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  • Writer's pictureJodi Laughlin

18 Months

I am officially half way through a second year since my first born child passed away. A year and a half since the absolute worst day of my life.

I was at a wedding this passed weekend that took place in the church. I haven't been to mass since Lily was born (afraid of being that person in the church with a screaming baby, even though I know no one really cares!). Every time I am in mass and every time I am praying, I think about Noelle. I feel closer to her. But also, overwhelming grief comes over me. The questions of WHY? The anger. The pain. I can bring myself right back to that OR table where all I hear are my own screams.

Vows have such a more significant weight when you have been through something so tragic. "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health" When I hear these words recited at a wedding, I can't help but think back to my own wedding day. Did I think about the possibility of our child dying, not even a year into our marriage, when I said for better or for worse? In sickness and in health? And I know, there is NO way our marriage could have survived if we did not have faith. If we did not have the "third party" that the church talks about in marriage, the third party being God.

So even though being in mass this passed weekend brought me back to the pain, it also brought me back to God, the real reason I survived the passed 18 months. And even though my heart breaks when I look at Lily smiling and kicking and growing so fast and I think about how I never got to see Noelle do any of this, I realize that if I keep my faith strong, we will live together in heaven before I know it.

Being at a wedding also meant seeing so many people who I haven't seen since Lily was born and the inevitable comments on my post pregnancy weight...."you look so good for having a baby!" Or "I can't believe you ever had a baby!" And then to my sister " and you have TWO kids!?? that's crazy!" and I just want to scream... "HELLOOOOOOO I HAVE TWO KIDS TOOO!!!". And I guess I just have to get used to the unintentional painful comments. "How does it feel to be a Mom!?" or " how was the recovery post baby!?" As if I have never done this before.... let me tell you, a VBAC recovery is NO comparison to a c-section recovery... let alone a c-section recovery with no baby to show for it! And a Mom with empty arms is the STRONGEST Mom!!! But I know in the back of my head people don't mean anything by it. I know I need to let certain things go. But I just want Noelle's life to be recognized, not pushed aside like it didn't happen. It happened, she lived. She is my baby.

Lily is just starting to really be aware of her surroundings. She is always looking around, tracking me with her eyes and sometimes I catch her just starring at different things in the room. Her eyes always go back to a picture of Noelle I have hanging in our kitchen. I like to think she knows her sister is watching over her and I can't wait to share her sister with her.

It's crazy to think that one day (far, far away!) I might see Lily walking down the aisle to get married, I will see her as a woman. But I will always see Noelle as a baby, as my first born, precious baby... the baby I long to hold. I wish I had more time with her in the hospital. I wish I bathed her. I wish I saw her little butt and kissed her sweet feet like I do to Lily. I just can't wait to do all those things with her in heaven one day. She better let me! And until then, I will stay strong for Lily and her other siblings to come. Strong for my marriage. I will stay strong in my faith. For better or for worse, my family is my heart.

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