Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Somewhere amazing, a beautiful little brunette is turning six years old.

She is a younger version of her strawberry blonde sister – with big eyes, a button nose, and perfect sweetheart lips.

And while those tender years seem to blaze past for our little ones, it seems the opposite has been true for Gracie.  It feels like I can count each long day of these years because it has been one day replayed over and over.

Here is my sister, on the day before her Gracie was due. 


We celebrated Gracie’s imminent arrival with a baby shower full of laughter and prayer.

My sister had endured long months of roller coaster medical news.

While Gracie kept astounding doctors with her tenacity to live, my sister fought just as hard to give her the chance.  Faced with harsh criticism from a cruel doctor and one unrelenting grim prognosis after another; she placed her baby and her heart in God’s hands.

And on March 1st, 2004; that beautiful little girl made her arrival – breathing on her own as she was rushed past us to the neonatal intensive care unit.

It’s hard to describe the flood of emotions at that moment.  It was a feeling of overwhelming joy and gratitude to see this precious face, blinking slowly at us from her little bed.  As if she were saying,

“hello, what’s all the fuss been about?”


What was the fuss about?  She was HERE!  This tiny little gift was finally here... sporting a head of sweet brunette fuzz and looking otherwise identical to her big sister.

We spent 25 hours with this darling.  She laid in a bed… surrounded with far more admirers than machines.  She spent her day on earth being loved and absolutely adored by a family who had waited anxiously to meet her.  How it must have felt to spend every moment of an earthly life surrounded this way!

We caressed her ticklish feet and soft cheeks.

We whispered her name at first.

Then we sung it.

Three generations of love harmonized in Amazing Grace and serenaded our little beauty.


There were tears for sure.  But we refused to grieve for her while her sweet breath was on our fingertips.  We squeezed the most out of every moment and desperately wished for more.

You know, there will never be enough.



These pictures break my heart because I wanted to see the rest of the story here.  I wanted to show you pictures of Gracie’s birthdays.  Of every single milestone.  Every single silly expression.Graciemom

But I can tell you without a single hesitation… that my sister would say it was worth it all.

That it is worth the heartache to have had Gracie’s fingers wrap around her own and know that they share a love beyond measure.


We grieve now.

We know she is in a perfect place.  Running and playing with a whole heart and delight filling every inch of it.  She brought joy with her tiny life - help me Lord to make my days count like that.

Continuing to rejoice over this little life, I want to leave you with something that brings me laughter through the tears.  My house as a disaster zone after her baby shower, and us girls unwinding – cherishing our last few hours before meeting Baby Gracie.

And in the middle of clean-up, we began laughing at something silly.  And as you can see, it was contagious – thank you for these joy-filled moments Gracie.

We love you baby girl – can’t wait to see you again.


GunDiva said...

What a wonderful tribute. I'm sorry that Gracie couldn't bring years and years of joy into your lives, but I love that you cherished every moment she was with you.

Lisa said...

How beautiful. So thankful you got to spend one entire day with her. Not nearly enough. But soon your family will spend one eternal day with her that will be MORE than enough. I have thought about her all weekend as we celebrated on the east coast, knowing there was a family not so fortunate on the west coast. But that family has the same assurance we have, and that is our Heavenly Father is keeping her til we all meet again.

Margaret said...

That is a really well written tribute!

Anonymous said...

I have no words...just tears. What a wonderful, loving tribute to one of the world's tiniest angels.

Anonymous said...

I have no words...just tears. What a wonderful, loving tribute to one of the world's tiniest angels.

Floortime Lite Mama said...

Rach darling
I am in tears and at a loss what to say
Very sorry for your loss
Very happy for the little while that you had her

Kmama said...

What a beautiful post! I'm sitting here with tears streaming.

Happy birthday Gracie.

Leiah said...

Happy Birthday Grace - you are amazing! Look at what joy and beauty you brought into this world in your short time here. Your family is better just for knowing you.

Rachel what a beautiful gift to your sister and family. I'm sitting here at my desk with tears streaming down my face because 23 years ago this month I lost my first child 5 months into my pregnancy and what I wouldn't give to have had a glimpse of the face of my little one I never knew. Even now there's still a hole in my heart for them. I'm reminded of the headstone of a family member's baby who passed at 3 months - "It was better to have loved her and lost her than to never have known her at all"

You sister won the lottery when you got you my friend.

Pam said...

Okay, that is what I needed first thing this morning sitting at work.....a cry. But this tribute was so wonderful. I can't even begin to guess what it would be like to lose a child, esp. a newborn baby. I have seen it with my brother that lost a son to brain cancer at the age of 8....your heart goes out to them. My heart goes out to your sister and her family.

Danielle said...

A cry, it always does my body good. So glad you chose to lift Gracie up and be reminded of those happy moments today. Praying for you and your family today.

Happy Birthday Gracie.

robin said...

I am just sitting here crying my eyes out! What a really wonderful moving tribute to Gracie. It also hits a little close to home as I have miscarried in the past. I can't even imagine their loss. That picture of her and her hubby holding Gracie is priceless as was the time they were able to spend with her. Sending a big hug to your sister (and family) as well as you and yours, Rachel. Again, well written, full of love...I'm still crying.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful tribute. I agree - a few moments is worth every heartache. Much love to your family today - and betting Gracie & Jesus are sharing a huge, frosting-covered birthday cake today.

Brandi said...

I read this earlier this a.m. and then had to compose myself before I could come back and comment. Beautiful tribute for a beautiful little angel.

Foursons said...

I don't have a lot to say. I don't know what to say. I just feel your grief and love pouring out through your words. May God wrap His loving arms around you and your family on this very special and heartbreaking day.

MrsMann said...

Happy Birthday Sweet Gracie

Kameron said...

You have a knack for making me cry at work. That was so sweet. She will never be forgotton.

lsnellings said...

That was beautiful!

Dyann said...

Hydrocephalus? She looks a little like my nephew did (hydrocephalus, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, spina bifida).

I love that she was surrounded by more admirers than machines. But how on earth did you all sing? What a sweet tribute to a sweet girl.

He & Me + 3 said...

What a beautiful little girly. She is precious. Happy Birthday to sweet Gracie. What a fun video too. Thank you so much for letting us share her birthday with you all & for that beautiful story.

Unknown said...

What a sweet,sweet story Rachel. You all are beautiful and amazing woman.

Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. Happy Birthday, sweet Gracie!

HeatherOz said...

I read this last night but had to quickly log off the computer due to the sobbing (seriously). Than I risked waking up the kids by sneaking in to their rooms and giving them all a kiss!

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby!

Jana said...

okay bawling, I got nothin, Happy Birthday Grace

Stacy said...

Thank you for sharing your Gracie with us. It makes me cry every time, but it's worth it. :`)

Pam D said...

Songs... they say it so much better than any words I could pen, from "Amazing Grace" to Steven Curtis Chapman's latest, "Heaven in the face of my little girl". And one of my favorites...
"There will be a day
With no more tears..
No more pain,
And no more fears...."
Waiting patiently for that day, and finding joy along the way....
hugs... me

Michelle Pixie said...

Oh Rachel, I am sending you and your family lots of love and hugs. I don't have much to say but I can leave you with one of my favorite quotes... Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~From a headstone in Ireland

City girl turned Country Girl said...

Happy Birthday to sweet Gracie... Reading this brings me to tears all over again! The pictures of your sis and BIL with her make my heart so sad.. I am glad your sis finds some happiness in her short time with Gracie, and you all will be reunited at your time but it is still heartbreaking while in this human life..

Taylor said...

Thank you for sharing this. I really appreciated it! What a beautiful post!

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