First, this is the hardest August 4th I have had since the first one without her. I think 5 years tends to be a 'big' anniversary for most things... but also because I'm 19 weeks pregnant right now, just like I was at Rachel's diagnosis. I'm experiencing all of the "happy and normal" parts of pregnancy that I ached for with Rachel this time of year. I feel really good, similar to my pregnancy with Rachel... there is just way too much that is the same to not at times feel *right there*. And that makes the pain - the reality of all I have been through and lost - so very real and unavoidable.
I woke up this morning with her blanket in my arms as I have for the last 4 years and 8 months. I immediately felt the missing her - the feeling that used to consume me, but doesn't usually anymore. I think of her every day and miss all I'm missing, but it doesn't *usually* hurt like that anymore... but today, it did. I grabbed some coffee and sat down with the kids to watch the video I made for her funeral. Within a few minutes, I was the only one still watching.... and that is so symbolic of this entire journey. So much of it I had to do alone. Just the way it is when you are Mama.
Watching it - first of all, I was blown away that there have been over 276,400 views! - but I also was taken away in my memories. I saw in one picture of me showing my Rachel belly, the dress I bought for her on my birthday the week before not knowing if she was a girl yet is hanging on the wall behind me. That dress hung there for a long time. And the nail is still there and will be left here even if we move. That dress was symbolic of my refusal to believe she would die.
But she did.
The nail is the remembrance that I didn't lose hope or give up on her.
And I wouldn't. Still don't.
All I wanted to do today was go to the cemetery with our race shirts on and my plan was to water as many flowers in the cemetery for others as we could in 43 minutes because it's been so hot out. Of course, it stormed like crazy last night and nothing needed water. So I decided we would go get hot chocolate and head over, but the morning disappeared while I attempted to blog and got nowhere and the babies peed and pooped on everything - and then it warmed up and hot chocolate didn't feel right anymore - and so I decided we would make cake while Ezra napped and plan to go after Matt got home and eat cake there together. Isaiah did an amazing job making the cake. I said I hoped to get over to visit Rachel and Matt asked me if *I* still planned to go... but I was so tired and going alone wasn't what I really wanted, so we stayed home and ate cake, which all of them called a 'celebration' and I felt like doing anything but celebrating this day.... her birthday, yes. Because she lived. But this is the hardest day of my life every year and always will be... so no, not a celebration in my book.
I thought the most appropriate way to share what August 4, 2010 brought into our lives is just simply to share the email I sent out (before Facebook times) to our friends, family and church family and then the video I made that journals my time with Rachel until we had to say goodbye for now.
Even as I read my words in this email, I am so certain that God was carrying me, I can't help but be thankful, but it still hurts so very much to realize and remember that this happened to me. I actually went through this. And it was the very hardest thing I have EVER done.... and remains the hardest thing I have ever done - and still do - to this day. 5 years is a long time for everyone else - maybe enough to assume that since I'm not crying every day that the trial is somehow over for me and my family - but it will never be over until the day I meet her in paradise.
Here is the email I sent out:
Where do I begin?
We had our 5 month ultrasound yesterday and went to Maine Medical today for a 2nd opinion that confirmed that our new baby girl has a rare condition and will not live long after birth. I will be able to carry her to term, but unless God performs a miracle, she won't be able to live outside my womb. Our hearts are broken, and yet we can see how God has prepared our hearts for this trial. We believe wholeheartedly that He can heal her and are praying relentlessly for that truth to be ours. But we know that might not be what He does. As much as we don't want to drink of this cup, we are surrendering to whatever He wants to do through this.
Our desire during this time is that we can celebrate her life even in the midst of our sadness and cherish the time we have with her, however limited it may be, until we see her again in heaven. Please do this with us. We do not want to act as if she is already gone, when she is not. She is beautiful (pictures coming soon!) with a healthy beating heart and apparently loves to dance, just like her Mama. We want to focus on these things. Her name is Rachel Alice, which has a very special meaning to us, that I'm sure you'll hear someday hear about.
If you're wondering how you can help, these are things we need.
- ceaseless prayer for Rachel's miraculous healing
- that if she isn't healed, that she'll live through delivery and be able to come home from the hospital with us
- strength for our family, and special prayer for Desirae who so desperately wanted a sister
- for God's provision in costs associated with preparing a funeral and strength to do that
- preparing my heart to be healing physically from childbirth, without a baby to hold.
- for timing with labor to make it possible for family to be with us, especially my mom & sister, and for wisdom on how to handle the baby's arrival with our kids
- that we will continue to see God moving and be able to praise Him in this storm
- protection from Satan's advances during this vulnerable time
- lots of hugs - we favor these over talking details. They are less draining and more helpful
- we may need some childcare for Dr. apts.
- no info from internet (part of the reason we are not discussing the name of condition)
- any and all encouragement from God's Word that He gives you for us so that we can stay firmly planted in His truth. The Word of God speaks...
Thank you so much and we love you all,
Matt, Stacy, Desirae, Isaiah, Samuel & baby Rachel
---Google can't satisfy every search...My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.He alone is my rock and my salvation. - Psalm 62:1-2
And here is the video. Continued prayers are appreciated ♥ Even as I write this, Baby E2's kicks are reminding me of the unbelievably difficult balance of joy and sorrow I had to walk. Last night this baby's kicks had me crying over how hard it was to feel Rachel's kicks as I waited for her to arrive and die. It's just been a really hard and emotion filled time remembering Rachel and how much I miss her - and boy, do I miss her.... I thought I was over the 'hard days' but I should have known grief isn't that predictable. But, I continue to surrender to whatever He wants to do through all of this - no matter how much I didn't - and don't - want to drink of this cup.... I surrender all.