We only held her for several hours and we never saw her take a breath, or felt her wrap her fingers around ours but she has a place in our hearts forever. Our little Hadassah....baby daughter.....baby sister.....we fell in love with her and to us she was perfect. Perfect because God's plan is perfect, and perfect because we love her exactly as she is. To the world's eyes she was deformed, an accident, but to us she was a touch of heaven in our lives.
Kristen, our OB, broke my water at 3:00 this morning and still it seemed that labor wasn't going to happen, and our faith stumbled. Kristen was leaving for the states at 4 this afternoon, and from there to South Asia, although she was committed to staying until friday morning if need be, but after that it meant me going into the hospital until Hadassah was born. Pitocin hadn't worked and it didn't seem like the other meds were either and despair filled my heart. Kristen headed for her house around 10 to work on packing and Marlin came to sit with me. I was having contractions but nothing real serious and I kept reminding myself to trust. And then things got serious. Serious enough that tears started running and Marlin quickly called Kristen, who had been crying out to God at her house to please let Hadassah be born BEFORE she left. After several INTENSE contractions Hadassah was born at 11:15 a.m.. She was not breathing when she was born, although Kristen said that she might have had a faint pulse. The grief was raw, especially the first while but the Holy Spirit came in a powerful way and wrapped the love and peace of God around our hearts. How amazing and beautiful are the arms of God, giving us joy for ashes.
Kristen cleaned Hadassah up and put the precious little pink knitted hat on her that we had brought from the States and laid her in my arms. To be honest, when I first found out that Hadassah had anencephaly I wondered what my reaction would be when I would see her for the first time. But by the time she was born I knew that a mother's love is far greater than any “deformity.” I fell head over heels in love and was in awe at her perfect little body. Such wee hands and feet, such perfect arms and legs. And i'm proud to say that she has my nose.
Emily came over first to spend some time alone with her baby sister and after crying together she held little Hadassah in her arms. The baby sister she has prayed for so many years will never know her love, and how hard is the giving up, and yet how beautiful is her spirit as she struggles to accept. After a bit the boys came in and took turns holding her, even Levi. Levi had a lollipop though and in his scheme of things the lollipop rated much higher. :) There were tears and smiles and footprints and handprints taken of our wee one. But finally we said good by and I laid her in her little casket, making sure she was tucked in just right. And Hadassah's daddy carried her up to the hospital. She will stay at the hospital morgue until someone picks her up for the funeral.
This week was so divinely ordained of God, the many details that only He could have put together. The love that the people of Tenwek have poured out on us, and the meals and snacks, down to the marshmallows for the children to roast in the fireplace. (it gets cold enough to have a fire in the evenings) The peaceful atmosphere here at Tenwek, away from the noise and dirt of Kisumu, has been tremendously healing for us as a family. Our dear friends, Tony and Judith Zook, and Rachel Miller (we call her our oldest adopted daughter) who sacrificed their week to spend it here, babysitting and doing all those things that make a household run....our hearts will be eternally grateful. The doctors, Aaron and Kristen, who went far above and beyond anything that was expected and Aaron's wife Stephanie, who opened up their home so we could have a quiet, peaceful atmosphere to deliver Hadassah...Thank You!
Tonight our empty arms ache. We want her back, to say good by one more time. To breathe in that new baby smell and cuddle her to us. But we gladly trust her to Jesus and we worship the One who gave her to us. For He is good and His plan......perfect.