Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lily's Due Date

I took Bradley classes and read all the books. I know how truly insignificant a due date is. I also know how unlikely it is for a baby to actually be born on their due date (even though Ted only missed his by 26 minutes!)

I also know I never expected for Lily to even make it to her due date. But she did. And she made it for two more weeks.

One year ago, in the moment, the stress and anxiety was almost paralyzing. I didn't want to see anyone. I didn't want to do anything or leave my house. The word "normal" left my vocabulary. I had no idea what normal was anymore. I was anxious and afraid, but also filled with joy whenever I thought about holding Lily in my arms. The intensity and mix of emotions was overwhelming to say the least.

I never thought we would make it to our 40 week appointment, but we did. And then I was so frustrated. I truly thought she would be born by then and I was quick to ask about induction. Our midwife was amazing though. She reminded me right then and there that this was our time with Lily. She reminded me that Lily was still very much alive and she was letting me know every day how strong she was. She told me to do what we could to cherish this time with her. It was nothing that we imagined, but that didn't matter. We still had the opportunity to make the most of it.

The most amazing part of those last two weeks is that I got to spend them all with Jason and Ted. It was amazing to wake up in the morning and take an early walk with my husband to Starbucks. We spent a lot of mornings going to Mass and praying together. In those two weeks, I loved my husband so much more than I ever knew possible. He took care of me, he took care of our family. 

My mom was here to take care of us and Ted. My sweet friend Mandy came from Iowa just to spend time with me. We celebrated my dad's birthday. We went to baseball games and took Ted to the zoo. We dressed him up for Halloween and passed out candy. We played at the park. Jason and I sat by our fire and drank hot chocolate sharing the most intimate moments of our journey with Lily. 

We cried...a lotWe laid in bed and watched Lily dance and twirl all night long. We listened to her heartbeat...strong and steady as always. How was it possible that she would not be that strong when she was born? 

I find myself slipping back into that foggy haze of one year ago. I was living solely on grace and prayers. There's no other explanation for how we made it through those last few days/weeks leading up to her birth. For those two weeks I woke up every day eager to meet my daughter, but also fearing it would be the day I would say goodbye.

Some days it's hard to believe almost one year has passed. Other days I wonder if I will finally wake up from this dream I've been living for the last 12 months because honestly, most of the time, it doesn't even seem possible that I am living without my daughter.

I miss you Lily. More than I ever imagined possible. I miss your kicks. I miss seeing you dance in my belly sweet girl. I can't believe you are almost one. I would give anything to hold you or to feel you inside of me again. Every single day...every minute, every second, I miss you baby girl.

 40 weeks :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Eleven months

Almost a year ago I wrote this, a letter to Ted about his baby sister Lily. It was one of the hardest letters I ever had to write. I told him how sorry I was that we would not get to keep his sister. I told him if love were enough we would. One year later, 11 months without Lily, and the ache in my heart, more than for myself, is for Ted missing his little sister. 

It's just not supposed to be this way.

My sweet Ted,

In two weeks you will be 2 1/2 and in one month Lily will be one. One year old in Heaven. When I dreamed of having children, I dreamed of you being best friends with your siblings. All close in age, one right behind the other in school. I dreamed of you sharing a room and keeping each other up at night. I dreamed of you sneaking out of your room to look for presents on Christmas Eve. I dreamed of you smothering her with sweet kisses. I dreamed of her eagerly trying to keep up with you. I dreamed of you protecting her, looking out for her, always with her best interest in mind. I dreamed of you sharing your hopes, your wishes, and your dreams with your sister. 

I never dreamed of this.

I never dreamed of a world where I was so torn between Heaven and Earth. I never dreamed of world where I could delight in the sweet little boy you are becoming, and all the while have tears streaming down my face yearning for your sister. I never dreamed my most cherish picture of you and Lily would be of you holding a photograph of her. I never dreamed you would never get to hold her. I never dreamed you would have to rely on our memories to know your sister. I never dreamed of celebrating your sister's first birthday in a cemetery. 

Almost 18 months ago, all of these dreams shattered right before my eyes. In the blink of an eye, the world I never dreamed of became my reality. Ted, I am so sorry. I am so sorry that you do not have your sister here with you. I am so sorry that you never got to hold her. I am so sorry that I could not save her. And if love were enough, I could have. But I want you to know more than anything that if I could do it all over again I would in a heartbeat, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Because I also never dreamed Heaven could kiss Earth. I never dreamed I could feel such tremendous grace as I held a perfect soul in my arms. I never dreamed that my love for my children could be this intense. I never dreamed I could love your dad so much through this grief. I never dreamed that I would truly see Jesus in the face of my daughter and my son. I never dreamed that you would have your very own personal saint to pray for you in Heaven. I never dreamed that my heart could simultaneously beam with pride and be swallowed with heartache at the sound of you saying her name. I never dreamed I would have such a clear vision of Lily dancing in the Resurrection. 

I never knew that grieving so intensely is a sign of loving so immensely.

One year later and I have another song for you Ted. I listen to this song and I think of the story you will get to tell because Lily is your sister. You will get to tell a story where grace wins every time you choose life. You will get to tell your own story, that even though you may not remember it, a story of the day Heaven reached down and touched the earth and your sister changed us all. I pray every day that this moment will resonate in your soul and that it will carry you through every tough time you may face. 

I love you Ted and I am so sorry you do not get to grow up with your sister, at least not the way I ever dreamed.

Love, Mom
If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn't let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear LIfe, but it wasn't mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
"My Song"