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my little angel


by Dawn R. Osley

"Mommy, Mommy, Can I feel?" inquired my three year old daughter as she placed her tiny hand on my protruding abdomen. Lori was anxiously awaiting the birth of her baby sister. She would poke her tummy out in front of her squealing, "Mommy, come quick, my baby is kicking too," as she made her belly rise and fall as if she too were pregnant. There was so much excitement in the air over the anticipated birth of my second child.

Old man winter was teasing us with the first fluttering of snow as November approached. The summer rush was slowing and I welcomed the pleasant evenings at home nestled in front of a roaring fire. I could envision holding my new baby lovingly in my arms as I nursed her. It was the perfect time to have a child, a time to sit back over the holidays and enjoy precious moments together.

As the time of birth quickly approached, my doctor ordered an ultrasound to verify my due date. As I lay in the x-ray room I could feel the cold steel of the examining table against my body. I quickly forgot about my discomfort as I watched my little angel's heart beating so strong and steady on the monitor. Additional x-rays were ordered and extra personnel entered the room to assist with the tests. As technicians moved the heavy machines into position, they made small talk by asking how many other children I had and what kind of pregnancy this had been. Finally, with the exam completed, I welcomed the opportunity to leave that cold, hard table. It seemed like hours before I was informed that I was to meet my doctor in his office to discuss the test results.

My husband waited for me in the car while I spoke with the doctor, expecting to be told that everything was fine and I could check into the hospital for delivery. I became unexpectedly numb as the doctor began to explain the results to me. He was saying that my baby could not survive.

She was afflicted with a rare and extremely serious abnormality, a birth defect known as anencephaly. Anencephaly meant that she would be born without the main part of her brain. Her head ended where her eyebrows were since the bones of her skull had collapsed. She was unable to see, hear or even nurse. The doctor went on to explain that she would be a "monster" or a "freak", with no chance for survival.

I was totally devastated. What had I done to deserve this? Was I responsible for her condition? I had taken such care to refrain from anything during my pregnancy that could harm my baby. Maybe I hadn't been careful enough. How was I going to explain to Lori that her baby sister was going to be an angel? Could she understand that she would never get to play games or cuddle with the sister she longed for? There were so many questions without answers.

Amy Lynn entered this world five hours later. The doctor who delivered her placed her with her tummy down on a cold metal table. As the nurses rushed to cover her, the doctor firmly stated, "No! Leave "IT" alone, I said, LEAVE IT ALONE!" How could he be so cruel? The harshness of his words reminded me of that cold steel table I had laid upon earlier that day.

I could see her from the delivery table. Despite the visible deformities, in my eyes she was perfect. She was beautiful and so strong, as she used her little arms to push her chest up off that dreadful table. Coal black hair brushed the nape of her neck. She was my precious little angel and I loved her so much.

Immediately after the doctor left the nurses scooped her up in their arms and gently placed a little knit cap on her head to cover the imperfections. When they brought her to my room, I could hear her whimper, much as a small puppy will do. When I held her close, she became quiet and calm as she nestled close to my heart. She helped me accept her death by showing me the peace within her. There are no words that can accurately describe that feeling. It was as if I were holding heaven in my arms. Perhaps that was her way of letting me know that she would be all right and I needn't worry about her.

Amy died only nineteen short hours after birth on Veterans Day, l982. She still lives on in my heart and memory. Many are the times I have felt her presence with me. Two years later, my empty arms were filled with the birth of my third child, my son, David. He can't replace Amy, but he has helped to fill that emptiness she left within me.

Amy taught me to be strong. Through her peace I have learned not to fear death. Throughout the years my children and I are frequently reminded of her absence. On one beautiful summer day, as I listened, Lori brought tears to my eyes as she spoke to her little brother. She said, "David, look up there in the sky, can you see that great big puffy white cloud? That's our sister, Amy's pillow, she's lying there in heaven with all the other little angels, watching over us."

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Hope you enjoyed the writing. It comes from the heart and still brings tears to my eyes. These little ones are such precious gifts and the pain goes ever so deep when we must return one to the maker. Even after all of these years, I think of her often. Each time the kids do something new I wonder how different things would have been if I still had her with us. Then I remind myself that her death was all part of God's plan and I could never find another better to care for her. In her few short hours on earth she was able to touch, and change the lives of many. That of course is another story.

New friends and support were made available to me just prior to her birth. These people were in a prayer meeting, praying for me and my child as I was giving birth. None of them knew the events unfolding at that time. One of those new friends was on duty in delivery when Amy was born and baptized her at birth. This young woman had lost her own child a couple years prior and never had the chance to hold him before he died. Another nurse in delivery was dealing with the pain of still another miscarriage and another had just lost her last opportunity to have children due to a second tubal pregnancy.

These were some of the people there to support me at that time and these were also the people who loved my daughter so much during her stay with us. She actually received more attention then all the other babies in the nursery.

All things do happen for a reason and Amy did indeed fulfill a purpose in her short life.

In Loving Memory of Amy Lynn Wildenberg
November 11, 1982 - November 12, 1982
Daughter of Dawn Osley

Sister of Lori Wildenberg, David Wildenberg, & Katlynn Osley


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