This year I have taken a lot of time off work. I expected to do that but for a different reason. This year I expected to be raising our newborn daughter, not grieving her loss. I have had to show myself grace for not being able to juggle everything I used to. I have had to take time to process and grieve the loss of my daughter and realize its okay to not be okay, to fall apart. I have been wanting to write about her for a while but I just wasn't ready until now. (trigger warning there are a few photos at the end)
Last year on the first day of spring we found out we were having our first child, a little girl, and we were so excited. Every doctors visit it was so cool hearing her heart beat and eventually feel her kick. I couldn't wait to hold and raise her. Unfortunately due to medical complications I went into early labor. I delivered our daughter on July 13, 2021 at 20 weeks and 6 days weeks old, she weighed 8.8oz. Aveline Hope Barnett lived for 5 1/5 precious hours. No one expected her to live through labor, especially at her age and with her condition and birth defect. The fact that we got that much time with her under the circumstances was a little miracle.
Even though it was not nearly long enough, I’m so grateful for those moments, getting to see her heart beating and taking little breaths, feeling her lightly squeeze my pinky with her tiny hand. It is the hardest and most devastating thing we have ever been through. Its hard to describe how holding her was one of the happiest moments of my life, then to have it follow with such heartbreak. We are thankful for all of our family and friends who have helped and are helping us through this difficult time.
This is not how we imagined things would go, it’s not what we wanted, it’s doesn’t seem fair and it hurts so much. However though all of this pain, we have seen God working, which sounds crazy with everything that has happened. But we have seen Him, we have seen little miracles, not the one we wanted but they have been there. He has has brought us closer together and has been carrying us every step of the way, giving us peace, bringing us comfort, putting the right people in our lives at the right time and without Him I don’t know how we would get though this. With Him we have this hope, hope that we will one day when He returns we will get to be with Him and we will get to hold our little girl again. It amazing to me how different it is going through child loss. So many go through it and I sympathized. However being the one going through it changes everything. I didn't realize how many people have gone through something similar, because its not talked about. People don't know what to say, I don't hold that against them because I used to not know what to say either. For those who want to say something but are afraid of causing more pain, 9/10 times a grieving parent is going to be glad you asked. They might not be in a place where they can talk about it but knowing some cares makes the biggest difference. Small things like someone asking what my child's name was means more than I can say.
There are still so many hard days, but they are becoming fewer, I'm starting to smile more and look forward to the days ahead, not dreading them. Its hard to believe its been about 10 months. When every thing happened I was told time heals, I had a hard time believe that back then. However it does. It does not erase what happened but it helps lessen the pain. Now when I think of her I don't burst into tears every time. Often I smile and think of the little girl who made me a mom.