Monday, August 11, 2014

A Journey of Hope and Healing

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 day at a time. 


  1. Poignant and beautiful. I am in continuous awe of you. Your messge, journey, and faith throughout are truly inspiring Nicole. Thank you for sharing this with us...

  2. I've shared your heartbreak and unwavering love for our God with many. I want you to know the prayer chain that begun when I read about Olive's entrance into this world continues for you and your husband. I haven't seen you since high school however being my sister in Christ your suffering is felt in my home and you are thought of daily. May the Word continue to provide you with strength and understanding. May the Lord bless you and your family as you move forward each day.

  3. Praying your continued strength and healing. He is truly able even in our most devastating circumstances.

  4. Sweet Nicole,
    When I read your words, I am so flooded with emotions. From the moment you and Charlie gave us our best ever Christmas present, we knew you would be such good parents. You were ready to embark on life's most wonder-filled, exciting, terrifying, loving experience. Our hearts break for you because that journey was packed into such an excruciatingly short amount of time. But in that time, Olive reminded us of two things, how fragile life can be...and how strong the human bond can and should be.
    I truly admire your way with words and ability to share your thoughts, your "vulnerability" so beautifully. There have been what seems like a million words chasing each other around in my head over the last two weeks and the rush of emotions keep washing them in and out like a tide. I am sure of this though...even though we are not going to know the joy of seeing Olive grow up enveloped in your and Charlie's loving arms...we KNOW and LOVE Olive because we KNOW and LOVE you both.
    Heaven has a beautiful, new angel looking down on us tonight...with your nose and Charlie's ears. I read your words and I feel it. And it warms me.

  5. You write so beautifully. Tears are in my eyes each time I read your writings. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you everyday. May God bless you both.

  6. Dear Nicole, as I try to even comment on your beautiful writing, I cannot stop crying for you and with you. I never felt comfortable with posting anything on Facebook, thou I read every beautiful, courageous and remarkable word you wrote. As I share your story with people one of my first comments is always the amazement I have at how strong your faith is and how comforting your words are to so many people who should be comforting you. if anyone ever deserved a life raising a child it is you and Chuck. How beautiful to hear you say that you are parents you are a mom and dad; you are so absolutely right in that. We sometimes never know the reasons why God does the things he does. But in my heart i believe that he is touching hundreds of people through you in your heartbreaking story. You have shown everyone how strong your faith is how strong you believe how you have questions but your faith does not waiver. In these times of taking prayer out of schools and God being removed from so many places, you are spreading his word. Beautifully, bravely. Just as Kayla is a soldier for our country, you and your entire family are soldiers in Christ. While you have touched so many already, this will make a difference in many lives and their faith, but you and your words may make a tremendous difference in someone's life when they need it most. You are a true disciple. I never thought of there being disciples today, but I know you are one. My love and prayers are with you daily. Beautiful Olive will live on and on in everyone's hearts; most importantly her mom and dads.

  7. Nicole-
    I just want you to know the Lou Ann and I have held you and all your family in our prayers. I know that the Lord will sustain you during this time.
    Tom Ditchfield