• Jodi Laughlin

19


On my 29th birthday, I remember feeling so hopeless. I didn’t want to see anyone except for Alex and my puppy Archie. We were in the process of trying for our rainbow, but I was still so lost and all I wanted was for Noelle to be sitting on my lap to help me blow out my candles. A year ago today I found out that I was pregnant with my rainbow baby, my sweet Lily who is here with me now. I got the call from the doctor as I was pulling out of the cemetery. Some hope began to creep back into my life. This year, I spent my 30th birthday with my rainbow baby on my lap surrounded by my family, nieces and nephews. Of course, Noelle’s presence will always be missed but there is no denying that her presence was felt. I felt it more this year than I did last year. I feel her surrounding me when I allow love to be present in my life, not when I alienate myself like I did last year. I know I am so blessed to have my rainbow baby, to be given this gift of hope. Not everyone has a rainbow baby. I know far too many Mother’s and Father’s who have lost multiple children and a baby is not a possibility for them. They need to find hope elsewhere. I can easily bring myself back to when I wasn’t sure if we would have another child. God became my hope. Heaven became my hope. And it still is. But heaven is not tangible and so it is easy to doubt it. There is a big part of me that feels like I have abandoned my faith. Since Lily has been born I really haven’t been to church, mainly out of fear of her crying throughout the entire mass and also because getting out of the house in general these days seems impossible. But I haven’t been reading like I used to either. I haven’t been writing and searching my soul like I was last year. In some ways, I feel numb again to my loss. It is easy to block it out when I am looking into the eyes of her sister. And then I feel guilty when I think back to last year... I feel guilty that I got to have my rainbow, guilty that I sometimes compare my rainbow to how her sister may have been. Guilty that sometimes I call Lily Noelle.

Why am I one of the lucky ones who has a rainbow? Why do some people never get the chance at a family? Why why why.....

Why Noelle?

So many questions I will never have the answer to. But I know I have to focus on the gift in front of me, my Lily. And I can’t feel guilty about this gift, because what good does that do anyone??? There are times when the past comes back and hits me like a bulldozer. Like today, when I was in my room getting changed and looked up to see a photo of Noelle’s feet. It struck me for the first time how much Noelle’s feet look like her sister’s feet, her sister’s feet that I kiss every day. And then a wave of emotions come over me--- “Noelle’s feet won’t ever touch the ground… I can never kiss them… they were here, now they are gone.” She changed the course of my life forever, for the better. And she reminds me every day that this life should not be taken for granted. But I don’t want to get too lost in my present, lost in the joy of my rainbow baby and forget about how I got here. A year ago my heart was broken because my arms were empty. Now my arms are full but my heart is still not whole. It will always have an imprint that belongs to Noelle’s footprints. And although Lily’s feet remind me of her sister’s, they are not identical. Lily can’t replace Noelle. She can comfort me and I can smother her with a million kisses and then some, but I still will not be kissing Noelle. The truth still remains that I won’t celebrate my birthday with my baby Noelle in this life. So I must keep my faith strong and hope alive that her footprints will continue to lead me toward God. Hopefully I can venture out of the house and into a pew with Lily soon. I want her to be rooted in faith. I want her to praise God for her life and to rejoice in the life her sister has in Heaven. If it wasn’t for my faith, I wouldn’t have continued to pursue Motherhood and Lily may not be here. God gave me the strength to continue on last year and I felt Noelle’s spirit guiding me every step of the way. I hope it is the same spirit that guides Lily throughout her life. And when she looks at her feet one day, I hope she is reminded of her sister, as I am, and that she feels God’s love. I’d like to think that if I wasn’t given the the gift of my Lily that I would still have hope. I am inspired by all of the Mothers and Father’s out there who‘s children are all in heaven. But still they are able to find hope here on earth. I want to be able to help those who remain lost. Those who are still trying for the gift of a baby but find themselves needing help. Whether that be financial help, emotional support or just an ear, I pray Noelle’s Light can offer relief to those who feel as lost as I felt 19 months ago. It may also help me with this feeling of guilt. At least if I am helping others going through this pain then I am not forgetting, I am not turning my back on my past.

Who knows where I will be for my 31st birthday, but I hope that Noelle’s Light has begun to make an impact by then. Maybe there will even be another pair of feet at the table, reminding me of the sweet gift of every life 💕💕💕


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