It is official: Little Miss Melody is two years old and counting! As we reflect back on Melody’s life, we can see that there are many providential aspects to her story.
One of which is her name. As soon as we found out our little one in the womb was a girl we named her Melody. We named her after our family friend Melody H., who was at that time our babysitter and our girls’ violin teacher.
Shortly after we named our baby we had an incident that confirmed that “Melody” was indeed quite fitting. Melody was surprisingly active in the womb. Yet, as it usually goes, as soon as one of the children tried to feel her move she would stop. One day one of our daughters was playing her violin and Melody started to dance around. One by one, each child felt Melody move for the first time. Melody’s oldest sister set down her violin so she could participate in the joy of feeling life in the womb. As soon as the violin stopped so did Melody. One of Melody’s other sisters picked up the violin and once again little bitty Melody danced around. All four children were able to feel Melody’s movement that day for the first time.
Although Melody moved about quite a bit in the womb she only responded to two other things consistently. One of which was her brother’s voice. He loved to talk to her, attempt to teach her how to count, and ask her questions like, “Do you want to come out and play with me?” His other question was, “Could you turn into a brother?” 😀
The third thing that elicited movement from Melody consistently was listening to the Eden String Quartet. This quartet consists of sisters who play stringed instruments and produce incredibly beautiful music.
The evening after Melody was born we sat in Melody’s hospital room feeling a bit despondent. We did not know at that time that Melody had Trisomy 18, but we knew that some things were not going well. We looked at our sweet, tiny, helpless baby who did not open her eyes, did not cry, and did not move. We did not know if she could hear or see, if she would ever walk or talk, or sadly, if she would even live. That evening my husband decided to play music from the Eden String Quartet on his phone. All of a sudden we saw movement in Melody’s little isolette. Little toes wiggled, hands moved, and then eyes popped open! The nurse came rushing in exclaiming, “What is going on in here?” Melody’s heart rate had soared. Apparently her hearing wasn’t a problem! This incident was a significant gift from the Lord that gave us a glimmer of hope. It further confirmed that her name fit her perfectly.
Melody H. was traveling when little Melody was born. She felt connected to Melody from the time Melody was born in a way she could not explain, even before she knew her name. Melody H. returned from her trip shortly after Melody’s birth and immediately she was available to help us with our other children. Melody also offered to watch Melody at night for us on occasion. We were desperate for sleep, as back then Melody would sleep for about two hours and then eat for 2-3 hours. We needed a break. Yet we didn’t know when Melody would slip into eternity, and of course we wanted to be there with her at that moment. The Lord gave us peace, and we trusted Melody H. to watch our little girl so we could have a few nights of sleep. Melody H. did not just endure her time with Baby Melody. She cared for little Melody with such genuine tenderness and love. She even sang to Baby Melody on her month birthdays if they were up together at midnight.
We had no idea when we named Melody the extent to which Melody H. would be involved in her life. When Melody was born, Melody H. was in-between jobs and in God’s mercy she was in a season of life in which she had the availability to help us. We certainly needed the assistance. There was no way we could do everything we needed to do for Melody (like spending 9-10 hours a day feeding her) and tend to the needs of the other children all the while. Melody H. started coming to our home regularly.
Melody H. has helped with countless things. One significant thing is Melody’s exercises. When I was pregnant with Melody my mid-wives providentially told me about the Doman approach for teaching children. I was fascinated by that, and I researched it. The approach was originally designed for “brain-injured” children, but Doman subsequently discovered that this teaching method also had phenomenal results with children that were not “brain-injured”. Thus I planned to implement this system for teaching my newborn incredible things.
Of course it didn’t work out the way I had planned. Yet I was so thankful that I knew about the Doman method. Almost immediately after Melody arrived home from the hospital my husband built our little bitty infant a crawling track to help with her development. Then we made an appointment with Linda Kane, a neurodevelopmentalist with A Hope and a Future. She applied the neurodevelopmentalist approach (rooted in the principals of Doman) to Melody’s specific situation and gave us the exercises that she thought would be most beneficial for our little girl. Melody H. has helped us with those exercises from the time Melody was an infant. As we understand it, the younger we apply this program the better, so we are grateful we knew about it from the beginning and that Melody H. has been able to help us implement this.
Linda Kane recently wrote a book about the neurodevelopmental approach, and Little Miss Melody is pictured on the back.
When Melody H. got married she bestowed upon Melody the honor of being an honorary flower girl in her wedding. Melody was all set up with her pretty dress and she was ready for the event. Sadly, her first visit to the hospital coincided with the timing of the wedding. Melody H. was gracious enough to let us get pictures of her in her wedding dress with her littlest flower girl after Baby Melody got out of the hospital.
We are immensely thankful for Melody H. and her sacrificial love and devotion to Melody over the last two years.
We are deeply grateful that Little Miss Melody continues to bless us with her precious life. The Lord continues to give us an abundance of wisdom on what we can do to help her. For the last several months Melody has been growing beautifully, becoming stronger and more active, and best of all she has not had one sickness! Praise the Lord for all He has done!
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
Note: Melody used to be smaller than the doll in this picture. She is rapidly approaching 19 lbs. How far she has come!
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.