Today was supposed to be Ella's due date. It would have been a really interesting one too, had she come today, with all of the ice we got last night. I think it probably would have been my first home birth! But luckily because of the ice Jacob stayed home today which helped keep my mind off of it being her due date. We just hung out and watched T.V and baked some gingerbread cookies. It was a pretty good day, really. But now that the day is coming to a close I am kinda sad. Her due date kind of feels like the last little piece of her. And now it is almost over. The day that should have been her's.
Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She'll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
ain't even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life.
It has been 6 weeks since Ella has come and gone. The last couple of days have been harder for me for some reason. I guess it's because when I first got pregnant I pictured this holiday season being much different. This upcoming Thursday would have been my due date so I thought I would be having a baby any day now. On Saturday night we had Jacob's union Christmas party to go to. Jacob's mom and dad were keeping the kids for us so Jacob ran them out there about noon. So we had most of the day Saturday to ourselves. Jacob had a headache so he came home and took a nap. Which left me by myself. Most of the time I have enough kids and commotion around me that I don't really have time to dwell on my loss much. But Saturday I had plenty of time. And to top it all off I thought I would watch Elizabeth Edwards funeral on TV. Not a good idea. Once I started crying I couldn't stop. So I spent most of the day Saturday wallowing.
Another thing that I think bothered me was that when I had pictured this Christmas party I thought I would still be pregnant. My brother and sister in law were also there, and another friend and his wife who are expecting a baby in January. This summer I thought that we would all be big and pregnant at the Christmas party. All awaiting the births of our perfect babies. But instead my belly was empty and my baby is in Heaven.
Then yesterday, Sunday, we went to a candle light ceremony in our community for all children, siblings, and grandchildren who have passed away. There was a photo slide show that Ella was included in. They also read a beautiful poem and there was music played. I was surprised to see how many people in our community had lost children. There were children of all different ages who had died for many different reasons - from car accidents to illness. It was kind of comforting to be in a room filled with people who have been through the same thing but also heartbreaking to know so many people are hurting the same way.
I was so looking forward to this Christmas but I am beginning to come to the realization that this holiday season is the beginning of having to give up many of the little dreams that I had. One celebration at a time.
We did have a good time at Jacob's Christmas party! Most of the men in his family are union carpenters so it is always more like a family reunion than a work Christmas party. The anticipation of going was much worse than actually being there. Once I got there it was easy to relax and fall into the conversation. We laughed and joked and had a good time! I am sure that is how every holiday celebration will be - much worse in my head than in reality.
It is hard to believe that it has already been a month since Ella was born. It seems like the past month has flown by and that makes me really sad. Every day that goes by feels like a day that is farther away from her. But I guess I shouldn't look at it like that. I keep trying to remind myself that it is a day closer to when I will see her again. :-)
All in all I think we are doing pretty well. I think I was able to do a lot of my grieving during my pregnancy. I am so thankful for that time. Although I miss my daughter terribly it's not quite the same devastation I felt the day of her diagnosis. I am so thankful that I had those 17 weeks after we found out to process it all. On Ella's birthday there was no devastation or even disappointment. I was able to just love her for exactly who she was! I was able to soak up every second with her. I was able to have pictures taken, make hand and foot molds, and cut a tiny lock of her hair.
I am so thankful for the technology we have today that could tell me at 16 weeks pregnant that there was something wrong with my daughter. Had I given birth to her 30 years ago I would have never had an ultrasound. I wouldn't have know anything was wrong until she was born. And things like this were handled much differently back then. As soon as she was out and the doctor's realized what was wrong they probably would have whisked her away and given me something to knock me out. When I woke up they would have told me that my baby had died and it was better if I didn't see her. They would have told me to put this behind me, that I could have more children.
Thankfully that is not at all what Ella's birth looked like. My doctor's and nurses were amazing! We were given as much time as we needed to make memories with our daughter. Our children got to hold their little sister. Our friends and family got to meet her and love on her. We had an amazing photographer, Traci Branscum, who came and took beautiful photos of our daughter that we will treasure forever! I am so thankful that Ella was born in 2010!
I am thankful that I carried her as long as my body would allow me to. When we first got Ella's diagnosis I didn't know how I was going to carry a baby that I knew was going to die. I just knew that there was no way I could terminate. If I had terminated, Ella's cause of death wouldn't have been anencephaly, it would have been me. I have no right to say when someone's life should end. Her life was just as valuable as anyone else's. Even if she wasn't perfect. God worked through her anyway. I learned so much from her in her short little life. I look at the world much differently than I did 6 months ago. Carrying Ella was one of the best things I have ever done. I am not going to say it was always easy but it was far easier than I ever could have imagined back in July.
I am so thankful to my God! I can honestly say that we felt God's presence through every step of this journey and we were never alone. And he is still with us on this side of the journey as I carry Ella in my heart instead of in my belly. :)