little miracles, and the kindness of strangers…

Last weekend I took Oscar up to Northern NSW to visit my parents for my 40th birthday. It was gorgeous and a whole other blog post in itself :) My sister collected me on her way down the coast and my brother and his gorgeous girls met us at the farm.

I took some photos of them on Sunday and it made me catch my breath. This beautiful little family that not so long ago seemed like an impossible dream. I am awe of them. 9 years of struggling to become parents, 25 rounds of IVF and too many heart-wrenching miscarriages, and then this. Six years later. This miracle. These giggles on a Sunday morning.

When my brother called me to tell me they were expecting their first gorgeous daughter (who was then just a tiny little hope-filled dot on a scan photo), I was active on a UK based forum, it helped me feel connected to my beloved London. I sent out a post asking for prayers, positive thoughts, anything, everything, for them, for this tiny baby, for hope that this time, there would be a miracle. What happened next was the most extraordinary example of human kindness, generosity of spirit and love that I have ever encountered. A constant stream, from all corners of the globe, for 8 months, of messages, poems, daily prayers and positive thoughts for two complete strangers and their unborn child. Every single day, willing her safely into the world, into their empty aching arms, into our family.

I wanted to share their story now for two reasons, because it is a story of everything that is good and beautiful, of dreams coming true, of overcoming impossible odds, of persistence and love and hope. But I also wanted to share it because I am constantly saddened by how much unkindness there is on the internet today, and yet what we experienced, five short years ago, was just the most beautiful outpouring of love and kindness. It still inspires me today.

When Neve was born, I posted this, for the hundreds of strangers who were waiting and hoping for this moment, just like we were:

In a quiet room in a Sydney hospital, nestled safely in her loving mummy and daddy’s arms is a beautiful little girl. She was born just before 1am this morning (on her due date!) and weighed 7lbs 1oz.

I can’t begin to explain the emotion of that long awaited phone call at 2am, when the same voice that told me he was looking at a scan photo of their 7 week old little heartbeat 8 months ago, said with the same awe and wonder and joy, that they had a daughter.

They are a precious family of three and our family finally feels complete too. She is utterly beautiful with masses of long black hair. She is perfect and the reason why all the years of heartache, hopes and tears were worth it. This moment and this miracle baby girl is the reason why they never ever gave up on their dream. We can’t explain how proud we feel of them and how humbled by their courage and love. They are already the most amazing parents.

And to all of you, I quite can’t type without tears spilling over when I think of all the love you’ve sent, the thoughts, the posts, the prayers, the poems, the committment to this tiny little being on the other side of the world. Its just overwhelming. There is a part of each and every one of you in this miracle and she will carry that love with her all through her life. What an amazing start. She will have your words forever and for those of you who sent love but didn’t post, we’ll know your messages are woven in there too. We will never ever forget this journey we’ve all shared together and the perfect end to this part of it. Thank you doesn’t even begin to express our gratitude.  

We saw her today for the first time, and I don’t think as many happy tears have ever been cried. I put all your messages in a special book for them and we all read bits and pieces throughout the day. I can’t begin to tell you how much they loved every post, every message, every prayer you all sent.

Clemsterdarcy/DonnyLass, your poem about the ‘Before Beans’ made our dad cry, and he’s a salt-of-the-earth Aussie farmer so that’s saying something. It has made everyone who has read it cry with the beauty of the sentiment to the babies they lost, guiding their tiny sister safely into the world.
LittleMissSensible, your line about the global joy being experienced around the world at Neve’s birth made us all just marvel at the love and generosity of you amazing mothers everywhere.
Kimi, your post about giving a prayer of thanks for a baby to people you don’t know on the other side of the world just summed this whole thread up. Words fail me.
AuntyStrawbery, as I said to you, the family has made a unanimous decision to adopt you so if you could just get yourself organised to come over that would be great. you wrote to this baby, and now she’s here.,…… you may now exhale!

It was, as I said to my darling brother, one of the most beautiful days of my life and I want you all to know that you were truly there, so much a part of it. Such a lot of the day was spent reading your messages to them, laughing out loud together over them, crying over them and just being enveloped by all of the love around us and this tiny precious baby. There were too many posts laughed and cried over to mention but just know that every single one of them was read and appreciated so much.

Our family has not all been together since before I left for England, 7 years ago, so for all of us, it was incredibly special to spend a day together in a hospital room, sharing in a miracle. I will be forever grateful to my sister who said ‘just come’. As we went to leave, the tears started flowing just as they had the moment we walked in, we just didn’t want to go. My father hugged us all and said ‘if you can wake up in forty years time and be as proud of your children as I am of all of you, then your lives will have been good ones’. It was an amazing day for him and our mum too. To have all their children together, meeting this, their tenth, desperately wanted grandchild.

I kissed my precious new niece and hugged her beautiful mummy goodbye and turned to see my brother sitting on the bed, suddenly overwhelmed. All of the emotion of the last two days, the complete joy, the overwhelming love, the sleepless nights, the sheer relief, the anxiety of the past 8 months, the grief of the last ten years, culminated in this moment he had dreamed of for longer than any of us can comprehend, to be sitting beside his wife and child, with his family around him to celebrate her birth. My eldest sister softly said ‘she’s here now, she’s here’. And she is, and all is as it should be.

And so it is. And with their second heavenly girl born just 16 months later, the happiest of happy endings.

This precious little family. This miracle. This proof of the goodness of humanity on so many levels.

This is their story and I feel so blessed to be able to tell it. In words and pictures.