Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday sweet Reagan!  I cannot believe it has been a year since we welcomed you into this world and laid eyes on you for the first time.  You brought us so much joy in those brief moments!  And when I think back, I remember it like it was yesterday.  The labor pains are all a blur, but I remember how it felt to feel you kick for the first time, to see the joy on Daddy’s face when he felt it too.  I remember what it was like to hold you for the first time, to see your precious face.  And I remember what I felt when we laid you in that basket and said goodbye to you.  And my heart continues to break.  Time does not make this easier.  I don’t think anything ever will.  But today, on your birthday, I want to remember the good times. 

The first time I felt your little flutter kicks we were on the way home from church.  I was having a hard day, not feeling very well, and I think you knew that.  And so you kicked as hard as you could.  I didn’t feel you move again for a little while, but then I started feeling the butterflies more and more often.  And Daddy finally felt them right before a Clemson game. 

You loved your Tigers!  We took you to 2 games and you helped the Tigers win in each of them.  Every time you would get to kicking away at my bladder, the Tigers scored.  Four out of four times!  What a huge fan you were!  We like to think you continue to watch the games from Heaven and cheer them on.  And we are saving your special Clemson onesies for your future younger sisters so they can have something from you.

The day you were born was such a bittersweet day.  Part of me didn’t want to believe it was true, I wanted to keep you inside of me and pray constantly God would bring you back.  I made the doctors do a 3rd ultrasound just to be sure.  And labor took so long, but I knew it was the last I would ever feel of you and I didn’t want it to end.  But then it did, and I delivered you at 11:16 PM after the hardest day of my life.  And you were just perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  You were the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  You looked just like us!  I am still in shock when I look at my baby pictures just how much you looked like me.  And it makes me smile.  You had the most delicate, little features – eyes, cheekbones, chin – with the biggest pouty lips and longest eyelashes.  So special.  We fell in love with you in an instant, more than before.  Seeing you just locked us in for life.  I will always cherish our time together.

This past year has been so difficult.  We continue to grieve what we are missing with you, though we know we will be together again.  We welcomed your younger brothers into the world on June 29 this year.  They were also little, but look huge compared to you.  When I look at your footprints next to theirs, there is no comparison!  They have such big boy feet!  We are all home now after a long hospital stay.  I know you have been praying for them and looking out for them, such a good big sister.  We love having them home, but sometimes it is a painful reminder of what we didn’t get to do with you.  And when everyone was excited for our family to be together again, we felt the emptiness of you not being here.  Because we still don’t feel like our whole family is together again.  But one day we will be again!

Not a day goes by that we don’t think of you.  And we talk of you often, tell Warren and Dean all about you.  We want them to grow up knowing they have a big sister.  To always know that October 31 is YOUR day.  And I want to celebrate your birthday each year.  To try to think of the positives, to be happy for you and not sad for us.  I want it to be spent planting flowers for you in your garden, visiting the last happy place you went in the mountains, setting loose purple balloons, and watching your video.  We want to celebrate your life and all the joy your brought into ours.  So today, on your very first birthday, that is exactly what we are doing.  We love you so much baby girl!

Happy one year birthday Rea Rea!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Always remembering

I cannot believe one year has past.  One year since we learned our little girl had passed away.  One year since our lives changed forever.  One year of emptiness and longing for what would never be.  This past year has been the darkest, loneliest, and most stressful of my life.  When I think back to October 30 of last year, I am haunted by the image of Reagan's empty chest.  Of her lifeless image on that ultrasound.  Of feeling my heart plummet, not understanding what went wrong.  Of questioning each and every moment of the pregnancy, trying to figure out what I did wrong.  It broke me, and I am still struggling to put back the pieces.  No matter how much time goes on, life will never be the same.  I will never "get over" or "move on."

I cannot think back to one year ago without instantly tearing up, so sad for what we lost.  Tomorrow, tomorrow has joy associated with it as we got to hold her.  But today, today is just dark, depressing.  It feels like I am going through it for the first time all over again, just as fresh.  And I just want to curl up in a ball and sob for my baby girl, but I no longer have that freedom.  The boys need me to be strong.  And that almost makes it harder.  This morning, all three of us were just crying together as I was telling Warren and Dean about Reagan.  And then it was right back into a feeding frenzy and daily life.  I feel like the whole world should stop so we can have a day, just a single day, to dedicate to sweet Rea Rea.  Instead, tomorrow will be filled with trick-or-treaters ringing our bell and little girls dressed as princesses walking down the street, reminding me that my little princess is gone.

I have to keep reminding myself of the truth, of what I know in my head to be true.  Reagan is okay.  And she is happy, healthy, and thriving.  She is not wanting for anything.  And we are now one year closer to seeing her again.  What a blessing!  My heart cannot comprehend that right now as I am overcome with my own grief, but I know that.  And I have hope.  Even when I don't feel it, it is the truth.  And I can continue to find comfort in that.  It doesn't take away the ache, doesn't change what happened, doesn't make me miss my girl any less.  But it helps.  This is not the end of our story.  And in our growing family, I know can hold and kiss and love on our miracle babies, now 4 months old.  And just stand in awe of how much they were able to endure, how much God carried them through.  Two healthy baby boys.  They in no way replace Reagan or what we lost.  And again, sometimes seeing them as they hit different milestones makes it harder, a painful reminder of what we won't see Reagan do.  But we are grateful nonetheless, for every moment we have together.  Because life is precious and fleeting.

One year closer to being reunited with our firstborn baby girl, sweet Reagan...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Since coming home it seems I have fallen off the face of the Earth. Feeding initially consumed 10-12 hours a day which left little time for anything else. We still have times where it is an hour and a half before everything is done, but we are moving in the right direction and closer to an hour most of the time. Having 2 hours before starting again just makes all the difference in the world.  I can actually shower!

We absolutely love being home. No doubt about it. And there are these great moments when Warren looks right at us with his big blue eyes or Dean smiles that make my heart melt. These boys mean the world to me. Even though Warren has colic and screams all night...

I used to be so frustrated and hurt by all the new mom who complained of being tired. I wanted to scream at them. Because what does tired for a few months compare to losing a child. I would have given anything for sleepless nights because I was up with Reagan. And so, even though it's hard to feel that when Warren is on hour 4 of continuous crying, we are so thankful for these sleepless nights. So grateful God has blessed us with these 2 miracles. It's exhausting and overwhelming raising preemie twins, but I love these moments. Like now, as I peck away on the iPad while rocking Warren in the nursery. Listening to his sweet baby snores as he is finally asleep once again.

It's hard work, way more than I ever thought. I pictured going to the park, making dinner with one baby in the carrier and one peaceful in the swing. I imagined double nursing them (and in my own ignorance thought that would be an easy thing! And that it would only take maybe 30 minutes...) I never imagined having to walk nonstop with Warren because every time you stop he screams again, or fighting with Dean to get him to finally nurse, or holding these boys all day long because they cry nonstop when they're down. It's not the rosy picture I painted in my head, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

As we continue our isolation (no indoor places, no contact with kids, adults must have flu shots, etc) we are trying to be creative with how we can still see people. Because really, I've basically been isolated since bed rest started in February. It's a long and lonely road. And so we are going to try to take the boys to Clemson. I may regret that immediately, may be a complete failure, but we're taking the boys to see where we fell in love. And to experience a football Saturday. A crazy one, with FSU this week and Gameday, but still. And to keep them in isolation we get to wear them the whole time so no one else touches them or coughs on them. Guess we'll find out just how comfortable our new carriers really are!

And that about ends my free time. On to another feeding with this now squirmy little boy