the hospital and being diagnosed with preeclampsia and severe HELLP Syndrome, we knew that day, Friday, May 18, 2012 was going to be Sephora’s birthday. When we were told I’d be taken back for a c-section, my husband sat on the hospital bed next to me and cried. She was taken from us 8 weeks earlier than we had planned. We didn’t know what God had in store for us and how long she would live. We held our breath until I felt them pull her from my belly and rush her over to the drying/warming table. All I remember is wanted to see her! Little did I know, Sephora wasn’t doing very well. They had dried her quickly and gave her a little bit of oxygen, but she wasn’t responding to their treatment. The nurse told my husband to rush Sephora over to me because she thought we would only have seconds with her, and she knew how important it was for me to hold her. He held Sephora close enough for me to kiss her. When I started singing to her on the operating table, her color started to get better, and she even started to cry a little! She recognized my voice and was comforted by the song she had heard every day.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of our precious little Sephora is a butterfly. When I arrived home from the hospital after Sephora’s birth, I was welcomed with a beautiful gift from my husband and a friend to honor Sephora. A beautiful heart shaped garden full of Angel-wing Begonias and Blue Angel Hostas. As more people became aware of her garden, we were showered with other meaningful plants to be added. We watch Sephora’s Garden grow every year.
As I stood over Sephora’s Garden and started to cry through the overwhelming amount of emotion that swallowed me up those first few months, I noticed a small yellow butterfly. Seeing it float through the air so effortlessly and beautifully seemed to calm my spirit. This spring, around the time of Sephora’s 1st birthday, butterflies were everywhere. Each time I see a beautiful butterfly, I allow myself to stop, breathe, and calm myself to feel Sephora’s spirit surround and embrace me.
Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Sephora’s life, though short, was beautiful. She changed me and all who loved her. Her purpose was to bring people together. Her purpose was to share love with those who didn’t know love. Her purpose was to walk others through grief and tragedy, pain and suffering, and prove to others that despite what they’re going through, nothing is impossible. The rain clouds do disappear. The sun does shine again. Somewhere, there is always a rainbow waiting to greet you with a smile on the other side of the storm. Grief isn’t pretty…but when you’ve made it to the other side, the tears and memories are beautiful.
The month of October is used to remember many important things in our lives. We mention awareness to Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer, but one that is not mentioned very often is Infant Loss Awareness. There are many reasons for a baby’s passing that we’ll never fully understand. For the month of October, I choose to celebrate my beautiful rainbow baby, and also remember our precious little girl who never got to come home–Sephora Angeline. Our “Beautiful Angel.”
Sephora Angeline…Her name came from my husband. We were walking around our local mall, and passed a large make-up store called “Sephora.” He looked at me with a large twinkle in his eye. I knew he had instantly fallen in love with the name. I, on the other hand, was not in love with it. One day, before leaving the house, he screamed her name from the bathroom…”Sephora Angeline! Get down here!!!” He poked his head around the corner with delight and said, “See baby! It sounds great! Even when she’s in trouble!” From that day on, I had fallen in love with it.
Sephora’s birth was quite unexpected, although we knew she wouldn’t live very long, due to the Trisomy 13 diagnosis. She was delivered via emergency c-section at 32 weeks, 3 days due to me developing a severe case of pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. She weighed 3lbs, 9oz and was 16 inches long. She had dark brown, curly hair. 12 fingers. 10 toes. She was tiny, but perfect!
Psalms 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
I meet many people throughout the course of the day, who stop and say how beautiful our little Miles is. They’ll ask his name, how old he is, how much he weighs…and then this question always seems to follow… “Is he your first?” I usually let out a long, heavy sigh before I attempt to answer this question. Do I tell the truth and give as many descriptive details about Sephora’s life as I can? Or do I simply say yes, and move on?
Our first baby passed away. She had a severe and extremely rare chromosome abnormality that 1 in 16,000 babies are diagnosed with. Trisomy 13. I learned at my 20 week ultrasound appointment that she had several internal issues that we later would find were lethal to her. We named her Sephora Angeline after that appointment. It didn’t matter what any medical professional had to say to us. She was our first baby. Our first daughter. Our little Sephora.
Days passed, and we met with a neonatologist who recommended they perform an amniocentesis to determine exactly what was ailing our baby. When we discovered Trisomy 13 was in fact the correct diagnosis, we were sitting at our kitchen table. When I hung up the phone, I collapsed into my husband’s arms and cried. Our first baby wasn’t going to live outside of my body for very long. All we could do was love her. We loved her even more after we’d learned about her fatal diagnosis. Every day from that point on was spent singing to her and rubbing my belly, poking her and feeling her poke back. We made memories with her throughout my pregnancy, and we couldn’t wait to meet her.
We knew Sephora’s life would be short. We grieved for her during my pregnancy, and we grieved for her after she had passed away. We loved her every second of every day she was with us. Today, as I kissed her baby brother’s cheek, I imagined what it would be like to have a toddler running around the house. What would she look like? What would we be doing with her? What would we be teaching her? What would she be doing to make her baby brother giggle? I miss her today, but I will see her again!
1 Corinthians 13:7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.