Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seven

Today marks seven months since Harper made her way to her Heavenly home.  Somedays I can hardly believe that it has been that long as the memories are so clear and just come rushing in at a moments notice.  Other days it feels like I have already lived a lifetime without her as the memories are more blurry; in those blurry moments I am saddened because I feel so far from her.

It is interesting to think of where my life was at this exact time last year and where it is now.  We had just found out we were expecting and naively thought that a positive pregnancy test automatically meant that you would get to bring home a baby in nine months.  How*wrong*we*were.  In the last year our lives have changed dramtically, we have become different people.  The old Rhi and Chris never to return.  We are the proud parents to our spirit baby or as a dear friend put it, parents to our beautiful baby in the sky (I love! that description).

The day we knew Harper's early arrival was imminent, we had a meeting with the hospital's lactation consultant and one of the staff neonatologists.  We discussed kangaroo care (skin to skin contact and therapy that has been shown to improve cognitive function for preemies) and breast feeding challenges in the NICU, which basically amounted to me pumping with a industrial strength hospital breast pump and using my milk for tube feeds.  We were up for it, all of it, what ever it took, we would do it.  The consultant even brought out her binder full of success stories with pictures of babies born at or before Harper's gestational age.  These kids were thriving, which was surprising to me.  I was feeling better about her early arrival and we were prepared to set up camp in the NICU for how ever long it took to get our girl healthy enough to bring home.  Of course I had the obvious worries about her prematurity and what kind of impact that would have on her life.  I was so scared that she would be in pain or suffer - neither of which appeal to any mother.  We had accepted it though, this was going to be our life - no matter what happened, we were going to parents to a micro preemie and we would get through this as a family.  I never once thought Harper would die.  Not once.  I am not sure why this never crossed my mind.  I guess I thought that since I had taken great care of myself, only ate healthful foods, took my vitamins religiously, and did everything 'right' that she would be OK.  I could not have fathomed how terrible of a turn our life would take.  And as you all know, the worst thing imaginable happened, our daughter didn't make it and our lives were shattered.  Our lives forever changed.

I have grown so much in the last seven months.   I have been at my weakest and at my strongest.  I have loved so much deeper because I know how quickly it can all go away.  I know how it feels to hit the bottom, to feel so lost and so helpless to grief and to feel that you have nothing to live for.  Thankfully, I also know what it feels like to start to feeling good again with the bad days getting fewer.  I can finally smile and laugh again and mean it.  I have learned that Chris and I are so strong and going to be OK; we can get through anything since we have already been through the worst hell possible.  No matter what happens in my life, I will keep breathing even though I may not want to or don't feel I can go on. I have learned how very precious every life is and how everything can change in an instant.  Above all, I know I am blessed and I am so lucky to have known the soul of a tiny little angel girl who continues to make an impact on so many lives.

This quote was sent to me by a dear friend yesterday and I think it so eloquently describes how we feel about our angel babies.

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory 
and beauty belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it.
-Unknown

5 comments:

Dana said...

This is beautiful. I know that Harper is so proud of her Mama and can feel all of your love for her.

It is strange to be so far in the grief process. People would say that eventually the good days would outnumber the bad, but I could never believe it. And then it started to happen and I started to tell other people that.

It is so true that we have been at our strongest and our weakest since our babies died. We have gotten through an absolute nightmare and we are stronger because of it and appreciate life and our loved ones more. We will always miss them though and wish that we never had to find out just how strong we are.

Sending you huge hugs and thinking of sweet Harper.

Big Love, Big Acceptance - or so I say said...

Thinking of you and Harper as you reflect on the past 7 months. What a journey it has been! And will continue to be. Remebering Acacia's anniversary dates and reading about other BLMs remembering their baby's anniversaries always touches me in a sad, tender and sweet way.

Lots of love to you and yours!

Violet1122 said...

That poem was the biggest source of comfort to me when I came across it after my first miscarriage. I am glad you find some comfort in it too.

Sending big hugs...

Drew's Parents said...

Oh, the days where a BFP automatically meant you were bringing home a baby. I thought the exact same thing and never questioned otherwise. Reading about your experiences with the lactation consultant broke my heart. I wish Harper’s story could have been added to her binder to share with other mom’s. I ache thinking about the life Harper could have had. Yet, I know that as a spirit baby she is fortunate to have her loving parents and family and a network of other angel moms who are always sending their thoughts and love her way. She will always be remembered. She has been with you every step of your healing and growth and must be so proud of you. I am so thankful to have met you on this journey and find comfort in imagining all of our babies being able to play together in spirit. Thank you for sharing that beautiful quote. <3 <3 <3 My heart is with you always! xoxo

Melissa said...

I love that quote too. It is hard to believe it's been seven months since our baby girls went to Heaven isn't it? I AM glad to have seen it, and I know in the end when I get to hold her again in Heaven it may make sense to me but right now I still miss her and the dreams we all had.

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