Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heaven's Got a Plan For You

On January 28 2013, we were eagerly anticipating the birth of our first child. I was just under 39 weeks pregnant and my midwife came for what we thought would be a routine check-up. Instead, we discovered that our precious baby had already gone to Heaven. To say it was awful would be an understatement. Later that week, my husband and I went shopping for a dress to bury Ariella in. It was a very challenging experience - not only did we have to spend time in the baby section of shops (which tend to be filled with parents and little babies...) but it was very difficult to find a dress in her size, yet alone a dress good enough to be her forever dress. I felt like I was on the edge of a breakdown the entire time, until I heard the voice of God in this song that was playing in one of the stores:

Don't you worry, don't you worry child
See Heaven's got a plan for you
Don't you worry, don't you worry child...

To this day, I can't decide if what I heard in the song was God speaking about me or Ariella. Was it the voice of my Father God, calling me His child and reminding me that He had a plan even in the midst of our tragedy? Or was He telling me that He had a plan for Ariella? Or was it both?

I think it was both. As we wandered through the shops doing something I never wanted to do, I needed to know that God was still in control, that He still had a plan for my life. But I also needed to know that there was a plan for Ariella that hadn't stopped just because she had died. One year later and I cannot say that I know what either plan is. I don't know what God is going to do with my life or Ariella's legacy, but I know He'll do something. Over the past year I've had the privilege of getting to know some incredible women, sharing with them in this grief journey and honouring the lives of their babies. I'm grateful for those whom I have met and the impact they have had on me.

I cannot say I am grateful for the events of this day last year, but I am grateful for the knowledge that God still has a plan.


Don't you worry, don't you worry child...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ariella's Birthday Week

Next week is a significant week - it's the one year anniversary of Ariella's death and her first birthday. I have to be honest and say that it's quite difficult to think about those days. But no matter how hard those days seem to be, I still want to celebrate our girl. My friend Sarah had a "birthday week" to celebrate her little Evie. I loved the idea and decided to do likewise for Ariella. Will you join us as we spend the week celebrating the life our little girl had?


I've put together a range of different things you could do to celebrate Ariella throughout the week. If you choose to celebrate with us, please let us know.
-Take a photo and share it with us via Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #celebratingariellajade 
-Send a message telling us what you have done in her memory
-Leave a comment on this post 

For those who want to donate in her memory, three organisations have helped us a lot.
  • Heartfelt: provided our gorgeous photos of Ariella. Many of you donated to the camera project for my birthday and enough money was raised to completely cover two kits and half of another (Heartfelt covered the other half). If you would like, you could donate so that Heartfelt have to contribute less towards that third kit. My fundraising page has closed, but you can donate via the website and just write in the comments that it is in memory of Ariella Jade for the camera kits.
  • Pregnancy Loss Australia: gave us a care package on the day we found out Ariella had died. It included a teddy bear so that we had something in our arms when we left hospital. You can donate in Ariella's name and provide a teddy/care package for another grieving family.
  • Sands: provide great ongoing support. I went to a support meeting and it was the first and only place where my grief has felt normal. They rely heavily on donations and you can donate in Ariella's name.


Please feel no obligation to donate, but I thought I would suggest a few options if that is something you would like to do. Thank you in advance for any way you choose to remember and celebrate Ariella Jade next week. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Welcome to the World

If I don't post much over the next few weeks, here's the reason why:

Levi William
January 4, 2014
5:37pm
2.95kg (6lb 8oz)
48.5cm (19")

About 15 hours old

Isn't he just the sweetest? I had an appointment with my midwife at the hospital on Friday afternoon, and while there, contractions started. We decided to stay at the hospital until birth, but after a few hours I fell asleep and woke up in the morning to discover that labour had stopped! We were grateful for the sleep and that I didn't have to labour through the night again (like with Ariella), but it did mean that I needed help to get labour started again. After about 7 hours of labour, our little Levi was born.

With Ariella's Lioness; my two babies

Words really can't describe the relief we felt when he was born. I finally had a baby who curled up. I'm told he did a few little cries as my midwife passed him to me, but I don't remember that. All I remember is that he was curled up. I was mesmorised and he was alive. That's all that mattered. We feel truly blessed to have him with us and one of the best feelings I have ever felt was walking out of the birth centre with him in my arms. I didn't have to leave him there and in the words of my midwife, you couldn't wipe the smile off my face! 

Loving holding my boy close

We came home the following afternoon and have been enjoying having our precious boy with us at home. Everyone always talks about the loss of sleep when there's a newborn but I am actually sleeping better the past six nights than I have since we found out Ariella had died. Levi wakes once or twice a night for a nappy feed and then goes back to sleep, and after 12 months of waking closer to a dozen times a night due to grief and anxiety, I'm loving only waking a few times and being greeted by this face:

Sweetly awake, 1.5 days old
A number of people have asked us why we chose the name Levi William. Well, Levi means promise. We knew from the start that God had promised us this child, so there was no doubt that this name was meant to be his. William means resolute protector. God has big plans for this little boy and we know he will grow up to protect his siblings, both Ariella's memory and any future siblings should they happen. 

So there you have it. He's here, he's safe, I don't have to give him back. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go stare at my baby :)


 
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