Hannah Rose
Mom to Lily Katherine
Stillborn at 40 weeks, 2 days on March 16th, 2010
Raleigh, North Carolina

In that bathroom, I sat all alone, waiting for that little stick to show the two blue lines, indicating that I was pregnant. Even though I knew in my heart I was, the confirmation that those positive blue lines brought made my heart sink. Could this be real? What was I going to do? I couldn’t possibly keep this baby. There was no way. What turned my stomach the most, besides the nausea I was experiencing night and day, was wondering how everyone would react. After all, how careless must someone be to get pregnant out of wedlock? In a family of pro-lifers, it was always easy to agree with these beliefs, never thinking I would be tested by them.
It was much less complicated to think of this as a pregnancy, rather than as a baby. I knew what I had to do – abort the very life growing inside me. Face the consequences of my actions, tell my family what I had done, carry and deliver a baby, have shattered plans for my future, or possibly go through the pain that is sure to come with adoption? No, I simply couldn’t. I was weak and vulnerable. I had no other choice, or so I thought. If I had known the inevitable pain and guilt that would follow, perhaps I would have chosen a different path. Perhaps I would have given my child a chance, extending to him his first inalienable right, his right to life. But, in the midst of my heartache and despair, I regret having to say that’s not the choice I made.

I can’t recall when I set up the appointment with Planned Parenthood. Was it the day I found out I was pregnant? Was it that week? So many of the details of those dark days I have blocked out of my mind. At some point, after my whole world came crashing down on me, from such a tiny blue positive sign, I called Planned Parenthood and it was set. That Friday, February 6, at 8:30 a.m., I was going to have an abortion.

I dreaded that Friday morning, but at the same time, I was ready for it to come. I was ready for my life to get back to normal and ready to feel normal again, whatever normal is. Much of those days are a blur of heartbreak and tears. Sleepless nights were spent, with agony at the depths of my heart and soul, rattling me to the core. It was the first thing I thought of when I awoke, and the tears would freely fall, against my will. I never thought I would have to deal with this. I never knew such pain was imaginable. I had never felt farther away from my Lord than I felt that week. But, all the while, He was holding onto me, even when I was as far from Him as I have ever been.

I drove to Planned Parenthood that morning, trying to diminish the gravity of what I was about to do. Trying to escape reality, I was living in my own world. I didn’t want to admit the severity of my decisions and choices that had so quickly swallowed me up. I somehow convinced myself that because I was “taking care of things” so early, it would be easier. Because it was a pill I would be taking and not a procedure, it wasn’t really an abortion. I walked into the Planned Parenthood alone, signed in and gave my identification to prove I was of age. Of age for what – to decide if killing my baby was a good idea? After forcing myself to fill out the required paperwork, I sat and waited.

By four that afternoon, the pill that would cut off all life supply to my thriving baby was placed in my hand. Three people stood there coolly, watching me put the tiny pill on my tongue and the cool water to my lips. I swallowed. Once I took this first pill, I was required to take the next set between 24-72 hours later. I left that afternoon in tears. No words were spoken. What was there to say?

A day later, I took the next set of pills and after a night of darkness, it was over. The following morning, I felt weak, but relieved. I wanted to move on as if the nightmare had never happened and forget the immense pain. I wanted my heart healed. And there He was, waiting to heal me, waiting for me to realize just how desperately I needed Him.

In my search to find peace for my aching heart, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. The next several months were filled with sin and darkness. Seeking comfort through many outlets, the one place I didn’t go was to the accepting arms of Jesus, the only place I would ever truly find it. I felt beyond repair. Drinking and dating guys were ways I tried to fill that void in my heart. The point came where I didn’t care what people thought about me or what I did.

Too weak and isolated to make changes, I had become desensitized and was ruining my life. I had so desperately wanted independence and freedom, yet ironically, here I was, in bondage. It was July and the nausea had creeped up on me once again. I tried to hide from this present reality, from this truth I knew I had to face. I was pregnant…again.

I was certain that yet again I had the same choice to make. After putting off the inevitable for as long as possible, I took that little test out of the box from Kroger and within minutes, a positive sign was once again staring back at me. I wasn’t shocked, but numb.

Over the next few weeks, I thought I knew what must be done. I kept my mind constantly busy and occupied, never leaving enough time to feel the things I was trying so desperately to escape. It was in the times that all the hustle and bustle around me slowed down, in the middle of the long, lonely nights, that I would hear Him. When the whole world was still, and I alone was awake, I would hear the gentle whisper of my sweet Jesus, beckoning me back to His love, His peace, His joy, His tender arms I had run so far from. After all of my disobedience and running from Him, He still wanted to heal and restore me.

I have never heard the voice of my Lord as clearly as I did during those quiet nights, when every other voice was drowned out. How could I have ever gotten here, so far from the arms of God? In the midst of all the confusion and constant noise in my heart and mind, there was still hope. Hope that everything would be restored and that I could be forgiven.

I needed to commit this one last sin, then I would return to Jesus and my life could move on. Commit this one last sin in order to stop sinning? The appointment was set at Planned Parenthood for three days after my twentieth birthday, August 15, 2009.

I felt assured it was what I had to do. After August 15, I would once again start living for Jesus, instead of for myself. After August 15, I would finally find forgiveness and healing. But, God had other plans. August 15 came and went and my baby was still growing inside me. God was doing something in my heart and life, something beautiful, something radical. He was transforming me, making me new.

How strange it was that nobody else was aware of the intense battle between life and death, light and darkness raging within me. I was afraid of what people would say and think, afraid of the pain that would come from choosing life. Slowly though, God was working. Why had I been more concerned over what others thought of me rather than what God thought? Slowly, my heart was opening up to Him.

On a lovely August evening around dusk, the sky was clear and blue, and the sunset was simply breathtaking. Although I was alone, the Lord couldn’t have felt closer. While gazing at the pink clouds dancing across the sky, the decision suddenly became clear to me. I knew what I had to do. I had to obey Him, to choose life. Although I didn’t know what would happen next or where He would lead me, having answers to my questions no longer mattered because He was with me. Feeling alive again in the warm summer sun, I felt sure. Hope had stirred within me once again.

He was with me then and He was with me still eight months later in the quiet stillness, as I waited to deliver the body of my daughter who was already waiting for me in heaven. He was with me on that dark, stormy day, March 16, 2010, when that little monitor was put up to my swollen belly and those dreadful words filled my ears: “I’m so sorry. Her heart is no longer beating.” He was with me when I held the body of my precious flower, Lily Katherine, who whispered goodbye before I had the chance to say hello. He was with me when the silence threatened to suffocate me.

He was with me through the loneliest night of my life as I cried from the very depths of my soul, laying in my hospital bed with the body of my lifeless daughter beside me. He was with me the next afternoon as a blanket was placed over her tiny body and she was pushed down the hallway away from me, never to be held by her mommy again. He was with me when leaving the hospital with empty arms, a broken heart, and shattered dreams. Left with many questions, He was with me when no answers could explain why she was taken so soon. He was with me as I watched her tiny casket, placed inside her cozy Moses basket, be lowered into the opened earth and become showered with tears, rose petals, and dirt.

My heart was changed forever as my love for this child, previously viewed as a burden, grew along with my belly. As the entire world keeps turning, I am forever changed by a sweet little March flower who taught me what life is truly all about, without ever speaking a single word.

Lily saved my life. God saved her from death and used her tiny life to bring me back to Him. He used Lily’s life to bring healing from my abortion, as well as from the pain that was caused due to running from Him. He has been faithful to carry me through the lowest times in my life. Never before was I so fully aware of His deep healing or of how He could restore my soul so completely. Already, He has used Lily to touch so many lives, to change so many hearts. Due to her brief life, a family has been healed and friendships have been restored. Many flowers have blossomed because of the rain that fell in my life.

Out of the midst of my darkness, Jesus took away my deepest sorrow and sin, radically healed and transformed my heart and brought glory to Himself. Lily’s life, that was conceived in my sin, has reminded us all of the value and dignity God places on every life. Rising from the ashes of sin and unimaginable loss, I have been made pure in Him. I am alive in Christ, with a measure of His strength and peace I never knew He intended me to have. This is only the beginning of my new life in Him, and the beginning of the promise of Lily’s legacy. This is only the beginning.

Hannah blogs at Rose and Her Lily
You can contact her at roseandherlily@gmail.com
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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amazing – every second of your story – just amazing. Thank you for sharing this and for bringing healing through Jesus to your readers.

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