This weekend was one of the most challenging weekends to get through, in my more recent days. The day Sephora was born was definitely scary. I was so sick…my husband tells me I was actually dying. Sephora was being taken from us 8 weeks earlier than we’d planned for. It was a whirlwind of a day filled with intense stress, fear, excitement, sadness, and anticipation. After we’d been told they were giving me a c-section, so Sephora had a chance to survive for a few minutes, we just held each other and cried. Our friends and family that were with us that day left the room, but all did the exact same thing. They circled the room and prayed for anything that they thought we may have needed for comfort.
Sephora’s birth was extremely overwhelming. Diana, a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer, joined us in the OR to capture every moment of her life outside of my body. When Sephora was born, they took her to the warming table to quickly warm her up, dry her off, and administer a little oxygen. When the oxygen didn’t work, (she was still very blue), my husband carried her over to me and placed her on my chest so I could experience a few seconds with her alive. After saying hello and kissing her forehead, I did exactly what I did to comfort her every single day while I was pregnant. I sang to her.
Sephora’s baby brother was born 9 days before her 1st birthday (2013.) We walked through “Sephora’s Garden” and celebrated with a few friends who decided to come over. It was small, quiet, and peaceful…just like her.
Sephora’s 1st Birthday
For Sephora’s 2nd birthday, we enjoyed the beautiful day as a family. We didn’t do too much actually. I’m not certain why this birthday was so much more emotionally difficult than her first. May it is because many people have moved on. Most have forgotten about her, or don’t talk about her as much as before. Why should I expect anyone to remember? She isn’t here anymore. That’s just it though!! She isn’t physically here. Those who weren’t in the thick of the experience with us are busy remembering dates for their own children. …and that’s ok! I wish more people talked about her. I wish more people remembered. I wish her story impacted more lives. Maybe one day it will. Until then…I’ll keep talking about her, looking for little signs that her spirit still surrounds us, and wishing she was still 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.
I woke up this morning knowing that today was the day Sephora was “supposed” to be born. Instead, she was born 7 1/2 weeks ago, due to me developing a severe case of preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. Had she been the “typical healthy” child, she would have survived. Her heart wasn’t strong enough. Her lungs weren’t ready. Her tiny but perfect head was filled with fluid. Trisomy 13 had completely taken over her body. Despite all of these abnormalities, the extra 13th chromosome in every cell in her body, and 2 extra fingers…she was perfect. Our beautiful little girl had curly, dark brown hair. She weighed 3 pound 9 ounces, and was 16 inches long. She had the tiniest cry, and would stop crying to listen to me sing the song I’d sung to her every day since we found out we were pregnant…”You Are My Sunshine.” She lived 4 1/2 hours and passed in my arms at 2:50am. I held her in my arms and kept her warm through the night as I slept, until I returned her to her bassinet at 8am to eat breakfast. She stayed with us almost the entire time we were in the hospital. As the sun shines and the butterflies fly through her garden, I know she is at peace. I know she knew love. I know she smiles down from Heaven at us and laughs with her other angel baby friends. She was our first born. Our first daughter. Our “Beautiful Angel.” Our Sephora Angeline.
1 Samuel 1:27–28 “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him [her] to the LORD. For his [her] whole life he [she] will be given over to the LORD.” (NIV)