Peanut. That's what Landree named our sweet angel baby. Every single day, every meal of the day Landree would pray for Peanut. When she could tell I would upset, somehow she would keenly know that mommy needed to stop and pray.
The day we found out about our loss, we told Landree. We didn't want to hide it from her because she could sense that something was up with us. It is a reality of this world we live in. We simply told her that "God wanted them more, so Peanut went to live in Heaven with God and Jesus." Her first response was that she wanted to there with Peanut, but then she understood that she will have an angel to watch over her. The thought that my child is sitting next to Jesus is frankly overwhelmingly comforting.
The days since then have been interesting. The first few days were filled with relief. Relief that this sweet baby was finally pain free and that my body could heal. Relief that God always knows what is best even though we may not. Relief that God answered my biggest prayer, peace.
Tears have come and gone. Oddly enough the tears come when I don't expect it. Songs, memories, and thinking about never nursing again were the triggers. Erick hardly ever saw me upset. I think I just went through the motions of life as normal . I wondered why I didn't have that cry reaction and my aunt Missy reminded me that "I'm a Stokes" that's why. My grandma Ruth had been through so much loss in her life and she just kept putting one foot in front of the other. It always stays in the back of my mind.
I never realized how raw the pain is even years later. I can't even begin to count the number of people that have came forward and shared their stories with me. Some with one angel baby, some with ten, and everywhere in between. The love of those angels never ceases. There will always be questions of what if's and whys.
Throughout everything, I refused to keep quiet. I wanted people to know that the pain, struggle, and fight are very real.The tears flow, prayers go unanswered the way we think they should, and you question God. But, that the need for my faith first, spouse second, and village third are the most important. That it's OK to process in your own way and not to perceive how you think you should respond to a situation.
Currently, I have more pregnant friends then I can count. Some days it's rough to hear the stories, but I keep praying. I know that most of these women have walked in my shoes and are so deserving of these rainbow babies. I will get there -- in God's time. Is it weird to think the hardest part about it all is thinking I may never get to nurse again? I never realized how much I cherished those 15 months, no matter how many nights I just wanted to sleep.
Throughout everything, my husband prayed us through it. Hearing him tear up while trying to be strong for me was one of the hardest things I'll ever hear, but he just kept praying. From that moment, he told me he hasn't changed the dial from the Christian station. I would get so frustrated that he would make me sit in that car over and over frustrated at God with his "God knows best music" when frankly, I was pissed at this so called plan. He just keeps praising. God works in amazing ways.
If you are walking in my shoes, I'm praying for you daily. I'm praying for every single couple that feels this pain and just wants one answered prayer. I will never ever be the person that says your baby will come. I won't tell myself that either. I will remind you that God's plan is so much greater then we can even fathom. Pray through it. Every single time you feel like you are getting mad or frustrated or there's one more endless doctor appointment to find out "why" pray. Stop and pray. Drown your ears with praise and worship instead of the world that is trying to push you down. Be vocal. It is not bad or wrong what you are going though. Be mad and frustrated and angry. It's ok! You are normal! It's not faux pas to talk about it. You could be the light that someone needs to feel, you just have to be bold and listen if God is calling.
And just remember... it's not over yet.
Rest in Heaven Sweet Peanut