A Message For My Little Girl
The past 9 days of our lives have been…intense.
Last Monday, we went for our routine 24-week pregnancy checkup, only to discover that our precious baby girl had no heartbeat. Beyond that, I was informed that due to the late stage of my pregnancy, I would have to be induced into labor and deliver the baby in the hospital. It would be just like the first two times with my boys when I was induced in order for them to come, except this time, I wouldn’t get to leave the hospital with a baby. We would essentially have to say our first “hello” and our last “goodbye” all at the same moment.
Because of the schedule and availability of my doctor, we were also informed that we would have to wait until late on Thursday evening (remember, this was early Monday morning when we found out) to even go to the hospital and have it done. That left us with 3 whole days in between in which we tasted the darkest grief, and faced tremendous uncertainty as to how we would ever be able to get through such a trying ordeal. Never in my life have I felt such panic. I was sure there was no way I’d ever be able to go through the harrowing task of birthing pains, all to deliver a baby that had already made her eternal home and was no longer really there.
It may sound crazy to mourn for someone we’d never truly met, but trust me when I say that it is not. Our baby had a name, Angelina Grace, and we had even bought her some pretty little frilly socks. We had seen her twice in ultrasounds, even one where we could see her moving to suck her thumb. She was extremely real to us, and we had long ago widened the reality of our family life to include another member. We were a family of 5, and suddenly, we were not going to be anymore.
Something I said over and over again in the midst of my panic leading up to Thursday’s hospital stay, was that I know how pointless it is to worry in advance. I knew that Thursday’s grace would be there on Thursday, but not a day sooner. I would say this, but not truly believe it, thinking that surely this experience of delivering a lifeless baby would extend far past even the highest bounds of where grace could reach. I am happy to report that I was wrong. Yes, those hours spent in the hospital, in labor, and in delivering my little girl were some of the most traumatic of my life, and we have yet to even scratch the surface of our grieving. And yet, there was a grace present in that room that was as undeniable as any other tangible presence could ever be. We felt our Father with us in that room, holding us together in an otherwise unbearable situation. He carried us.
Jason has been a rock star. If I thought he was strong for me when we faced cancer during our first year of marriage, well, this experience has turned him into a superman. We have pulled together, leaning on one another, and knowing that there is one other person who feels the loss of our baby girl as strongly as the other. Our families have jumped right in and helped us with everything from taking care of the boys, to cleaning the floors. Our church family has been the epitome of a life-giving community, and has made me so incredibly proud, watching as they step up and demonstrate what the church is all about. The prayers you all have prayed have not gone in vain. We are being carried on the backs of those prayers even now, and God is honoring each of them, I truly believe.
I am feeling…well, everything. I am angry, I am sad, I am peaceful, I am devastated – I’m pretty sure I’ve felt each of the 5 stages of grief within the confines of a single day. I know there are reasons out of our understanding and control, but the cold truth is simply that I miss my little girl. I had made a space in my heart for her, and it now feels incredibly empty. Angelina Grace was very much a real, living baby for a short time. I take comfort in knowing that she is in a far better world than the one we could have given her. She is in Heaven, surrounded by the perfection of love, and, I truly believe, being watched over by the two women she was named after, my grandmothers Angelina and Grace.
I will never get to tell her this in person, but if I could talk to her, I’d want to tell her how in just the 5 and a half months that she lived inside of me, she had already challenged my whole worldview. Because of her, I wanted to be a better woman – an example of Godliness and what it means to serve God in and out of life’s ups and downs. If there is a way for her to hear me now, I’d tell her that I love her, so much, and that I will continue to try to be that Godly woman that she could look up to and respect. I want to be better for her, for my little girl. I want to be a better woman – one who is kind, one who serves her family and others, and one who she could be proud to call her momma.
Angelina Grace, you changed my life more than you will ever know. I pray my life honors yours by showcasing integrity, love, and Godliness to the world. I love you.