Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Different Year... A Different Journey

December 31, 2010, my husband and I sat on the floor of our living room, talking about our hopes and dreams for 2011.

We talked about how amazing the year would be. About how our daughter would be born and complete our family. About the adventures we would embark on together. About how blessed we felt to be expecting our sweet little Leila. We drank sparkling grape juice and laughed as Leila kicked and flipped in my belly (excited from all of the "bubbly", I am sure).

Two weeks later our expectations for 2011 came crashing down.

I went in for a normal, routine weekly appointment, as I had every week for the past 10 weeks, and was given news that would change my life forever: I would not be leaving that hospital pregnant, no matter how short or long that was to be.

Two days later was one of the most terrifying, wonderful, horrible, and bittersweet days of my life. My beautiful daughter was born. She was perfect, but she was very tiny. Despite all the odds, she made it through the first night, a feat that no one expected her to manage.

The next 12 days were an emotional roller coaster. I was so incredibly happy and blessed to have my tiny miracle, but in the back of my mind, I knew it wouldn't last. I stayed hopeful and strong but it was easy to see that she had a long road ahead of her, one that would prove to be too much for her to bear.

If you have children, you know that feeling when your child gets sick, perhaps the sniffles or a stomach bug, and there is nothing you can do to help them. You just have to wait and love them and be there... because that is really all you can do. Watching my daughter struggle in the NICU was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Every day that passed I wrestled with myself, angry at the pain she was feeling and the complete lack of control I had over the situation: there was absolutely nothing I could do for her except pray, be there, and love her.

And that is what I did. I haven't stopped loving her from the moment I knew she existed. September 9, 2010 is the day I found out I was pregnant. From that very moment I loved everything about her. The way she made me sick, the "rosy hue" she gave my cheeks (which really was just me being flushed from being so exhausted and run down all the time), and the "glow" everyone said I had (which all pregnant mothers know is really just sweat)... I loved it all. She would flip and turn constantly and every kick was just another reminder of how blessed and happy I was.

Even though she is gone, I have never stopped loving her. She is a part of me. Any mother understands that feeling. 2011 continued to be a roller coaster: the months after her death left me angry, confused, hurt, empty.. Every emotion a person can feel, I probably felt it at one time or another.

Then on July 15, 2011, my husband and I learned of our new little miracle. We learned that Landon and Leila were going to have a little brother or sister. The next day was Leila's 6 month day. We sent dozens of balloons up to her and prayed that she find comfort and peace, and also that she would look after her new baby brother or sister as I continued my pregnancy.

Two weeks later, my husband deployed. As we said goodbye we knew it meant that he would miss our new arrival's birth. We embraced and he kissed my belly. We had no idea what the future held, but we tried to remain strong and positive.

The next few months the roller coaster continued. I had weekly doctor's appointments: sometimes more than one in a week. Then I had surgery to try and prevent what had happened to Leila from happening again.

Every week that passed, I thanked God for allowing me to remain pregnant.

In October we made the decision to move home with family so that I could have help with Landon while I continued bed rest. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately has proved to be a good one. I met a new team of doctors who are entirely dedicated to helping me carry this baby as long as possible...

And on October 26, we found out that our little Cupcake is indeed a beautiful baby girl: Lorelei Marie.

The last time I posted, I had just had my 21 week appointment. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and was so overwhelmed with gratitude for the wonderful people I have in my life.

The next Wednesday, November 30, I was told some news that I did not expect to hear so soon: I would be entering the hospital for an extended period of time. My cervix had been softening and shortening and the doctors didn't want to take any risks. The admitted me the following Monday, which allowed me to spend my darling son's 3rd birthday with him. I have been here ever since.

The first week in the hospital was nerve wracking. Everyone expected me to go in to labor at any minute. I was on complete bed rest and even had to be wheeled on my bed like the Queen of Sheba just to have my cervical length scans.

I made it through the first week and then hit 24 weeks: a milestone that changed my attitude immensely. I started to relax more. I felt a sense of calm and acceptance. I was more confident than I had been before in my pregnancy. The elusive goal of 28 weeks seemed well within reach.

Each week that continued, my spirits brightened. I felt Lorelei growing and getting stronger. She was even more active than her acrobat sister and made it very clear that she is a fighter. Her strength gave me even more.

As Christmas neared, my spirits started to fade. Being away from Landon started to take an enormous toll on my spirit and my heart. I ached for him every single moment. I had to distract myself constantly just to keep from bursting in to tears.

Then I received a horrible phone call from my husband's mother on December 21st: my father in law had been ill since the beginning of November, but that night he took a turn for the worse. She said the doctors didn't know if he would pull out of this. This could be the end.

We spent the next few days praying that God let him pull through. My husband was flown home (though still 15 hours away from me) to Alabama to see his father. The next several days were nerve wracking.

All I could think was how 2011 had not been the year we had hoped it would be. And I prayed that 2012 would be better.

Last night, as I sat in my hospital room with a cup of sparkling grape juice, a paper tiara on my head and some gold and silver mardi gras beads around my neck, I thought about that night one year prior, when my husband and I had been so hopeful for the coming year. My husband and I had a conversation about our hopes and dreams for 2012. We talked about welcoming Lorelei into our lives and finally completing our family. Landon, Leila, and Lorelei. The three of them are everything we could have ever wanted. Even if things didn't happen the way we would have liked, we know now that there is a reason.

So then, all of a sudden, the clock struck midnight and 2012 was upon us.

And I do feel more hopeful. I am still pregnant with our sweet miracle, Lorelei. My husband's father is starting to improve little by little. And I have an amazing husband and son who inspire me to live and love every single day of my life.

Welcome to 2012. And welcome to my journey. A new journey for a new year. I don't know exactly what it holds, but I am excited to find out.

Happy New Year.



  1. So good to hear from you Virginia! I know you do not know me, but I have been following your story for a long time. I have been anxiously checking your blog every day for the last month or so and praying that you and your family are alright. I am so glad to hear that you are still pregnant and that baby Lorelei (BEAUTIFUL name, by the way!) is so strong. Best wishes for the new year! I hope 2012 brings you happiness - you deserve it!

  2. Oh, love. This year is gonna be SO amazing for you! I miss you terribly!

  3. Praying for God's blessings on your family!!!

  4. Virginia,
    I continue to pray for you and all of your family. I know that God WILL richly bless you in His grace, mercy and hope.