From the beginning of the year, our church has prayed and anxiously waited for the birth of five children to five women in our church. When my phone showed the call was from Dan, I answered, "Is there a baby?!" Dan's next word's took my breath away as the young father told me his daughter, only days away from her due date, had inexplicably died in womb.
As you can imagine, the funeral was a somber setting. We were Christians weeping with those who weeped. The small, white casket held the infant body of Melody. Her mother asked me to read a letter to the daughter she will meet again in heaven. I share it with you with her permission.
My dearest Melody Lucinda,
This is a letter I never thought I would have to write. Of all the babies in the world, I never thought this would happen to mine and I still don't understand why God chose to take you to heaven and why he chose me to have to endure this heartache. When we found out we were expecting you, your daddy and I were thrilled. We were so excited for Joseph to have a little sibling and I began hoping for a girl because I knew how much he would love a little sister. I remember taking granny with me to my 10-week midwife appointment, where we thought we would be able to hear your heartbeat for the first time. The midwife explained that since it was so early in the pregnancy, sometimes they can't find a heartbeat at that point, but she was able to hear yours almost immediately. "Must be showing off for grandma," she remarked. It was a relief to know you were thriving and growing.
Then a few weeks later, daddy, Joseph, Grandma Kallestad and I went in for your 20-week ultrasound. Everything looked perfect and toward the end, it was time to find out if you were a boy or girl. Even in the womb, you were as stubborn as could be. I had to flip back and forth to try to get you in a position where we could see what we needed to see. Then finally the technician announced that you were a girl. I was overjoyed to be having a daughter. I had the name Melody Lucinda picked out for at least ten years and I would finally get to use it.
Over the next few months, I had fun picking out all sorts of girl clothes, decorating your nursery and dreaming about what it would be like to have a daughter. I thought about getting to wear matching outfits, teaching you to play the piano and watching you and your brother interact and play together.
Joseph was so excited to meet you. Whenever we asked him where baby sister was, he would point at my belly and say, "Baby." When he felt you kick, he would get a huge grin on his face and say, "Baby kicking." One night I told him to give sister a hug and he did and said, "Love you baby." We tried teaching him to say your name, but the closest he ever got was "Mo-nee-nee."
As your due date approached, everyone was anxious and wondered when you would be coming. I went in for my 38 week checkup and everything was normal. Your heart was beating wonderfully, just like it had been for every other appointment. I hoped that would be my last appointment, but at 39 weeks you still hadn't come. I went in for my normal checkup, not knowing that this would be the furthest appointment from normal that I could ever have. After trying to find your heartbeat on two different machines, I began to sense that something was very wrong. I sent daddy a message at work and said he needed to come quickly. When he arrived we had an ultrasound, but unlike most ultrasounds, this was not one we were looking forward to. After confirming your little heart had stopped beating, we were left to absorb the weight of our new reality. We wouldn't be bringing you home from the hospital. There would be no getting up at night to nurse you, no bringing Joseph to the hospital to meet you, no hearing you cry for the first time, no dressing you up in your many outfits, no getting to sing "In my heart there rings a melody" to you and no getting to watch you grow up.
But, in between all the "nevers," I tried to focus on the things you get to do that most babies don't. You saw the face of Jesus before you saw your parents. You went from knowing the love of your family to the love of God. You will never know what it's like to feel pain or sadness.
Whenever I have a moment of missing you, I think about you getting to play with your great aunt Lucinda. She was very special to me and after she passed away, I knew I wanted my first daughter to have Lucinda as her middle name. The thing I remember most about her is how joyful she was. Her laugh was contagious. I can't ever remember her getting upset, even as she was dying of cancer. I was sad that she wouldn't be alive to meet you or hear your name, but now she gets to meet you before I do.
Melody, I want you to know that even though you only lived inside me for 39 weeks and 2 days, just like your great aunt Lucinda you brought so much joy to so many people. We were all looking forward to seeing you and holding you. As I held you in my arms after delivering you, I was amazed at how beautiful you were. You had ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes. You looked so much like your big brother, yet you were your own person. I wanted to be able to do something to help you. I felt like I had failed you as your mommy. I kept wishing more than anything that you would wake up, but I knew that wasn't going to happen.
Had you been born alive, my prayer for your life would have been that God would use you to point all those around you to Him. Even though your life was much shorter than anyone would have thought or hoped, my prayer is the same. I look forward to seeing how God is going to use your life for His glory. Sweet Melody, I will never forget you or the joy you brought me. I praise God for allowing me to carry you for 39 weeks and 2 days. It is an honor to be your mommy and I look forward to meeting you someday. I love you more than words could ever express. You will forever be my baby girl.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.