Wednesday, September 21, 2011


It is with absolute joy that we welcomed the newest addition to our family, Lucia's little sister, Alexa Lucia Baba, on Monday, September 19th at 8:55 AM, weighing 9 lbs, 7 oz and 22.5 inches tall!

Thank you for the outpouring of love and prayers - we are so grateful, even though we have not been able to personally respond to each of you.  Below are some pictures of our sweet little girl.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christ is Risen!

As we celebrate Pascha this year, I realize what greater meaning the words "Christ is Risen!" have on my life....thanks to Lucia.  I have been shouting them out in church since I was a kid...well, maybe not shouting...but recently, I have started to shout, and it's fun  :) ....and powerful.

This past season of Lent brought many joys, and naturally sorrows too.  We celebrated many firsts...especially because we just moved into our new (and honestly, magnificent) church building...thanks be to God.  Palm Sunday was our first Sunday in the church, and while the parish bustled in a spirit of celebration, and the very cute children paraded in their best outfits with their beautifully decorated candles, part of me lamented that I could only light a candle for my children.  Please let me clarify that I don't envy anyone that has their children with them, I'm just sad that I didn't have my baby to hold.

Sorrow and joy seem to co-exist always in the Christian life, a very kind friend recently reminded me.  You almost can't have one unless you experience the other...or as the ancient adage goes, there is no Resurrection (Joy) without the Crucifixion (Sorrow), so allow me to share something joyful with you.....

In spite of the sadness, there was and is a still small sweet voice that speaks to me in the quietest and most special of moments, reassuring me, "But I'm alive mama."   Call it insanity, my imagination, or perhaps the work of the Holy Spirit (obviously, I will take option #3... but I don't want to be presumptuous) but to me, that is Lucia's voice, and hearing it is one of the things that gives me the most peace and joy.

I know she is alive, and when we sing "Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs, bestowing LIFE,"  the Lord offers me a joyous song.  It's a song of total victory..the Lord is saying, "I have conquered death....I AM RISEN, I AM ALIVE!  AND SO IS LUCIA!"  These words have power to me, like they never have before.  They mean something concrete that I previously could never truly grasp. 

In other news, I think my babies try to communicate with me through their fingers.  In our ultrasounds with Lucia, she frequently had her index finger pointing upwards.  Somehow, I think that foreshadowed her life...that she pointed upwards to the glory of God.  She was even born with her index finger pointing up!  Lucia's little brother or sister (still not sure), gave us a thumbs up throughout our entire last ultrasound a few weeks ago!  I took this very sweet gesture to mean, "It's gonna be OK mom and dad." :)

Christ is Risen!!!  Indeed He is Risen!!!

See that cutie little finger. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Gift...

Many times I've gone back and forth in my mind about whether to continue writing this blog, and after deciding a few months ago that in fact I would, it would just be a matter of time before I did.  They say that time heals all wounds, but I very much doubt that to be true.  In fact, if a wound is as deep as losing your child, I don't know that it will ever really heal...except maybe through Christ, somehow, someday...and maybe not even here on earth.

Lucia's story doesn't just end with a shattered heart, as the title of my very last blog put it.  For anyone that has lost a precious person in their lives, you can empathize very well however that our hearts do continue to ache for our sweet Lulu.  There is not a single day that goes by that we don't sing the praises of her name, kiss her pictures and painfully long for her presence.  Part of us feels that our family will always be missing a very special member...and we will be (and are) reminded of this through family pictures, Christmas cards, big family gatherings, children born in the same year as Lucia....and much more. 

There are some things, though, that will never ever change.  She will always be our daughter, she will always be our first-born, always the older sister to her future siblings (God willing) and she will ALWAYS be spoken of and spoken to.  It has been SO important to us that Lucia is never ever forgotten by anyone who knew her.  Some people, again in their sensitivity and kindness, are afraid to utter her name for fear that I may have some sort of emotional breakdown.  While that may be possible (unfortunately I cannot guarantee that I can control my emotions), I would rather that people take that risk.  I want to hear her name, I want to hear about how she may have affected someone's life, I want to hear all of the good things a mother loves to hear about her child.  It still makes me SO proud.   

Many times in the Orthodox Christian Church, things are done that we don't fully understand.  One thing I finally do get (or at least I think I do) is why we chant "May Their Memory Be Eternal" at funeral and memorial services.  It is for US who have lost our loved ones.  We want the whole world to know how important they are and how IMMENSELY they have left their mark on our lives, and we hope, on as many people's lives as possible.  If I could shout it, I would.  "May her sweet memory be eternal.  May Lucia never be forgotten for the rest of eternity!!"  In some strange way, that is so incredibly comforting, and that is what the Church tries to give to us, I think - comfort.

I have always spoken and written of how sweet Lucia is (and by the way, I feel that I can speak about her in the present tense because she is alive, with Christ and in Christ).  Before she left for her Heavenly Home, she left us with a parting gift...that of a little baby brother or sister.  Of course it is all too familiar that "every good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father," but Lucia had so much to do with this particular gift.  I believe that she was so close to God (and is now even more perhaps) and that before she left, she wanted to make sure that we could have joy in our house again, so she asked God to give us a gift from her and Him.  When I think about the sacrifice involved in that prayer that I am convicted she did in fact pray, my heart is torn to pieces.  Maybe I should explain that one a bit further.  From a mother's eyes, or actually, just my eyes as Lucia's mom: she came, she suffered and when it was all said and done, she was still thinking about us and praying for our family to grow.

Sometimes, it is hard to accept the gift of this new child that has been given to us.  It is as if accepting this new baby is somehow a betrayal of Lucia.  But we all know that that is not how gift-giving etiquette works - I don't betray her by accepting the gift that she gave to me.  In fact, I believe that Lucia and her baby brother or sister are somehow connected in a very deep way that I cannot even begin to explain or understand.  I am just now, at 4 months of pregnancy, beginning to feel thankfulness to God, knowing that He, in His divine love is taking care of us and providing for our every need -- including the "need" to cradle a baby once again.  And so, we find ourselves with feelings of two different extremes - joy and excitement for a new baby, but still also sadness and grief that Lucia is not with us here on earth. 

We humbly ask, as we have done many times in the past, for your prayers.  Thank you for reading and for allowing me to continue to share Lucia's life with you.

A beautiful picture for old times sake...



Thursday, December 23, 2010

With a shattered heart...

I write to inform you all that Lucia peacefully went to be with her Heavenly Father last night.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I have been very reluctant to post any blogs - well first off, not much has changed in Lucia's condition.  Actually, let me take that back.  Lucia's condition changes so much within a day that it is so hard to write and tell you all she is doing well, because sometimes, the next minute she could be doing horribly.  But that has been the case for a while -- our "new normal" has become fluctuations from one extreme to the other, and it can take just seconds for the switch to happen.  Her resilience is amazing - she has become my hero (or my "heroine" in proper English).  She has hit rock bottom so often, and then just gracefully recuperates like nothing happened....truly an unbelievable wonder, which could only point to God.    

I have to say that we were blessed to happily celebrate her 5 month birthday, and Lucia did great all day long!  She was alert, wide-eyed and looking around, although she was kinda drowsy when we sang happy birthday to her (maybe she was trying to tell us something about our "great" voices :) ).   She has broken her fever finally, and we figured it was likely because the poor thing was dehydrated - also why she was losing all that weight.  We are trying to find the delicate balance of keeping her hydrated enough and yet, preventing the fluid from building up significantly in her lungs.

I wish I could tell you that today was a good day -- obviously when I set up a sentence like that, you know that it wasn't.  Lucia got very hysterical this morning and could not be comforted.  When the nurse came this afternoon, she determined that Lucia was under respiratory distress and said that Lulu was using everything that she had just to breathe.  Breaks my heart.  It is the worst thing in the world to watch your child suffer - and I think that the Lord would would His Mother.  The medication we gave to ease her distress seemed to have little effect, but now, many hours later, Lucia is peacefully sleeping right by her daddy...and still trying to swipe at her cannula and feeding tube...yep, that's right....IN HER SLEEP!  :)  Her eyes are totally closed and her heart rate has slowed down (so I *think* she's sleeping, unless this little girl is playing me for a fool!) and yet, her hands are busy waving at her face to reach her desired goal - which is to rip all that stuff off her face.  She is so determined and strong-willed.

Please continue to pray that the Lord have mercy on her.

Some pics from her 5 month birthday...
After bath time.

In her birthday outfit - SO glad I was able to capture that BEAUTIFUL smile.
The grub.  :)

  Family pic.

Monday, December 13, 2010

St. Lucia

As many of you already know, today the Church commemorates the young virgin martyr, St. Lucia of Syracuse (the patron saint of our little Lucia) who gave her life for Christ at the mere age of 20.  What is beautiful is that the whole Christian world (and I mean Orthodox, Catholic and some Protestants) reveres her, and many have beautiful traditions and festivities that go along with this feast day. 

I will be was hard to find it within us to celebrate, but we did.  It was hard and it is hard because the distress of Lucia's sickness has been overwhelming, and the wondering from one moment to the next of whether she will still be here causes so much anxiety and sadness.  Nevertheless, God's grace is abundant (as a dear friend reminded me yesterday in a phone message) and allowed us to pull ourselves together, put our "game faces" on, and celebrate a beautiful morning Liturgy in honour of St. Lucia, and our little saint Lucia.  (Forgive me, but as uncanonical and as unorthodox as this may be, I do think my daughter is a little saint).  Her dear teta (grandmother in Arabic) made St. Lucia buns and we munched on them after liturgy - a great way to celebrate the day (thank you Tante Sha-nay-nay!  ;)  ).  Though Lucia had a pretty high fever this morning and is dependent upon oxygen, we were able to get her to church comfortably (which thankfully is only 3 minutes away!) to receive the best medicine in the whole world.

Another little out-pouring of God's grace -- Lucia has been napping for over 3 hours as I write this.  It hurts me to tell you that this is the most sleep she has had in days, poor thing (you know, the saints didn't sleep much ;) ).  She continues to spike high fevers and lose weight and has also lost her cry again, but as the nurse put it today, she is neither getting any better nor any worse - she is stable in her sickness....for now.  Tomorrow, if God wills, we will celebrate her 5 month birthday.  Please keep the prayers up.  Our love and gratitude to you all.

A few pictures for you all to enjoy...

This might be a crazy mom thing, but she has the most beautiful hands (and truly, I'm not even the artsy type that has an appreciation for stuff like this)...but I LOVE her hands.  They do the funniest things sometimes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How it is...

Lucia's health within any given day has been so variable from one moment to the next.  In a single day, she can go from being her perfectly calm, sweet self with great colour, excellent heart rate, a beautiful cry to a completely hysterical little baby with an unusual cry, very pale/bluish even, with a heart rate that goes through the roof, and a breathing rate that way exceeds normal.  It's the kind of roller coaster ride I don't wish upon anyone.  These past few days -- and really as I look back -- I would even go as far to say these past few months, have been like this.  Needless to say, we are exhausted and much more importantly, so is poor little Lulu.  In fact, she doesn't really sleep (this is a horrible thing considering that this is what babies are supposed to do for a good part of their day).  The most she will get is 2 hours at a time, and this is a blessing when it happens.  Also, she has lost so much weight because of all the work she is doing just to breathe.  Her lungs continue to fill up with fluid, and the nurse says she hears alot of wheezing.  The weight thing especially (among many other things) really breaks my heart because she was doing so well before this all happened.  Anybody that saw her that truly knew what T18 "looks like" woud tell me that Lucia looked GREAT...and I would beam with absolute pride (the good kind).

It is heart wrenching to watch her suffer and so we beg for Christ's mercy to take her suffering away.  Please continue to beg Him with us.

On a  final note, I know many of you have only seen pictures of Lucia, so I took a video of her yesterday morning when she was being her delightful self so that you, too, can experience the joy of our little sunshine.  (p.s. please don't mind my high-pitched, whiny baby may be annoying, but Lulu likes it  ;)  )