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I’ve been quiet on the blog recently… just taking everything in, and well there honestly hasn’t been much to write on. There hasn’t been any new news, other than an actual date set for our induction- August 8, 2017. Yesterday I realized it was one week away. I have one week left to spend with April. One week left to feel her kicks. One week left to talk to her and enjoy her presence.
One week left.
I walked around in a fog yesterday. I felt upset at the world, and annoyed with every little thing. I went out at one point by myself, and the world just seemed to spin around me. It was the same feeling that I’d felt when I was at Hopkins taking in all of the information they’d presented to us. I remember walking into the lunch area and everything seemed to be a blur around us. My heart raced, and the tears came instantly. People moved about busily, not knowing that our world felt like it was falling apart. I had to stop walking in what felt like utter chaos and catch my breath. Yesterday was the same. As I walked around in stores, I couldn’t make sense of anything going on around me. I was just in a daze and feeling like I was in slow motion compared to everyone around me.
I’m trying to prepare myself for what is to come. The truth is there is no way to do this. Just as there was no way to prepare myself for the love I’d feel for Caroline when I met her for the first time. No one can explain to you or prepare you for that first moment that you become a mom. And this is the same. No one can prepare me for the love I’ll feel for April. No one can prepare me for the devastation that we’ll feel when we see her and she’s gone. No one can prepare me for the grief that is ahead. Part of me just wants to get this over and done with so I can start to put the pieces back together. Start to heal. Start to move in a forward direction. And part of me wants time to stop. I want to never have to experience what lies ahead.
In all of this sadness that we are feeling, I find it amazing that I can also experience pure joy. Last night, Caroline gave me that gift. I was 110% focused on her accomplishment last night, and I knew I had the biggest smile on my face. It was a smile that I’d felt missing for quite some time now. But yesterday she brought it back. I knew in that moment that we’d be ok. We will all be ok and stay strong together. Thank goodness for my wonderful little family.
I know I have you curious now… what did Caroline do to earn such joy from mama!? She did a trial run last night in her swim class, to move to the next level. It was her first time doing swim class without Mama in the pool. She did absolutely amazing! She had to sit and wait patiently on the side of the pool. When it was her turn, the instructor would come and work with her, then back to the side she’d go, and the process would repeat. She was so brave and so strong! I felt like she was all grown up last night, and I was so proud of her. She’s confident to try new things like this, and I’m always amazed at how well she does, and how well she handles every situation. She had a huge smile on her face, and kept looking back at me and saying “Mama, look at me!”. She was proud of herself and it showed. I love being able to share in all of these amazing moments with her.
Then it was back to reality. We got home, got her to bed, and I just sank into my husband’s arms and cried. I knew that moment of happiness was such a gift and I wanted it back, to hold onto forever. I didn’t want to face the reality of our lives right now. But it hit me so hard when I finally had the comfort of his arms around me. The tears that had piled up all day, finally broke loose. “One week”, I told him, “one week.”
In one week, on August 8th, we’ll go through something that no parent should ever have to go through. We’ll hold our lifeless baby in our arms and say goodbye. It’s possible that we have a few seconds or minutes with her. We have no idea what to expect, and quite honestly we are both terrified for this day to come. In one week we’ll have to answer some super hard questions with Caroline, as she also says goodbye to her sister. We are trying to prepare her as much as possible, and even got her a couple of books about what is going on. I was able to read one of them to her last night, and I watched as she realized that she and the boy in the book were both having to say goodbye to their baby siblings. She asks questions, and she tells us that she’s sad and scared. The other book (my favorite), I told her was about a baby like April. She won’t let me read it yet. “Not yet Mama,” she says, “I’m scared to read it”. She keeps it close to her bed, however, and looks at it on her own.
In one week, we’ll donate April’s body to the University of Maryland. They have a brain and tissue bank, and accept trisomy 13 babies. Her tissues will be used for trisomy 13 specific research. We are so happy that her life is going to be able to contribute to the science and medical fields in such a way.
Today we have two daughters. One unborn, and one 2.5 year old. In one week, we’ll have one living daughter, and a daughter that is dead. Dead. It’s such an uncomfortable word. I never want to say it. It will take awhile to use it, to say it, to accept it. The same thing happened with the word rape. It’s been over a decade… I still can’t say the word comfortably. I avoid using it at all costs. Except my new reality is going to be answering questions like “How many children do you have?”, or “Is she your only child?” These are normal questions that arise when you meet and talk to other moms. And my answer is now that “I have two children”. And the mom will ask how old our other daughter is. And I’ll have to answer that she died. She didn’t get to be in this world. She didn’t get to live, and play, and love. She didn’t get the life that she should have.
I don’t know how to face my new reality. I don’t know how to answer the questions yet. I don’t know how to breathe in a world that is chaotic and simply moving forward without me. I have no idea. I know we will stay strong. All I know right now is that I have one week. That’s my only thought as the days move forward and I unwillingly move with them.
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