celebrating with abigail

I have a little friend who lives in heaven. Her name is Abigail. We only met once (March 6, 2009), but we became instant friends. And actually, by the time her daddy introduced us, the real Abigail was already with Jesus. I only got to meet her beautiful, tiny little body. Here’s part of her story (condensed from March 11 blog post–read the whole story here):

And I told you about my friend Amy’s baby Abigail, diagnosed with triploidy at her 20-week ultrasound in November. Abigail stopped developing at 16 weeks and wasn’t expected to live past 30 weeks. She made it 36. Her heart stopped beating 2 weeks ago, and Amy went in for an induction Thurs. evening…

Praise the Lord–Tammy [our pastor’s wife] got to be there for Amy and Billy when they met Abigail. (Kim and I waited in the waiting room.)

Then Amy sent Tammy to come get us. We hugged her and Billy, then Billy wanted us to meet Abigail. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a greater honor in all my life. In fact, I know I haven’t.

She was beautiful. Kim held her. I cried tears of joy as I pictured her up in heaven, skipping with Jesus.

Her mommy and daddy have been through so much these past four months. Many people have expressed their disapproval that Amy and Billy chose to carry her, knowing her “fate.” They honored God so deeply with their choice, and I just know He’s using them and little Abigail for His glory. Mike and Tammy prayed and read Scripture over Abigail after she was born, and the doctor, nurse and midwife joined their circle. Talk about a powerful witness.

God is good.

Please pray for Amy and Billy. Oh, how hard it’s got to be for them right now. My heart breaks for them, leaving the hospital with empty arms.

Abigail’s sweet little face is permanently etched on the wall of my mind, reminding me that life is short and people are precious–especially my children. May I never, ever forget.

The past six months haven’t been easy for Amy and Billy. While the rest of the world has gone on with their lives, Amy and Billy still ache for their baby girl. And for much of the time, they hurt all alone. No one else understands the deep, deep love they have for their precious daughter.

But God is good. Still. And He has done so many beautiful things–in Amy and Billy’s lives and in so many others. So many incredible things. And Amy, whom I count as one of my dearest friends, told me just the other day, “If it hadn’t been for Abigail, who knows if we ever would’ve developed such a beautiful friendship? She brought us together.” She did, and I’m forever grateful to her.

And darling Abigail is rejoicing with Jesus today–and has been every day for quite awhile now, because growing peacefully in her Mama’s belly is her 16-week-old brother or sister. Due to enter this world on March 4, 2010–just 2 days before Abigail’s 1st birthday.

Can you believe our God?

Abigail’s condition was not genetic, and after today’s ultrasound, her little sibling appears to be absolutely and completely healthy, with Amy’s body doing everything exactly perfectly.

I know Billy and Amy are thrilled that God is blessing them with another baby. I even know that aside from some twinges of anxiety, they have an unexplainable peace about this baby’s health.

Yet, there’s one thing that’s a little tougher to work through. When Billy first found out Amy was pregnant, he immediately said, through tears, “I just don’t want Abigail to get gypped.”

For those of you with two children, you remember what it felt like right before your second one came. “How in the world am I going to love another child just as much? And how is it fair that I’m bringing another baby into this world and cheating my firstborn of some of my love?”

It’s magic though, isn’t it? You love them both. 100%.

Amy and Billy will too. It’s just that Abigail’s not here to physically receive her 100%. And some people don’t understand the depth of love a Mommy and Daddy can have for a child they spent such a short time with. They might think of this baby as taking Abigail’s place. No one can ever take the place of a child you’ve lost. Not even another child.

I’m having trouble thinking of words here to convey what’s in my heart. I guess what I want to say is this: will you pray with me for Amy and Billy? Will you pray for a healthy pregnancy for Amy (and strength–she teaches first grade) and for God to just lavish His amazing love and peace all over both of them? Will you pray for them as they navigate through the exciting emotions of expecting a baby while grieving another one? Each beautiful, happy moment is one they will feel blessed to experience–but without their Abigail.

And would you do me a favor and leave a comment for Amy and Billy letting them know you love them and will be praying? They mean the world to me, and I know your love and prayers will mean the world to them.

Congratulations, Miss Abigail, on your new little baby! We’re going to take such good care of him/her for you! Thank our Jesus for me, will you? I love you, girl!

18 thoughts on “celebrating with abigail

  1. Mandy

    I will be praying for you, Amy and Billy. My sister’s first baby, a son, passed on about 20 minutes after his birth, the day after his due date (a little over 2 years ago). He had a never-before-documented genetic syndrome that was discovered at the 20-week ultrasound. My sister was urged to terminate the pregnancy, but refused. She wanted to be with her son as long as she could and was rewarded by getting to hold him. I wish I could have been there with her. She and her husband now have a healthy 6-month-old daughter. They celebrate their son’s birthday every year with a special family hike in a national park. My sister has found much comfort in participating in a group for mom’s who have lost infants. It really helps her to know that she’s not alone and that there are others who understand what she’s going through, at least to some degree. When she was pregnant with her daughter, she often worried that she would not love her daughter as much as she loves her son. She asked my mom about it, and my mom comforted her by reminding her that mothers are able to love each new child just as much as their older brothers and sisters. Mothers’ hearts expand each time and there is plenty of special love for each child.
    I hope and pray that you, Amy and Billy, will experience God’s perfect peace and comfort during this time.

  2. The Secret Life of Kat

    I’m praying for you Amy and Billy. And I had a thought:

    I think Abigail will be honored and remembered that much MORE because of her new sibling. She will forever be a part of who her sibling is – and her new brother or sister will carry on the legacy (physically) of love that started with her.

    I know this is different, but I think it’s also quite the same…my mother died when I was an infant. I never talked to her, walked with her or have any memories of her or even pictures with her. I don’t know what she sounded like and I haven’t been told all that much about her personality, likes or dislikes.

    But the simple fact that she WAS and that she was MINE has profoundly and deeply impacted every single facet of who I am today.

    I believe that will be true of Abigail and her brother or sister, too. He or she will make Abigail’s legacy reach even farther.

    Whew. I’ve never written so much to people I’ve never met. All that to say, I’m praying for you and rejoicing with you.

  3. Morgan

    Typing through tears. I imagine Abigail is already feeling like a very proud big sister! Billy and Amy have taught me so much about grace and strength through the hardest time. God has worked through them in so many ways and touched so many lives. Thank you for sharing and many prayers and much love being sent!

  4. Stephanie your sister

    I remember feeling my heart break when I read this story months ago. But now that I’m carrying my own little baby girl, it takes on a whole new meaning. The tears I’m crying come from sadness over the loss of baby Abigail and joy over the wonderful gift of this new little one! Praise God for being a God that gives peace and comfort as well as one that gives us blessings we don’t deserve. I will be praying for Amy and Billy and baby!

  5. Chris Yoder

    I will be praying for you, Amy and Billy! We have a faithful and trustworthy heavenly Father, and He will be there for you and care for your every need! Rejoicing with you!:)

  6. Laurel Bruhl

    Oh Amy & Billy! I will be praying for you as you welcome Abigail’s little brother or sister into the world! You will hold a special spot in my prayer list as I know some of the pain you experience and some of the feelings being pregnant with another precious bundle. When our son, Nathan, died of SIDS at 6 1/2 months our hearts broke and life has never been the same. Our great God of comfort and healing is nearly incomprehensible though and through the years He’s worked in our lives in ways we can’t begin to understand. We were blessed with our 2nd son Joshua 9 1/2 months after Nathan’s passing and carrying him was both joyful and bittersweet as I grieved my sweet Nathan. We have since had several children and are now due with our last (we think :-0 ). What makes this baby so signifcant is the due date is Nathan’s eternal birthday, March 16th. So, as I pray for our little bundle of joy and pregnancy, I will remember you and Abigail and her new little brother or sister. The Lord does heal, even though our lives are forever changed. May He surround you with the peace only He can give! Special prayers coming your way!

  7. Ali

    Marla. Marla.

    What a beautiful post. How tender and dear.

    You put into words the sentiments that many of us have for Amy, Billy, Abigail, and Baby Martin.

    We absolutely love you, Martin Family.

    Sending an infinite number of hugs and prayers your way.

  8. Kaye

    Oh Marla, thanks for sharing and please know I will be praying for their entire family. I’ll continue to ask God for healing and peace of mind.
    Love to all,
    Matthew 21:22

  9. Kelli

    Amy and Billy – I am so excited for the sweet little blessing who is developing as we “type”! 🙂 I hope this little one brings you peace, joy, and a constant reminder of how GREAT God is. Praying that you continue to feel peace throughout this pregnancy and throughout that sweet babies very long life!

  10. Melissa Multitasking Mama

    I will certainly pray for them!! My best friend lost a baby to Trisomy 18 (her story is at http://www.paigespage.org) and then got pregnant with sweet little Jillian (now 15 months old) not too long after). Her pregnancy was difficult because it was hard for her to trust that Jilly was going to be okay. Even though the doctor’s assured her, it doesn’t change the fact that you have lost one and the fear lives on in your heart.

    I will be praying that God provides your friends with the peace that only He can. Babies are always a blessing! Thanks for sharing their story!

  11. Rachel Lipsey

    Amy and Billy – Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! What a blessing to hear that your baby is doing so well. Abigail will love her birthday present from you guys.

    Marla, thank you for sharing your friends story with us.

  12. Crissy

    Wonderful Post Marla!! I am so excited for the blessing God is giving Amy and Billy. (I am sure little Abigail let God know how sad they were when she went to heaven, and asked him to send them her brother or sister to love!)

    I agree with Kim that this is a couple who show complete ongoing faith and love for God! When this little blessing arrives I am sure Amy and Billy will experience how God grows our hearts as parents to have enough love for each of our children. I think my heart has gotten bigger each time I had one of my boys.

    Amy and Billy, I am so excited for you and will be praying with you as your prepare to grow your hearts for this little blessing! I am sure that little Abigail is excited for you too!

  13. Kim Webb

    Great post Marla. Loved that we shared that special moment with Abigail and her mommy and daddy.

    So happy for Billy and Amy and continue to pray for the space they are in. Abigail will not be forgotten and she continues to show people how God is good all the time. This new little gift is another reminder that He has the best plan for all of us, if we only have the faith. Billy and Amy are proof of that ongoing faith. Love you guys a bunch!!!!

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