This closet is big. So big that I had considered transforming it into a mini nursery for this baby. And in it, is housed some things from all of my children. I have *A's* clothes and shoes and junk in there, the boys' tubs for seasonal clothing... as well as special baby blankets, this new baby's bags of wet wipes and clothes.... and about 10 boxes of clothing and bedding that were intended for Charlotte. One of the hardest things about going into that space (aside from the sheer volume of crap that is in there because of *A's* disinterest in keeping things tidy) is the markings of a name of a little sister, by a big sister, that will never be.
At some point during my pregnancy, *A* had written in magenta crayon on one of the shelves where the baby clothes were to be kept the word "Charlet". I hadn't ever considered spelling her name like that, but looking at it that way is so endearing to me now. I've left it there, despite the fact that's now the shelf for the boy's things. Every once in a while I'll go in looking for the next size up in play clothes and come across that inscription. It stops me in my tracks every time. You'd think I would be used to seeing it, but every time I do, it's like the first time her name has been whispered to me. I have to stand still and quiet to take it all in.
Well today I didn't go to that shelf (half way purposefully) but turned my attention to the boxes stacked behind me. About a week after she was gone, I had started to organize everything. I took out what I wanted, little things that were reserved *only Charlotte's*, some that I would love to see another daughter of mine wear, and some that I definitely could part with. Then I folded them all neatly and put them away. Could I really part with any of them? I mean, they've been in the closet for 2 whopping years already!
There were small things I did let go. Some blankets & outfits/sleepers that I gave to my nieces for their baby dolls (who still hold them dear as Charlotte's things) and some I gave to teen moms. But still, there are all of these boxes. At this point, they are taking up a lot of space I am needing to get this baby's stuff organized. So down they came.
I had already gone thru them and sorted them according to size. But today I was going to catalog them and take pictures to place them on Ebay or whatnot. I did it 2 boxes at a time. Layed each little outfit on my bed, starting with the larger sizes first. It was bitter sweet. I remember looking at all of these things for the first time two years ago and getting so excited because (at that point in time) we were told the ultrasounds were all clear. I couldn't wait to put my little girl in some of these outfits. It seemed as though God was reassuring us that everything was going to be ok. He provided above and beyond what we needed for her. I got excited all over again the night before our Level 2 ultrasound with this baby. I was SO SURE he was a she.
I'm glad I went thru them starting with the bigger sizes first, because it was getting hard for me to see all of the small things. The tiny mittens she wouldn't wear, the headbands with little bows on 'em... the awesome red coat. I put away what I could, but there's still more for me to do tomorrow.
I got a little teary thinking about how she didn't get to wear these things. And even more teary as I realized I probably won't ever get to put a daughter of mine in them. The boys would come in and out of my bedroom and ask what all of it was. They kept asking if the new baby would wear them. Uh, no buddy, wrong color.
So as I went in to download the pictures, I took a deep breath. I saw the ultrasound pictures. He is definitely a boy. Time to let the clothes go. But as the pictures were being loaded into the folder, I noticed it said there were 450 pictures transferring. WTH??? I know I didn't take that many!
So as I watched them surface, I was struck by what they were of. They were the birth of my friend's daughter Olivianna. I thought I was certain to have deleted all of the images after I gave them to my friend, so I was really caught off guard at seeing this precious little girl, being cradled in the arms of her daddy.
I, of course, lingered over the pictures for a while. Reminiscing over what that day meant to so many people. I know I haven't really spoken of the Grover Family before, mostly out of respect for their privacy, but also because it hurts.
I was involved with a moms group while I was pregnant with Charlotte. During that time, these ladies sustained me. I would write lengthy email updates about what was going on and they all rallied around us with prayer and friendship. Well, there was a friend of mine there named Nicole. Eventually, Nicole left our group and started her own group at her church. One morning. about a year or so after Charlotte died, I got a call from Nicole asking if I wouldn't mind talking to another mom from her group. This woman was pregnant and had found out that her baby girl was very *sick* and would probably not live for very long outside of her womb. I was so scared. What the heck was I supposed to say? Don't get me wrong... I was honored that I was allowed to be able to try to show the goodness of Christ in the midst of my situation, but I was afraid I was going to fumble over myself. I tend to do that you know.. put too much of *me* into things.
I offered to take pictures for her of the birth of Olivianna, and she and her husband agreed. I was so elated to be allowed to be there for this event. I know this sounds selfish, but I got to be a part of a birth AND a homecoming that even their own family was not privy to. They had their family all at the hospital, you could feel the love surrounding them all day... but I got to meet Olivianna. The actual birth was beautiful. What I remember most clearly was Amber calling on the name of Jesus in her pain and the praise she was giving Him as Olivianna emerged. It only took a few moments and He delivered her.
Olivianna lived for a little over 11 minutes. She was held and loved on by her mommy and daddy the whole time. Her father was so strong. At one point it seemed as though the room was silent and all you could hear was loud sobbing. In all reality, it wasn't that loud, but it seemed like it. It was her daddy. The weight of the world was placed on his shoulders as he was beginning to say goodbye. Olivianna struggled to breathe, but it wasn't something that I would describe as pitiful or gut wrenching. It was more like she was leaving this world behind, as her breath was taken away by the sheer beauty of her seeing her Savior for the first time. It was such a peaceful moment. I will never, ever forget it.