I should be overjoyed to see this year end. In so many ways this year has been horrible, and I am looking forward to better things in 2010. However, this year also brought me Madelyn, and for that I am thankful.
It will always exist in my mind as year of life-changing events. In January, I discovered I was expecting a baby, and I was due in early October. I was also expecting the completion of my Master’s degree in December. Because of these two things, I believed 2009 would be a wonderful year, full of happiness and excitement.
In May I finished my capstone (it’s a project equivalent to a Master’s thesis for those of you who do not know), and one of my most difficult semesters yet, which was a big relief. Another exciting event was scheduled to happen in May: the ultrasound in which I would find out our baby’s gender. I had planned to make a mad dash for Babies ‘R Us as soon as my ultrasound was finished. However, we didn’t find out the gender. In fact, by the time the day was over, I didn’t care about finding out gender anymore. I just wanted my baby to survive. We were told there was a chance things could be fine, but there was a bigger chance things would end in devastation. This is when 2009 started going downhill. I can see it clearly in my head – it happened the moment the ultrasound tech said she needed to get a doctor because things weren’t normal. The rest of that day happened in a blur.
In late June I made the decision to become hospitalized, and I was admitted on July 3. I was scared, but I knew it was the best way to give my baby a chance. I loved that little life inside of me more than my own life, so my life went on a hiatus. I did not enjoy being hospitalized, but I learned to be grateful for it as it allowed me a chance not many women get: 8 solid weeks to spend with my baby without distractions. I felt every kick and listened to her heart beating over and over – a sound I can still hear playing in my head.
On August 28, 2009, my world changed more than I could imagine. I held my baby girl in my arms, both before and after she slipped away from us. I had been through a long, hard, and induced labor, and I had survived childbirth. I remember laying there as the doctors worked on her, trying their best to save her. I was silently praying so hard for her life that I didn’t even think to ask about her gender. Eventually one of the OB nurses asked me the gender because she was completing the birth certificate, and I realized I didn’t know. She asked a NICU nurse, and we found out we were parents of a baby girl. After not much longer, the NICU doctor told us there was nothing more they could do, and they were going to allow us to hold her and spend time with her for whatever amount of time she had left. They placed her in my arms, and her eyes fluttered open, then fluttered shut. She was too weak to keep them open. For a long time we heard her make little noises, almost like a sneezing sound. And then all was quiet and she was gone. The death certificate says she lived an hour and a half, but I’m honestly not sure of the exact moment she left us. I only know 2009 brought me a gift, and then snatched it from me before I even realized what was happening.
I have much healing to do in the new year. There are many milestones left for me to face, such as the anniversary of my positive pregnancy test in January, the anniversary of that awful ultrasound in May, and Madelyn’s birthday. In addition to my continued healing, I have every hope that I will become mother to a second child. I look forward to seeing those 2 lines on a pregnancy test again, regardless of how the baby is conceived. I hate that we can’t do this the traditional way but, really, it doesn’t matter. I have much mothering I want to give, and no matter how Madelyn’s sibling(s) comes to us, he/she will be loved and he/she will be our child.
I find the new decade very symbolic, as I am entering an entirely new phase of my life, on multiple levels. The current decade has been about school for me. In this new decade, I will no longer be a student, but I will have a career. In the first decade of the new century, I turned 18 and entered adulthood. I enter this new decade as a mother, and I have every hope that my motherhood will extend to living children. This past decade offered so many firsts for me: I got married, we moved into our first apartment, we bought our first house, I had my first baby, I obtained my degrees. The next decade will be a continuation of all of these things. The foundation has been laid, and I hope to evolve further into the person I was meant to become.
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