Every year, around this time of year my heart feels. It feels more than I like. Don’t know about you, but I love to feel happy. The warm feeling of falling in love with a new baby, a first love, new puppy, finding a soul mate -I love these feelings.
The feeling a mother feels for her children, I love that feeling too. The warmth, snuggles, the soft whispers -they just make every day beautiful. That part I find hard about love is vulnerability. Our hearts are open to others and it feels so wonderful.
On December 9th, 2009 my heart felt the deepest sadness a parent can feel. The death of my daughter. Just before a parent meeting for our Crawmer’s Critterz toddler class, I had gone in for my 20 week prenatal check on Mimi -our daughter. Just the week prior we had found out she was a girl. Wiggling, bumping, sucking her thumb, she was just everything we could hope and dream of. How was it that I would be giving birth to her on December 9th, before her time? How was it she didn’t make it into my arms? What did I do wrong? Did I not sleep enough? Not love her enough? Was it that night I slept on my tummy? It is moments like these that leave our hearts breaking for the little hearts that have stopped beating before their time.
I went into St Charles, December 9th. A place of laughter, new life and little cries was now a place I would remember as a place of heart break, tragedy and broken dreams. I remember our nurse. She told me the greatest gift I was still left to be given -birth. Tears, full body sobs…. that was the only form of communication that was produced from my greif stricken body. How does this make a happy ending? How is this, “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purposes?” My heart was feeling… more than I cared to feel. Doubt and despair filled my being.
Our prayer team at Westside Church prayed peace over me. Holding Mimi, I’ll never forget her face. So soft and quiet. Her little body lay in my hands. She never got to meet her brothers and sisters. I never got to hear her new born cry, her laughter, or change her first diaper. She was gone in a flash. My hello, was also her goodbye. The peace I felt in the moments following her birth… words just can’t explain.those.moments.
Leaving the hospital was probably the hardest part. Her body was left with Baird’s Funeral home. Her remains cremated so we could keep her with us for as long as we live. How do you give birth and know you never can see or hold your baby again? That their life is over? The sweet moments and kicks are gone with nothing left? How do you explain to all of your friends that you will not be having a baby? What do you tell your children? So many unanswered questions as Russ and I walked down this sorrow-filled road. No one to talk to. No books to read. No answers in sight. Just broken hearts.
Milly was born to us October 7, 2010. The entire pregnancy was filled with fear, bleeding and complications. There wasn’t a night I slept until she was born and could cry. No ultrasound could give me hope. Yet, her little heart wouldn’t have made it into my world without Mimi’s sacrifice. Mimi gave up her spot in our family for Milly. Talk about the ultimate sacrifice. Every day, I spend my life valuing and loving the little hearts and lives of our precious chidlren here at Crawmer’s. I know, deeply and personally, how valuable life is. Our hearts as parents are tied to our children. They are not replaceable and our love is unending.
So today, December 9, 2014, I remember my daughter Mimi. The urn that contains what is left of my baby, is held a little tighter. Her little heart will forever bring a twinge of sorrow in my life. Yet that sorrow is also joy; joy for my gain of Milly -into my heart and our family. One would never wish to feel such despair and brokenness, but I am thankful for the lesson of just how precious our children are. I am thankful to be able to share my story. That others may know -it is OK to feel pain, sorrow and weakness -these are not the pretty feelings we flaunt on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Yet it is what helps us to know the depths of this life. My heart feels, and I am all the better for it.