One year ago today, I was forced to fit an entire lifetime of love and memories into a mere 52 hours with my daughter, Emilia. We managed to say hello and goodbye all in that short amount of time. Emilia’s life may have ended in tragedy, but what survived is our story of love. My life is now a sacred dance of grief and joy. Despite the ever-present grief, there will always be a greater amount of joy. So much love and joy made sweeter by her. Today I can’t help but smile as we remember our daughter and celebrate her very special First Birthday in Heaven.
Emme, not a day goes by where you do not cross my mind. My world came to a stop the moment I found out you had gone to Heaven. The hardest part wasn’t just losing you, it has also been continuing to live my life without you. I miss you more than all of the stars in the sky and my love for you is just as endless. I’ll never begin to understand why you were taken from me so soon and no explanation will ever be good enough. March 15, 2017, was one of the best days of my life. I have memories shared with you on that day that I will cherish forever! You have filled my life with so much purpose and I am forever grateful that I get to be your mommy.
It gives me such an incredible amount of peace knowing that you were never once alone. I was with you the moment you were created and the moment your little heart stopped beating. I hope in those last few moments of your life you felt peace knowing I was there with you. Not once in this world did you ever feel pain. You were never touched by fear, never hungry, nor cold, or were you ever filled with hate and greed. Never once will you ever sin. You are the exact definition of perfection. It is an honor to be your mommy and to know that together – with your daddy – I created something that was too perfect and too special for this world.
Happy First Birthday, Emilia Madeleine Rose Clough!! I can only imagine how wonderful of a celebration you are having up in Heaven right now. I hope God prepares you the most beautiful and delicious smash cake and that you devour every last bite. I hope the angels’ choir sings you the most heavenly arrangement of “Happy Birthday” and you are left feeling nothing but complete happiness and joy. I hope you look down on earth and see how much wonder and beauty you have brought to our world. I hope you see how much we love you and just how missed you are, sweet girl. Happy Birthday, Emilia! We love you! If we could spend this special, sacred day with you we would be in Heaven in a heartbeat!
Memories I will cherish…
-August 26, 2016… The day I found out I was pregnant with you. You were very much planned. Your daddy and I had been trying for two months, so when we finally saw the positive test result – our hearts leaped with joy. Such a happy day!
-November 13, 2016… Apparently, it is a thing for me to faint when I am pregnant. When I was pregnant with your sister Adelaide, I passed out in the passenger seat of your daddy’s car for a few seconds. On this date in November, I was outside speaking with a neighbor when I lost consciousness and collapsed in the driveway. I think I gave our neighbor a heart attack! I was only 15 weeks pregnant with you, but you were safe and cocooned in my tummy and were left unhurt. I – however – had scrapes, a gash, and a nice huge shiner around my eye…. I have a photo, a scar, and a permanent swollen eye to prove it! I was very shaken up after the whole ordeal, but now I look at the photo and the scar on my face and I cannot help but get a huge smile as I think of you. I carry with me a permanent reminder of you everywhere I go.
-December 12, 2016… the day we found out you were a girl. Adelaide insisted the entire first half of our pregnancy that you were going to be her little sister. I guess that would be her big sister intuition. When anyone asked, I always said I didn’t have a preference as to whether you were a girl or a boy. But secretly my heart yearned for another little girl and there you were – another perfect and precious baby girl.
-I will never forget your sweet little hiccups! You hiccuped every night and always at the same time.
-Every time I hear a Sia song I think of you. You are her biggest “littlest” fan. Daddy and I joke that when we go to Heaven, we will likely find that you had traded your red hair in for a funny blonde Sia wig! If I ever wanted to feel you move, all I had to do was play a song by her and you would instantly groove and jive to the beat of the music. You loved music! Anytime I’m feeling sad for myself or angry with the world, I can play Sia and other special songs that always provide a little comfort.
-March 13, 2017… The last day I would ever feel you move. I have stored this memory away in a place where it will never fade. I was at Adelaide’s school sitting in on a portion of her preschool day and you were extremely active and kicking away. This is more than likely the same day you left our world. I have a baby bump photo from that day. As weird as it probably sounds, it is so therapeutic to look at the photo knowing that it was taken on the day that our lives were forever changed – even though we had no idea at the time.
-March 14, 2017… The day we found out you no longer had a heartbeat. I had a frustrating anterior placenta when I was pregnant with you. The placenta was positioned on the front of the uterus wall absorbing a lot of your movements, so it was pretty common for me to go a good portion of the day without feeling you move. A scare two months prior back had sent us into labor & delivery and after an expensive admittance, we learned that you were perfectly fine. For that reason, I wrestled with myself all day trying to decide if I should go into labor & delivery. I assumed that more than likely it was just that ornery placenta blocking your kung-fu kicks. To make a long story short, we finally made the trip to North Kansas City Hospital at 33 weeks gestation for a fetal non-stress test, but we left the hospital three days later – no longer pregnant and with no baby in our arms.
-March 15, 2017… One of the best days of my life! On this day, I held an Angel! How many people can say that? I wish I could just relive March 15, 2017, in a continuous loop. It was hard to be sad or angry when I was holding someone so special. March 15th is such a sacred day for our family – our own family holiday. You were born silently into our world at 7:51 am weighing 4 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 18.5 inches long. You were our petite little lady! On this day, we gave you your first and only bath and you were baptized into God’s family shortly thereafter. The whole day was filled with love and joy for you. This is how I always want to remember you on your Birthday. Not filled with sadness or anger, but with an overwhelming amount of love and joy!
-My favorite colors are aquamarine and purple, which both remind me of you. These were your nursery colors. Everything we prepared for you was aquamarine and purple, all the way down to your take home outfit. Coincidently, you were born a month early – which makes your birthstone aquamarine. I say this is coincidental, but I really think your birthdate is far from coincidental.
-My lucky number is 15. You were born on the 15th of March and a few weeks after your birth, I was looking at horoscopes and realized how symbolic the number 15 actually is for our family. You (Emilia) are a Pisces, Adelaide a Cancer, your Daddy a Virgo, and I am a Libra… all four of our horoscope signs have the number 15 as one of our few lucky numbers. Those four signs are the only signs out of 12 horoscopes with 15 as a lucky number. Learning this literally blew my mind. I am by no means a Zodiac junky, but maybe I should be.
-We try our best to visit North Kansas City Hospital’s Autumn’s Garden of Hope as much as possible. This is a pregnancy and infant loss garden created by the maternity bereavement team at NKCH for families like ours. We were fortunate to receive hundreds of dollars in donations from kind family, friends, and strangers days after you died. We took that money and we purchased different items for North Kansas City Hospital. Two of those items were statues for this garden. One is a flower vase and the other is a Guardian Angel holding a baby. Anytime we go to the garden, your big sister – Adelaide – notices the baby and calls it “baby sister” or “Emilia”. I think she also feels that you are not far away when we come to visit. My fear is that Adelaide will not remember you and all that will be left are stories we have continued to tell her. I pray she remembers her little sister and how much she loves you.
-Anytime I see a bunny I think of you. Our hospital gave you a little yellow bunny named Grace that has her hands folded in prayer. I am always seeing artwork of little angel girls knelt in Heaven’s garden admiring little bunnies. When we came home from the hospital several different stuffed animals were put in various corners of your nursery. One day I went in and found one bunny in your car seat, another in your swing, another bunny in your bouncer seat, and yet another in your cradle. I walked over to the one last place I knew that I would find a stuffed animal, curious and getting emotional as to what the next find would be. I peeked into your bassinet and low and behold I found a huge, fluffy, brown bear… with a little pink bunny just beside it!
–Where did you get your name? Daddy and I are fans of older classic names and we wanted something that flowed well with your big sister’s name, Adelaide. Both daddy and I are Game of Thrones fans. One of the lead female characters is Daenerys Targaryen, but others may know her better as the Dragon Lady. Daenerys is played by an English Actress named Emilia Clarke. The name Amelia was never really on our radar, but as soon as we saw the unique spelling version “Emilia” we fell in love. There is no special reasoning behind the middle name “Madeleine Rose” we just thought it looked and flowed nicely together.