Hi Friends (:
I took Lyla to her first official night of Awana last night, and while catching up with some ladies we were talking about Evie's upcoming birthday party. One asked me what the past year was like and I replied "it's like a blur..." and it is. Honestly, it has been a humbling, challenging, life altering, blessed year... but I feel like I haven't taken enough time to look back. I remember reading another woman's blog before Evie was born, and her saying that if she "was going to walk through a valley of this magnitude, she would not walk out unchanged." It would obviously be impossible to walk through this experience unchanged, but I truly desired to change for the better. So in this next week leading up to Evie's birthday, I want to let her know how her first year has truly, deeply changed me, starting in September.
My dearest sweet Eve,
Today I was in an appointment with your dad and he said "last year today, it was 9/9/09," and my heart sunk a little. Why? Well, because that meant it that this time last year was 10 days before you were going to be born. It was the day I went to a funeral in Lincoln for my dear friend's beautiful daughter who was only a few months old, and the next day was my final appointment with our doc before we would deliver you into the world. We didn't know how your "birth" day would go, or the days following. When we asked at every appointment, it was continually thought that we would have moments with you. There was a "rare" chance we would take you home. About this time last year I had finally found the peace I was searching for all summer. I knew that any time we didn't have together here, we would spend walking the streets of heaven together, it was the only thing that made it bearable.
The night before your birth we invited our friends to come up to the hospital to hang out. I couldn't stand the thought of being up at the hospital alone or with just a few family members, I wanted to celebrate the weekend. Lyla and her friend Morgan were sitting in bed with me eating potato chips while I was having contractions (: It was a beautiful distraction, and reminder that life is good, and God gives us everything we need for the moments we are in.
In the beginning of my pregnancy I needed time to process, but by your birthday I couldn't wait to hold you. For better or for worse I couldn't wait to have you in my arms. To hold your little warm body next to me. To see your face, hear your cry, to tell you all of the ways I loved you. When you were born they immediately laid you on my chest and I saw your beautiful unbroken body. They had prepared us for the worst, but we had passed the first test of delivery, and I couldn't have been more proud of how resiliant you were. If only I knew how brave you would be through the coming year. You were born September 19, at 6:37pm, and after meeting so many of our family members your dad and I stayed up all night with you. We took turns holding you, and finally laid you between us to sleep for a while. You had some hard breathing at times, and we didn't know exactly what that meant. It was hard to watch you struggle, but it was wonderful just to be with you.
Finally the nurses took you out so we could close our eyes for a few moments. They promised us that if you started to struggle they would immediately wake us up to be with you. When they brought you back a few hours later your eyes were wide open and you were nearly smiling. Each shift the nurses from the previous day would return in tears because you were still with us. They even took our camera during the night to take their own pictures with you. (:
The next day you had x-rays, and Dr. Pat called me from his cabin with the results... it sounded something like this "Hi Lindsey! I g... ..e re...ults .... the x-ray... Th... ..iagnosis is ..ot lif.... reatenening" Seriously Dr. Pat! (: After about a 20 minute phone call with about 70% reception and a train going by Dr. Pats cabin, I got the message. You were going to LIVE. It was a "could I seriously be this blessed" moment.
Sunday you had more than 50 visitors. Yes, more than 50. I'll be honest, after not sleeping for three days I was a little more than exhausted, but I will never forget the love that was poured out on you that day. And I will be forever grateful for everyone who loved us and cared for us the few days following.
On Monday we saw a few doctors, and on Tuesday dad went home to get the carseat. I never gave up hope that you would come home my sweet girl, but I knew I couldn't drive home with an empty car seat in my car. So we took your last hospital pictures with your sis, packed you up, and drove about 30 miles per hour the whole way home. (:
We had two routine doctor's appointments with you the following week and spent Friday celebrating Evie day. If it was God's will for you to join him in Heaven, that Friday the 25th would have been the day we would have laid you to rest. The thought of those preparations still break my heart, I can barely even type the words, or drive past the cemetary. Instead, on Friday the 25th, we returned the dress that I had bought, and bought a fun outfit to wear to church that Sunday and celebrate the healing hand of God and the miracles that He, and only He can provide. We had lunch at Kona Grill with Nana, Aunt Kirst, Grandma Dellie, and Lyla.
At your most recent appointment with Dr. Lutz a few weeks ago, you had your pacifier in your mouth and he said "she's smiling with her eyes." I think that is the best description of September 2009. Through your eyes I saw God smiling, taking care of you, and healing my heart from a summer of grieving. Your life has allowed a hurting heart to heal under the hand of God. Evie Jayne, you have changed my heart.
I love you sweet girl, more than the sun and the moon.