Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday!

Happy 3rd birthday sweet girl!  Some days it seems like just days ago you were dancing away in my tummy, loving life and content.  Sometimes though it seems like forever ago, so long since I was able to see your beautiful face.  I never know quite how to feel on your birthday.  There is so much sorrow, such heartbreak, as I long so desperately to hold you again, to hear you laugh, to see you smile and dance and play.  There is so much I am missing out on by not knowing you now.  And as the years move forward, I am continually reminded of all the milestones I miss.  I hate that.  And yet, today, we get to celebrate you.  We don't grieve without a purpose, for we know Jesus is holding you close right now. 

I will never forgot those precious hours together in the hospital.  The moment I became a mother, as my heart leapt with joy as the nurse gently laid you in my arms.  I remember what it felt like to just breathe you in, to love you so completely, to fall so hard in a matter of seconds.  You were already gone, but there was something just so special, so wonderful, about the first time I was able to hold you.  You were so tiny, so incredibly tiny.  But everything was perfectly formed, knit together in my womb.  My heart, though shattered and broken, was incredibly full.  I still feel that as I remember our special time together.

I can picture you then, looking so very much like your mommy, so peaceful.  I still find myself clinging to your pink blanket when I miss you, closing my eyes and picturing exactly how you looked in that moment.  And I can picture you as you must look now, so happy and full of life, dancing in heaven with Jesus, with your other siblings and family members.  You are such a blessed little girl to never endure this broken world, to go straight to the arms of your Savior.  I cannot wait until the day when I can see you again, when I can dance right along side of you, when I can embrace you with you hugging me back.  Oh, the joy.

It is hard to celebrate a birthday when the birthday princess is missing.  But we are doing our best.  Today, we weren't able to go up to the mountains as we would have loved, as your baby sister should be joining us any day.  But we did enjoy this brisk fall morning and took your crazy brothers up to the park.  We had a picnic by the water, with the leaves changing color all around us.  It was beautiful.  And we sent you some balloons - this time we got 2 lighter purple ones that W&D picked out.  I made you a strawberry cake (it's really good) that we'll get to enjoy after dinner.  And we'll do your birthday cards tonight and add them to your memory box.  Dean asked that his be purple and specifically requested to have stickers he could put on them.  Let's see if we can find some that are not Halloween related :)  I hate that you are not here to celebrate with us, but I trust you are having quite a celebration in Heaven.  And I pray that you are able to see a glimpse of what we are doing here, and that you always know you are cherished and loved on earth as well.

With immeasurable love,


Friday, October 30, 2015

3 years later

Three years ago, nearly to the minute, I got the news that rocked my world.  My daughter had passed away.  As I stared at her profile on the ultrasound, she still looked just perfect.  Perfect upturned nose, little chin.  But she was still.  Her chest was empty; no flicker where we had just seen one the week before.  That image, forever burned into my mind.  The doctor glanced away and murmured "I'm so sorry" before stepping out to let me call Andrew.  How do you even begin to say the words, to communicate to my unsuspecting husband that the appointment we thought nothing of would change our lives forever?  To wait for him to rush down so we can hold each other.  As I am sitting here, I feel my heart being ripped out all over again.  Surely there must be some mistake.  I still just want there to be some mistake.  To go back in time and fix it all so my baby girl can be here playing right alongside her brothers.  I want them to know her, to know her laugh and her little blonde curls and her smile.  To not just know of her.  As the years are moving on, it doesn't get any easier.  The grief is still there, breaking me.  I sometimes feel like I'm a shell of who I used to be, a piece of me is always missing and it's so hard to live life like that. 

I am so thankful she was not born on the same day, that we have a separate day when we can celebrate her birth, her brief life, and all she means to us.  I'm glad for these quiet moments, when my children are sleeping and I can just sit here and allow myself to feel again, to let myself go back to that moment, to let the tears come and not hide from them, to not have to be strong for anybody and just let myself miss my daughter with my whole being.  It does nothing to bring her back, but it helps me to celebrate her with more joy tomorrow.  Today is my sad day, tomorrow we're having a birthday party with the boys for their big sister. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October 15

My heart is heavy today.  The whole month of October is a challenge for me, a reminder of last moments and saying goodbye.  For the entire month, I am reminded of Reagan as I anticipate her upcoming birthday.  Today, well, today the whole country seems to remember.  Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  Today, candles are lit and balloons are released in memory of all our babies gone too soon.  It's a beautiful picture as we grieve together, to know we are not alone in this journey.  And ultimately, that's what it is.  A journey.  Not a moment, not an event, but something we continue to still walk through on a daily basis.  Nothing is forgotten, the pain is not erased as time moves forward.  And the struggle of feeling like the rest of the world has moved on while I am stuck here is very real.  I find myself throughout this month having to remind myself of truth over and over: Reagan is loved, she is cared for now, she is not longing for anything, and I will see her again.  And while all of that is true, and it helps to know, it does not change the fact that she is no longer here with me.  And that continues to cut me right to the core.  I miss my first baby girl so so much.  Always.  And most of the time, I feel this need to hide that, to be strong for my boys, to not be swallowed by the emotions of it all.  But today?  Today I get to remember her.  I get to remember Reagan and celebrate her life.  And, more than that, I get to remember her twin, who I never met.  I get to think about him and how he's playing with his sister.  I get to smile as I picture them running hand in hand.  And I get to do all that with thousands of other families who KNOW.  We all get to celebrate our babies together today.

One in Four.  Those statistics are bleak, so let me say it again: 1 in 4.  I know there are so many others who are hurting today, who are longing for their babies.  There are so many who saw those 2 lines and fell in love, only to say goodbye a few days to weeks later.  There are those who saw the heart beating, got their due date, made a plan...only to have that plan change so suddenly.  There are so many we've met along our own journey and through Reagan's Garden who have passed into the "safety zone," halfway there, found out gender, started decorating the nursery, bought all the things, and prepared for baby's arrival...only to deliver into a silent room, to know the face of their child but not the sound of her cry.   And 1 in 4 of us have been one of these.  It's so hard.  And I have no answers, no magic words.  Know that my heart is with you today as we all remember together.