In the early hours (1.50am to be precise) of the 4th of September - one year to the day since I had been in labour and waiting to meet Sebastian - I was woken with real labour pains, and those fears (which by this stage had been mostly worked through and were not really fears anymore) became reality as I knew that his little brother would in fact be born on his birthday.
God works in strange ways. Yes, He certainly does. Ways we don't always understand, but that He carves out carefully and lovingly with precision and purpose.
At 7.04am we welcomed a crying and gurgling baby boy into the world.
Very much alive this time.
We have named him Malachi Alexander, 'Kai' for short.
A strong name (we believe) meaning 'Messenger of the Lord' and 'Defender of the people'.
He is beautiful and perfect. He looks like his siblings, and even has resemblances to Sebastian as well - a full head of dark hair and a gorgeous button nose that my side of the family call very distinctly, 'the Mardon nose'.
God is so good. So, so good.
It appears that Malachi could not wait, and didn't want to miss his brother's birthday celebrations. Being that we were birthing through the Birth Centre - a natural birthing wing of the hospital that only keeps families for 6-12 hours after birth - we were actually able to get home the same afternoon and still have our celebrations for Seb. I think God knew that it would have broken me had I not have been able to have our party for him, so the timing of it all was quite perfect really.
We came home, Greg collected the children from school and they excitedly rushed into the house to meet their baby brother.
My parents and sister and niece then came over for afternoon tea. We had birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to Seb. And despite having a beautiful new baby to share this day with, it was an enormous realisation to have to blow that candle out without a little one-year-old boy here to help.
We released some red balloons up to Sebby in Heaven, and one pink one for Hannah Grace too, who shared this anniversary with Sebastian (and who will also have a rainbow baby sibling soon too).
It was small, but it was perfect. And it was all I could manage (more than I could really) after just giving birth a few hours before!
And so we said 'Happy Birthday' to both of our baby boys. A sad 'Happy Birthday, and wish you were here' to Sebastian, and a 'Welcome to the world on this, your birth day' to his baby brother Kai.
It will be interesting to see how I handle this day in years to come. Perhaps Sebastian will always have a special part and connection to Kai's day through this, perhaps I will struggle to fit emotions and celebrations in for both of my boys. Who knows but my God. But I know He'll take me through.
Thank you Lord for this precious day. Thank you for this precious baby boy Malachi, a most special gift to us on his brother's birthday. Thank you for Sebastian and all that he brought into this world without ever having taken a breath of air. Thank you for walking with us each and every day, and holding us in your Strength, Peace and Truth. This day has truly been set apart for Your Work, and Your Wonder. Amen.