A lot of people leave this blog feeling sad. Maybe even a bit disturbed or out of their comfort zone. Especially if they’ve never faced the loss of a child. But if you’re here for the first time, one thing I want you to know is that our story is more than a ‘something sad’ that happened. Yes, our daughter was born incredibly early. Yes, she was tiny. And yes, she died. But today… well today is a gift. And I know that more than ever because of her. Today I am still alive… still breathing… and daring to LOVE the life that we couldn’t share together. Losing a child is one of the hardest, if not THE hardest thing, for a parent to endure. But something about being so close to death gives you a new perspective… and a craving to live it to the absolute fullest. This blog is not just about her, it’s about the beautiful mess that she left behind…
A gift for you.
The night Jenna was born our church was praying hard. Some were praying that she would be born on the fifth of May since five is the number for grace, and since they had heard the news of the emergency c-section late that night of the fourth.
Dr. Jen Arnold (from the Little Couple) was on the attending team of doctors at Texas Children’s that helped watch over Jenna her first few hours of life.
Jenna was born 1 lb, 1 oz on May 5th at 12:01.
From the very beginning we could see that God was all over this child. She was the tiniest baby I’d ever seen. The morning that they wheeled me in to see her for the first time, she was wearing a small red and white polka dot bow. The nurses were calling her a diva.
She had tiny dark brown curls resting tightly to her little head.
She was covered in wires, tubes and gold stickers. She was our first baby.
I remember looking down at her, and believed with all my heart that she would just be spending months in the hospital. I kept telling myself that we could do this. It would be hard, but we would survive.
They told us the first 24 hours were crucial. When that passed, we breathed a sigh of relief. They said the same thing about the 10 day mark.
When she passed the 10 day mark, we were believing in our tiny miracle more than ever.
Of course, every day in the NICU was a roller coaster ride. No sooner would we tell our family members that she was doing well, that her saturation levels or whatever else would go down only moments later. We ended up opening a CarePage to keep them updated, because it became exhausting to call and text everyone.
I sat by her bedside nearly the entire time. I can remember holding back tears, and pouring them out in the milk bank, when I was alone. I felt like I had to be strong for her.
Thirteen days after she was born, at four o’clock in the morning we received a phone call in our Ronald McDonald Housing room. They told us to get down there, and that she would not be making it.
We rushed down there, called everyone we could. We spent the next eleven hours preparing, the best way we knew how, to say goodbye. I think I was in shock. Not once – not once – did it cross my mind that she would not make it. I believed with my whole heart that she would be the one to prove all the doctors wrong. I remember daydreaming about our take home day, and what a celebration it would be.
I suppose that is what brings you through this type of situation… hope. Beautiful hope.
We later learned that I have a blood clotting disease MTHFR, that causes blood clots in the umbilical cord. The doctors did know for sure what was wrong with our daughter at the time, only that she was extremely premature (smaller than a normal 29 weeker), and had many complications.
Losing her rocked my world to the core. It shook my faith, my dreams, my beliefs… my everything. It was like learning to breathe again, because inside a part of me died right along with her.
A few things have been like pillars in my life since her loss.
The love of God. Seriously, he continues to show me just how much he loves me in spite of what I think and how I feel about all of this. His love is truly amazing.
My husband. He’s pretty much awesome. He talks about Jenna, and helps me remember her. And I will never forget how he would stand over the incubator, when Jenna was in the hospital. I don’t think I ever loved him more.
Everyone else that empowers me and allows me to talk about her. People like Carly Marie, some of my best friends in real life, and a handful of family members. They make all the difference, in allowing me to talk about the daughter that made me a mom for the first time.
And last, but certainly not least… my rainbows. They are my world.
For child loss resources please visit this page.