The past two weeks have been somewhat of a blur. Those of you who have followed our journey know that our sweet baby girl, Olive Elizabeth, was born on July 29th and only lived 36 hours until being called home to Jesus. I've used Facebook as a forum to keep people updated on Olive's progress (or lack thereof), her funeral and to express our gratitude and thankfulness for the outpouring of love and support.
Last night as I was thinking about how I would get through my first day home alone (my husband returned to work today) I thought about how I haven't blogged in awhile. I have a nutritional blog that I really didn't keep up with throughout my pregnancy. I didn't think that was the right place to share this journey of hope and healing - and I wanted to honor my daughter and all of you, her branches, that have been praying and supporting us throughout this challenge.
Today a friend thanked me for my vulnerability. Vulnerable - not a word that has been used, at least not directly to me, but the most accurate word to describe my state right now. I am completely and utterly vulnerable, and those that know me best know that I am not a private person. I believe we learn so much about ourselves when we are most vulnerable, so while my hope is that you leave here in a better place, this blog is a place for me to find some healing.
Many people ask me how we came up with Olive's name. Honestly, it was just a name that I grew to love over the last month or so. We wanted an "older" name, and when I scoured the 1890 social security registry for names, Olive was one that stood out. My husband wasn't sold as easily as I was. It really wasn't until the evening she was born that he agreed to it. If you ask him now he'll tell you there would be no other name for her. It's funny how things work out - as I've researched the olive tree I've learned many similarities between it, my beautiful daughter and our journey.
The olive tree is one remarkable tree - known for it's ability to grow and thrive in almost any environment, it is almost indestructible. It produces a lovely fruit and oil from that fruit that have been known, for centuries, to cook with, feed, anoint and keep lamps lit to light the way. The olive branch has become a universal symbol of peace. Though our daughter only lived a short time, she helped to feed the souls and lives of many - showing us all peace through tragedy.
In the bible, we see references to the olive leaf and tree that offer us hope and healing through God's promises. Psalm 52:8 reminds us, "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercies of God forever and ever." It's difficult to trust in God when you feel robbed of one of the most beautiful blessings - the blessing of children. We prayed that God would bless our marriage and make us parents - and He did. We are Olive's parents - not in the way many of you are parents. We won't get the opportunity to rock our baby to sleep, see her take her first steps, have her first day of school, or mend her first heartache. We won't see her graduate or learn to drive. My husband won't walk her down the aisle, and she won't make us grandparents.
But she made us a mom and a dad. She gave us the greatest gift - the ability to feel that unconditional love you feel when you first hold your baby. When I close my eyes at night, I feel the weight of her as they laid her on my chest - all warm and slippery. I was able to share that moment with my husband where we both cried at the sight of her and were flooded with the emotions of 15 hours of labor finally over and getting to find out what we had waited 39 weeks and 6 days to learn - we had a daughter.
No, we may not get to be parents the way we anticipated but we are still parents.
God's promises are fulfilled everyday - even through chaos and uncertainty. Noah was reminded of those promises when a dove from the ark brought him an olive leaf, the olive tree was alive and thriving after the flood. "Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth" (Gen. 8:11).
Life had resumed - a fresh start - just as God had promised.
While I'm far from a fresh start, I am trying to remind myself that God does answer prayers, God does fulfill His promises and we will go on...one day at a time.