Guest post by Kelley Adams
Her name is Willow. Her life has purpose.
We were late bloomers, 40 when our girl Hattie was born. Having grown up an only child, I desperately wanted her to have a sibling so at almost 44, I was pregnant with our second little girl. We did no age related testing because we knew that nothing we found out would affect our choices. What a blessing that choice was because we had a happy, healthy, fun pregnancy. My sister-in-law, Pam is a master mid-wife who had actually trained doctors in residency how to deliver babies. We were very excited about planning a home birth and had been receiving awesome prenatal care from the midwives.
All of you who are mommas know that mommas know when something isn’t right. I knew that Thursday when I was sitting up alone at midnight, searching my belly with the tiny personal ultrasound that Pam had loaned us. Baby Willow was hiding, We were 2 weeks out from her due date and I couldn’t find her. The next morning, Kenny and I headed to the hospital where the doctor for the clinic was based.
The young woman who was performing the ultrasound had a determined look on her face. She kept running the device back and forth over and over, looking for a heartbeat. Because I already knew, I finally said, “it’s ok, you can stop now.” She could barely hold back her emotion as she was leaving the room. As we sat there waiting for the doctor, whom we had never met, my mind was racing with all the things that I had done wrong over the past few months to have caused this awful thing. The enemy was pulling me down into the pit of despair.
The doctor whom we had never met, came in, a giant of a man with a full head of white hair, he seemed to me like an angel of sorts. He sat down in front of me on the exam table. He said, “give me your hand,” so I did. Then he said, rather firmly, “now you look at me”. “There is nothing you did to cause this and there is nothing you could have done to stop it.” I sat there letting what he had said sink in. Then he said, “Look at me again, there is nothing you did to cause this and nothing you could have done to stop it”. He reached down into the pit with that giant hand of his and pulled me out. At that point, I knew that God had us right in the palm of His hand.
In looking back, Kenny and I agreed that the entire day we felt like we were wrapped in cotton. There are many other details of blessing and complete provision from that day that I won’t take time to share here but when I look back on that day I always say, “the worst day of my life couldn’t have gone any better”. In our pain, God showed up in countless ways.
There is so much more that I could tell about our experience but I will try to sum up the main things that I have learned from Willow.
First, I was awed by the goodness of our church family, driven by the love that Jesus had planted in their hearts. As we were living in the fog of grief, overwhelmed with the idea of even preparing a meal, someone showed up at our door every day for 2 weeks with food . When my father died 2 weeks after Willow, the food kept showing up for 2 more weeks. We experienced so many acts of kindness it was nearly overwhelming. I have learned since that God’s love for us is overwhelming and this is one way that He pours it out onto His people when they are hurting.
Secondly, I learned that I was no longer afraid to be around hurting people. Throughout my pregnancy, I was in and out of the corner 7-11 several times a week. There was a delightful man (another giant now that I think back, hmmm) that would always greet me and we’d have a pleasant exchange. The first time I went in after Willow had been born, he looked at me with that giant smile and said, “when are you going to bring that sweet baby in?”. I explained as gently as I could what had happened and it seemed that he was melting into the floor with shame for having said anything. At that moment, I guess I sort of took on the demeanor of my angel doctor and said, “Hey, look here, you honor me and you honor my baby by asking about her. I don’t want you to feel bad or weird for even a second, OK?” So what I learned was that, you are not going to accidentally remind a grieving person of their loss and cause a breakdown by speaking of their loved one.
Thirdly, I know this for sure: God doesn’t kill babies. Babies die because evil is present in the world and has been since almost the beginning of time. The enemy lurks around seeking to kill and destroy, to reap destruction on marriages and families. Causing the death of children is one of his methods and I am sad to say that he often succeeds unless the marriage consists of a three strand cord, husband, wife and Jesus woven together in a forever bond. That’s what Kenny and I hung onto, in order to survive the crushing grief of losing our future with Willow and Hattie’s future with her sister. God didn’t take our girl, the evil one did.
My grief manifested in many ways for many years, physically and emotionally. However, I knew that I had turned a corner when during my quiet time one day, I felt that God was asking me, “if I gave you the choice to go back and undo her and take away all the pain and suffering, would you do it?” I didn’t hesitate to answer. “Of course not, Willow is my little girl and I wouldn’t trade her away for anything!”
Not long after I shared this memory with a dear friend who was hesitant to have a third baby because of her age, she announced that she was pregnant, confirming the fourth thing that I leaned from Willow. God can take the most painful and ugly events in life and bring beauty and blessing from it. It’s a crazy, wonderful, supernatural thing. It was an enigma to me at the time, that the most profound comfort that I found during the early days of loss, was from a handful of acquaintances who emerged to tell me their stories of the same loss. It was a blessing to them to be able to share and comfort me. There is much more to my story but I hope this little bit blesses you. If so, then that’s one more little bit of beauty and blessing that baby Willow has brought to our world. Her life has purpose because God created her for a purpose.