Our Stillbirth Storm

It’s hard to be a family of four, and only have three people to show for it. It’s hard to know how to answer that question, “do you have children? Oh! How many?”  It’s hard to not feel like I’m ambushing someone with the unexpected when I say I delivered my second child still. Silent. Straight into Heaven.
In trying to somehow sort out the reality and navigate through the sea of grief, I have tried to create several projects to keep Harlynn’s life remembered. I try to find ways I can help Haley be a big sister when she doesn’t have a little sister to yell at, play with, cuddle… I try to find ways I can help Brent memorialize the Daddy’s girl he’ll never hold again on earth. I try to find ways I can cope. Ways I can hold something – anything – since I can’t hold my precious girl.

I went to Hobby Lobby a few days back to try to tackle my own memorial project – a shadow box of the flowers Brent, Haley, and I wore during Harlynn’s funeral, and one tiny rose I plucked from her casket spray. I wanted to make a floral-family-photo. The four of us. Together. An entire family.  I ended up buying two shadow boxes, because I wasn’t sure which one would be the best size. After getting them home, I knew I would need to take the smaller one back to Hobby Lobby.

The day I was going to make my trip back, we got the mail, and in it was a name card made special for Harlynn. I suddenly had a different idea for the smaller shadowbox.  I had forgotten to get stickers, though, and I would need those as part of the floral-family box, so back to Hobby Lobby I went anyway.  I searched a long time for the perfect stickers. I never did find them. I found some that would work, though, and would work well.  I picked them up and started meandering around the store – mostly because I just didn’t want to go back home. When I finally muster the strength to leave the house, it’s sometimes hard for me to return.
I wandered over to the yarn aisles, just to browse. Everyone knows I have plenty of yarn (and then some) so I had no intentions of purchasing anything new. I just like to look and see what’s available and imagine what other people will make with it.
As I was browsing, my eyes fell upon some purplish-mixed yarn. “Well that’s kind of….messy looking” I thought. I picked it up and turned it over in my hands. Yes, definitely messy looking.  I turned the label to read the color.  The color of this yarn was “Storm”.
Standing there, holding this stuff in my hands, I couldn’t help but let out an almost-laugh. You know the kind, where you kind of force air through your nose and crack your lips in a smirk. Storm is right. This is purple…kind of….mixed with an awful shade of green, looks like it has been drug around behind an off-roading vehicle, and it’s almost…intense. Just like what we’ve walked through these last couple of weeks. Just like what we’ve had to endure. Storm indeed.
I bought five skeins. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. I just knew I had to do something. Make something representative of both the color name, and of our journey.
I came home and showed Brent the stickers. He peeked in the bag and said half sarcastically, “And you bought yarn….ooooh…..”  I felt I had to defend my purchase. “It has purple and the color name is storm. I’m going to make something for Harlynn.”  I imagine there will be more impulsive purchases as time goes on. I imagine I won’t regret any of them. It’s what I have to do to heal. At least for now.
I pieced the shadow boxes together and decided on the way I want them arranged on the wall when we hang them. Thankfully my first attempt at doing a shadowbox of any kind turned out to work. I’d give anything – anything – to be framing a family portrait instead. But because I can’t bring my baby back, I’ll take what I can get. For now, I can get a shadowbox with flowers that have a significant meaning to each of us.
I moved on to the yarn. I didn’t know what to do with it. I finally decided I would crochet a lap blanket, and when the next “life storm” came my way, I would snuggle in the comfort of remembering my precious girl. Crocheting seems to move faster than knitting and I can’t stay focused enough these days to have something other than an immediate result. I don’t consider myself a crocheter. I have dabbled in it, and I have made some pretty cool things – but all by chance. I really have no idea what I’m doing, and if it’s anything other than simple, I won’t attempt it.  I just wanted this to work, and I wanted it to be quick.
I walked up to get my crochet hooks, and grabbed the first one that looked like it would do the job.  It just so happens, it’s a purple hook.  After getting settled on the sofa, I started chaining. I thought I had better check and see what size the hook was, in case I lose it and need to find a different one the same size to finish the job.  Isn’t that something….it’s a size “H“.
I chained 100 stitches. I decided to do that, because after entering some simple math in my smart phone (because I cannot even focus on simple math), I discovered Harlynn was born on the 100th day of the year. I started making the blanket and decided every 12th and 16th rows, I would double crochet. Harlynn was born at 12:16, and was our second child.
This blanket isn’t much to look at. It isn’t a work of art. But it holds an entire story within its stitches. It holds the legacy of our precious baby girl who was stillborn, yes, but she was still born. Her name is etched on our hearts, and her short little life was not in vain. In those 37 weeks, she brought us joy and excitement. She brought us laughter. She brought me to my knees (to dry heave, because of being in pain, and to pray…). She brought us together, tighter, as a family. She brought us love. She brought us hope.
One of the verses we had read at Harlynn’s funeral was John 16:33. It reads, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  In the forty-five seconds I’ve allowed myself to say an actual prayer since this happened three weeks ago, my prayer has been something in relation to this verse. Yes, you’ve overcome it. But I haven’t. I’ve been overcome by it. I’m overcome with grief. My child is gone. My hope is you come take all of us home, and you come take us home soon.
In this world you will have trouble.  Certainly that is the case. But this trouble, Lord? You couldn’t spare me this trouble? I prayed against this pain! I prayed I would never walk this road, lose my child. When I crumble beneath the weight of my tears, I have to hold my hands over my heart because it feels like it’s going to fall out of my chest. I feel as though I could physically fall to pieces. Why does any parent have to know this trouble? So that in me you may have peace. I’ll get there. I know I’ll get there. And it will only be because of you. I know this. I believe it. I’m just….I’m so overcome, God. With grief. With anger. With heartache. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
God, grant me comfort in this storm.

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Prev: The Due Date

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