It is painful to think that I would be holding my little girl in my arms right now if she would have made it. I have been dreading my due date for weeks, but I am grateful that it has finally passed. I feel like I can somehow find the little extra comfort that I need as I let go of the feeling that "I should be pregnant right now". There were times when I would even bend over, and it was like I still felt pregnant, and I would think, I shouldn't even be able to bend over because a little (or big) baby bump should be in the way. I didn't think that I would be affected physically, as well as mentally, but it has been a difficult journey up to this point.
I wanted to post some pictures to honor my little baby Elle. Although she never came to us here on Earth, she will always be in our hearts and a part of our family.
So, join me as I reminisce...
This was when I announced that we were expecting a new little bundle of joy. We were at Knotts Merry Farm. I had seen the heart beat twice by this point...I remember how excited we were and how I thought about how I was going to protect the little growing body that was inside of me. The caption on the picture read:
"This year I asked Santa for a REALLY special gift...and today I saw the heartbeat of that amazing gift. (="
Dec. 6th 2011
When I first looked at this picture, I thought, gosh, I kinda look chubby, but really, it was Elle making her debut in NYC. For those of you who have been to New York, know that the food there is AMAZING, so we ate a LOT haha therefore, my baby bump was really starting to show in this trip, and I even remember when I got home Michael saying something like, "Hey where did that come from!?". I also bought her this little onsie and Hunter a matching one. It's safely put away inside my special "Elle box". I had my doctors appointment about one week from when I got home from NY...that was when everything started to happen...
A few days before I delivered her, I wanted to take a picture...when I asked Michael to take it, he asked me "Why?" I told him that I wanted one last picture with her...I didn't know that I was going to deliver her only a few days after this picture was taken, but I will always look back at this time, and think about my daughter, and how even though I knew she was going to pass away, I wanted to cherish every single moment that I had with her.
Here is her tiny, tiny, feet prints. The condition of her body was so bad that they couldn't get anything but these tiny prints, but I hold these small, little prints so close to my heart. I remember, so vividly, what she looked like. Something that will always stay with me was the weight of her little body in my arms and sometimes I can take myself back to that very moment, and remember exactly how it felt to hold her. At first it was hard to look at her, and Michael even told me to look away, but when they placed her in my arms, all I wanted to do was look. Although her body had been so completely consumed by the disorder, and did not look anything like a 22 week old baby, she was perfect to me, because I knew that she was perfect in Heaven.
|This was the sign they put on the door and the little box they gave me.|
Gifts...I received a pink tulip necklace that a mother of one of my students gave me, some yummy treats, which I obviously already ate, cd's, a star to name after her, flowers, letters, books, and a bracelet to put where her ashes are, (which I'm going to keep in case I have another girl...that way she can wear her sisters bracelet...and if I don't have another girl, I will take it to the cemetery) Now, I don't want to brag about all of the material things I received, but, I just wanted to show how grateful I am...because I truly am grateful...
There were many wonderful people who got me flowers and cards...I was SO grateful for them. My counter has been filled pretty much since the week that I delivered. There have been times that I have told myself that I should take them down, get some counter space back, but I could never bring myself to do it. I finally decided that on her due date, I will take them down. So, the day came, and I couldn't do it. I couldn't let go...so I asked Michael to do it when I wasn't home...now my counter is empty...but I did get some flowers from a good friend, Michael, and my brother in law, so they will ease the empty space for a little while.
One last picture before they came down...
On Easter Sunday we went back to the cemetery for the first time. I cried and cried as I was in disbelief that this was my life...I never, ever thought I would lay flowers on a place where it was my child...I thought about what her life would have been like...we were about to leave after we visited Michael's best friends grave who isn't very far from Elle, and I saw someone that I recognizedq. She had lost her daughter at the age of 11 (approx.) and she talked about how grateful she is for those 11 wonderful years. It was a true inspiration...although I won't be able to say anything like that, I know that no matter what, I'm always going to be grateful for my daughter and she will always be a gift to me. Here is the spot where we laid her pink tulips. This spot is where the hospital lays all the baby's ashes when they are under 24 weeks or if the family decides to not have a their own designated plot. I loved seeing all the things that the other Mommies and Daddies brought to their little ones. It made feel like I wasn't so alone, and that all these other babies were loved just like our little Elle.
Here are two recent family pictures of us (May 7th The LA zoo, to celebrate Mother's Day and Easter and don't mind Michael's facial hair...it's for work) We are all smiles, and we are making it through...Michael has been my rock, and although his heart is broken too, he has let me cry, listened to me talk about my feelings and thoughts, and has given me inspiration to move forward. I am so grateful for him and I love him so much. This has brought us closer, and although we will always mourn over our lost baby, we have found joy together as we've grown closer as a couple, and to our Heavenly Father.
My last picture is of my favorite person in the whole wide world (next to Michael of course). This little guy is definitely Heaven sent...I think about how he's going to be an amazing big brother, and my heart aches for him as he doesn't know what he's missing out on right now, and how he should be playing with a little baby. A few days before Elle passed away, Hunter was laying in bed with me, and all of sudden, he just started giving my belly raspberries, and giggling and laughing, it was like he knew his little sister was in there and he wanted to play with her before she would go away. It was the funniest thing, and I will never forget that moment. He's such a sweet, happy, and friendly little boy. I know that he's the special one to help me get through this. He always puts a smile on my face and reminds to me to slow down and enjoy life. I don't know how I would have done it without him, but because of him, I'm a Mom, and I couldn't ask for anything more.
It has been about 18 weeks since I delivered. The road has been very up and down...recently, there have been a lot of tears as the days have been bringing me closer to my due date, but I've managed. What I would give to hold my little girl in my arms right now. I looked in the mirror the other day, and I cried and cried as I looked at myself and my features, and wondered what she would have looked like...would she have her Daddy's eyes and Mommy's hair? Maybe she will look like Hunter, or completely different...one day we'll know.
I definitely know that before everything happened I took being happy for granite. Happiness is a choice...You know how when you write someone a txt message, and to be friendly you put a little smiley face, it's something I always used to do...always...and now, whenever I put it, I think to myself, am I really happy? And for a while I couldn't even put it, because I felt like it was in vain...it's obviously gotten better, but I never thought my life would ever change so much that I couldn't even smile in my text messages. I am now grateful for when I am happy, because when something like this happens, you can't just be happy, you have to choose to be happy, and you have to figure out how your going to find that happiness. I know that a little part of me will always be empty, but I also know that my daughter is waiting for me...
I know something magical didn't happen on my due date and that it won't all of a sudden make things better, but I knew it would be a turning point. My cards are put away, I've shared pictures, I went to the cemetery and I'm moving forward. I know that I've been blessed with strength, but sometimes I do get a little upset and ask my Heavenly Father why He took her away from me, but those feelings never last for too long, and I'm so grateful for my knowledge of eternal families.
Lastly, I once again want to thank everyone for their sweet thoughts and prayers, for the messages, the phone calls, and most of all their love. How grateful I am for those who have reached out to me. This is definitely a time when I've needed others to just make the first step and put in an effort...and they have made a difference. Saying thank you will never be enough, but know that I love you and am grateful for you.
So, here's to my due date being long gone. I hope you all enjoyed the pictures. And even though my sweet Elle's life was very short, I hope that you will all remember her and will think of her up in Heaven, watching down on all of us.