It's a beautiful thing to have "full hands"
I want to write so much - I want to tell you every detail of all the amazing things that have happened. I want to share the special gifts I've gotten for Eden - and how Rachel was such a part of them all, even when people were unaware as they sent them. And I want to write about every tear I have cried as I continue to miss Rachel in a very complicated and intimate way with Eden. And I just don't have the time - or the words.
So, I'm just going to write about her blanket for now.
Her blanket, as most of you know, was an extremely hard part of my journey with Rachel. I wanted the perfect one, but I wanted two of them so she could keep one and so could I. I kept the one that I made that she was wrapped in at the hospital - and she is buried with an identical one that Des made. And I have slept with this blanket every single night (except one when my sister & I stayed in Portland and I forgot it and I struggled to sleep without it) since she left me at the hospital. I bring it everywhere with me. It has been on every getaway, family vacation, and through every hard night with me. It was also on my hospital bed for each of my 3 babies after her.
I often feel like a freak, 36 years old and sleeping with a blankie... I have thought a million times about how and when I will be able to stop sleeping with it. I figured I can't use it forever... and I wonder if I'm the only mom to do this for this amount of time. I've tried to think of ways I could get out of the habit of sleeping with it that would be ok for my heart...
The last week of my pregnancy, I had brought it with me to one of the hospital trips and forgot to unpack it when I came home. I remembered it, but for the first time ever, I was able to fall asleep without going to get it.
And then when Eden was born, I wrapped her in it... It's odd because picking out Eden's blanket was a huge, long process for me and really hard because I didn't know if she was a girl or boy. And then all that, and I used Rachel's at her birth, without even thinking about it - it just came naturally. I didn't even realize I did that until I saw the photos later.
After we got home, I would sleep with it when I slept without Eden, but that wasn't very often. I just kept it above or beside us. And then a little at a time, I found myself letting Eden use it. It just so happens that Rachel's blanket is the perfect size and weight for a little girl....
This has been mostly healing for me. But there are times, and they always catch me off guard, that just make me cry. Today was one of them.
I pick Eden up and hold her tight and thank God through tears that she is here... I tell her I love her and then I'll hear myself say "I miss her so much."
And I do. So much. It never goes away.
I remember the day I bought the fabric for this blanket like it was yesterday. I was in JoAnn's and it was PACKED. I looked forever. I think I was there at least 2 hours looking for fabric to make her a quilt. I finally decided to use one that the top was already sewn into patches so that all I had to do was sew a back on it. I stood in line with my huge belly, the rolls of fabric, and the hope sign that I put on my door the night before her birthday.
Waiting in a long line, with a huge belly, it was bound to happen....
People started asking me when I was due and what I was having. It was only minutes before one guy made a comment about how horrible it was that I was due on Christmas and how he felt bad for the baby that her birthday would be at Christmas. He said she wouldn't like it at all. He said there was no worse time to have a baby - and everyone around me agreed. Their useless chatter and laughter over their false idea of my daughter's fate had my head and heart hurting. But they remained clueless.
It was one of the few times that I didn't tell someone about her diagnosis when I was asked so many questions. I don't know why I stayed silent, but I think it was because I was on the verge of a total breakdown and I needed to buy that fabric. I knew if I started talking, I might fall apart. I knew if I told them, and fell apart, I would be in the spotlight while it happened. I knew it was likely I'd leave before I made it thru the line with the fabric. In my head, all I could think was "I'd give ANYTHING to be so "bothered" with a birthday at Christmas time...
And every once in a while, it hits me - I am. I will be.
Eden is SO BEAUTIFUL. She is just. so. pretty. She is an amazingly easy and content baby. She smiles ALL the time. I'm blown away by the perfection God created in her. She is awesome. She also looks just like Rachel. Of course, Rachel had the typical anencephaly type traits, like her eyes being puffed out, but when I look at Edens mouth, her lips, her cheeks... her hands and her feet... she looks *just* like Rachel.
|keeping in mind that Eden is about 8-9 pounds heavier than Rachel was in this photo,|
I still think the resemblance is amazing.
Over 5 years ago, I stood in line carrying the excruciating truth of the purpose for that fabric inside me. A month later, I buried my daughter in half of that fabric. Every day since then, I've clung to the other half in her place. Tonight, I am watching Rachel's little sister sleep wrapped in it.
What that combination does to me is hard to put into words. All I know is that I am suddenly able to sleep without Rachel's blanket and it feels right to share it with Eden. And I know I'm so very thankful to have another Christmas baby and I look forward to being able to celebrate each year we are given to spend with her - even at... no, *especially* at - Christmas time.