Tuesday, April 29, 2008


We've been trying to plan the memorial service for Hazel. It's so much more for US, though--a chance to publically recognize that this small life was our daughter and that we loved her so very much. Her siblings still cry about missing her--her mama will cry every day for a very, very long time.

Some days I feel like I can barely pull through. Everything in my house makes me think of Hazel--even non-baby things. The bed I sleep in where I first really noticed she wasn't moving. The orange chair I sat in while trying to poke and prode her into movement. The couch in the living room where I rested after drinking a soda, hoping for her to wake up. And the most difficult--my own body, where she lived and died. I can't put my own body away. Sometimes I get so freaked out by everything and feel like I can barely breathe.

Gratefully, I have been able to sleep well, thanks to the antihistamines I've been taking to help with my milk drying up.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, based on the name of this blog, one of the hardest things for me has been my milk drying up. I feel like I have to say to my body "I've not cheated you! I'm not formula-feeding this baby! I just don't have a baby to feed!" I took such joy in breastfeeding my little ones for as long as they needed and it breaks my heart that I couldn't have that experience with Hazel.

Here's a poem I'll likely share at the memorial service, from Madeleine L'Engle's book A Ring of Endless Light:

The earth will never be the same again,
Rock, water, tree, iron share this grief
As distant stars participate in pain.
A candle snuffed, a falling star or leaf,
A dolphin death, O this particular loss
Is heaven-mourned; for if no angel cried,
If this small one was tossed away as dross,
The very galaxies then would have lied.
How shall we sing our love's song now
In this strange land where all are born to die?
Each tree and leaf and star show how
The universe is part of this one cry,
That every life is noted and is cherished
And nothing loved is every lost or perished.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Our daughter, our sorrow, our hope

Hazel Irene Smith was born still on Friday April 18, 2008, at 31 weeks of life in utero. She was 3 lbs. 14 oz. and 17-1/2" long at birth. The cause of death was a knot in the umbilical cord. We are confident of her resurrection and her presence in the full peace of Jesus. Indeed, her middle name – which we had chosen early on in the pregnancy – was strikingly appropriate (eirene is the Greek word for peace).

Jeni was hospitalized early last week for pregnancy complications that ultimately had nothing to do with Hazel's death. She was sent home on Tuesday morning, but late Tuesday night, she became worried because active little Hazel had stopped moving. She went to the hospital and it was confirmed that there was no heartbeat. From Wednesday morning through late Friday afternoon, doctors tried to induce labor in order to avoid a c-section. Having met no success in inducing labor, the doctors moved forward with a c-section on Friday evening.

The last week has been difficult, especially for Jeni who experienced these pains most intimately: experiencing Hazel's death, waiting patiently in hopes of a natural delivery, having to have a c-section, and then starting down the long road of physical and emotional healing. However, we have been comforted by two things. First, we thank God for the loving church community here at Englewood as well as our families who have surrounded us and bore us through this painful week. They sat and waited with us, listened to us, cried with us, held us when we cried, took wonderful care of our older children, came to see Hazel's body, and held her in their arms. But even more, we are comforted by our faith in Jesus Christ's resurrection and the hope (Grk, elpida) we have in Hazel's resurrection as well as our own.

The above was written by my husband, Chris; this comes from me: It is hard for a mother to believe that there is any better place for her child than in her arms; but surely the arms of Jesus are that place.

I've been feeling much darkness, much overwhelmedness these last few days, but I am holding onto the hope that Chris wrote of above.

Thank you for your prayers.