A Birthday Letter To My Daughter



11.7.2011
Dear Scarlette,
For a girl who’s life is spent using her words, I’m left unable to find any that could truly describe the emotions I feel about your first birthday. Remembering this day one year ago I am overcome, so overwhelmed am I with gratitude at the difference between then and now.

When I came to after surgery, tears escaped my eyes and the first words that left my lips were “Is my baby still alive?”

I would ask it again as I called the NICU at 2am and 4 am and 6am and anytime we had to be parted in those early weeks.

I would scream it as I stood at the glass doors with strangers holding me back, watching them frantically work on you after you coded. You were nearly three months old and we thought the danger of losing you had passed until you suddenly missed one heart beat and then the next.

Look at you now. Look at you, so full of life.

As I peek in on your sleeping form for reassurance it does not escape me that the question lingering  in the corners of my mind is borne out of those memories. And as I watch your chest rise and fall, my hands tremble at the miracle of life I am witness to every single day.

I have both raged at God and fallen before Him in thanksgiving in the midst of this journey and my love for you has taught me that faith is undefinable, that love is the cornerstone in all the great mysteries of this life. I do not have any more answers than when we began, I do not know why other parents must walk in the sorrow that we escaped but I am humbled and grateful that I get to continue being your mother here on this earth. That today I am handing you a balloon in celebration rather than releasing one in remembrance. I am ever changed by this, by you.

You, my Scarlette, have made me pause, have made countless people pause, and whisper words of hope that strung together created a banner of believing that today is raised high in joyous celebration.

Memories of fear and the depth of my desperation tint the recollection of your birth but my introduction to you remains the most vibrant portrait of that day, vivid against the bleak odds we were facing. Your fingers met mine and you fulfilled my hearts desire to be your mother. It is that which will be with me always, the memory of looking at you and finding no words but oh my love.

Today is the most beautiful day. This has been the most beautiful year. You are the most beautiful part of my story.

Above all else, Scarlette, know that I love you unending,
Mommy

To our family and friends, those of you who read these words that I write and have held my daughter in your hearts and prayers: thank you. If ever I have known the love of my fellow man, it has been through this past year. My greatest hope is that in our lifetime we are able to bless others the way you have blessed us. Truly “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” – Philippians 1:3

Comments

  1. Janet in North Van says

    Beautifully said. Especially the part about still not knowing the whys and unknowns, but trusting God is good nonetheless.

    Scarlette is beautiful and so full of life and personality. Happy Birthday, sweet little one! I can’t believe a whole year has passed already.

    Thanks for sharing your joy with us all!

  2. says

    Ka,
    There are no words that can be spoken on the joy that is felt reading this letter. Happy 1st Birthday, sweet Scarlette. It is so hard to believe that one whole year has passed and even harder to believe the distance she has come over this time. She amazes me every single day and is proof that no matter the size, there is an amazing amount of strength. Scarlette’s smile brings so much inspiration to others and has opened the hearts of more people than could be imagined.

    I am so happy that you have been able to celebrate Scarlette’s first birthday with her bright blue eyes and smile looking upon you with a heart full of love!

    Thank you Kayla for allowing each and every one of us to be a part of your journey this past year.

    Xoxoxo

  3. KimS says

    Dammit. You just made me cry at my desk. Happy tears, though.

    I stumbled across your blog maybe six months before you became pregnant with Scarlette and followed along through the whole process. Even though I don’t know you, or Scarlette, my heart would be in my mouth every day when I checked your blog with hope that Scarlette would be OK, and getting stronger!

    I share, in small part, your happiness in how amazingly Scarlette has triumphed. Just look at her! She is so strong, and so happy and I have very high hopes for this child’s future. I think her tenacity will take her far.

    Love to you all xx

  4. says

    very beautifully said! You have been though an amazing journey, and You have a beautiful little girl!
    Happy Birthday to you! For giving birth to a little miracle!
    your post has made me shed tears of love for all the love that there is on this planet from mother to their baby’s!

  5. says

    (Wiping eyes and blowing nose). What a moving letter to your sweet baby girl. Love knows no bounds when it comes to a mother’s love. What a journey you have been on in the last year. Happy Birthday Sweet Scarlette!!! You may be a tiny little girl, but you have been such an inspiration to us all!

  6. Trisha says

    Happy Birthday Scarlette!
    I’ve followed your blog for quite awhile and have been amazed at the leaps and bounds that Scarlette has made. It doesn’t seem like a year already.
    Thanks so much for allowing us all to watch Scarlette grow and join in your celebration.
    Trish

  7. Jan C. says

    Dang it, you’ve gone all “Maya Angelou” on us this morning and made me cry into my orange-spice tea! But seriously, I hope you know that it’s really true that all of us were full of joyous celebration on Scarlette’s birthday. Last year this time, my prayer was simply that she would live. Now I have the leisure to pray that she will grow up to have as big a heart as her mommy [and as much common sense as her daddy ;-) ].

    Question: Have you considered writing up a little collection of inspirational readings that you could donate to the NICU at the hospital? Maybe even just get your Scarlette blog printed out and leave a couple of copies in the waiting room there. I think it could really help other parents who are sitting and fretting, filled with that same mixture of love and hope and fear that you were filled with just a year ago!

  8. says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I, too, stumbled across your blog shortly before Scarlette was born. Her story touched me deeply. I prayed for her and your family…hoping for a miracle. Your faith is amazing and powerful…thank you for letting us watch your little miracle grow. She truly is a blessing and has touched so many hearts. Happy birthday, Scarlette! May God bless all of you!

  9. Kabrina says

    Happy Birthday Scarlette!!!! Beautiful letter to your daughter and thank you for letting us follow in your journey! She makes me smile when I see her pictures and can’t wait to see what she does each time you write!

  10. Nicole says

    I have to say that was so touching. I have followed your story through 2 peas. You have amazing strength and your words are written so beautifully. Enjoy the day and cherish it. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

  11. Jackie says

    You made me cry at my desk too… I too have been following this journey for a long time, but I think this is the first time I’ve commented. Happiest of happy birthdays to Scarlette and to you.

  12. says

    Happy birthday you sweet, amazing girl, you. My family and I have prayed for you and have watched you grow – we love you as though we know you. May God continue to bless you in your life – I can’t wait to watch you grow!
    xo

  13. says

    You designed my blog page long before you were pregnant with Scarlette and as you were still longing to be a mother. I’ve followed your story daily, and I. Am. So. Grateful. for where your family is at today. Scarlette’s a beautiful little girl (with lots of spunk, too, clearly, to judge from your stories and pix), and she’s got an amazing set of parents. xoxo.

  14. says

    daaaaaaaaaayum, KA. way to make me cry into my coffee. I am so happy that yesterday you handed Scarlette a balloon. I am so happy she made it though those very tough months. (I am happy you and Jeff made it as well.) So much love and thanksgiving, elise

  15. kristin says

    Such beautiful words for a beautiful blessing! Happy Birthday, Scarlette! And way to go momma… you’ve done amazing things.

  16. says

    I am so incredibly humbled and moved by your beautiful letter to your daughter. I love reading your blog and watching your precious girl’s journey. She is so loved, and you are amazing and an inspiration as a mom.

    Last night was an exceptionally bad night with baby J, he’s still congested and having trouble sleeping. I’m sick as well and so exhausted. I was upset and then I remembered your story, and the story of so many other mommas and babies who are really truly ill and I felt guilty and instantly regretted how I felt. I looked back at my poor sick little guy with eyes of wonderment rather than sadness, and thanked God for a healthy {in general healthy} happy baby boy. So thank you for posting your life, because it makes me a better mom and reminds me to not take anything for granted.

  17. Shawna V. says

    Beautiful Kayla. I have followed your blog since shortly after Scarlette was born and my now-five year old son and I have prayed aloud for her and you. I was happy to share with him that she was turning one yesterday and he said “is she still okay?” with such sincere concern it brought tears to my eyes. He was excited when told she was and thanked God for the beautiful miracle. Thank you for your beautiful words and for sharing your story — inspiring others and showing them God’s hope and love in this often chaotic and downtrodden world.

  18. Angela says

    Happy Birthday, Scarlette! Such touching words from an amazing mother. I, too, am wiping away tears. How you aren’t a published writer is beyond me, because you manage to evoke every emotion known to man with every single letter you’ve written to Scarlette, especially this one. Prayers and well wishes on this very special day!

  19. Mandy says

    Happy Birthday sweet Scarlette! Thank you for letting me be a part of her life through this blog. I remember countless times checking for updates in the middle of the night while getting up to nurse my own baby! I look forward to “watching” her grow! God bless!

  20. Corrine says

    KA,

    There are no words really to say how touched I am reading your words to Scarlette today. I am weeping with joy at the love that you have conveyed to your beautiful daughter. You are so blessed and I am so happy for you and your family that Scarlette is here to celebrate her most special of birthdays!

  21. says

    Kayla, I have just loved watching your sweet baby girl grow and thrive. The Lord is so good and I have been humbled by your journey this past year. Happy Birthday, Sweet Scarlette and Praise be to the Lord for his overflowing mercy!

  22. says

    Kayla, you write this letter to Scarlette so poignantly . It was about this time last year when I started reading your painful story. I prayed for your family, not entirely knowing how to do that. I hoped that the outcome would be beautiful, but couldn’t even imagine just how beautiful it would work out. Happy birthday Scarlette, and congratulations for enduring the year you’ve all had.

  23. Brooke Hepler says

    Crying…can’t see the keyboard…

    Dear Kayla,

    I am so honored to know your story and for having had the opportunity to pray for this dear baby girl. God has given you such a precious miracle…and has continued piling on the miracles each and every day of her life. Thank you for the glimpses into your heart as we see the real you…both when you struggled in fear and rejoiced in Scarlette’s many milestones. God has big plans for this little girl. I, for one, can’t wait to see what that is! Happy Birthday sweet Scarlette! God bless you and your mommy & daddy. Know that you are loved by many!

  24. says

    most definitely a post that brought tears to my eyes…especially this:

    “You, my Scarlette, have made me pause, have made countless people pause, and whisper words of hope that strung together created a banner of believing that today is raised high in joyous celebration.”

    what a beautiful picture of corporate prayer and praise. because indeed, we celebrate this birthday with you three…my kiddos were so excited to hear that it was scarlette’s birthday…they remember praying for her…and quickly started discussing what birthday presents scarlette needed :)

    may this year continue to bring sweet blessings and grateful hearts for your family.

  25. says

    This was so incredibly beautiful :) It brought tears to me. I have prayed for you over this journey! As a NICU mommy myself, it’s always good to pause, remember, and rejoice!

  26. Katie G. says

    Happy Birthday to baby Scarlette! I have been a reader for a few years and have read and prayed about her when you were still trying to conceive. I’m so happy for all of you!

  27. says

    Happy birthday, Scarlette! I stumbled across your Mommy’s blog not so long ago while my own daughter was struggling in the NICU after arriving too early. May your heart never skip a beat again!!!!

  28. says

    Happy Birthday to Scarlette! My 30 wk preemie turned one last April and I remember so vividly rocking her before bed with tears uncontrollably falling. So much joy and gratitude after a rough start and roller coaster year. God is good. So much to be thankful for.

  29. says

    Happy birthday sweet girl!!!
    My daughter and I (she’s 8) have been following Scarlette’s first year every day. I’m so very happy for you guys. I wish you all the best.

  30. says

    Thank you!!!! I have followed Scarlette’s story for so long. I have cried and prayed profusely. Your story has strengthened my faith. I was so teary eyed when I read this. I made my husband read it and he got teary eyed too. This letter was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.I just wish you all the best.

  31. says

    Beautiful words. In some measure I can relate with your sorrow and your joy. As you are, I am eternally grateful for my miracle.

    I wish you many years of happiness and laughter with your beautiful daughter

    xx

  32. Holly says

    I just learned that it is a really really bad idea to read something this beautifully written while in Finance class. Mostly because there is never a reason to cry in finance class, and when you do, people stare.

    I am incapable of understanding the intensity of the emotions you and your family endured this past year. I thought that once I had my LO, I would understand, and maybe to a degree I understand more, but I truly cannot fathom your experience.

    Scarlette is so beautifully and wonderfully made. God has given her so many abilities and strengths. I expect great things from her! And you and your husband are inspirations in faith. God knew that Scarlette would need someone strong to be her mommy and daddy, and he chose you. Never forget that he chose you. You and your husband alone have all that will ever be needed to give to Scarlette. What extraordinary confidence that must give you to know that God himself knows that you two are the only ones that could ever be enough for little Miss Firecracker!

  33. aranka says

    This is such a beautiful letter to your dear Scarlette. It brought tears to my eyes.
    You are a wonderful and strong mother, I admire you for being able to write it all down on this blog and sharing it with us in the last year. This will keep us humble and greatful for the things we have in life!
    Thank you Kayla, for inspiring us!!

    Happy 1st birthday for Scarlette (too bad I won’t be having any more kids, this would definitely been my number one name for a girl…)

    xx Aranka

  34. Mandi says

    *tear*

    That letter is so beatifully written. I can only imagine the heartwrenching moments that you’ve been through in your journey.
    I came across your blog and the Scarlette updates after the fact but had to follow them through to see the progess of how she did.
    I’m so glad you are now celebrating her 1st birthday.
    What an amazing journey!
    xo

  35. Mia says

    I am very much choking back tears after reading this. I didn’t know about the code. I didn’t start reading until long after that happened. That story gave me a very raw mental image. I can’t imagine how much your faith has been shaken, only to come back stronger. You have an amazing girl. She’s come such a long way.

  36. says

    I’ve been MIA the last week but I had to wish Scarlette a belated happy birthday!

    You are such a strong little girl who has touched so many people, just like your mommy and daddy have. People all over the world stopped and prayed for you to be ok this time last year. Now to see you at a year old it makes us all so happy. Happy Birthday sweetheart!

  37. says

    Visiting from the link provided through In Other Words. I am so glad to read about your daughter and the care she received through the NICU. God works in our lives in many different ways– and it is a mystery.

    Blessings!

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