Today is one year from the day we met our sweet daughter Faith Marie face to face.
I can still see her little face when I close my eyes and take myself back to that hospital room, Brandon at my side and our close family members surrounding us. I will never forget the love I felt in the room that night. The peace and strength of those around me girding me in prayer.
There is a lot I vividly remember to that night, but not much I will share. Maybe one day. For now they are memories. Some painful, some still heart wrenching, yet others bring me hope and remind me of the new faith that was stirred in my heart in those moments.
My sisters made me a frame with some very special pictures that were taken that night.It is one of the most precious things anyone has ever given me and I treasure it like I do the special frame they made for Grace Ann as well. The frames sit on a window sill in Bella's room. I look at them almost every day. Today, I looked at Faith's a little longer, as I remembered that day 1 year ago.
I would love to tell you about my sweet girl. She had her daddy's lips. She was soft and precious and so innocent and pure. When I held her, she had already left this world to go and be with our sweet Jesus in heaven, but I was and still am, so thankful that I was able to hold her. I remember fighting through all of the pain medication, the aching empty feeling in my stomach, the burning pain in my lower abdomen from where she had been taken, the tears blurring my eyes...to focus. Focus on her, focus on the moment. I wanted to remember it all. I knew I would look back on that time and want to remember the details. I made it a point to look at every part of her. I unwrapped her from her little blanket and studied her feet- she had toes like her Aunt Jacquelin. I memorized her hands and even turned her around to look at her scrawny little butt because that's always my favorite on a newborn baby. She was perfect.
She may not have been completely developed yet, but in my eyes she was perfect. All she had left to do was put on weight, but other than that she was a perfectly formed little baby girl.
I know I leave a lot of blanks in my "story." Many don't even know why we lost Faith at 23 weeks or what happened. I will try to fill in the gaps as much as my heart will allow me to, but that part of my heart is still very much guarded. The details, the memories stay locked away for the most part but today, the day she was brought into the world for just a small fragment of earthly time, I want to talk about her, and to tell her story.
I want to remember her.
We had complications from about 10 weeks on in my pregnancy with Faith. It began with some spotting and we found out I had a tear between the placenta and the uteran wall. The weeks went on and honestly now trying to recall, I can't quite put a specific time line on it all. I just remember going weeks with nothing happening and then suddenly I would start bleeding. We thought the tear had healed, but it hadn't and it was causing my amniotic fluid to leak along with the bleeding, which therefore meant Faith's lungs were at risk to not develop properly. I ended up in the hospital on bed rest at about 22 weeks. I remember the number 24 being this magic number everyone kept mentioning and I wanted so badly to get to that point. At 24 weeks she would be considered "viable" and would have a slightly better chance at surviving on the outside. Although not ideal as the first part of her life would be spent fighting and struggling through every breath.
I was sent home on strict bed rest with the understanding that I would most likely be back in the hospital to stay for as long as I could keep Faith growing. I struggled with this. It was so hard for me to imagine being away from my kids and husband, yet I knew I needed to do it for my little girl. I've tried before to put this into words, but I simply can't. All I know is this was one of the hardest things I've had to face. My heart was at home, being a mom and a wife. But physically my body was in a hospital room being monitored continuously and not even able to get up on my own to use the restroom.
It was humbling, it was breaking and it was life changing. I couldn't do this all on my own. I couldn't be everything to everyone and be perfect at it all. What a lesson to be learned.
The night of August 3rd at 23 weeks, knowing I'd be going back to the hospital soon, I sat in Bella's room, rocking her to sleep...and I prayed. I had prayed continuously though out the pregnancy but this prayer and the heart it was coming from was different. I prayed to God to let His will be done. I told him I just wanted to be home with my family yet my heart was breaking for this little girl inside of me ..that I wanted to hold her in my arms and have everything be ok with her but I was tired and I couldn't fight anymore.
In those same moments I felt a flood of tears come over me. It was overwhelming and uncontrollable. Up until that very point, I was fighting as hard as I could for my baby's life. I was relentless and hardly allowed myself to cry... to show weakness. I felt like it would seem as though I had given up. And so I refused. I would not cry and I would not give up. But that night, as I sat praying, rocking my two girls- one in my arms and one growing inside of me, I cried.
I released it all to God. I gave it to Him. I stopped trying to fight on my own and I let myself cry.
Within the hour, I completely ruptured and began to bleed uncontrollably. Brandon rushed me to the hospital and after discussion and a decision made by the Dr. on call, it was decided I would be taken in to surgery for an emergency c-section. I remember being rolled away, looking back at Brandon and seeing concern and fear, written all over his face. He had been right by my side the whole time. My heart hurt for him. I wanted to keep fighting for him...for her. But I couldn't. I physically couldn't anymore.
I didn't realize the depth of what was happening. I knew my baby was ok, I heard her heart on the monitors, loud and strong. The nurses had reassured me that she was ok. Even as my body was failing me, she was still fighting. I can still hear her heartbeat echoing through the room as people all around me fought to keep us both alive.
Laying in the stark white room, a sheet being draped in front of me, the world fading around me, I felt relieved. My thoughts began to fade, the noise went silent, vision went blank...The decision was no longer on me, the weight was off of my shoulders. It wouldn't be all on me to fight for this little girl anymore.
I didn't realize it was basically inevitable that she would not have much chance to live. Her lungs were not mature enough and I'm told she fought to take a breath but couldn't. Her first breath was in the arms of Jesus.
Faith Marie was born on August 4Th, 2009 weighing a little over 1 pound. She passed away soon after birth. She and her sister Grace are buried in a very special spot. On family land in Seguin, in a place called Sunset Hill. I imagine there are many scenes just like it in heaven.
We will all be together one day. I will get to see her daddy hold her in his arms again and fall deeper in love. I will see those pouty lips turn into a smile and I will catch a peek of her little baby booty again.
Until then I will always remember our Faith.
I don't believe it is by accident or coincidence that I sit here, one year from the day, nearly 23 weeks pregnant with a healthy, kicking, perfect little girl growing inside of me. I cherish the time I have her with me. Sharing it with my two breaths of heaven and the most loving daddy I could imagine.