It's been somewhat of a roller coaster of emotions weaving in and out this week...
My parents have been here all week and it's been so amazing! Despite the heat, we've spent a lot of time playing outside, both in our yard and around town. There's just something about having them here that brings me peace and makes me feel safe. I wake up afraid many days thinking that today is the day and I'm not ready yet. But with them here, I haven't been so afraid. There's a part of me that has hoped she may come this week, just so they would already be here.
We went up north for a day to get out of the heat and go fishing. Ted had a blast playing in the water, throwing mud and basically just being a messy little boy.
He's grown up so much this past week...no more baby in this house, he's all toddler!
I've been able to share with my mom some of the outfits I bought Lily and the beanies I've been making for her. Lily's been doing acrobats in my belly and they've been able to see her move like crazy. It makes my heart ache thinking this may be the only way they know her.
We had an ultrasound this past week to see Lily again and hopefully get some 3-D images of her. I've been anxious/nervous/worried all week...not the way anyone should feel before a 28 week ultrasound. As all appointments have been, it was emotional, but this one was by far the worst. I think I went in still hoping for a miracle or a misdiagnosis. On the very first image, the tech typed "CEPHALIC". My heart just sank heavy into my chest, like someone placed a brick on me and I couldn't breathe.
The tech had a hard time getting a full image of her face or profile because she is head down, face down and very low in my pelvis. I was really hoping to see her more.
We did get to see her sweet little hand up by her face and I know in my heart she has her brother's sweet cheeks. I asked the tech if she saw any other anomalies and she simply said, "everything else looks perfect." A dagger in my heart. It was so bittersweet.
That's all you would ever want to hear in an OB appointment or an ultrasound, but when your daughter has been diagnosed with Anencephaly and they have told you over and over that if she survives birth at all, she may only live a few hours, it just cuts you even deeper to hear that besides her brain and skull, she is perfectly healthy. I didn't even know I had it in me to cry like that anymore, but I did.
I wept. And Jason wept too.
We went out to the waiting room to wait for our CD of pictures and I sobbed some more. I didn't even care there were other people there...waiting for their carefree ultrasounds. I couldn't stop crying. It felt like every ounce of hope I was praying for was being washed away. I had tried so hard to be strong, but I just couldn't be anymore.
It really made me think about what it means to have hope. I know Bradley's parents held on to hope until he took his last breath. I know Chris did the same when his wife died, also too soon from cancer. I think I hold on to hope because honestly...I cannot imagine one day of my life without Lily here. I cannot even begin to think of not getting to bring her home, take her to Iowa or watch her grow up with Ted. It's truly unimaginable to me. I cannot even begin to think of what it will be like to walk out of that hospital not carrying my daughter. So I hold onto hope because I can't remember what life was like before her and I can't imagine life without her.
Sometimes I wonder if knowing this far in advance is a blessing or a curse. I pray with all my heart I never have to know the answer to that. I think of women who went in to a 36 week routine appointment and found out their child had no heartbeat. I think of women who learned of their child's condition at their birth because it was before ultrasounds. I think of my friend's parents who lost their daughter two days after she was born and 9 months after a healthy pregnancy. My heart aches that they didn't have any warning or time to prepare.
But can you ever really prepare? I think about how much my heart aches right now and I already know that it's still nothing compared to what we will go through. The anticipation is gut-wrenching, but the reality, I know, will be beyond what I could even imagine. Labor doesn't scare me...I would go through any amount of pain for Lily. Delivering her doesn't phase me either. But when I think about the day, the moment that is (most likely) to come when they will take her away and I will never see her again? I can't breathe. I can't see passed the tears that well up in my eyes.
There is no way to prepare.
Lily girl's sweet hand and kissable cheeks just like her brother.