I changed him, fixed his socks, gave him some teething things, gave him some tylenol, made him a warm bottle and rocked him. All bases covered.
About half way through all this, I remembered it's now the 3rd.
I kissed him on his chubby cheek and it was cold. His cheeks are never cold. My mind immediately went back to two years ago today.
I woke up at 5am to greet the sitter at the door and got ready to go meet my girl. I really thought I'd have her for the day.
5 hours and 27 mins later, they pulled her from my womb. 43 mins after that she was gone.
I wish I remembered her warm cheeks. They were warm. I wish I remembered her warm nose. I know it was. I wish I remembered her pink skin. She did start out that way.
But with one touch to my lips of Asa's cold cheek, it all came flooding back. In that moment I could feel her perfect little Aube nose cradled between my lips. She was so cold. I wanted to warm her up. But I couldn't. The parts of her body I kept towards mine stayed warm and mobile....and the rest cold and stiff. But no matter how I tried, I couldn't keep every inch of her touching me. I would have forever if I could have fought death a little longer.
And as I sat there rocking my sweet baby Asa... Rachel's little brother.... my mind wandered from her nose - to the operating room - to second guessing my c-section, to the funeral home picking her up - to if I should have kept her with me until her funeral.... I mean, she had to be somewhere, why not with me? - to how I had asked them to try to embalm her and they weren't able to....they cut her open for nothing and I wasn't there with her... why did I want that so badly? I was trying to fight the reality of death. I wanted her to look like she did for as long as possible as if it really matters what happens under the ground... but when I went to see her at the funeral home on the way home from the hospital, I could here saran wrap in her outfit. I wanted to get her dressed myself, but they told me they didn't recommend it. They said it was there for her bandage from the embalming attempt. This morning I wondered if they messed with her heart.... was she a mess? Did she bleed? Did they take all her blood out? Did that make her weigh less? Was it too bad for me to see? Should I have just dressed her and not worried about it so that I could have been the one to dress her and wouldn't have to wonder about what that horrible noise was under her "Love to Twirl" outfit?
I thought I didn't have any regrets. And for some reason this morning, they are taunting me. As if I really could have done anything to fight off death.
I laid Asa down in his crib and he slipped gently back to sleep. I'm so thankful he's alive. I'm thankful for crying. For teething. For being woken up every hour for a baby who needs me and whom I can comfort. Because 2 years ago today I was up all night with a dead baby trying to fight death....and I have no control over it. Two years ago today, I refused to sleep because I might miss a moment of being able to look at my little girl. Two years ago today, I worked on a funeral plan while still in the hospital and posted a picture of my daughter that I tried to edit just enough that her blueness wasn't so obvious, but so you could see her pretty pink daisy dress.
Thank you Jesus that YOU conquered death. Thank You that in YOU she is alive and warm and she doesn't have any saran wrap taped to her wounded body. Thank You that with YOU she is pink, she can breathe, she is not just sporting a ballerina's outfit, but that she is truly dancing at your feet. And thank you that YOU and YOU alone are my comfort. That in these moments where I have regrets, I can trust that You directed me in those times. That I can lay it all at your feet and say it is well with my soul.... because in YOU death has lost it's sting and it has no victory.
Please Lord make this my heart's song today because I am so so sad and the visions in my mind are breaking my heart over and over again.
Rachel Alice, I miss you. I long to hold you again. Someday, pretty girl. Someday.
Where, O death, is your sting?”
2 Corinthians 4:7-18
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.