It seems I will forever be starting my blog posts with apologies. I'm so sorry, again, for the delay in updates. I know that if I updated more often it wouldn't be such a daunting task, but that never makes it any easier to get started. It's honestly just so hard to write, to put my thoughts in such a tangible format. I try so hard most days to keep it all in, and it's difficult to let it flow freely enough to write about sometimes. I hope that it gets easier as time passes, because this blog has been so useful in many ways.
My pregnancy is still progressing, right on track. I am a little over thirty weeks now, although I look like I passed forty a while back. We've had our share of hiccups and speedbumps, but overall things are going well. We were scheduled to go in for a follow-up echo on Halloween, but our cardiologist had to reschedule due to an emergency. I was pretty disappointed, but we'll schedule another appointment with her, hopefully when I go in for my next ultrasound at 32 weeks. I'll let everyone know what we find out, although I know I'm no longer reliable for timely updates. I'll try my best!
We are still collecting items, gift cards and donations for the care packages we're putting together for the families who are spending the holidays in the hospital this year. Please see my previous post for a full list of items we are looking for and the address, or send whatever you wish. Some of you have asked if monetary donations are okay, and yes, we will take anything. We can use the donations towards gift cards or any of the other items we need. I would like to have everything put together by the end of the month, so the clock is ticking. The hospital and the families there will always hold a place in our hearts, and we just want to be a part of paying the kindness forward. If you are able and willing, we would love to include you in our efforts.
We made a trip to Dallas last month to visit an old friend from CMC. While we loved all of the staff at the hospital, we became especially close to a few of the doctors and nurses. Dr. Koch is one of our favorites, and I still thank God that he was there with us for the last few days. We met him for lunch one day a few weeks ago and talked about those days. We also went over the autopsy report, because I'm one of those people who need detailed answers and explanations for everything. I won't get into all of those details here, because Holden had a lot going on in that little body of his. To make a very long story short, it was all related to his heart, as we suspected. His own heart gave out before a new heart was made available. We knew, but it still broke my own heart to see it in black and white. I guess I always thought that his angel heart would somehow arrive just in time to save him. That didn't happen, and four months later, it's still so challenging for me to accept.
This experience has shattered me, and I don't know if I'll ever be the same person. Honestly, I don't know that I want to be that person again. As much pain as I live with, I wouldn't give up the time we were given for anything.
The process of healing is so unpredictable. Even when I have good days, I feel slightly guilty. Like I don't have the right to feel normal anymore, because nothing is normal. Creating a new normal is an uncertain task, at best. The actual act of living takes a long time. Grief makes me not want to do anything but survive at times. Actually living proves much more difficult. But somehow, we always manage to make it through to another day.
My birthday is tomorrow, and it's yet another bittersweet day for me. My birthday gift last year was getting to hold my baby after his surgery, for the first time in a week. I would give anything for that same gift this year, but so much has changed.
A year ago, we were sitting in the CICU, waiting to see what would happen with Holden and his heart. Four months ago yesterday, we left that place that now holds the worst memories of my life. At least, we tried. You can't leave a place like that, memories like that, and not take some of it with you. I remember everything. The sound of the bedrails. The beep of the monitors. The smell of the soap. The hope, and the heartache in every corner of every room.
I'm sure it's not easy for any parent with empty arms to walk away from the memories, even when they torment. They're all we have. I know that others who have lost babies and children share my inability to separate sorrow from joy in life. I don't know that they'll ever be divided again, they are so tightly woven together.
I wholeheartedly believe that Holden is at peace with his Father right now. I believe, but I can't truthfully say that it always brings me peace or comfort. I know it should, and I wish it would. I would be lying if I said that I don't wish him back to me hundreds of times each day. Even knowing where he is doesn't always fill the void. I just want to hold him in my arms again, and I'm clinging tightly to the promise that one day I will.
My heart will always feel the void our Holden left behind, but another part of my heart is full of hope for the miracles of the two big sisters he left behind, and this new precious gift we never planned. Holden will always leave a place in the middle of our family that is so painfully empty, even as the rest is joyfully overflowing. That's yet another example of God's grace and mercy at it's finest... He makes my cup overflow, even as part of it is missing.
Holden will never return to me. Those words define my life right now, and I imagine they will define the rest of my life as well. He will never return to me. But one day, I'll go to him. My arms will be filled again. Not in the familiar little boy way that I remember so well and long for, but so perfectly different. Thank God for the promise of eternity. To believe in His promise in spite of our pain is a gift, and what a beautiful gift it is.