Orange flowers; reflections on losing a child

Remembering Baby Maddie

This week’s blog post is written by Andrew Yates, in remembrance of his daughter, Maddie.  


We got pregnant with our daughter, Madeline (Maddie) after a previous pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. We were really stressed about miscarrying again and were ecstatic when we made it past the 12-week mark, when the chances of miscarriage drop. 


While Whitney was pregnant with Maddie, we found a lot of joy in preparing her nursery. Whitney spent hours researching and picking out all the baby gear, we restored Whitney’s childhood dresser to be Maddie’s, and we painted a really cool mountain mural on her wall. We were so excited that we had already finished the nursery at the start of the third trimester. 


People used to tell us that they had never known anyone more excited about having a baby than us. We were both so overjoyed at the idea of having our daughter. We were thrilled to be her mom and dad. 


Maddie lived in Whitney’s womb for 40 weeks and one day. We learned when we went in the day after Whitney’s due date that Maddie’s heart had stopped beating and she was gone. She never lived outside the womb, but after Whitney gave birth, we got to hold her and be with her body for a couple of days in the hospital. A volunteer photographer came and took really sweet pictures of her with us.  


Honestly, it’s really hard to say who she was for me because I feel like I hardly got to know her. But I know that we both loved her so so much. 


One thing that can be hard to grasp when losing a baby is that we will never get that child back. Since our daughter died before we got to know her, it is tempting to think that if we had another little girl, she would be our Maddie. I’ve come to realize that a future baby wouldn’t be Maddie, though. 


We never knew what Maddie’s personality would have been like, but we know that she was unique and she is irreplaceable. We can have four more kids, but we will always be short one. There will always be a hole in our family where our sweet Maddie would have been. 


Despite the hole in our family and our hearts, we found that life keeps going and joy can continue. After we lost our daughter, we went on a really big vacation because I had some time off work. We were still deep in sorrow, but we had fun with each other and connected with one another. 


We have so much fun with our little foster loves* and the snuggles with them are so so so so sweet. I can’t have my Maddie, but I do get to hold my foster daughter tightly and tell her how much I love her. 


I don’t have Maddie, but I still have my wife. God is still good, and life is still sweet. 


*The next post shares more about how Andrew and Whitney honor Maddie’s life by caring for other children through foster parenting. Read blog post here

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1 comment

Thank you so much for sharing your story and memories of Maddie. This was sad yet encouraging to read.


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