Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sorrow mixed with Joy

Two weeks ago, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. Can you believe it? At times it doesn't seem real, especially because it feels like I have nothing to show for it...Just empty arms, an empty cradle, a broken heart, and an out-of-shape body. The physical pain is almost gone and I am getting my strength back. So, now the only things reminding me that I was at REX Hospital on March 16th are the memories, the pictures, the keepsakes, and all of Lily's things around the house.

I guess it might be hard for some people to be surrounded by the belongings their baby didn't live long enough to ever use. My dad suggested that all the baby stuff should be put away before I got home from the hospital...other people thought that too. But, that's not what I wanted. Is it strange that I want to be around her things? I want to be surrounded with things and people that remind me of her. Stowing it all away would be like pretending she never existed. But, she did. She was real. And I'm still a mother. Looking through the clothes she never got to wear helps me grieve. I want to grieve. It seems like some people in my family are afraid of grief and want to escape it. But, not me. I don't want to rush through the grief, the healing. I want to experience all of it, for as long as I need to. I like to just sit in her room and look at all the decorations. It's really hard to be in there. She'll never get to sleep in her crib, get changed on her changing table, play with her toys, wear her clothes, or look at all the bright colors. Such sorrow fills my soul when I'm in there. These days, I am experiencing so many emotions. Mostly sorrow mixed with joy. Sorrow because I want my baby here with me and joy because she's with Jesus. Two emotions I haven't felt are bitterness and anger toward God. I am so thankful for that. I pray He keeps giving me the peace, hope, and strength I need to get through each day.

Lily would have been two weeks old yesterday. I can't help but think how one day this week, we would have been pushing her in her green stroller up to 'Growing Child Pediatrics', which is only about a mile away from our home. I picture her all bundled up with her pink, blue, and green blankets and wearing one of her adorable outfits. She would be so cozy and warm, just showered with attention. She was so cute. I'm sure I would have gotten a lot of compliments about how precious and adorable she was. It's chilly out this morning. I should be keeping her warm. I'm sure she'd be growing so much.

I try to picture how she'd look deeply drinking in everything around her. All the sights and sounds so fresh, so new. How curious she'd be. I'm sure she's doing that now in Heaven. But, what she sees there cannot be compared to what she would have seen here. Her eyes will only ever behold such beauty and wonder that mere words cannot describe. No human eye can comprehend. I'm glad she gets to see it. I hope she'll show me around Heaven when I get there. I wonder if she misses me. Probably not because there is no sadness in Heaven and we will never wish it was a different way. But, maybe there is a longing in her heart to be with me again. Like, there's a longing in Jesus' heart to be reunited with His Bride.


April, please don't come so soon.

It's the last day of March...I don't want March to end. I've been waiting for it to come for so long. The promises that March held were beautiful. A new baby girl and motherhood just beginning for me. Now, my baby has come and gone. Yes, she was born, but not under circumstances I ever could have dreamed. She's with Jesus now. I don't know what I would do if I didn't believe that. How do people who aren't Christians deal with death? How dismal and depressing it must be. I am so thankful to know she's with my Lord, but I still want her here. I know she has all Heaven's glory, so is it selfish of me to want her here in this lost world with me?

I never knew I could miss someone so much I barely got to know. The only things I know about her are from how she acted in the womb. I keep thinking I should have done more to remember her. If only I had known that precious time with her was all I'd have. I would have talked to her more, read to her, and prayed aloud to her. I would have memorized her sleeping and waking patterns and payed more attention to all her movements. But, I can't regret that now.

A very brave woman, whose precious baby boy had Trisomy 13 and passed last October, recently told me that she can't imagine how much more excruciating it is for me since I was not prepared to lose Lily. I actually thought the opposite. I got to have forty glorious weeks of planning, laughing, dreaming, and loving Lily with everything in me. I'm so thankful for that time. Even though it was the hardest day of my life to show up at the hospital, expecting to leave with my new baby, only to end up going home with empty arms and an aching heart. I feel like it would have been tougher knowing she was going to die. God is in control. He knows what He's doing in each life. I have to remember that.

At the beginning of March, I was just thrilled. Until it actually came, it seemed like a distant dream that would never actually show up. The days before her birth were going by so slowly and I wanted them to hurry up so I could be with Lily. Now I wish I had soaked them up for all they were. I wish I had cherished more deeply every moment she was alive.

Once March arrived, I remember saying Lily would finally be here by the end of the month! Several of my friends and family had guesses on when she'd finally make her grand entrance into the world. As the days passed, I crossed people off the list who hadn't guessed correctly. My brothers were the first to go. Joseph initially guessed February 29th, but upon realizing there is no February 29th this year, he changed his guess to March 1st. I thought that was pretty funny. I guessed March 12th because I was born on the 12th of August. March 12th is the day we believe Lily passed away. It's interesting the day I thought she'd be with us on earth was actually the day she got to be with Jesus...she really did make it home.

I wish March didn't have to end. It symbolizes the end of one season of my life and the beginning of the next. It should have symbolized the ending of my pregnancy and delivery and the rest of my life with Lily. It should have meant the beginning of her life, but instead it means the end. Lily's gone and I have nothing to show for my labor except an extended waistline. April means warmer weather and the promise of summer. It also means that life goes on. As much as I don't want it to go on without her. I almost feel guilty that time keeps going, not caring who it leaves behind. But, there's nothing tangible I can do for my baby without her here. Even though I want to care for her so badly.

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day, but I don't feel like being silly. Because my little girl never got to see April...or May, or June. She never got to see the changing seasons. I hope she does in Heaven. When April comes this year, the world may be moving on. My world may have to move on, but is forever changed by a sweet little March flower who taught me what life is truly all about, without ever speaking a single word.


Monday, March 29, 2010

13 Days

It's been 13 days. 13 days since my world was turned upside down...13 days since Dr. M told me your precious heart was no longer beating. How have I made it this long without you? 13 days has felt like an eternity without you, sweet Lily. So how am I supposed to live 13 months without you, 13 years..30 years? The rest of my days on this Earth without my little flower. My mind and heart can barely grasp this agonizing thought.

I keep thinking about the days and weeks leading up to your birth. Oh, such excitement and anticipation that filled my soul! I would soon hold my sweet baby. But, the first time I held you was also the last. How could I have known? Now your body is in the earth. Alone. You need your mommy. And she needs you. But, the miles separate us. The grave separates us. I wish for one moment I could forget this nightmare. I would go back to before March 16. I would sing to you a little sweeter. Memorize all your kicks...Your sleeping pattern. If I had known these would be the only memories of you, I would have soaked it in so much more. I wouldn't have wished the days away. These were the sweetest days. Because they were spent with you. Now I cling to what I remember. Those precious nine months where you were alive inside of me. What I would give to have another 13 days...

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