So Long 2017
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” (T.S. Eliot)
Tonight I found myself looking at the pictures of you growing in my belly, comparing them with the pictures I have taken of your little brother growing inside of me now.
I came across your ultrasound image from when I was 20 weeks and 4 days pregnant...4 months and 3 days before I said hello and goodbye to you.
We brought your big brothers and big sisters to our appointment that day to sneak a peak at you, although we were keeping your gender a secret. They were so mad at me! I remember being so distracted during that time. I was so focused on making sure you were healthy, but your siblings would not let me enjoy the moment, as they bickered and squirmed like normal children do so often. I wish I would have known then that those moments would be the last time I would see you moving. I would have savored them more and recorded a video and the sound of your heart beating.
You were such an active little girl growing inside of me. I don’t remember too many moments when you weren’t moving, kicking, or having the hiccups. In fact, as the sonogramer tried to look at you that day with great detail, she was noticeably irritated, because you would not keep still. You continuously flipped from side to side, rolling over, and causing her to really earn her day’s wage. Your Daddy and I giggled so much. Every time I was asked at an appointment, “Is the baby moving okay?,” my response was immediate and was always, “YES! This baby is crazy!”
Well, I loved your crazy; although, I’m so disheartened that it enabled you to tie yourself into a knot. I have a feeling you would have been spunky like your oldest sister. You had your maternal great grandmother’s blood pumping through your veins for sure.
Seeing this image tonight really caused me to pause and reflect. You lived. Inside of me. You lived inside of me for 38 weeks and 1 day of a beautiful and complicated free pregnancy, and I took in every single day I had with you.
When I first lost you, I could still remember what it felt like to have you inside of my body—your first home. When you left me, I felt so empty, hollow, and void. The absence of your body inside of mine was so present and tangible. I hurt with a deep, primal ache as I longed to feel you moving inside of me again. Living inside of me again. Being with me again. I just wanted you back, as I missed you (and have continued missing you) so much.
I very much knew what it was like to feel you alive. You reminded me every single day from 14 weeks of pregnancy onward, waking me up with your kicks in the middle of the night, and punching your brother’s head as he would rest it on my belly.
As time has gone on, and my grief has manifested so intsensely, the focus has shifted to “the future that never was.” And I ache to hold you. I cry with the intensity of missing you. I long to feel your weight in my arms again. I crumble in my despair. I get so focused on the fact that you died...the fact that you died inside of me, and because you died, you are not physically here with me anymore.
I become fixated on your death, and, oh, how I forget that you lived. I often only see the end, and not the beginning, or everything in between, and what is to come.
Yes, 2017 marks the year of your death. But it also marks a time frame of your life when you were alive...the second half of our time together, to be exact. Help me to remember those moments, baby girl. Help me to remember your kicks, your rolls, your hiccups. Help me to remember what it felt like to carry you. To remember my excitement at the fullness of life within me. The pure joy I felt of having the privilege of growing you. Of having the opportunity to never be separated from you for 38 weeks of my life. For the fact that for 38 weeks of my life, you never left me. We spent every moment together.
So as I end this year of 2017, which has undoubtedly been the hardest year of my life, let me remember that good also came from the pain I’ve endured. You did in fact live. Your life is the reason for my suffering. And I have had the honor of being your mother, and bringing you into this world physically, so you could rest forever eternally in heaven. And I wouldn’t change any of it, if it would mean that you never existed.
I love you, my sweet girl. Keep praying for your Momma. Pray for us as we enter into this new year of new beginnings. Help us to hold onto hope, to Life, and to each other.
Loving you always...