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Shelby Birth Story

A Beauty to Behold

by: Elizabeth Thorndike
You were born on a Monday. You came a wee bit early, but that has never surprised me. You were so ready to see this world, and to share your love. The doc told me to push, and push I did. Joy consumed my being as I grunted through my last huge breath.

Then. My. World. Fell. Apart.

You were born on a Monday. God designed you with an extra chromosome. An extra chromosome that would change life as we knew it. Deep amounts of grief and happiness equally took over my heart. I struggled to get a good look at you with all the commotion in the room, hoping I was wrong. I loved you deeply already, but the unknown and the ugly took over all I knew. They whisked you away. They knew.

Dan followed and I heard him speaking words of beauty and love as he spoke to you. He knew.

Shelby Birth Story 1

My sister-in-law sat at my side and held my hand. She had a smile on her face, trying so hard to balance the awkwardness in the room. She knew.

During all of this, the delivering doctor sat at the end of my bed, stitching me up. I tore. Funny though, I did not feel that pain. That physical pain did not hold a candle to the emotional pain I was experiencing.

Finally, they placed you in my arms. Your tiny face was precious. Your almond eyes stared straight into my soul. I held you for a long time. I was silent and oblivious to all the craziness happening in the room. A pediatrician was paged, and heart monitors brought in. The nurses held my feelings and our space delicately, but with a surprise diagnosis, they had to make sure you were okay. They carefully checked you while in my arms and did not make a sound. It was sweet. It was weird.

There was no celebrating. No singing Happy Birthday or lifting toasts of grape juice over your head. The pain I held was so intense that I thought I might just explode right there. Finally, after what was probably an hour, the head nurse came over to my side. She handed you to my sister-in-law, Elizabeth, turned back to me and said three words.

You. Must. Grieve.

I looked at her with the most awkward and profound look. Then something came out of me that caught even me off guard. A sobbing so loud, so deep, and so intense that it consumed the room. I cried hard. I wailed and screamed “God, I need to see you in this”! I grieved the unknown. I grieved as a mama bear grieves. I had feelings and thoughts that ricochet so quickly in my brain that I was dizzy. Dan held me. He held a place for you too. I heard Elizabeth speaking scripture over you. I knew you were covered. Even then, I knew you were a gift. I had to be worthy of you, and I knew I could not do that with all this pain lingering right there. Tangible pain.

I cried for about 30 minutes, but then I wanted you back. I wanted you to feel me without the confusion of pain. I wanted you to feel your mama. I wanted to smell your forehead and make promises of protection for your whole life. I held you. Once again, your eyes pierced my soul. It was like looking into the eyes of God. It was hard to catch a breath. The love was tangible. Your red hair, amazing.

The following days were met with tests and pediatric consultations. As we wheeled you down the hall in your bassinet, I would quietly cry. The mamas in the other rooms had typical births. I would stare in their rooms then look down at your beautiful face and fiery red hair. I once again would be flooded with the mixture of sadness and pride. I guess deep down, I knew I would be feeling that emotional war for a while.

Friends came and went, and each time, I gave them the space to grieve and love. I knew I needed to let them sit in a space of sadness and not judge them. After all, I was trying hard not to judge myself for holding any space in grief. You were a beautiful gift. You were a beautiful baby. You were mine. I held you skin to skin as often as I could, and still had moments where tears fell softly on your head as I talked to God and tried to piece together our new journey. We were in the hospital for almost five days, and I know now that that was a gift. That time, one on one with you filled my soul and eased my fears. I would go back there in a heartbeat. It was a raw, beautiful time. It was a confusing situation held by a God that does not make mistakes.

Your sister Savannah entered the hospital room and proudly enveloped you with such unimaginable love and pride, as big sisters do. I heard God whisper for me to pay attention to her reaction. I stared in awe of a big sister’s love for the tiny one she talked to in my tummy for months.

A sister's unconditional love

Savannah didn’t notice chromosomes or almond shaped eyes. She just beamed with a love that filled the room and quickly filled my heart. I knew God was telling me to love like that! You came straight from the loving arms of a creator who knew you by name. Your life has purpose. God is writing your story and we get to be a part of it all!

You were born on a Monday. Your name is Shelby Annabelle Thorndike! You are so deeply loved…

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”

Author

Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.

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