After a few years of wedded bliss, my husband Gabe and I began the process of trying to start our family. We did not know then that our journey would not be as smooth as we imagined it to be. At first, it was all excitement and talking about the future. I downloaded a fancy app and began fertility tracking. After a time, we both became frustrated and impatient with each passing month. When would it happen for us? It appeared so easy for everyone else! Everywhere we looked, another baby was born, or someone else was pregnant.
Finally, after almost twelve months, our time had come. We told our immediate family and were excited about what the future held for us! However as quickly as we found out our dream was coming true, it was taken away. I suffered a miscarriage at six weeks, five days and we had to find a way to understand why.
Several months later, we visited a reproductive doctor. Maybe there had been something wrong, and we wanted to find out what it was. Our visit was informative and gave us hope once again. We made a plan and were going to start a month later, but before we even began our fertility journey, we found out I was pregnant again! Could it be? A rainbow baby of hope? The pregnancy was seemingly normal, and it went pretty fast. We couldn’t wait to bring our daughter home with us!
At thirty-six and a half weeks, a month before my due date, I wasn’t feeling her moving and kicking as she normally did. I gave my doctor a call and she told me to come in for a quick ultrasound. I went in expecting to hear that my bouncing baby was resting or was growing too big for the home I provided for her; the alternative couldn’t happen to us after all we had been through already. However, when the probe was placed on my belly, and I looked at the screen, it was obvious something was wrong. My doctor was quiet. She moved the probe around on what seemed like my entire body. Nothing was happening. No sound. No movement. That was it. I lost my beautiful daughter.
I frantically called Gabe and he arrived shortly after. We were sent to the hospital immediately to be induced, but I still felt a glimmer of hope. Maybe my daughter was playing a crazy trick on us. Maybe she was sleeping. But, that just wasn’t the case. Reality began to set in as we drove for what seemed an eternity to the hospital. After delivering my sweet girl Grace Angela, we realized that her time with us on Earth was up. She wasn’t coming home. She wasn’t going to be there for the holidays, for her first birthday, and for the rest of her life with us. Still, the moment we held our baby girl was the moment we became parents. Though our daughter wasn’t going to live here on Earth, we knew she was going to live in our hearts forever.
As new parents, we had to plan our baby’s funeral. Nothing can ever prepare you to say the eternal goodbye to your child. We had no idea where to start, what to do, or how to even fathom everything that had happened in the past twenty-four hours. With the help of our families, we made it through the first week. After that, we had to learn how to heal, how to live, and how to breathe without our baby. Thankfully, our sweet heavenly angel helped us through and continues to help us every day.
There are days that I have vivid flashbacks of every moment of Grace’s birthday. I relive every single emotion and it’s so incredibly difficult to find the strength to continue in my daily activities. There are days that I see children the same age Grace would be. These are some of the hardest days for me, imagining what could have been. Somehow, angel Grace always sends me a sign to remind me that it’s okay, that she is with us and that she’s in a place where she can ALWAYS be with us. I cherish these signs and look for them on my harder days. Without fail, my girl sends something straight to my heart reminding me of the angel she has become, one that will guide every step of our lives.
Grace Angela was my first daughter, and she molded me into a mother. She turned me into one that appreciates every little thing about motherhood. Since the day we lost Grace, we have gone on to have a healthy, sweet, and beautiful baby girl named Lucy Grace, and we have another little girl on the way! Through exhausted eyes, nervous moments of motherhood, and days where Lucy just seems to want to cry all day, I sit back in awe that I am lucky enough to be a Mother. I am proud of the mother I am to my Earth baby Lucy and my future baby. I am proud to be the mother to my angel in heaven. You never know what kind of mom you will be until you become one.
This unthinkable time of my life has changed me as a wife, a daughter, a friend, a teacher; pretty much every role I have. It has made me find a deeper sense of compassion. It has taught me to always be someone that my daughters can be proud of. It has helped me “not to sweat the small stuff” in life.
I never knew the path of motherhood I would take, and I wish Grace was here with us on Earth every single day, but I am grateful and lucky to be the Mom to three amazing girls. Big sister, Grace Angela, is our special angel who watches over our family every single day, one that lives in our hearts and souls forever and ever. Lucy and our next little bundle are reminders that after darkness, light will come again.