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  • Writer's pictureJodi Laughlin

Dear Child- Happy 5th Birthday, Noelle

Dear Noelle,

Happy 5th Birthday.

So much has happened in the last 5 years… it feels like forever since I have held you. I often wish I could go back to that moment in time and kiss your face again.

I want you to know today that you are loved. Even though I haven’t had the honor to watch you grow here physically, I have had the honor to watch your spirit soar. Your spirit is what keeps me going on hard days, what reminds me of my blessings and what guides me as a mother.

Today, I sit here, 33 weeks pregnant, and reflect on my pregnancy with you. Despite the surgeries and fear, I loved our time together. I cherished every kick and recall staying up in the middle of the night just to feel you move. I felt so connected to you and I hope you felt my love for you. Knowing this is likely my last pregnancy is hard. Being pregnant will forever remind me of you since that was the bulk of our time together.

I am taken back by the fact that today on your 5th birthday I find myself nearly as pregnant as I was with you when you were born. I am wearing all the same clothes I wore with you (and I feel just as swollen!) As I prepare for the next sibling to come, it helps me to remember how real you were. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you were a figment of my imagination. But your kicks were just as strong as the baby I will soon meet, your journey just as meaningful. You are my first baby who made me a mother… you will never be discounted, and your journey has continued in incredible ways. I know your work on earth is far from complete.

We are going to see a light show tonight- the same light show I took you to on a Monday night 5 years and 1 day ago... The last fun thing we did together.

There are so many reasons to feel connected to you today on your 5th birthday. And I know I will see your smile in the eyes of your siblings.

Your sister Lily is almost 4. She is asking more questions about you…

“Whose hands are those holding Noelle in the picture?”

“Where is Noelle?”

“Was she here?”

“Is she coming over?”

Questions that are difficult to answer…. Even for myself. But I am glad that you are in my life as a living example of beauty from ashes. You will help us teach your siblings that love lives on forever and can continue to grow and flourish even though your physical form isn’t with us. Your spirit shines in my life and in the life of others every day.

5 years without you here have equaled 5 years spent trying to make you proud. I’ll never stop.

I love you and I carry your heart forever.


When I look back to this poem that I wrote in the hospital the same night that you died, it gives me chills. You have answered my prayers.

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