I've thought about how to start this blog post for weeks. These sweet little badge buddies have been on my desk reminding me of a story that my heart wants to share.
Just after the new year my husband and I found out we were expecting, our pregnancy history had not been uncomplicated, I've experienced loss in the past, but everything about this pregnancy seemed to be on track. I got to 6 weeks, the morning sickness started, I got to 8 weeks and watched the heartbeat flicker on the ultrasound, I got to 10 weeks and we started working on a shared bedroom for H and E, and at 12 weeks I had a doctor's appointment with an ultrasound. We got through our doctor's appointment without issues and I settled onto the ultrasound table for the highlight of our day.
I've thought about that appointment a million times over. I think about how high my hopes were when they dimmed the lights, I think about how in love we were when her little face popped up on the screen, how relieved I was to see her heart beating and I think about the way it felt when I saw her back. Sometimes having a medical background saves you and sometimes it crushes you, I saw her cystic hygroma before the ultrasound tech even had a chance to measure it. I burst into tears, to the point that I had trouble telling my husband what was wrong. The next few hours brought measurements, discussions with specialists and procedures to get us closer to a diagnosis.
All I could think of was how I brought this whole thing on myself. My family had been blessed with a healthy boy and a healthy girl, I felt like that should have been enough, if it had been, we wouldn't be experiencing the pain of that appointment. If I hadn't been so selfish to ask God for one more baby, when he had already given us so much, we could have skipped the heartache of that whole pregnancy, as if God caps the amount of happiness you're entitled to.
The coming days brought us a heartbreaking genetics diagnosis. Just a couple days after that our follow up ultrasound showed us that our sweet girl just couldn't carry the heavy weight her body had put on her heart. Our whole lives had changed in just over a week. I was surrounded by friends and family and had never felt so alone in my whole life, like no one could possibly understand my heartbreak.
Today, months later, I have a clear mind and a full heart, I know that I was never alone in my heartache, and I look forward to the day that I can see my daughter again. Until that day, I will continue to share her story for two reasons.
The first? I want women who experience loss to know that they're not alone. I know your pain, so many know your pain, and whether you were 6 weeks, 20 weeks or 40 weeks, you're not alone. We are beyond the days of keeping our stories to ourselves for fear of creating awkward silence or sadness. While my baby's story will always hold a piece of sadness, I want to share it, in an effort to create a community of strong women who can be there for one another.
The second? Well, the second reason is selfish, I spent 13 weeks, some of them quite miserable, growing a beautiful baby girl, she was alive, she had a heartbeat, a name and a family that loves her, she deserves to be remembered. I want people to know that my baby will continue doing amazing things through me, my husband, our children and this little shop for years and years to come. Her footprint is tattooed on my wrist and it serves as a reminder of how much I have to be thankful for... the health of my two older children, the strength of my marriage, the circle of family and friends I surround myself with and the medical treatment I have access to... I AM SO THANKFUL!
Happy Due Date, Emelia Ann! I look forward to the day when I can see you again, until then I will tell everyone who listens, the story of the baby who continues to create a grateful heart in me.
This month MFE Gives Back via a pregnancy/infant loss badge buddy, proceeds raised from this badge buddy will go towards purchasing Llama Llama Gives Thanks books for every baby in the WCH NICU for Thanksgiving. To preorder your badge buddy head over to our Facebook VIP Group!