{Forever Imprinted}- the full meaning behind my tattoo

While on bed rest I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo representing Eisley’s life and this season in our lives. I truly thought I would be getting a tattoo that meant or represented healing, because I truly believed our little girl would survive.

One week after we said our goodbye to her, I knew without a doubt, I wanted her footprints on me forevermore. I originally planned that I would wait until what would have been her first birthday to get this tattoo as well as one under my collar bone, above my heart (not literally) that represented her life and our time with her. It’s hard to tell you the reason behind why I did her footprints sooner that I had thought, but I will just say, I needed the daily reminder to be inspired by her life and the reminder to not let what we’ve walked through to ruin me.

I was afraid to share that I was getting this tattoo and even after I got it, I had to be encouraged by Ted to share it. I guess I was afraid that some people might call this an emotional whim tattoo. It truly isn’t there is so much meaning behind this tattoo. Here is the full meaning in the best way I can explain.

Her footprints:

The words to describe how healing it is for me to have her footprints on me are so hard to find.

Her tiny little footprint mold.

I got her footprints in the exact size, shape and imprint at are in the mold they created for us the day she was born. I saw my (amazing) tattoo artist 4 times beforehand to get it perfected. When she tattooed the footprints on me, she had the mold next to her to make it as similar as possible. {I love that she did that}

I got it on my right foot which was actually is important to me. I lead with my right foot. I hope to let her life inspire me and to be a piece of what helps me keep going. To keep moving forward and to live life fully.

The words;

“You are my sunshine” … I sung the words to this song over and over to her during my time with her. I could cry even now as I think about my time in the hospital with her and how, in those moments when all seemed hopeless, I’d lay with my hand on my belly singing her this song and also the simple song I wrote her, “Grow Eisley Grow”. 

I combined the two meanings into one for the tattoo. I used the words “you are my sunshine” and wrote them in the exact, broken handwriting I used to write her the “grow Eisley grow” song.

The handwriting is broken and isn’t perfect and that is what I {love} about it. It represents that time when I wrote to her, broken and afraid, yet believeing and holding onto hope. It represents where I was and am at now. Broken, yet moving forward holding onto hope and truth.

It also represents inspiration. The way I was inspired with her inside of my womb, I want to continue to be inspired, in an even greater way, by her life and the imact she had/has on me.

It represents my children. Eisley and Chase, they are my sunshines. That might sound dramatic or even cheesy, but Chase in his enthusiasm and joy, encourages me so very much on a daily basis. Eisley and Chase are my little sunshines. I’ve never yet called them my prince or my princess and maybe someday I will think of them like that but I’ve {always} thought of them as my sunshines from day one in the womb. I sung this same song to both of my children every night they were in my womb. I now still sing it to Chase but usually find myself in tears before the end of it. He still finds it comforting and I do too.

My tattoo as a whole:

I wrote before about her impact on my heart and my life, and now it’s even a physical reminder of the impact she had on me.

It’s a reminder; It’s a reminder to be inspired by her life and how deeply she touched and changed mine. It’s a reminder to keep pushing forward in that inspiration instead of letting this overcome me.

I want to look back years from now knowing that we grieved and mourned the loss of our daughter yet that we didn’t let it overcome us. I want to look back and see that we we were inspired by her little life and her impact on us. I want to look back and know we became better people because of her. I long to be her voice, and to be inspired and find pieces of her in how I create and look at life.

I want, in a very good way, to be changed and to never ever be the same again.

The date:

December 17th- the date I got the tattoo also has significance. I felt it would be healing to get it on the day she was supposed to be due. The pain of getting the tattoo was both healing and significant. There were moments it hurt terribly, but more than anything it was emotionally painful and healing all at once. There was a part of me that kept thinking that I should be feeling the pain of labor instead and then there was that part of me that sat in awe of Eisley’s little footprints on my foot. The size of her tiny little feet on mine… I am crying even now. It’s hard to put into words the moment when she first placed the outline of my little girl’s footprints on me. 

My tattoo artist told me that the tattoos she had that were linked emotionally were actually some of the more painful tattoos. She was right. It was a lot more than the physical pain that caused the tears streaming down my face. I also shared Eisley’s story, I spoke it aloud, which was hard and healing simultaneously. Two times Ryan, the tattoo artist, had to stop and put her face in her arm to cry and even that was healing. Eisley’s life and story and legacy was touching another person. …I can’t find the words to tell you how much that means to me…

One thing I didn’t think about when I got this tattoo was of how it could impact the life of another. Ryan was the first and already, less than a week of having this tattoo, I have shared her story with a bank teller (seriously) and Eisley’s life touched her as well… the first of many, many more times to come I have a feeling. I will always share her story and it will probably always be painful yet healing.

I keep looking down and seeing her little imprints on me forevermore. It blesses and heals my heart more than I can find words to share. The physical reminder that she is with me is very healing. I had a  hard time finding the words to express fully what this tattoo means to me and I hope I was able to clearly portray the meaning. Thanks for “listening” and caring and loving us like you do.

Baby girl, do you see? I’ve got you now physically on me forevermore. You’ve impacted and inspired my life so deeply. …………..

Tiny imprints, {huge} impact.

One of the most precious things I have of my Eisley-girl…

Her perfect little footprints.

Ready to have your breath taken away?

Her tiny little imprints have made such a {huge} impact on my heart forevermore.

(I am doing something really beautiful with her little footprints for this very reason. More coming oh so soon.)

30 days of {truth} (2)

Day 5: Something you hope to do in your life.

There are many things, so I will just go with the first that popped in my mind when I read this question. You might be tired of hearing me talk about Eisley, but right now she’s always on my mind/heart and this is my reality… I just hope you understand and bear with me.

I hope to be a “voice for my daughter and to use what I have walked through to bring others to Him” (‘I Will Carry You’ by Angie Smith). Honestly, I’ve been really down and out lately. I know that I can still be her voice, even in this state that I’m in, but what I desire is to carry on her voice and her legacy and to be inspired to live life to the fullest. I hope to be inspired every day by how much she touched my life.

When I found out I was pregnant with Eisley, I was so inspired to do all of these things I had been hoping to learn. Her little life inspired me from early on. I signed up for an online sewing class, I began a new art journal, I made a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish by the time I am 25 (25 by 25 list), I had begun learning to cook healthy meals, etc.( When I was pregnant with Chase there were specific things that inspired me as well, but they were a different set of inspirations then that with Eisley.)

Carrying a life inside  inspired me to really live to the fullest and I guess what I am trying to say is that how Eisley inspired me, even before I felt her within me, when I was pregnant with her… I want to continue in that. I want to be inspired by her life even though she isn’t in my arms. She has changed my life forever and I hope to carry on her legacy, to be her voice and to be inspired every day by how much she touched my life.

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Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.

Lose another precious child.

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Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living for.

From the beginning, my mom has truly taught me so much about life and how to keep pressing on “despite”. My mom was 6 months pregnant with me when she lost my dad. She’s walked through SO much in her life and she has taught me so much in my 23 years. Where so many people would have given up, she pressed on. Now as I’ve walked through losing my daughter, she has been beside me throughout everything, encouraging me and helping me rememeber that life is still worth living for.  My mom has “made my life worth living for” by teaching and showing me that no matter what might happen, life IS still worth living and pressing into.

There are manypeople that God keeps placing people in my life and each of them inspire me in different ways. So many loved ones… and I know the list will grow as I grow older. :)

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You can read more about this 30 days of truth challenge and what it’s all about here. I actually won’t be doing days 8-10 for personal reasons but I will be posting days 11+ sometime later this week :)

Often & In Everything.

I talk about Eisley often.

If you were to come to the house, you’d see, I want to talk about her. I would bring her up randomly in our conversation and throughout your stay (or at least, I would want to.) I’d want to show you the her little foot imprints so you can actually get an idea of her size.

I would talk about her often, becasue I think about her so much.

Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me for wanting to talk about her as often as I do so I usually try and stifle the desire to talk about her with everyone. I wonder if something is wrong with me because a lot of what we’ve gone through with her was so shocking and traumatic and yet I want to talk about everything still. I want to talk about my time in the hospital, about when I found out I lost her, about the three days of labor and what I felt, about her birth, about coming home and what that felt like, etc.

As you’ve seen on here, I want to talk. I realized recently why that is.

For one, I am processing through everything and sometimes, I think I am trying so hard to make sense of something that never will. So I talk and write and talk and write.

But I feel like the main reason for wanting to talk about her so often is because I am afraid of losing the memouries of the time I had with her. I am afraid I will forget something. It’s already been one month since her birth and I am afraid of how fast time is flying past. I’m clinging tightly to the time I did have with her.

Even more than I talk about Eisley, I think about her. I think about what life would have been like with her here with us. And a lot of things make me think of her too.

Just in the past few days;

I thought about her when I was in Once Upon a Child and they had an entire section of cute little girly hair barretts and headbands. I thought about her when I was painting my nails timbleberry pink for a wedding and pictured myself painting her little nails too. I thought about her when I took Chase to the pumpkin patch where we took him last year and I thought “Eisley should here with us.” I thought about her when I saw my girlfriend’s 5-month-old daughter, Adylan and remembered how we had talked about Eisley and Adylan being friends. I think about her when I see my belly and sometimes I still catch my hand on my belly as if she were still there, which might sound weird, but when you are pregnant, I don’t think you realize how often you do that.  As we drove to our friend’s mountain wedding yesterday, Ted said “There should be two carseats in the back. There should be four of us going to the wedding.” …my heart broke. He thinks about her all of the time too.

Today, I thought about her when I saw this in the newspaper today so I put it in my journal;

I talk about and think of her often and I guess that is what I need right now. It’s hard to live life without her but I will always cherish the time I had with her and I hope to carry on her legacy and be inspired daily by her little life that touched mine so.

To my dear sweet Eisley.

 (the letter I read to aloud at Eisley’s memorial)
 
Dear Eisley,
My heart aches as I write you this letter because the fact that am writing this means you aren’t here with us. I can’t see your little face anymore yet it’s still so hard to imagine our life without you.

Right now we are broken because we hoped you would be in our arms. We hoped your first party would be one where you were passed from person to person as they admired your beauty and life. But even though we don‘t have you (physically) here with us, we are celebrating you today. Our friends and family are standing with us to admire and honour your beauty, your life and the legacy you’ve left behind. You are so loved!

We all prayed for your healing. We prayed for life to your bones and for nourishment …and He did what we’ve asked of Him. You are whole and perfect. You are healed and have more life in you than we could imagine here on earth. You are being nourished by His presence.

It may not be the way we thought or what we had hoped for and it is hard to understand why you couldn’t stay with us, but I know someday we will see you again.

Until then, I will remember the time I had with you and hold it very dear to my heart.

I will remember with joy, the day that I found out we were pregnant with you, our little surprise baby. I will always remember rejoicing on August 8th at our ‘Pink or Blue party’ where we found out you we were our little girl and we began calling you by name, our little Eisley Antalya.

I will remember feeling your little kicks and the rhythmic thump, thump, thump of your hiccups deep inside.

I will remember the very first time I felt you kick from the outside, at the very same time your daddy felt too. I will remember the ultrasounds where we watched you suck her thumb and stick your tongue out. I will remember the daily heart monitoring and hearing your swift heart beat, beat, beat to let me know you were okay.

I will remember the night before you went to be with Jesus, when you reacted to her daddy’s voice as he talked to you. I will remember your final kicks to me the morning you passed away, as if you were telling me goodbye.

I will remember the day we finally gave birth to you, September 17th- the first time we held you in our arms and the peace that washed over us we held you. I will remember how in awe we were of your perfect little Chase-like nose, your beautifully shaped lips and your tiny little hands and feet.…I will remember just how perfectly and wonderfully you were made.

We love you, our Eisley-girl and you will forever be apart of our lives and in our hearts. You will be apart of the steps we take as we walk throughout life. I know my life and the lives of many others will always be inspired by the legacy you’ve left behind.

I wrote you many letters when you were in my womb and this letter was by far the hardest because I feel like it’s another step to letting you go, but when I remember where you are and Who you are with it helps my heart ache a little less. I remember you are healed and that you aren’t suffering and that is what I want for you above all else.

I know you’re loving being with Jesus, as He’s showing you the universe.

Rest peacefully between His shoulders, my sweet Eisley-girl.

Let Me Tell You About Eisley.

(We asked our friend Nathan to write a short story about our Eisley-girl that could be read at her memorial. He wrote this beautiful piece.)

Let me tell you about Eisley . 

            We all waited for her with baited breaths, waiting for the day when we heard the news that all was well, waiting for the day when we could see Jami’s beauty and Ted’s passion in her eyes.  To have her little finger wrap around ours, to hear her laugh at the stupid faces we all make at babies…

Let me tell you about Eisley.

Everyone has a story, no matter how short or long their life, there is always a story, We know from Jeremiah that God knew her before she was formed he knew her story. . In every story there is beauty and every story is a part of an even greater tale. Often stories are filled with questions, some times the questions seem too great and distract us from the story, but we must remember the story, we must find the beauty in it.  Eisley has a story.

There is so much that we do not know about who she is, what she would have been as she grew, who she would have become, but there are things we do know, we know she was a fighter and she was stubborn we know that she was strong, we know the dreams her parents had for her, dreams that she would filled with life, to face the world head on vivaciously, we know the love that was and is had for her from a vast community.

 We mourn the loss of her life, here in our story, but envy the world of perfect, brilliant, beauty that she is now absorbed in.  We miss her dearly, the expectation of seeing her learn to laugh and dance, sing and run, to manipulate her daddy, like we all know she would have, we miss seeing the adoration that would have been in her eyes for her big brother, and in a few years the contempt of his playful picking. We miss the art that would have been created with Jami as they grew as mother and daughter.  We miss that deep-seated hope that everything will be ok. But friends, let me tell you… God is no less holding Eisley and us in his arms now, weeping with us as we mourn and celebrate, as he was every moment for these past months as we worried for her and Jami. I am filled with joy and longing as I picture Eisley walking side by side with our creator, her tiny hand cradled in his, the hand that formed her and all the universe, telling her stories of those who love her,  how proud he is of her parents, and brother, telling her the stories of those one day coming to join her. Telling her how much we and he love her.

Let Me Tell You About Eisley written by Nathan Rowlan

The Beautiful Party for Eisley.

On Saturday we celebrated Eisley’s life with dear friends and family.

We were so touched by how many people came and recognized our daughter’s life and felt the loss of her , even though they had never personally met her.

We had our friend Darren do a medley of  ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and a piece of a song by Manchester Orchestra. I will post the lyrics, the meaning to us and the song itself soon. (They actually recorded it for us so we can have it forever)

(We had this photo stretched onto canvas and will put it up in whatever place we call home)

Ted shared the meaning of the songs in the medley. I read a letter I wrote to Eisley. Our friend Katherine read a short story we asked our friend Nate to write, about the life and storyof Eisley. And then we ended with ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘How Great is Our God’ as we released pink balloons her honour. Everything combined was as we hoped it would be. It was difficult and tearful and painful, but beautiful.

 One of the most memorable, beautiful things was the balloon release.

  Eisley, you are so loved.

  I can’t explain with words just how much it meant to us to have everyone celebrating her life with us and those of you who celebrated her life from around the world (pictures of balloons release from around the world soon.)

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

It was an especially emotional day. We felt everything from grieving the loss of dreams we had for her as we watched the balloons float high above us to the next second feeling inexplicable peace and joy when we remembered Who she was with. We celebrated her life and mourned her loss at all once. It was beautiful and painful. I can’t even find the words to express exactly how is was for us, but it was everything we hoped.

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(I almost didn’t add this, but to be honest, I really feel I should be raw. We need prayer. When everyone left the party for Eisley and we went home, the weight of everything began to hit us again. I told a friend that I didn’t want the memorial service to end because I was afraid people would forget her life and legacy. We’re also afraid to feel alone in this. We have no idea “how to handle” loss other than feeling what we need to feel, but even then?…I think I will write a bit more about this later, but please pray for Ted and I.)

I will remember, I will grieve.

The very moment they put Eisley in my arms, after they cleaned and dressed her, I felt a peace wash over me. For the first time in my life I felt the “peace that passes understanding”. I looked at my beautiful baby girl and just knew… it was right that she was with Him. It wasn’t because she looked ill or sick… she didn’t, in fact, to the naked human eye, she was perfect. Her hands, her fingers, her tiny finger nails, her feet, her toes, her little nose that looked like Chase’s and her lips that were shaped like mine but big like her daddy’s.

She was perfect. But I knew, she was meant to be with Him.

I can’t really explain it, but yesterday from the moment that I first held her to our final earthly goodbyes, I felt peace. She is whole and healthy with Him. She rests between His shoulders. She isn’t suffering, she isn’t fighting. It is what is best for her.

I thought her being here with us would be best for her and now I know it wasn’t.

Like so many people, I felt like Eisley was going to make it. I truly felt, deep inside, she was going to win this battle for her life. I did. I don’t have answers, and right now, I don’t feel like I need an answer. Right now, I just know, it is right that she is with Him but we are grieving that she isn’t with us.

Someday, maybe soon, I may question this. Right now, I feel the utmost peace, the kind which passes my understanding. The kind that says, this is truly difficult and I am filled with sorrow, but God I trust You and will rest in that.

The day I found out Eisley’s heart stopped beating, that her fight was done… I didn’t feel peace. I can’t really say what exactly I felt.

Today,I ache. I ache deep inside. When I cry, I keep literally reaching for my heart just wanting the pain that’s deep inside to just calm. The ache that feels almost physical, to stop.

I grieve as I sit here with this stillness in my womb. Silence. My body no longer holds my precious Eisley. She is no longer here with me on earth.

We are filled with grief and stricken with sorrow, we will be for months and years to come. I will always ache when September 14th rolls around each year, the day her little heart stopped fighting. I will still remember September 17th, the day of her birth, as bittersweet. I will still cry and wonder what life would be like with her when her due date, December 17th comes each year.

But even more than just those 3 dates, I will mourn and grieve maybe every day from here on out for a while. That’s okay and I know that. 

But I will also remember.

On April 26 I will remember with joy, the day that I found out we were pregnant with our little surprise baby. I will still remember rejoicing on August 8th at our ‘Pink or Blue party’ where we found our we were having a girl, our precious Eisley. I will remember feeling her little kicks and hiccups deep inside.I will remember the very first time I felt her kick from the outside, at the very same time her daddy felt too.  I will remember the ultrasounds where we watched her suck her thumb and stick her tongue out. I will remember the heart monitoring and hearing her swift heart beat, beat, beat to let me know she was okay.  I will remember the night before she passed, when she reacted to her daddy’s voice as he talked to my belly. I will remember her final kicks to me the morning she passed away, like she was saying goodbye to me. I will remember the day we finally gave birth to her, September 17th-  the perfect delivery of our beautiful baby girl and the peace that washed over Ted and I when we held her. I will remember how perfect her little nose, mouth, ears, toes, feet, fingers… how perfect and beautiful she was.

Our Eisley is with Him, which is really comforting, but we still ache and we will. We feel the loss of our daughter so strong right now.

And we will never, ever forget Eisley and her journey, her strength and the the legacy she left behind before even entering the world. We will never forget what we have learned as we were allowed to be her parents. She was a miracle baby is now safely in the arms of her Heavenly Daddy.

We will remember and we will grieve, but we will someday she her again.

Arrival.

Eisley Antalya Davis

Born September 17, 2010

2:10 pm

12.5 ounces & 10.5 inches long

She was so strong in her battle to survive. She was stunning, beautiful and perfect. And now she is whole and healthy in His arms.

We love you Eisley. You are our sunshine. Our little joy. Your little legacy and journey has changed how we view life now and has inspired us to live better lives and to be better people.

You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace, my sweet Eisley.