• Jodi Laughlin

Sunshine


Alex and I recently had an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer to discuss the financial burden of child loss. We went to this interview with a local support group for child loss, the Three Little Birds.

Alex and I discussed the mission of Noelle’s light, to alleviate some of the financial burden so many families face when fighting for their child’s life.

In sharing our journey with Noelle, I found myself thinking back the many painful details that I tend to block out… details that I haven’t really thought about in some time; Like the physical pain of each procedure, especially the procedure where the physicians were attempting to remove the fluid from around my daughter’s heart. Without any anesthesia, (local, general… NO ANESTHESIA or analgesia), there I laid, as the physicians went through my belly with a small needle, through my uterus and into the chest of my daughter, Noelle, and then into her pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart itself. I couldn’t move or I ran the risk of them puncturing my daughter’s heart.

My husband held my hand… I had never squeezed anything so hard in my life. I bit my lip. I held my breath….

On the monitor in front of me I could see Noelle. There she was, moving around. There she was, her heart beating… with this damn fluid around it that the doctor’s were never able to drain.

How did I make it through that procedure? How did I make it through the two surgeries and the aftermath of those surgeries where I had excruciating back spasms? I did it all for Noelle. And I didn’t even really think about it. I just did it.

She was my first child and I think I learned more about Motherhood in my 7 months of pregnancy with her than I ever would have in my 9 months of pregnancy and now 4+ months of Motherhood with Lily.

I learned unconditional love. I learned how to be completely selfless… because to me, my pain didn’t matter. I didn’t care how many needles they stuck into me if it was for the benefit of my daughter.

I would do it all again… I wouldn’t change anything. Because I did EVERYTHING I could to save her. I did EVERYTHING I thought was right. I hope that she knows that now and I pray she wasn’t in any pain.

I hope that with Noelle’s love guiding me, I can give this gift of no regret to another family going through a similar crisis. And maybe God will have different plans for their child. Maybe another family will have a procedure that DOES work and their child will live.

I sang Noelle’s song to Lily last night… “you are my sunshine”. I always sang that to Noelle when I was pregnant with her. I have had a difficult time now singing that to Lily, but last night I did.

Our usual bedtime routine with Lily is to read books and then I sing “somewhere over the rainbow” to her and rock her until she is sleepy. Last night, after singing “Somewhere over the rainbow” I just felt Noelle with me and I felt a desire to sing the song I used to sing to her, “You are my Sunshine”. And so I did.

Immediately, Lily’s eyes popped wide open and she started cooing, and starring deep into my eyes. I could feel her telling me “I love you, Mom.” And I knew, those were Noelle’s eyes looking back at me too. It’s those moments that make me feel so blessed. It’s those moments when I realize God is in control, not me… and thank God for that.


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