I never intended on going this long without updating. I created this blog when Grace was a day or two old so that I could easily keep everyone informed about her, since I did not have the time or energy to relay what was going on numerous times. When she died, I decided to continue updating periodically when I felt like it, in hopes that maybe I might reach someone who needed it. That maybe even though, ultimately she didn't survive CDH, her story may help someone. I know there are many blogs that have helped me through this process. I haven't written in so long because I just could not. I have so many drafts that I haven't finished or published since March.
A lot of it has to do with time, I haven't had a lot of time or energy to update but moreso it has to do with me. I somehow became so angry, so sad, so scared and upset that when I would write on here, it was just anger and sorrow. I was so hopeless. I felt like anything that I typed, no matter what the actual words, just came out as a scream. That's all I felt like doing. Screaming. In pain, sorrow, anger, frustration, confusion etc.
My daughter died. I will never again, this side of Heaven, hold her, touch her, hear her beautiful cry. I have never heard the words "I love you mommy" come from her mouth. I've never heard a single word spoken from her. There are SO many things I never got and never will get and somedays it is SO hard to handle. I spent much of the spring and summer just focused on everything I didn't and won't get.It just doesn't make sense. With every fiber of my being, I love that baby girl.I wanted her more than words could ever explain. So, I got into a huge funk and couldn't get out. I would try and then something else would just knock me back into it. A well meaning stranger who would unkowingly comment on my 3 boys and obviously pregnant belly "I sure hope you're having a girl this time" or "all boys?! No girls?" and because I didn't want to make them feel bad, I'd just smile and say we were having another boy or say, yes all boys. And then desperately try to hold it together. Sometimes failing.
In preparation for our new son, we needed to paint Grace's room, to become his room. I couldn't fathom the thought at first, it made me sick. But as time went on, I grew excited because I could not wait to meet him, to bring him into our family. Always missing her, but already so in love with him. I was not at all prepared for the downward spiral of grief I fell into when we did paint the room. It was painful. I kept thinking "it's not fair, I want them both. I want this little boy so so much, but I want Grace too. I want to be trying to figure out how to fit 5 kids between 3 bedrooms, preparing for 2 kids under 2 again!" It was all just too hard. I was excited and happy for him, but always in the back of my mind I was so scared to lose him. I don't even think I realized how scared I was until, I was in labor and now.
I think I spent my pregnancy confused, how can I go on to have another baby, how can I be happy and excited and hopeful when my daughter is dead. That is for most mothers the worst fear, I know it was always mine. And now it is realized. So as I got closer and closer to my fifth child's birth and further and further from my fourth child's life, I became more and more confused and upset because I wanted, so badly to not let this baby live in Grace's shadow. How could I hold him and how could he CRY at birth, without me immediately thinking of her? How could I rejoice in him, without grieving her? They both are vital, they both need to happen, but how do they exist with each other? Would people think, would Grace think that because I was so in love with this little boy, because I was so happy and excited about him, that I had moved on? That the first thought in my head and feeling in my heart, always, was no longer her? The feeling of "it's not fair, I want BOTH of them" always always came back.
And then there was again the fear. Despite all the high risk ultrasounds I had with him, what if at birth it all went wrong again? What if they were looking so closely for CDH (Grace was not diagnosed until she was born, so we wanted to make sure it didn't happen again) that they missed something else? What if they didn't look at her heart closely enough because they were too focused on her diaphragm?
All of it, was just too much. I don't think anyone at all knew how hard of a time I was having, I couldn't let anyone know.. I couldn't blog about it, I couldn't talk about it. I couldn't even pray about it most of the time. Every so often I could type on messenger with a close friend about it, and I'm thankful for that. People would ask if I was nervous, or if I was scared or how I felt etc, and all I could say was "im fine" "i know he's healthy" but I didnt really believe it.
I had no need to be afraid. No need to even worry.
I was sent this gift, this amazing gift that was hand picked by God and Grace. A gift to show me, how much hope there still is, to help me out of the pit of grief that I had found myself in. The day my fourth son was born, I felt my daughters prescence stronger than I ever had. A friend has told me that Grace does not want her death to defeat me, and I had forgotten. During my pregnancy I was letting it defeat me. Grace reminded me of that, and every single time I look at her baby brother, I know both God and Grace have never once left me or my family. They've been by my side the entire time.
My grief and my joy, they can live together. Somehow, they do exist together and I am going to be ok. My family is going to be ok.
Caleb Gracen has been such a blessing to me. I began suffocating in sadness and he has shown me, it's ok to breathe. His sister lent him her cheeks and her attitude and I know that when he fixes his eyes on her pictures, he knows her. I know she helped him on his journey to our family.
4 boys and 1 beautiful girl. I am blessed.