Wow 2012. When we rang in 2011 I was very pregnant with Grace, and so full of hope and joy over the new year. We had only just bought our first house, we were slowly settling in and we were getting ready for our baby girl. I thought 2011 was going to be such a GREAT year! I never in a million years could have envisioned how it really was. There truly were moments of greatness. I never thought that such a simple thing as holding your baby would be so highly emotional and amazing. When you sit by a baby's side for hours and hours a day for 7 long weeks and then the day comes you get to hold that baby it's amazing. When the day comes that it doesn't take 3 people to get that baby into your arms, you are allowed to just pick up your child as you please, well that's absolutely amazing. We celebrated things I'd never even knew were worth celebrating, never knew exisisted to celebrate. No more Versed, celebration! No more ECMO? Celebration! I never ever knew that anyone lived the life we did. Obviously I knew babies were in the NICU, obviously I knew babies were born with birth defects. But never once until I had Grace did I take it to heart, to understand at all what any of that meant.
2011 was a year of tremendous change. I will never in my life look at things the way I once did. My eyes are painfully open to the fact that babies are born already in heaven, that babies are born and are never taken to thier families home, babies are born and are never held in their loving parents arms until it is time to say goodbye. For a time, I couldn't wait to get out of 2011. To wash the bad taste out of my mouth and start anew. But you know what?
I wouldn't give a second of it back. If I woke up tomorrow and was somehow back to March 27th 2011 through August 9 2011 I'd do it over and over again. I got to spend an amazing 4.5 months with the absolute most amazing person I've ever been blessed to know. There's no way that throughout the rest of my life I will ever meet someone like Grace. There was so much more pain in those 4 months and 13 days than I have ever known but also so much more joy. Things that never brought joy, like sufficient urine output after days of just drops, or a chest tube output of only 10cc per shift instead of 100cc! An open lung! To some those things may sound silly but until I had Grace I never even thought to appreciate something as simple as a working human body. It's so effortless for us.
Usually when I look back on the year, I have memories and some or more prevalent than others. Some I'll remember longer than others. This year, 2011 has so many things I just will never forget. Not just the events but as I look back, I remember vividly as if I'm still there, certain conversations with certain surgeons, certain nurses, certain procedures and surgeries and I can remember without a doubt the exact way I felt. I can remember exact thoughts that were going through my mind. I will never forget them. 2011 was life changing. I can't say that for each and every year of my life.
Today I am stuck on one night. It was not long before Grace died. I had put her to bed and was getting ready to leave. I was gathering my things when I heard her, the absolute most beautiful sound, a sound each one of my babies has made and each time I just want to pick them up and snuggle them and never let them go. In her sleep, she laughed. Just a quick chuckle with a smile on her face. I will never forget that sound, so beautiful. I will never forget her beautiful cry, how amazing it was to hear it after so many weeks of being intubated.
2011 was a year of great sadness but also great joy.
I can only hope that 2012 is a year of less sadness but just as much joy.