Rachel Alice Aube
December 3, 2010 ~ 43 Beautiful and Unforgetable Minutes
On August 4, 2010, at our routine 19 week ultrasound, we found out we were
having the girl we were hoping for. Minutes later, we found out she would
not stay here on earth with us.
She was diagnosed with Anencephaly, a neural tube defect that we had never heard of before. The doctors assumed that we would end my pregnancy and sent us for a second opinion and to "talk about our option of termination". Termination was NEVER an option for our daughter. She may have been imperfect in the worlds' eyes, but she was nothing less than perfect in ours...or in God's.
On that day, we gave our daughter her name... Rachel Alice Aube. A name with a long story, but a simple meaning... "God always provides".
Over the next 5 months, I carried her proudly through my heartache and did everything I could to make the most of her brief time with us here. I did all the things I wanted to do with her, told her the things I would want her to know, sang to her, rocked her and loved her with complete abandon. And I believe wholeheartedly that she felt my love. She was a strong girl with a precious personality and apparently loved to dance, just like her Mama.
The 4 months between her diagnosis and her birth taught me how to hope in the Lord and dance in the rain. She was truly a joy and blessing to know and also extremely difficult to let go of. Our only comfort comes in knowing that she is with Jesus and we will one day see her again.
We prepared for her birth with hopeful expectation, knowing that God could heal her if He chose to, but at peace with the fact that He might not. I chose to have an elective c-section because it raised her chances of being born alive and on December 3, 2010, we were blessed with her beating heart outside my womb for 43 minutes.
That day was a day of great joy, deep sorrow, and unsurpassable peace that only God can
give. Our other three children did not meet their sister alive, but they did get to hold
her, hug her, and even fight over her. God met us there in a special way that I
believe nobody in that hospital could deny that day.
This journey is one that is not easy to sum up in such a short story. As a matter of fact, our journey through anencephaly with Rachel is not over. This is a road I will be walking for the rest of my life. Every day I will think of her... I smile, I cry...and I miss her like crazy.
Rachel Alice Aube was an amazing child of God and I am honored that He saw me fit to entrust her to my care. I am blessed to be able to call myself her Mama and I do it with great pride knowing that it was a privilege to be given that title. I am certain that this little girl has forever changed me, her Daddy and our children now and to come.
I know that in her 9 months in my womb and 43 minutes on earth, she has touched more lives and hearts than I ever could have imagined on August 4th 2010. God has done amazing things with this baby girl and no matter how much it hurts to endure the pain I have been though and am left with, I don't regret one second of it.
I became pregnant again about 10 weeks after Rachel's birth and on November 15, 2011, we welcomed her little brother Asa into our world. His name means "Healer, God restores" which has a special meaning, for obvious reasons. As I write this, he is 11 weeks old and doing very well. Throughout my pregnancy - and even now - I worry about him more than I did my other children. I know he is healthy and I know that my thoughts are not always rational, but after losing Rachel, it's hard not to be afraid of losing one of my other children.
Rachel's life and death have caused me to love much deeper though and so I completely soak in every second I have with this sweet baby boy. I have never enjoyed night time feedings like I do now. My perspective on so many things has changed and I am truly a better mother because of Rachel. My love for her continues to inspire me to do greater things.
One of my biggest concerns when I got pregnant again, other than his health and whether or not he would live, was that people would see my rainbow baby as a replacement for Rachel. I was not okay with people acting like he was going to 'fix' me. People would always say "well, is this one okay?" or "at least you're having another one" which broke my heart and would always make me defensive for my girl. I went to great lengths to make sure that nobody acted that way and they eventually caught on. People just wanted me to feel better, but the truth is that there will never be anyone who will fill her place in my heart and I will not be 'all better' until I see her again in heaven.
In addition to the memorial playground we built and the annual fundaiser 5K we do in her
memory, I find a way to include her in the day to day things. We put a photo of her with
us in our family photos, I sign her name to all the cards or letters I write, I even have
her name on our return address labels along with ours. She is part of our family and
always will be. And I am unashamed to include her, although I know some people find it
strange and think I need to move on. I will move forward with Rachel, but never move on from her.
I used to wonder if it would be Asa's milestones that made me miss Rachel, but I have found that it's in all the little daily things. When I change his diaper, hold his hand, and look into his eyes....my heart aches that I didn't get to do all the little things with her - and yet the gratitude and joy I find in experiencing them with him is like no other because I know what it feels like to have those things taken from me. And so 15 months after she came and went, this great balancing act of grief and joy continue - It's more complicated than I would have expected, yet worth it all.
The one thing I can say about my journey with Rachel is that it is one that I would do all over again.
Thank You Lord for choosing me.
Learn more about Rachel and get in touch with Stacy trough Rachel's blog
Last updated February 2, 2012