Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hopeful Expectation

I know that I have probably given the impression with feelings I've shared that Rachel's birthday will also be the day she dies...  And while I know that is a possibility, I also know that God could still heal her completely.  I don't believe that to be His plan, but I don't doubt it could happen - and would obviously LOVE to be wrong on that one.  However, I do feel very confident that Rachel could live long enough to come home with us.  That is the true desire of my heart and it would not surprise me if my merciful God granted me that.  It is scary to think of her dying here, but not as scary as the thought of having to let her leave the hospital with someone else.  I am trusting God that He knows what is best for us and will work that out accordingly. 

I just got an email from a friend asking if we wanted to borrow a baby swing in case Rachel lives a while.  She admitted that it might sound "crazy" but that she is just "hopeful"...  And I'm sure that many reading this think it sounds crazy.  But you know what?  It gave me a big smile.  I pictured Rachel home with us and us scurrying around to get baby stuff out.  I thought of how I probably wouldn't want to use the swing cause I wouldn't want to put her down... but that I'd be happy to get a picture of her in it.  I thought about how sweet and irreplaceable those first few days at home with a newborn are and how that could happen with Rachel.  I felt hope.  I think I've mentioned before that "Hope does not disappoint us" (Romans 5:5)

Sometimes I think it will be more painful to hope for a long time  with her and not get it, than to just expect little time and be happily surprised.  I guess we call it self-preservation.  But I know that I don't need to preserve myself.  God is going to preserve me through this - and He will not make it harder on me because I was hopeful.  I am positive that no matter what happens, He will carry me and He will bring me joy and peace.

It has weighed very heavy on my heart to hear that people are planning out an estimated date for her funeral before she's even born.  And I am sad to say that I have followed suite in those conversations... it's an awkward place to be.  I know she could die right away, so when people are asking about when the funeral is, I almost feel obligated to give a date - and I have actually tried, although never in a very articulate way to tell them what day to aim for.  That is ridiculous.  She hasn't even been born.   People usually die before you set a date for a funeral.  And yet I am somehow supposed to be able to do it the other way around... as if I know when she'll die.  There have been plenty of babies with anencephaly that have lived days and a few that lived months.  Who am I do decide how long God has in mind for Rachel? 

After just getting a glimpse of hope and joy through a simple offer of a swing and the idea of Rachel outliving everyone's expectations, I felt like I am selling her short.  She deserves for us to be looking forward to her birthday before we set a date for her funeral...  she deserves for us to be excited over her and not just sad.  She deserves a birthday party (which by the way, we already have planned! - I asked my mom to pick up a cake and balloons on the way to the hospital and we WILL sing "Happy Birthday" to my girl!)  She deserves her life to be acknowledged and not just the fact that she will die.   I mean, technically, we're all going to die, so should we all pick a funeral date?

The one thing that I have noticed throughout this journey is that the people who have already lost a baby leave a different kind of comment when someone posts about the birth and death of their baby...  it reads something more like "congratulations" than "so sorry".  They understand that even if your baby dies, you are still that baby's mother.  You will always be and the baby will ALWAYS be part of your family.  They understand that "congratulations" are in order.  There will be plenty of time for the "so sorry" - Even at Rachel's shower, we received sympathy cards...  we were celebrating her life and got sympathy cards.  While I can understand, it still hurt my heart - but not as much as those who didn't get a card at all cause Hallmark doesn't make a card for such a thing.  "Congratulations, you're having a baby" would have covered it.  We have people who have never been concerned about me through any of my other pregnancies or births, and not even through this pregnancy that want to be there to meet Rachel, because she's going to die... If she was going to live, they wouldn't be so interested.  It seems her death is already overshadowing her life.

I've struggled with the thought of Rachel being taken from me...  I have never had a c-section, and honestly, it feels like a rip-off to me.  I hate the idea of the doctor cutting her out of me instead of being able to give birth to her myself.  I want to nurse her and she might not be able to do that... I have always nursed my babies.  That is another thing I feel I'm being robbed of.  I am painfully aware of the fact that I won't see her grow...her childhood won't exist.  Instead of rocking her to sleep, I'll be burying her in the ground.  I won't see her get married or have her own children.  God's plan for her, hurts for me.  I've had nightmares where I watch all these women give birth to healthy baby girls and as soon as they get them dressed in their pretty pink outfits, the doctor comes and rips the baby out of the mother's hands and the mother screams like crazy.  That might only be a dream, but it reflects my feelings and fears about letting her go... it doesn't feel like letting her go, it feels like she's being taken. 

The last thing I want is for her life to be taken from me while she's still alive.  I am spending this last week before her birth, waiting for her with hopeful expectation.  Waiting to hold her, hoping to nurse her and planning to take her home with us... because I know that Hope does not disappoint us.  Things might not go that way, but I will never regret loving with all that I am and hoping without reservation.  And for the record, I have NO idea when her funeral will be.


  1. When in a snarky mood, you should respond to those "when is the funeral" questions with "Have you picked a date for yours?"


  2. oh. my. goodness. I hadn't put it all together that this is the week! I will be praying friend.

  3. I've been following for a while and I just want to let you know that you have been an absolute inspiration! Your strength is amazing and seeing the love you have for your sweet little girl is so heart warming.

    I gave birth to my daughter Sept 16th of this year and couldn't imagine losing her. If I were in your situation I would do exactly the same thing.

    You and your family are in my prayers through this time and after Rachel's birth. I pray god gives you as much time as possible with that beautiful baby and that while you will have to grieve that you are at peace knowing you and your family and Rachel have made a great impact on this earth and in the hearts oof many.

    Good luck and Congratulations on the upcoming birth.

  4. I feel your joy and sorrow so deeply every time I read a new blog.
    First Congratulations!!! Enjoy every minute you have with your precious baby girl, in utero and out!!! :)
    Secondly, we will be singing Happy Birthday to Rachel on Friday here in our home.
    Thirdly, I want you to know that I have been praying for the things that will come after all is said and done. I have been there and am praying for God's grace and hope and peace to continue filling you each and every step! He did for us and I know without a doubt that He will do it for you as well! He has shown Himself faithful already to you and will continue to do so.
    Looking forward to hearing about her birthday! Waiting expectantly with you.... :)

  5. I have been following your blog since the article about your family appeared in Fosters, and your faith has amazed, inspired, and blessed me in many ways. Being a fellow believer, I too in various situations have wrestled with some of the same questions. But I have to tell you, what you shared about hope not disappointing absolutely astounded me. Thank you so much for sharing that! Our whole family is praying for yours, and I just wanted to say thank you for not being afraid to be real. Even Jesus cried...I don't believe He intended for us to pretend we are okay when we aren't, or act like things don't break our hearts when they do. Please know that you have are having a tremendous impact, and that there are people out there being encouraged and praying for you.

  6. December 3rd, 2010 will be a day of joy. It is the day that you will meet face to face this little joy and miracle. Whether you only meet for a day or for many days, it is a gift in my eyes and I am sure yours. I'm sure she will beautiful, how couldn't she? She has a beautiful, strong, and faithful family. I can't wait to read about the birth of this miracle, and I will shed happy tears.


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes