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One Year with Azelie

Lifestyle

One year ago, Dave and I left our house before dawn to drive to the hospital, within an hour of when we had left when I was in labor with Charlie. Most of the similarities ended there. The first had been a 35-minute drive from our first house; this was a 10-minute drive from our second house. During the first, I sat in the backseat, praying through tears and contractions. This time, I sat in the front, holding hands with Dave as we chatted and laughed.

Maybe it was doing this for the second time, without the intense fear of giving birth that had overwhelmed me the first time. Maybe it was the fact that the very un-dramatic nature of an induction was an excellent fit for my personality. Whatever it was, the day Azelie Catherine was born was a joy from start to finish, the perfect sneak peek into what she would bring to our family.

I was excited–over the moon excited–for a leisurely, ten-week maternity leave. Dave and I pared down our expectations. We had a game plan we were happy with. I had been seeking help preemptively for postpartum anxiety. Most of all, I wanted to soak up every bit of her, knowing how very quickly the newborn season goes by, and how devastatingly hard (I don’t use that phrase lightly) I had been on myself during this season three-and-a-half years before. This was my chance to redeem that. For two weeks, we did our very best, and it was hard and tiring, as having a newborn always is, but those days were so deeply special.

And then Charlie woke up with a fever and a terrible cough. I cried for an hour that morning, torn between caring for him the way I always had when he got sick and keeping my tiny newborn away from germs. We kept him home from school.

He didn’t go back for six months.

Azelie’s first year of life looked so little like I had imagined it would, but at the same time, many, many of the best parts remained. The painfully sweet smallness of a newborn. Her skinny little legs stretched out, barely taking up half the changing table. Letting her fall asleep in my arms again and again, soaking in her littleness and her honey-sweet baby smell. Her little body cozily bundled up against me in the Solly wrap. Pairing girly little outfits and bows, each one more darling than the last. Marveling at her growth and changes by the day. Being brought to tears by the first inklings of the big brother-little sister dynamic, peppered by Charlie’s refrain of “It’s okay, baby Azelie! I got this!” Slow stroller walks while her big blue eyes took in little slivers of the world, a world that became increasingly small in her first few weeks of life. Those months spent within these four walls has made bringing her to new places, introducing her to new people, and showing her new things all the more thrilling, each and every time it happens. I wonder how long it will feel like that. A long time, I hope.

There is something so raw, so precious, about a rainbow baby. A baby I wouldn’t have without the loss of another one. It’s hard to explain missing the baby we lost while simultaneously adoring the one in our arms, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God always intended for Azelie to be part of our family. She has been our light throughout this dark year. When it all became too much to bear, I looked at her and thanked God because He is good, He is faithful, and when I couldn’t face the world, I could hold in my arms and care for her, and that was enough.

Before each of my children’s births, I prayed for God to give me a song–the exact song that would bring me comfort and peace when I felt afraid during labor. Azelie’s song has echoed in my heart time and time again, growing true in all new ways at every hardship and trial of the year. She is the sweetest gift, given to us exactly when we needed it. From her cheesy grin, to her determined little heart, to her sass and charm, to her affinity for snuggles, sneaky bites of sweets, and whatever Charlie is playing with, she delights us again and again each day. We are so grateful.

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear that music ringing
It finds an echo in my soul,
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes, the cloud grows thin,
I see the blue above it
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it,

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing,
For all things are mine since I am his.
How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

Happy birthday, our darling Azelie! We love you, we love you, we love you.

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  1. Emma says:

    What a beautiful story! Congratulations and Happy Birthday! You are an amazing woman and mom! <3

  2. Mary says:

    What a sweet tribute of Azelie’a first year! Happy birthday to Azelie, and congratulations to you & Dave on one year as parents to two! So fun to see your family grow!

  3. Happy, happy first birthday to Azelie – and congrats to y’all on this milestone, too! This was such a beautiful and moving reflection.

  4. Liz L. says:

    Loved reading this 🥰 We love you sweet Azelie! Happy first birthday!! 💕

  5. Em says:

    Happiest birthday, sweet girl! So glad you’re in the world! These pictures and words are so precious and lovely… but that Christmas photo towards the end about does me in. Thank you for sharing, friend!

  6. Emily says:

    I could listen to Audrey Assad singing that song all day. About to have my 2nd this summer, and am grateful for your sharing all this.

    • Lisa says:

      That’s the exact version I listened to in the hospital! Now, when I hear it, it makes me bawl ;)

  7. Sara says:

    Happy birthday Azelie! This is such a beautiful post, and the song at the end gave me chills. What a sweet reminder during this season.

  8. Mary says:

    Happy birthday to sweet Azelie!! Can’t believe she is one already. I hope we can meet you sweet girl soon!!

  9. So, so sweet! I’m pregnant with my first and this made me so excited to meet my tiny guy in July!!

  10. Dana says:

    Precious angel!!! Happy birthday, Azelie!

  11. Bethany Donnell says:

    This was so precious! I’m having our first in June, and reading this made me so excited (and a bit tearful) to meet our baby girl.

    Happy birthday to Azelie and well done to you and Dave for making it through a year of parenting two little ones, all during a pandemic.

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