Ceilidh Anna Giove
PLEASE READ THIS PAGE BEFORE VIEWING ANY PHOTOS! Click the photo at the bottom of this page to view the gallery.
There are certain things that no parent should ever have to do, yet here I am, having done them. The one thing, above all else, is that no parent should ever have to outlive their own child. Before December 2006, that concept was, to me, not much more than a plot point in one of my favorite movies. Sure, I'd known a parent or two who'd lost children, but it never occurred to me that I'd someday be one myself. In 1994, when "Stargate" was released, outliving ones own child was just part of the story arc to me, but little did I know that I would be living those words some twelve years later. Jen and I outlived our own child...our first child.
Our daughter, Ceilidh Anna Giove (pronounced Kay-lee, a Gaelic word meaning, in general, "celebration," or more specifically, a particular type of celebration), came into this world on Saturday, December 9, 2006, at 11:50 AM. Sadly, Ceilidh died in utero sometime overnight (we think) several days before, between the 4th and 5th. She died of a somewhat rare chromosomal disorder known as Trisomy 18.
I'd been sitting on the name "Ceilidh" for some 20 years (there's a story behind it), knowing that my first daughter would have that name. When we first got the news that we were pregnant we couldn't have been happier, because we'd been together six years at that point, and still no baby...not for a lack of effort, though. From day one we hoped for a girl (I'd always wanted a daughter anyway), because our combined family on both sides was made up mostly of boys, going several generations back.
In one sense, Ceilidh was, and is, a dream come true, because she was the daughter we wanted. We learned that she was a girl first, but we learned about her terrible condition only a few minutes later. It didn't take much research for us to learn that she had almost no hope of survival...almost. We made the decision to give her every chance we could, and in the end it was Ceilidh herself who decided that she couldn't stay in our world.
We believe she chose her own path, and that it was planned out well in advance. As devastating as it was to come so close to meeting her face to face and ultimately not have the chance, we know we made the right decision in letting her try, because there are no "what-if"s, and no guilt or regrets over what we should've or could've done for her. Even though she never lived in this world, we believe that she knows us and that she pops in to visit every so often...she knows where home is, and she knows who mommy and daddy are.
Digit, our beloved dog, died a few weeks later, but we take great comfort in the belief that she went to protect Ceilidh and keep her out of trouble. If Ceilidh is anything like her father, she needs the guidance. Digit was always very protective of children, and somehow she knew she was needed wherever Ceilidh might be.
Ceilidh's story doesn't end with her death, nor does her impact. While we were researching her condition, long before her death, we came across an organization called "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" (link opens in new window). NILMDTS is a network of working professional photographers who donate their time and talents to providing bereavement photography services to grieving families, specifically families suffering the loss of an infant. knowing Ceilidh would probably die, we made arrangements with the local photographer from this network. Of course, because Jen was in labor for 4 days, we ended up working with the THIRD photographer we contacted from NILMDTS. If you decide to enter the memorial photo gallery below, you'll be experiencing the end result of our association with NILMDTS. But even that isn't the end of Ceilidh's story!
In November 2007, 11 months after she died, Jen and I attended the annual "Night of Remembrance" at Women and Infants' Hospital in Providence, RI, where she was born. The Night of Remembrance is specifically to remember and celebrate infants who have died at W&I. Keep in mind that I told you we believe Ceilidh had her path mapped out long before she came to us. Here's the proof:
11 months earlier, when we were actually doing the photo shoot in the delivery room the night of Ceilidh's birth, nobody on staff in the maternity ward had ever even heard of NILMDTS. Naturally the photographer had pamphlets and other printed information about the organization, which she gladly handed out.
At the Night of Remembrance, the hospital chaplain, who remembered us from nearly a year earlier, came to us and told us that, because of Ceilidh (through our research and discovery of this amazing organizaiton), the hospital now has a standing agreement with NILMDTS to provide their services anytime an infant dies at Women & Infants' Hospital. We'd always believed that Ceilidh came to us to let us know we could have kids, because at the time she was conceived, we'd been together 6 years, and didn't have any kids, but certainly not for a lack of effort. In reality, we came to understand that what the chaplain was telling us that night was the real reason Ceilidh came to exist. To bring peace and comfort to many grieving parents. My daughter Ceilidh is a hero to me, for the gift of comfort she brought to these families that came after us.
This page is our memorial for her. Here you'll find, among other things, thoughts, memories, and photos. When you view the photos, please keep one very important thought in mind. These are bereavement photos, taken by the wonderful Stefanie Kimball of "Stefanie Lynn Photography" (link opens in new window). Remember that Ceilidh had died in the womb several days before her birth (which was the day these were taken), so please try to view them through my eyes. These photos are not easy to look at, and are not for everyone. Medically speaking, she looks like she had a hard road (let's face it...she did), but to me and Jen, she was, is, and always will be one of the most beautiful babies ever to grace this or any other world.
It is my hope that you'll find something else here, something specific: the understanding that good does still exist in this world. My daughter gave her life not because of a medical condition, but because of a desire to bring peace to other grieving families. She chose us as her parents because she knew we'd find our peace and comfort in sharing her story. Having said that, please let me introduce you to my daughter, Ceilidh Anna "Little Dragonfly" Giove. Click the photo to meet her.