Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daniel's balloons

(Also cross-posted. I don't know if there are many who read both of my blogs, but if so, please excuse the identical postings right now. My family blog is still the place to go for regular family stuff - I just want to be able to share what I can about Daniel with whomever wants to read.)

About two weeks before we found out about Daniel's condition, I was shopping for a Christmas present for Dave when I found some hot air balloon wall hangings that I loved. I thought they would be perfect for the baby's room. Although I thought they would be great for either a boy or a girl, I decided to hold off until we found out the gender, just because I wanted to have a plan before I started buying stuff.

We learned on January 6, 2011, that our baby boy probably had dwarfism. The next day, we learned that it looked like it might be more serious and that there was a good chance that he had a lethal form of skeletal dysplasia.

I thought about the hot air balloons again, and I decided that I wanted them. If he survived, I would love them for his room. If he didn't, I thought they would be a fitting tribute to my little boy.

A couple months later, after it had become more certain that Daniel's little body wouldn't last long in this world, I was looking for a locket that I could wear to keep a picture of my sweet boy with me always. When I found this locket with hot air balloons on it on Etsy, I stopped looking. It was perfect. I loved that it went along with the wall hangings that we already had, and it just seemed so right. So I bought it.

A close friend of mine took some family photos of us a week or two before Daniel was born. We used the locket and a special blanket that my mom knitted for Daniel as special symbols of him for the photos.

When Daniel was born on May 10, he was immediately wrapped in two hospital blankets. The one on the outside had baby footprints on it. The one on the inside, the one on his skin, was covered in hot air balloons. I couldn't believe it. I felt that it was a special message to us that there really is more to this than we can see.

I assumed the hospital had many of these hot air balloon blankets, but that didn't make it less special for me. However, I was amazed to learn from one of our special nurses (she was from Angel Watch and had helped us for months in preparing for Daniel's birth, and then was present at his birth, but didn't know about the hot air balloon "theme") that McKay-Dee had only a handful of the hot air balloon blankets. They were actually from another hospital and had been mixed in, in central laundry. So the chances that he would be given a hot air balloon blanket, at least at our hospital, were actually small.

I will never see a hot air balloon for the rest of my life without thinking of my sweet angel baby.


Kristina P. said...

This is so lovely, Emily. I think the hot balloons are such a beautiful, unique tribute, and whenever I see one, I will think of Daniel.

*LaUrA* said...

I love little notes from Heaven that let you know you are being thought of...that you are not alone. I really love that first picture of the hot air balloon sculpture thingy...and I love the locket.

Thank you for letting us all in to your story. I am grateful to you and your family for your examples of Faith and strength. When you have those rough days...know we are all thinking of you and standing behind you to help lift you you have done for others so much.

Anne Marie said...

Oh, Emily, this is is so beautiful. So glad that the hot air balloons kept appearing in your life to remind you of God's love for you and your sweet family. You have often been in my thoughts. Your graceful and beautiful soul are reflected so sweetly in your words.

leah said...

What a beautiful message. I'm glad to have a new special little boy to think about whenever I see a hot air balloon. <3 Love you, Emily Miller! :)

Camille said...

Wow. I had no idea any of this was going on in your life in 2011. I was obviously very behind in reading friends blogs. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your experience. I was strengthened by reading your words. You have always been a great writer. Our prayers are going your way - what a remarkable family you are!