A/N I hope people like this.
It was early morning in New York and Derek Shepherd had just rolled over in bed. His eyes were beginning to open and he already knew that something was different. He knew today was a memorable day in his household, but he wasn't awake enough to remember what day it was. He reached over to his wife, Addison's side of the bed and he was jolted awake when all he felt were cool sheets with no body resting on them. He opened his eyes and when he saw his wife's shaking back, he suddenly remembered what today was. His wife was sitting on the edge of the bed holding something. Derek came from behind her to look at whatever she was holding. It was a light pink fleece blanket with a purple butterfly embroidered with purple thread on one corner. There was a monogram on it as well. The monogram read Stella Claire Shepherd, born July 4th embroidery had been done by the woman they had planned to make Stella's godmother, Addison's best friend Savannah.
Addison could remember the day that she and Derek had found Stella ice cold in her crib right next door to their master bedroom. The doctors all said that Stella had died of SIDS, but that was not a comfort to her grieving parents. Stella had been nearly four months old when she had died and today was the one year anniversary of her death. She had died on October 30th had taken Addison almost two months before she felt emotionally ready to go back to work and continue saving the lives of babies and their mothers. Derek had gone back after a month saying that he needed to work to take his mind off things. Stella's death had rocked their friends and families lives as well. The Shepherds had to cope with the loss of a niece and a cousin and a granddaughter. Savannah spent weeks cooking for Addison so she didn't have to worry about it and Mark, well he was never sure what to say to Addison or Derek so he held back and allowed the couple to grieve in peace which was actually what Addison and Derek wanted. As for the Montgomery's, Bizzy put all the blame on Addison, saying that she had done something wrong and that caused Stella to die. Archer did much the same thing that Mark did and just hung back and let the couple grieve privately.
Stella had been a beautiful baby. She had curly dark red hair and bright blue eyes. Her smile was infectious, much like her father's. Her nose was much like her mother's. Her favorite thing was when someone held her. She loved being held by almost anyone. She didn't take to Derek's youngest sister Jennifer that well at all but that was probably due to the fact that Jennifer didn't come over to see her that much.
Addison cuddled the pale pink blanket to her chest and she barely noticed when Derek slipped his hand around her waist and pulled her closer to him. He wanted her to open up to him. He hated seeing his wife go through this and not be able to help her.
"I miss her." Addison whispered as a fresh batch of tears streamed down her face. She knew that she would always miss Stella, but today was particularly awful because today was the one year anniversary of Stella's death. Derek sighed knowing and hating that she was so sad and it was so obvious that she missed their little angel. So did he. Derek wanted to do tea parties with Stella and play dress up with her. He wanted to threaten her first boyfriend and walk her down the aisle at her wedding and hold his first grandchild and those were all things he would be unable to do with Stella.
"I miss her too babe." Derek told Addison softly. He knew that they couldn't stay like this forever. In fact he had been wondering if they were ready to try for another baby. Derek wasn't looking to replace Stella. He knew that no baby ever could replace his firstborn, but he did want a child with Addison and he finally felt ready to try for another baby with her.
"What do you think of trying to have another baby?" Derek asked gently. Addison stood up almost immediately wanting to get as away from Derek as possible. There was no way she felt ready to have another baby. After all it had only been a year since Stella died. She shook her head as her hands gripped Stella's blanket tighter. She was not ready to have another child. She wasn't ready to take the risk of losing the next one.
"No Derek. I can't even think about it yet." Addison insisted stubbornly. She couldn't even believe that Derek was suggesting that they have another baby. Addison knew that she was not ready to have another child yet. The pain of losing Stella was still so fresh and she knew she would live in fear for a year after the next baby was born.
"Addie, you can't keep doing this to yourself. It was not your fault that she died. It was no one's fault." Derek reassured her.
"She was-is my daughter and I was supposed to keep her from harm, and I didn't do that. She died Derek. Our sweet baby girl died and you want to replace her already." Addison commented flatly.
"Addie no one knows what causes SIDS. You know that as well as I do. You have to stop blaming yourself. And as for my wanting to 'replace' Stella? I could never replace my firstborn daughter. She is always in my heart Addie and she always will be. A new baby would never change that." Derek told her as he stood up beside his grieving wife.
"I don't want another baby Derek. Not now and maybe not ever so leave me alone." Addison snapped as she walked out of the bedroom. Derek knew where Addison went. It was where she always went when she was upset.
Derek walked into what had been Stella's nursery and he saw his wife standing in the middle of the room, looking at the crib that had been empty for a year. Derek wished he knew what to say. He hated seeing his wife, still grieving, but he had decided that she was allowed to grieve for as long as she wanted or felt like she needed to. He wasn't going to rush the grieving process for her. He watched Addison turn around and look at the dresser which held a small group of pictures of their friends and family holding Stella and she smiled a watery smile. Derek didn't care. All he knew was that she was smiling again. Derek considered that a victory.
Addison picked up the picture of Stella with the two adults who would have been her Godparents if she had had the chance to be baptized. Savy and Mark were standing together with Stella in Mark's arms. Addison remembered that had been the first time Mark had managed to wrestle Stella out of her Godmother's arms. Addison felt the tears stinging her blue eyes knowing that she had good friends. She and Derek both did. Addison felt bad because she really had a collection of great friends but she had been so wrapped up in her grief that she had neglected her friendships in this past year. Addison knew that she would have to rejoin the living and go places and hang out with her friends again but she couldn't help but feel guilty that Stella would never get that chance. She put that picture down and then she picked up the one with Nancy, Jennifer, Cassie and Erin with Carolyn and Stella. Carolyn was holding Stella and Derek's sisters were surrounding their mother and niece. She put that picture down and then smiled when she picked up her favorite, the one that Savy had taken at the hospital. It was of Addison and Derek. Stella was barely an hour old and Addison was holding her and Derek's arm was around Addison and they were both looking at Stella.
"I was so happy right there." Addison whispered as she looked at the family picture.
"We both were unbelievably happy on that day." Derek agreed as he walked over to her and pulled her into his arms.
Addison looked up at Derek and bit down on her lip. She wanted to be able to heal and move on, but she was honestly afraid that if she did have another baby she would be betraying Stella.
"I want to go to Stella's grave Der." Addison whispered. She felt like going to Stella's grave would help her move on. She hadn't gone to Stella's grave since Stella was buried. She just wasn't ready to do that. Now she felt as though she could do it.
Derek was surprised that Addison was ready to go to their daughter's grave. He had gone a few times by himself and he knew that a few of the other family members had as well. Derek was almost positive that Mark had been the one to leave a white teddy bear by her gravestone on Christmas Eve. Derek was never able to prove it though because Mark denied it.
"Okay, let's get dressed and go." Derek agreed softly before he kissed the top of his wife's head. Anything that could bring his wife back to him, Derek was all for it. He missed his wife. He knew that Addison had a right to grieve, but he still missed his wife.
Two hours later they got to the graveyard. Addison's hand was gripping Derek's hand while her other hand held Stella's blanket. Derek and Addison made their way through the other headstones. Addison saw Stella's and she swallowed hard. Her headstone was made of pink marble. Derek had gotten it for her because he had a feeling that she would love it even if she was only a tiny infant when she died. When Addison reached it, she knelt on the ground and she broke down completely. She wanted her little girl back and she hated that Stella had been taken from them. Derek got down on the ground beside Addison and looked at the headstone.
Stella Claire Shepherd
Born July 4th 2008-Died October 30th 2008
Beloved Daughter, Granddaughter, Niece and Goddaughter
Addison wished that she knew what to say right now, but she didn't. She wanted someone to tell her what to say to her dead infant daughter. She looked over at Derek who had tears slipping down his cheeks. His hand was gripping the headstone as if his life depended on it. When he spoke, it was a shaky voice that Addison had only heard a very few times.
"Stella, I miss you every single day and I know that I always will miss you. Daddy loves you princess and I am so sorry that you didn't get to stay with Mommy and Daddy. We all miss you. Mommy and Daddy, Uncle Mark Auntie Savy and all of your other Aunts and your other Uncles and of course your cousins. You are and always will be my princess. No matter what. You had just learned how to giggle and Daddy really misses that. You smiled so beautifully like your Mommy and I miss that too."
Derek was now crying so hard he could barely breathe. He hadn't cried this hard since the funeral and he had a feeling that it was because this was the first time that Addison had come with him. Addison looked at him and she pulled him into a hug. She wanted to console her husband. She knew that Derek was hurting but she had been too focused on her own pain. She looked at the headstone and sighed before she spoke in a soft voice.
"Mommy misses you so much angel. I still wake up at night thinking I hear your voice but then I remember that the angels took you away from me. Mommy's afraid angel. She's afraid that if she has another baby, that you will be hurt. Mommy doesn't want you to be mad at her so I told Daddy that I wasn't sure I would ever want another baby. That hurt Daddy's feelings. He didn't say so, but I know your Daddy very well and I know when I hurt his feelings. So what do you think angel. Can Mommy have another baby?" Of course Addison didn't expect an answer, but the look on Derek's face proved to her that was the right decision to have annother baby.
"Are you sure Addie?" Derek asked as he looked at his wife. He was cautiously hopeful at this point. Maybe this visit to Stella's grave had been exactly what Addison had needed to be able to face the world again. Maybe she was ready to rejoin the living and reconnect with family and friends.
"Yes, I want to have another baby with you. I know the new baby will never replace Stella and I wouldn't want it to, but I think she would like being a big sister." Addison told Derek. The new baby would have an angel for a sister and not many kids could say that. Addison and Derek both stood up and looked at each other. They just knew that it was the right thing to do. Moving on didn't mean that they had forgotten Stella. She had been their firstborn and Derek and Addison both knew that she would have a special place in their hearts forever.
Addison took Derek's hand and looked down at Stella's headstone. There were a hundred things she wanted to tell her daughter. Instead she only said.
"I love you Stella." and brushed her hand over the top of Stella's headstone.
"Daddy loves you too Stella." Derek told his daughter, hoping that she could actually hear him and know that she would always have a special place in their heart.
Derek and Addison walked out of the graveyard knowing that they were doing the right thing by moving on with their life. They knew that having another baby was not something to be rushed, but seeing Stella's grave had really helped them both realize that while they would always miss her, they couldn't put their life on hold forever. Derek and Addison knew that Stella would not want them to do that. Now they were finally on the same page about wanting another baby.
It had been a year since Addison and Derek had decided to try for another baby and as luck would have it, they hadn't had to try for very long. Addison had gotten pregnant in January, just three months after they had decided to try for another one. This baby had been born on Halloween, just one day after the two year anniversary of her sister's death. Addison had never really believed in God, but she was sure that Stella was watching them carry on with their lives and Addison hoped that Stella was happy. Derek and Addison were convinced that Stella had been the one to bring her baby sister to them. It was too much of a coincidence that the new baby was born just one day after the two year anniversary of her death.
Addison was exhausted. She had been in labor with the new baby for sixteen hours. She had pushed for twenty minutes. Stella's birth had been much easier. Addison labored with Stella for only eight hours and pushed for ten minutes. Addison was also happy though. She looked down at the tiny pink bundle in her arms and then looked up at Derek who was standing right beside her.
"She looks like Stella." Addison whispered as she let the baby grab her finger.
"Except she has my nose. Poor child." Derek told her with a soft chuckle. Addison giggled when Derek spoke. She never quite got the answer behind Derek's nose because she had a feeling that he hadn't grown up with that nose.
"Are we still in agreement on her name?" Addison asked her husband softly.
"Yes." Derek agreed. He loved the name that they had picked out for their new daughter.
Addison looked down at the baby just making sure that the girl's name they had chosen two months ago still fit their tiny six pound three ounce daughter.
"Jillian Faith Shepherd." Addison whispered, her blue eyes still on the baby in her arms.
"Perfect." Derek agreed as he kissed his daughter's forehead and then kissed his wife's lips.
The name Jillian had been chosen because they just both loved the name. Faith as a middle name had been chosen because they now both had faith that this was the right thing to do and that Stella was watching them and watching and protecting her little sister. Addison had faith that she and Derek could get through anything now that they had survived a parent's worst nightmare. Derek had faith that it would someday hurt less to think of Stella and wish she was here with them.
"I am going to sleep now that Jilly's gone to sleep." Addison murmured. Derek smiled.
"Let's all rest for a bit."
So they did. Derek's arms were around two of his favorite girls and Addison's head was nestled in the crook of Derek's neck. Finally after more than sixteen hours of being awake, the small family got some much needed rest.